does amp head wattage matter?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by corvettelover10, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. corvettelover10


    Dec 10, 2013
    So i am looking to get a bass cab and head, and i found a good cab(avatar neo 410/210) but it has 600-1200 watts, but the heads also have watt outputs! what would be a good head wattage, if it even matters? thanks!
  2. Scottkarch


    Sep 11, 2012
    The speaker cabinets are rated for how much power they can use. Amplifiers are rated for how much power they output. You push power FROM your amplifier into your speakers.

    If your amplifier can put out more power than your speakers can handle you can destroy the speakers.
  3. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    Yep! If that cab says it can handle 600 watts use a 300 watt amp. If it is a 600 watt HANDLING cab and a 1200 watt HANDLING cab go with 600 watts (twice the lowest RATED cab for two cabs). The amp supplies power, the speakers try to use that power.
  4. corvettelover10


    Dec 10, 2013
    thanks a lot, this helped a ton :)
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  6. two fingers

    two fingers You tahkin 'uh me? Yeah, you. You tahkin 'uh me? Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Those guys already fixed you up. But it looks like you just joined. WELCOME to TalkBass!

    And like they said, about half is a good starting point. But I have gotten away with a lot less than that. My favorite head right now is an old Ampeg V4 at 100W. I run it into a 4-10 speaker cab with 4-200W speakers in it. It kills! 100W into an 800W cab and that head is plenty of power for the cab.
  7. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    You can still destroy the speakers even if they are rated for it, it just takes some EQ'ing.

    Personally OP I do not think about it, while it most definitely does matter, I just prefer to listen for stressing speakers than stress over what amps will and won't match. I know you did not ask, but for the record, there is no such thing as underpowering a cabinet. Find a head you like and be smart, if your speakers sound like they are farting out, they probably are, turn down.
  8. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    Yes I should have said you can get a lot of sound out of a good cab without pouring every watt it will handle at it.
  9. MIMike


    Jan 1, 2013
    West MI
    It all depends on what you push through it. I've been using a head rated at 540w to drive a cab rated at works just fine because I don't push it too hard. I don't crank it too loud, but most importantly, I don't push it to levels where it distorts. That's what will potentially kill the speakers.
    Some might say the opposite is true and call it "clean headroom". My old PA ran 1000w to the mains, 1000w to the subs and 800w to the monitors and none of the cabs were rated for more than 500w. It sounded awesome and never blew a single component.
  10. No. What kills speakers is too much power, not distortion.

    The speaker itself doesn't care if the signal is distorted or undistorted. Otherwise guitarists would be blowing speakers every night.
  11. I think he's referring to farting the speakers out?
  12. Could be.
  13. It's not the signal, it's the fact that speakers are running out of excursion space, therefore farting.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, I didn't see any myth promoting in his post.
  15. I ran an orange terror 500w through a genz Benz 15" 300w cab, it sounded great at a gig I played. It's all about how much you turn up the long as you're not silly it works fine.