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Thread: Amp wattage confusion

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    Question Amp wattage confusion

    I'm evaluating compact vocal/guitar amps to perform in small venues - nursing home lounge, church social room, etc. I'm confused about watt ratings. Here's a sample:
    • Roland Cube 6.5" speaker, 30 watt
    • Fender Passport Mini 6.5" speaker, 7 watt
    • Behringer B207MP3 6.5" speaker, 150 watt

    User reviews suggest all are adequate for my intended use.
    They all have the same size speaker and are about the same price (within $30).
    So why are the watt differentials so big? How can a 7W amp compete with a 150W?

    Thanks for any explanation you can provide.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    7 watts doesn't have to compete with 150 watts, you get to pick one and play through it. Either each one performs to your needs or it doesn't. You wouldn't have to turn the 150 watt one all the way up.

    Roland make a number of Cube models. I looked up the 6.5" speaker model, a battery powered unit. It produces 5 watts, not 30. There is a Roland Cube 30 watt with a 10 inch speaker.

    All three have both microphone and guitar inputs. The Behringer is not battery operated, it needs to plug into the wall. That may or may not be an issue for you.

    You find these suited to you? Have you done more than read about them? I highly recommend you listen to them if possible. See if any sound better than others, and maybe get a feel for using the controls. For example, the Behringer has extra features. It has an MP3 player and a USB out for making recordings on a computer.

    If it sounds good to you, then it is good. I can't tell you what it ought to sound like. My own opinion is I think battery amps are suited to busking and small outdoor practicing. There are nice sounding tiny speakers, but for me a 10 or 12 inch just sounds better. But give then a listen and see. I am sure there are music stores in Buffalo, at least when they are not covered with snow.

    For similar money, here is an example of a powered speaker, yes it has way more power than you need, but don't turn it up. It has a basic mixer so you can plug both mic and guitar into it. Maybe you don't want anything that physically large.
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...owered-speaker

    Features? It may or may not matter to you, but I think the digital effects are more sophisticated on the Behringer, and maybe less so on the Fender. You won't like most of them probably, but having a touch of reverb livens up any vocal. I don't like super dry vocals myself. And you can't do a good cover of the Nilsson tune Jump Into The Fire without a good repeat effect.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfjNpgZ4C5Q

    For nursing homes, are you sure you even need an amplifier? Is your guitar an acoustic, or electric? I live in an old folks home myself and I can stand in front of our group in the community room and be heard no problem. Outdoors is harder to fill with sound. But for small gigs like social rooms or homes like mine an amp need not be powerful.

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    Thanks for the info.

    The Roland I'm looking at is the CM-30. It's not battery-capable and doesn't have effects but it looks well built
    .
    Yes, the only research I've done is online. There's no area music store that stocks either the Fender or the Behringer -- they can order them but don't have in store, so I haven't been able to do an actual comparison. If I could I'm sure that would decide it.

    The Behringer you suggested looks good but it's a little bigger than I'd like. I have a hike from where I can park to the building so I want to keep it to one trip with the gear. When I'm playing electric I do that by stacking a big duffel bag and a collapsible mic on top of my old amp, with everything on a folding dolly.

    To answer your last question: I play either acoustic or electric depending on the venue. In one place I play a small room with about 20 residents and use acoustic with unamplified vocals, and that works fine. Another place is in a larger lounge that serves as their cafeteria and entertainment room -- it's both bigger and noisier, and has a bigger audience; for that I play electric and mic'd voice. I also play a church social room for a couple different groups, one of which is small so I go acoustic, the other is big so I go electric.
    BTW, I have a thin voice and really like somevocal reverb as you mentioned; it sounds much better.

    Thanks!

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    SO local stores have no Fender or Behringer models? Does that mean they DO have the Roland? If these are all more or less equivalent, try the Roland. At this point I am less concerned which one you pick as I am whether this small format speaker type will sound right for you from any brand. I would see if they would loan me the amp for a trial or even rent you one for a night. Just to see if it sounds OK in "real life", and suits your needs. Worry about brands and buying after you have answered that fundamental question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    SO local stores have no Fender or Behringer models? Does that mean they DO have the Roland? If these are all more or less equivalent, try the Roland. At this point I am less concerned which one you pick as I am whether this small format speaker type will sound right for you from any brand. I would see if they would loan me the amp for a trial or even rent you one for a night. Just to see if it sounds OK in "real life", and suits your needs. Worry about brands and buying after you have answered that fundamental question.
    Local stores have Fender and Behringer but not the specific ones I'm considering. They do have various Roland cubes in stock but they don't allow trials -- I'd have to buy the amp, try it, then return it if it isn't right.

    I take your point about the small speaker; it's something I've wondered about too. I'm currently using a Blok 40K, made by Yorkville 30 years ago. It has a 10" woofer and 3" tweeter. It has good sound and plenty of volume but it's bigger and heavier than I'd like, plus it crackles when I adjust the volume (and the pots aren't accessible for easy cleaning).

    You're right that I should try one out, I just wish it were more convenient to do so.

    Thanks again.

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    A 6.5" speaker can be fine for vocal/guitar - I'm thinking of the Fishman Loudbox Mini (which can be had as a battery/mains unit). I have quite a few customers who have these and they do sound really good. That's not to say anything else doesn't - you really have to make your own mind up.

    I wouldn't pay too much attention to wattage ratings. I have an electric fire that's 2kW and doesn't make any sound. Manufacturers play a numbers game to get you to buy a product based on paper specs. In reality the enclosure and speaker design/efficiency, as well as how the amp's EQ profile is matched to the speaker means more.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    I wouldn't pay too much attention to wattage ratings. I have an electric fire that's 2kW and doesn't make any sound. Manufacturers play a numbers game to get you to buy a product based on paper specs. In reality the enclosure and speaker design/efficiency, as well as how the amp's EQ profile is matched to the speaker means more.
    This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Some rate at some very arbitrary peak and some rate at true RMS. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find the RMS performance of the Behringer was very similar to the Roland. Not saying that's the case, because I can't fact check it I'm saying I wouldn't be surprised.

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