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Thread [Getting started] How to Choose the Right Wattage for Your Guitar Amp

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FloSon

FloSon

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1 Posted on 05/07/2014 at 09:51:08
How to Choose the Right Wattage for Your Guitar Amp
Thanks to "Doc" Emmett Brown, everybody knows that you need 1.21 gigawatts for a DeLorean to go back to the future when its flux capacitor runs out of plutonium.

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jaysalam

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2 Posted on 05/10/2014 at 17:20:19
I hate to comment on this article, but feel I should. Only in one spot was it mentioned that the efficiency of the speaker was a contributing factor. Wattage is simply the most misunderstood and misleading statistic in the audio world. When a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist or whatever asks, "what is the wattage?" in almost 100 cases out of 100 what they are really asking is "how loud will it go?". It is a fact that you need to multiply your wattage by 10 to sound twice as loud as before. Without going into great db equations etc, that means that to sound twice as loud as your 5 watt effort, you need 50 watts (all other conditions remaining the same). And to sound twice as loud as that you need 500 watts.
What I refer to here is the ears PERCEIVED loudness. So the rule is, it takes 10 times the power to be perceived as twice as loud.
Speaker efficiency is critical in this regard. Speakers are measured as xxDB @ one watt @ one meter. Roughly speaking, a speaker with 102 dB efficiency will be perceived as twice as loud as a speaker rated at 92 dB. Again, all else being equal. Therefore the 102 dB speaker at 5 watts will sound about the same as the 92 dB speaker at 50 watts.
The original Fender Twin (not Twin Reverb) of the '50s had 2 6L6 power tubes. Those tube in that circuit could produce 40 watts of nearly clean power and about 50 watts jammed to the hilt. Those 40/50 watts driving into two Jensen 12" speakers would fill a mid sized coliseum with no PA system help. Changing the speakers to JBL D120s would have made that amp much louder (and too heavy to carry). That is just one example. There are many others.
Don't forget that tone matters at least as much, if not more than, raw power.
Thanks for starting this thread.

Jay S

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