Will 100w amp sound better than a 25w one at practice volume?

Currently have a Fender Rumble LT25, but the lower notes on my new 5 string don’t sound very meaty (for want of a better word). I was wondering, if I get a larger amp of about 100w, like a Fender Rumble or one of the Ampeg Rocket Bass amps, would they sound better at the same lowish volume?
Like most of you, I’ve got neighbours close by that I don’t want to bother too much, so I try not to be too loud. I do play with other people sometimes, so the amp would be used then too

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Generally yes, but less to do with wattage and more to do with a larger speaker.

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Thanks John_E, that makes sense. The LT25 has an 8" speaker and the Rumble 100 and the Ampeg RB-112 both have a 12"

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Totally what @John_E says - I moved up from a Fender 25 to an Orange 100 (15" speaker) and I’m getting way more body in the tone. Also I’m guessing that larger amps tend to have more features on them than the smaller ones.

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Not necessaraly larger, but certainly better speakers.
So many associate bigger number to equal better, so they increase speaker size with watt size., to a point.

But to get speakers 8" and under that sound great and can handle high watt anps, you need a much better speaker that will cost more then a budget 25 watt 8" combo amp, AND a 100watt x two 10" speaker combo amps together.

So in budget cabinets, 8"speakers can top out on the higher end, or bottom out on the lower end really, and leave you wanting more.

But there are boutique builders that make awesome amps with 5" and 7" speakers. .

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Thanks @T_dub, that makes sense too. I’m new to the music scene and there’s so much I’m learning! Loving it though

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Yup. Was going to add this.
This is the exception not the norm.

I’m eyeing a Phil Jones with two 4 or 5” drivers and delivers on the B sting like nobody’s business.

You really must go listen to amps/cabs.
Bring your bass too. So you know what you doing like.

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@T_dub and @John_E both gave excellent points, I have a Genzler BA 10-2 tin little thing and it delivers tight low end.

Your LT25 should be able to give you satisfying low, it’s worth checking on your room acoustic treatments if you have a typical cube style room, it’s a good idea to install a few bass traps in the corner and a couple of foam panels.

It sounded like your room is too “live” and the big low sound waves are canceling themselves, deadening the room would definitely helps bringing out the low end. Usually you don’t need to add defusers because furnitures you have is doing their job well enough.


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@Al1885 brings up a good point, acoustics in your room. Try to move around in the room a bit when practicing and see if somewhere else than your usual place in front of the amp you get more bottom end.

Bass waves are big long waves, and their own reflection of the walls can cancel them out in some places.

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He does indeed, considering the actual question is, what will sound better.
All biases aside, bigger and more expensive does not nessarily mean better.
Sound GOOD in general, is too subjective to measure

Quality is more accurately measured, but still subjective to defined variables.

Good acoustics, or an amp that will sound better in your acoustics will most always sound better. This is another strong argument to break away from combo amps, and get a separate head and speaker cabinets.
This way you can use the same amp head with multiple cabinets, and use a speaker (or no speaker, just headphones) in your beadroom or practice area, and a different cab for the garage, and another to use for practicing with others, with a drummer, and / or play gigs.
Plus as you understand ohms, you can often get maximum performance from your amp head by running a combo if 2 or more cabinets…
Amp names (rumble100 or BXP-500) are often actually half what tge amp is rated at and in fact, with one cabinet or the right cabinet, you bring out 33.3% to 50% more then the amps name or model number suggests. There is a reason for this beyond marketing, (headroom roe example) but is beyond tge scope of this thread, but covered well within the forum.
This is true with many combos once you get into a reasonable watt size when it becomes practical.
For instance Many 100 watt amps (a Fender rumble included) the actual output is closer to 50-65watts (idk ottomh) but will go to the max power of 100 watts (i think, could be higher or lower, would have to look it up) when an additional speaker is added (min 8ohms often) thru the amps output.

If are not ready for this, and are limited to a combo, do not worry. You may need to know for future info, but if you dont, not a problem.

This info is about what sounds good, and just showing you how to get the most from your amps and money spent in the long term.

Plus its not manditory to have a head and cab in the end.
But you might consider stepping up to a 200 watt or 500 watt Rumble, or combo, still small enough to move from place to place, and still powerfull enough to add more speaker cabinets too, in order to get the full power of the amp inside the combo.

Just like basses, amps can be a very personal thing, for some, even more so. This makes the used market a viable option to buy, sell, or trade up, down, or to the side, while allowing you to get more time with more amps, if you choose to do this

I have pieced together a nice little amp collection, and I have $500 invested.
Including
SWR WorkingMan 10 (60w x 10")
SWR WorkingMan 15 (120wx15")
Carvin BXP-500 (250w / 500w head)
SWR WorkingMan 4x10 (cab)

I can use the 10" in bedroom (that’s what she said) and even add the cab to push the amp output to about 110w
The 15 in my apartment, and a combo of the 15 with the cabinet for around 220w.
I can use the Carvin Amp head with the 4x10 cabinet for 250w (approx) and even possibly bypass the amp in tge 15 to just use it as a speaker and get closer to the full 500w out of it at 4ohms

This is an example of what you can do. Make sure you have a better understanding of this before you start stacking cabinets, and / or Combo amps, weather you add to the combo, or bypass the amp in the combo just to drive the speaker
And always follow EXACT manufacturer directions for that brands specific product.

If you push too many watts into a speaker (250w into a speaker rated for 100max) and you blow your speaker
However
Impeedence (ohms) is a little different. Too few ohms behind a head (head rated for 8ohm MIN into a speaker cab rated for 4ohms) and you cook your amp head.
This is why you need to follow exact product specs, or know which way you have room.

You can however use a 250 w head with a 500w cabinet. This is how you get headroom. You use the speakers below full rating, so there is headroom beyond what the amp can push into it.
And
You can use a head rated for 8ohm min with 16ohm cab, but you cant use 4ohm or 2ohm cab. You can to a point, but you lost all your headroom to drive the speakers without blowing your amp. You would be stuck below 1/2 power output (level 5 of 10 on volume dial) at 4ohms and 1/4 of volume into 2 ohms.

Its ok if you are confused by this. I was and am nowhere near an expert.
Its a simplistic way to look at it. The subject is really complex, with several threads already very well covered within the forum posts already, and if you want to backread, a quick search of ohms, or watt vs ohms, or amplifiers, etc… you can find lots of great info already covered here, where you can ask more relevant questions specific to just that.

Other things to consider before buying are
Coloring and transparancy and FX.
Amps that are transparent let the sound of your bass play thru.
Amps that color add their own unique sound to them.
FX can nake anything sound like anything else (to a point, but the possibilities are out there)

And then there is always Monitors driven by software on your computer.

It doesnt matter what you have, yiu can almost always make it sound different, so dont get too hung up on it.
Most important thing is that you like what you hear when you play.
If you like it, its good
If you dont like it, its good for somebody else (sell it).
If you like it mostly, but want more, and or different at times, get pedals or use software on your computer.
If you like, good, keep
Dont like, bad, sell
Easy.

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Yes, for the bandwidth. I used a rumble 25, and it was great. But it’s an 8", so you’ll never get the full bandwidth of a larger speaker. I stepped up to a hartke hd75 and was amazed at the difference even at low volume.

@JoshFossgreen covers this in a video, he uses a backline 12 or 15, i think.

Practice amps ( like everything else ) are a really personal decision. But a good one sounds good no matter the volume, so crank it up and shake some windows!

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Thanks @T_dub, that’s a lot to digest (I don’t mean this dismissively, I love this stuff, just takes me a while to understand it all)
Headphones were a great idea. I have some decent headphones and I found I can plug them into my amp. Sounds great, found I really like the sound of the base on passive

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Is why I said this.

And

It takes time and you dont need to know it all, especially at first.
Its nice if you can understand it a little before making purchases, but not manditory.
Plus, actual hands on experience helps to ubderstand it all, and you wont get that without getting some gear and getting started.
Its ok to start small to medium, and get experience before going big if you ever do.
Of course, like I said, buying gear used is a good way to learn what you like and dont like, without over investing money.

You will get there, and when you do, it wont be very intimidating, so please dont stress about what you dont know yet, and we are always here to help along the way.

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That’s a really good point. At lo B frequencies, you get standing waves in an average size room. In plain English, this means depending on where you are in the room, you may hear plenty of low end in some places and in other parts of the room you may hear very little low end.

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Yes - for a big room anyway. More specifically the wavelength of B0 is 11 meters at sea level. However, a lot of what you hear low B as is at its first harmonic at about 62Hz, with a wavelength of about 5.5m, which would help a bit (and still sound quite low end)

Probably relatively few speakers still have flat frequency response down to 31Hz., which you need for low B. So that harmonic is important.

While this may not matter as much for dead spots in the room, it likely matters a lot for speaker placement. @DaveT might have some insight here.

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Here’s a great video showing a note played where he filters out everything but the fundamental note itself and then shows you what it sounds like in reverse, without the fundamental low tone. This reinforces @howard’s point about the upper harmonics carrying the bulk of the tone for the low notes. Demo starts shortly after 9:40.

Bass is difficult to wrangle due to the very long wavelengths.

I read recently, on another thread I think, that lower frequencies cannot be heard in a small enough room. It is not necessary for the wavelength of a sound to “fit” in the room to be able to perceive it. When sound hits a surface it can be absorbed (converted to heat), reflected or pass right through the surface. Bass wavelengths are so long and unmanageable that they pass right through most wall construction less stiff and massive than poured concrete, meaning that they don’t even know they are in a small room. Headphones work by pressurizing a relatively small distance between the driver and the ear, regardless of wavelength.

The amount of the bass wave that reflects off surfaces causes the standing wave problem that @ebxx describes above. The room will light up like an organ pipe at certain notes, different ones in different directions. There will be a note that fits perfectly in the length of the room, the width of the room and the height of the room. There will also be certain notes that fit if they take symmetrical reflection paths around the room. When this happens the note will be really loud in some parts of the room and really quiet in other parts of the room. You can walk around and hear it go up and down dramatically. This is a good reason not to think there’s a dead note on the neck without walking around first.

This is a nifty room mode calculator for a rectangular room. If you hover over one of the modes in the graph, it will update the 3D model of the room to show you where the loud and quiet parts will appear for that frequency in that room shape. Nicely, it also tells you the corresponding note.

If you want to find the room modes in your home studio or practice space, bring up a tone generator in your DAW (or a sine oscillator in a synth VST), feed the output of your DAI into your bass amp and slowly sweep though the frequencies until you find one that rings loud or disappears.

If you have the luxury of choosing where your bass cabinet goes, like your home studio, you can make some choices that help the situation a bit. Step 2 in this article has some useful information about placement, albeit for multiple cabinets, which may not be as relevant. But you get the idea that this can matter. Plenty of spaces have been optimized by the time honored tradition of trial and error :slight_smile:

The technique that works with only one cabinet is to measure the length of a wall and then put the cabinet 1/4 of the wall length from the side wall. The sound will reflect off the wall and come back to the cabinet a total of 1/2 wavelength later at the resonant frequency and cancel itself out in that direction, eliminating one of the three primary room resonances. If you do this in two directions, then two of the three are gone.

Another thing you can do is listen to where the quiet spot is for a mode and then move your cabinet to the quiet spot. This is where it will least excite the room resonance.

Beware of inexpensive, small or open foam things claiming to be bass traps. It’s hard to trap bass. Check their lab measurements and be suspicious.

An interesting little trick to think about . . . . If you put a line of subwoofers at the front of the room (which may be two units for a small room) and then put a mirror image line of subwoofers at the back of the room, you can set the signal to the rear row delayed to the distance across the room + 180 degrees. A horizontal bass wave will come out of the front and travel to the back where it will be swallowed up by the rear subwoofers operating in the reverse cone direction. DIY active bass trap.

Anyway for bass playing, rooms can have hot/null spots that may or may not get better by moving the cabinet a bit. As @howard says, it’s the mid range that carries the most useful part of the tone anyway. If anything, it’s better to EQ notch out problems that are going to muddy things up.

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It’s interesting too that when you start mixing other instruments, you notice that a lot of gunk starts accumulating down in the 20-60Hz range. Bass guitar and keyboards are the worst offenders there, but also notably the kick drum and low harmonics from other instruments are there as well. It all ends up being very muddy until you correct it.

And one effective way to correct it is to simply start filtering or EQing the bass off with the shoulder at about 40-50Hz. The bass really fights with the kick drum, and doing this makes the whole mix sound much better.

I think most low-end worshipping bass fanatics would be horrified if they knew what the sound engineer is doing to their tone they worked so hard to get :rofl:

I actually just use a HPF on the bass track for this, and it makes everything - including the bass, ironically - have much more clarity and sound better. The drums especially.

Here’s the top image hits for “how to EQ bass guitar”, and you can see most of them doing this. 50Hz is generally where I start to roll it off too:

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Perfect answer to @DaveP 's OP. IMHO

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My crude maths here says a 12" speaker has about 120% more area than an 8" one, and I assume (but may be incorrect) that the forward/back movement is greater too. We end up with a 50% increase in radius leading to 2.5 to 3 times the volume of air moved. I think…

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@DaveP No need to overthink it. A 12" speaker will sound different than an 8" one, in the same environment setting.

I had a Rumble 40 with a 10" speaker for a very short time and swapped it out for a Rumble 100 with a 12" speaker. Regardless of the power difference, there was a definite difference in the sound even with a 2" difference i.n speaker diameters.

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