Amp vs cab power
Do I need to match bass amp power to bass cab power?
No! Here's why:
Your bass amp has a maximum power output rating. If it has a valve (tube) output stage you'll get that max power regardless of cab impedance. If it has a solidstate output stage then the max power will vary with impedance. Your amp only puts out this much power when it's about to clip - clipping is the distortion you get when the amp can't put out any more power. As you'll notice, you hear this distortion when turned up loud and on the attack of loud notes (unless you keep turning up and up so it's distorting all the time). Most of the time your amp won't be putting out anything like full power.
Your bass cab has a maximum power handling rating. Most bass cabs simply quote the thermal power handling rating, which is the amount of continuous power a speaker can handle before it overheats and burns out - and most bass speakers will distort at low frequencies long before you reach this thermal limit. We don't rate Barefaced bass cabs like this because it's not useful in the real world of gigs - instead we design cabs using our unique 10CR and 12XN speakers which can move loads of air without distorting whilst also handling lots of power without burning up, and then give you a real world max amp power rating.
There is no downside to having a Barefaced bass cab which has far more power handling than your amp can put out - our cabs have very high sensitivity (loudness out per watt in) and it's that that determines how loud they'll go. If you're wanting to go loud with a low power amp then you need a bigger cab for the increased sensitivity - and that bigger cab will have more more power handling.
With Barefaced bass cabs we simply quote the maximum amp power rating that we recommend to be used with a Barefaced cab. With the 12XN cabs it's 600W per 12" in the Super cabs and 800W per 12" in the Big cabs. With the 10CR cabs it's 250W per 10".
If you're using clean sounds and your goal is clean sounds (or at the most only light overdrive) then you can use more power - 500W clean is fine with a One10, 800W with a Two10S. You could follow the same theme with the bigger 10CR cabs but once it gets that loud your ears may struggle to tell the difference between the cab distorting and your ears distorting. Likewise you can use more amp power with the 12XN cabs with clean-ish sounds with very low risk of failure if you keep your ears open. But basically once you go past the amp power ratings in the chart below then you get very little extra output whilst the risk of damage if something unfortunate happens rapidly increases.
We've added the minimum amp power column to remind you that the cabs work absolutely fine with no power (unplugged, switched off or in between notes) or with very low power amps for recording etc. On our old website we used to quote the minimum amp power as the minimum solidstate power required to keep up with a moderately loud drummer but experience has taught us that there are so many variables that one bassist may need loads more power to keep up with their idea of that drummer whilst another bassist may get away with very little power. If you swap from any other bass cab to a Barefaced one of similar size then you definitely won't need more power. If you downsize to a Barefaced cab then sometimes you'll be fine with the same power, sometimes you'll need more - but that's why you can email us for advice!
|Minimum amp power
|Maximum amp power
|Max amp power (clean sounds only)
|Big Baby 2
|Big Twin 2