Anyone gigging with a pair of 20watt amps?

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rockmonsterrockmonster Frets: 596
edited July 12 in Amps
I don’t know but I have a strange urge to gig a couple of 20 watt heads instead of a 100! 
I currently gig an EVH 100 and a matching 4x12 , sometimes an EVH 50 with 1 or 2 2x12’s or 2x 1x12’’s depending on venue mood or even a Marshall DSL100HR and 4x12 or 2x12’s. 50 watts has been a minimum for our gigs (yes I know the amps aren’t cranked all the way) up until now but for quality or quantity of sound it seems to work. Am I missing a trick? Soloing cuts through due to having enough headroom oomph! We only play pubs.
For a change I fancy maybe a pair of Marshall’s? Jcm and a jubilee? Or a pink taco and an SV or stunt and an origin? 
I have a couple of CA ported 2x12’s I can use.
Am I going bonkers with age or is this potentially a disaster/master stroke waiting to happen?
Advantages/disadvantages?
Against- More to load into the car.
Spread of sound- better? Not worth it? Can change one of the amps to find the best pairing (for me)
Discuss my options………..
Advise for or against………
Hell put me off and steer me in another direction!
I have a Gigrig G2 so setting up would be reasonably straight forward! Forgot to say I play in a four piece classic rock band which has been known to get quite raucous on occasion! One bass one guitar and pots n pans 
Am I just losing the plot?
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Comments

  • ICBMICBM Frets: 56973
    Not now, but a long time ago I used to gig with a pair of original Fender Super Champs (18W 1x10" each). I also had a Vibrolux Reverb (35W 2x10") so it was a very close comparison, but preferred the Super Champs. It meant I could use stereo effects, and had a built-in backup - if anything happened to one of them I would have been able to get by with just one. I always set them up side-by-side, but if the space was very limited I could probably have stacked them up.

    Interestingly although they were supposedly identical, they didn't sound quite the same - one was middier and rougher, the other cleaner and clearer. It was definitely the amp sections - I tried swapping speakers and valves to try to get them sounding identical (for proper stereo) but in the end I think it sounded better with them slightly different.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • shaunmshaunm Frets: 1543
    I have done. I liked it but the limitations of the style of amps and lack of headroom caused me a little issue. Also, cutting through the mix was difficult in a two guitar rocky band. The old adage that a clean guitar is a loud guitar is very true and unfortunately 20w tweed or 1974x style amps struggle in rocky formats
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 22913
    I gigged a pair of Jet City Custom 22s for a couple of years and it worked very well.
    I built the heads into a pair of Deluxe-sized 1x12 combos, so the overall sound was fairly deep, the spread was obviously excellent and of course it meant I always had a spare amp with me.

    I like a fair bit more headroom than most and I'd say 2x Marshall type 20w circuits were adequate rather than effortless.

    I would happily do it again with my current pair of HRDs but I just don't have room in the car unless there's a house PA. 
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  • Rowby1Rowby1 Frets: 685
    edited July 11
    Yes, well, sort of. 15w and 22w in a wet/dry config. Egnater Tweaker 15 and 65 DRRI. Love it, really good to my ears.
    I run a pair of 1x12s with a G12H30 Anni in the cab for the Egnater and  G12H75 Creamback in the cab for the Fender. A pair of 1x12s and a pair of heads isn’t that much more to carry. 
    Definitely provides more clean headroom that just running the DRRI on its own. Nice big 3D sound. Sits well in a two guitar band. 
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  • jhumberjhumber Frets: 184
    I've run various stereo amp rigs in the past, usually with a pair of 1x12 combos around 20w each...inc. Dr Z Maz, Carmen Ghia, Deluxe Reverb. In my experience (ymmv etc)...
    Pros:
    - great sound if you can get different amps that fill in each others frequencies
    - built-in redundancy in case of an amp failure
    - can be stacked on top of each other if stage space is tight
    - it's just fun trying these things out....
    Cons:
    - bit more to carry
    - no-one really notices stereo in a live setting, unless you're stood in the perfect spot

    I always fed both amps from the stereo-outs of the last pedal on my board. In theory there's the potential for phasing issues, ground loops etc, but I never experienced these in many years of trying it. 
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  • ftumchftumch Frets: 550
    Not to derail the thread but.. seeing as all the people who have gigged 20w heads are all gathered here. Would you say a single 20w head with an oversized 1x12 would be enough for classic rock pub gigs in a two guitar band? 
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  • rockmonsterrockmonster Frets: 596
    ftumch said:
    Not to derail the thread but.. seeing as all the people who have gigged 20w heads are all gathered here. Would you say a single 20w head with an oversized 1x12 would be enough for classic rock pub gigs in a two guitar band? 
    Personally from my experience in my band I don’t think so. I’ve never used less than 30 watts successfully.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 56973
    ftumch said:
    Not to derail the thread but.. seeing as all the people who have gigged 20w heads are all gathered here. Would you say a single 20w head with an oversized 1x12 would be enough for classic rock pub gigs in a two guitar band? 
    My experience is mostly in one-guitar bands - both as a guitarist, and as a bass player with the guitarist using 20W and a 1x12" - and I would say not quite. It can be 'loud' enough, but it doesn’t have the headroom or dynamics, and can sound like it's struggling. You could probably get away with it in a two-guitar band, especially if you're more of the 'lead' player… but I’d make sure the speaker was 100dB.

    30W and a 2x12" or 50W and a 1x12" is a safer bet. Obviously going through the PA as well makes it a moot point.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • ftumchftumch Frets: 550
    @icbm it's a neo creamback so 97db, probably not then
    @rockmonster thanks Rod, back to the drawing board then.
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  • TTBZTTBZ Frets: 1972
    I've used a 20w 1x12 Greenback combo for gigs and it's just about enough but as above you don't have much headroom. Its fine if you're the only guitarist and playing dirty tones, as I find a 20w amp sits right in the sweet spot volume wise and tonally it's better than a 100w amp barely ticking over, but if you're with another guitar trying to poke out of the mix for solos you'll sometimes struggle. An EQ with a big mid and highs boost helps but it's still not ideal.

    Also if you mic the cab it would be enough, in my old band I did some "proper" gigs with soundman etc and had my volume on 6 and the amp going through a backline 4x12. Sounded great and I still had some headroom for solos.
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 1546
    ftumch said:
    Not to derail the thread but.. seeing as all the people who have gigged 20w heads are all gathered here. Would you say a single 20w head with an oversized 1x12 would be enough for classic rock pub gigs in a two guitar band? 
    In 'my' band the other guitarist and I use 15w watt 1x12 combo and amp/cab. The drummer is nicely restrained. There are no volume wars. We haven't giggled yet but we would let the p.a. do the work. It is a joy to play in that band. I don't think it's typical.

    I did some auditions/jams with another band. The 15w combo was drowned out. My 2x12 bad cat 30 was distorting. There were volume wars each time, I wore industrial earplugs, no cleans, couldn't hear properly. Drummer couldn't play less than loud.

    For me a 15w vox type amp on the edge of breakup is an ideal set up. However it's hard to find a band that can play that quietly.


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  • JayGeeJayGee Frets: 864
    ftumch said:
    Not to derail the thread but.. seeing as all the people who have gigged 20w heads are all gathered here. Would you say a single 20w head with an oversized 1x12 would be enough for classic rock pub gigs in a two guitar band? 
    I managed perfectly well for ages with a 25 Watt, 1x10 (Mesa Express 5:25) - I’d say it’s feasible as long as you don’t need pristine sparkly cleans, aren’t trying to convey the full on Motörhead experience, aren’t playing big rooms, and your band have a moderate amount of self restraint and discipline. Helps to have a 2x12 on hand for larger spaces mind…
    Don't ask me, I just play the damned thing...
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 7144
    Ive gigged with several 20w ish amps. No problem.

    I currently gig with a 15w Matchless :)
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 56973
    TTBZ said:
    I find a 20w amp sits right in the sweet spot volume wise and tonally it's better than a 100w amp barely ticking over
    Personally I find the opposite. I went through an extensive small-amp period, prompted by getting fed up with carrying a 100W 2x12”, and being a techy type I measured the power output at my usual settings and found I could get away with 15W, so I got a 15W amp. It was loud enough but there was something lacking, so I went on quite a long journey and for a few years I was happy with a 50W 1x12”... until I used it on a couple of really big stages and it just sounded small. So I finally bit the bullet and went back to a 100W 2x12”. I didn’t play any louder but it just sounded better.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 2198
    Spread of sound- better? Not worth it?

    What sort of venues do you play and what are you thinking about when you say 'spread'?

    I've run two amps in the past and these days I use a Helix where most of my patches have two amp paths.  I always ran with two different amps or a wet / dry setup.

    Maybe a third of our gigs are (were) in pubs where there is no point in stereo due to the asymmetrical nature of the room but even where we had stages / symmetry there are very few members of the audience in the right place to appreciate stereo.  We have PA cabs either side of the stage but it's about spread rather than stereo.  Panning is very narrow (10 - 2 o'clock).

    If you are looking to go down the identical amps route then I'd say that you would be better off with a slightly larger head and two cabs.

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  • rockmonsterrockmonster Frets: 596
    Musicwolf said:
    Spread of sound- better? Not worth it?

    What sort of venues do you play and what are you thinking about when you say 'spread'?

    I've run two amps in the past and these days I use a Helix where most of my patches have two amp paths.  I always ran with two different amps or a wet / dry setup.

    Maybe a third of our gigs are (were) in pubs where there is no point in stereo due to the asymmetrical nature of the room but even where we had stages / symmetry there are very few members of the audience in the right place to appreciate stereo.  We have PA cabs either side of the stage but it's about spread rather than stereo.  Panning is very narrow (10 - 2 o'clock).

    If you are looking to go down the identical amps route then I'd say that you would be better off with a slightly larger head and two cabs.

    Mmmm….. so I’m better off with what I’ve got…..
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  • TTBZTTBZ Frets: 1972
    edited July 12
    ICBM said:
    TTBZ said:
    I find a 20w amp sits right in the sweet spot volume wise and tonally it's better than a 100w amp barely ticking over
    Personally I find the opposite. I went through an extensive small-amp period, prompted by getting fed up with carrying a 100W 2x12”, and being a techy type I measured the power output at my usual settings and found I could get away with 15W, so I got a 15W amp. It was loud enough but there was something lacking, so I went on quite a long journey and for a few years I was happy with a 50W 1x12”... until I used it on a couple of really big stages and it just sounded small. So I finally bit the bullet and went back to a 100W 2x12”. I didn’t play any louder but it just sounded better.
    Fair enough - I don't play anything clean so I find a bigger watt amp ends up mostly just being preamp distortion with the power section not really doing anything, or at least that's how it was with my 50w Laney. The master was usually between 1 and 2 but it's not til about 3 to 4 where it started sounding it's best, but that was usually too loud for anything, at least in the cover band I was with at the time. Much happier with my 20w Jubilee! If only it had a bit extra headroom but a 100dB speaker might do it.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 56973
    TTBZ said:

    Fair enough - I don't play anything clean so I find a bigger watt amp ends up mostly just being preamp distortion with the power section not really doing anything, or at least that's how it was with my 50w Laney. The master was usually between 1 and 2 but it's not til about 3 to 4 where it started sounding it's best, but that was usually too loud for anything, at least in the cover band I was with at the time. Much happier with my 20w Jubilee! If only it had a bit extra headroom but a 100dB speaker might do it.
    Yes, I play either completely (as in no clipping whatsoever) clean, or moderate crunch on the amp. I always use a pedal for anything solo. For me the clean and crunch - using just preamp distortion - are just better with a hefty power section running quietly than a small amp pushed hard. It was such a joy to hear that again after I went back to the big amp... just a shame I had to carry it :).

    Headroom is definitely the major issue with lower output power, rather than outright volume. A 100dB speaker - if you're currently using a 97dB - is like doubling the power of the amp, so it might make enough of a difference.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • welshboyowelshboyo Frets: 1481
    ICBM said:
    TTBZ said:

    Fair enough - I don't play anything clean so I find a bigger watt amp ends up mostly just being preamp distortion with the power section not really doing anything, or at least that's how it was with my 50w Laney. The master was usually between 1 and 2 but it's not til about 3 to 4 where it started sounding it's best, but that was usually too loud for anything, at least in the cover band I was with at the time. Much happier with my 20w Jubilee! If only it had a bit extra headroom but a 100dB speaker might do it.


    Headroom is definitely the major issue with lower output power, rather than outright volume. A 100dB speaker - if you're currently using a 97dB - is like doubling the power of the amp, so it might make enough of a difference.
    When I was running my Bogner Atma it made a massive difference changing the speaker out - I ended up with a V30 in the Combo and another V30 in the Cube beneath it - running both at 8 ohms gave the amp a whole heap more grunt.
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  • PowerslavePowerslave Frets: 68
    @ftumch ;

    Apart from an early spell with a 2 channel, 40w 1x12 combo then I've only ever gigged with a single amp in the 18-22w range.

    Initially with a 1x12, moving to a 2x12 brought a range of benefits.

    I don't require a pristine clean, but nor am I playing with anything beyond what might be classed as early 70's levels of gain.

    And I'm running around half to two-thirds of the amp's power - inside or outside, I've never required more. Occasional mic'ing.

    Good clean and mid boost pedals for leads.

    Originally in a two guitar band, now only the one guitar.

    Certainly not questioning the observations or experiences of other folks, above, but there are circumstances where it is very very much do-able.
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