Active bass = Blown Speaker?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by GodPlayedBass, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. Went to band practice last night with my active bass. I practiced with that bass one other time but its not my go to bass. Last night i played with it and I guess my amp speaker is blown now. Its a hartke 140w bass amp. Plenty of room for output. Music shop guy said its a common occurence with active basses. Anyone else had this problem?
  2. You can if you have the Bass eq on full on the bass as well as bumped up on the amp.
    It is just EQ that happens to be on your bass, use it wisely and there are no issues with anything you plug into.

    If your bass's battery is weak this can give a slight distorted tone that sounds like a blown speaker, especially on low notes. Check or change your battery.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2020
    dbbltime, equill, mikecd1 and 7 others like this.
  3. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Your music shop guy is full of crap, period. That’s an absurd, foolish, irresponsible comment.

    Have you replaced the battery in the bass???
    Balog, legalbass, LowRenzo and 40 others like this.
  4. JakobT


    Jan 9, 2014
    Oslo, Norway
    You have been misinformed. Your music store guy is talking nonsense. I’d check out the battery in the bass first of all, and replace if needed.
  5. Guys its not the battery. i tried a passive bass to make sure
    Rip Van Dan and Peter Torning like this.
  6. Then the speaker may be blown.
    It is not specific to Active Basses, though it is possible with boosted Bass eq pushing the speaker past its mechanical limit.
  7. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    140 watt combo used for a full band practice sounds like the problem to me!

    Unless i’ve misunderstood what you’re saying.
  8. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    The only thing I can see that an active bass would contribute is, if it has a lot of bass boost available on the eq, and you abused that control. Otherwise, it's coincidence.
    BasturdBlaster likes this.
  9. TransylvaniaE

    TransylvaniaE Inactive

    Dec 1, 2020
    Main culprit in destroying speakers is either mechanically pushing the speaker to far. Usually caused by lower frequencies.

    Or applying extended low frequency content the speaker cannot reproduce.
    Even if you can't hear the low frequency content. The speaker doesn't magically ignore it. The voice coil still trys to reproduce it.
    And it usually ends up becoming more heat in the coil.

    Heat can cause the coil windings to delaminate. And will basically lock it up in the magnet gap.

    Passive bass could technically produce less sub Sonic frequencies and be less of a issue. Amplifier EQ of course can boost sub Sonic frequencies regardless.

    Active bass could have lower frequency response. Likewise a active on board EQ makes it easier to boost subsonic content.

    Doesn't mean active EQ will destroy a cab instantly. But is feasible to make it easier to destroy a speaker thermally.

    Thermal failure can be strange.

    It's common sense to turn down when we hear mechanical distortion.
    Often there can be no sign of mechanical distortion. Then poof !!! A speaker goes dead from thermal failure.

    Anyways, I'll guess this is a single driver combo amp. And the speaker might have been on its way out anyways. Could be circumstantial it blew with a active bass. Or the extra subsonic content. Finally put it down.

    Lesson here is. We don't always need more speakers to get " louder"
    We can use more speakers, usually in parallel to improve thermal property of a speaker system.

    Assume if your using a 1x15 or a 2x10
    Consider moving up to the next known common speaker setups. A 2x15 or a 4x10

    Or another common setup would be 2 drivers for better thermal capabilities. As a 2x12. Which still offers a smaller easier to move cabinet than the common 2x15 or 4x10
  10. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I've been both a musician and an engineer since the 1970's, and this comment is utter nonsense IME. Now it's possible that an active bass can have a ton of low boost via the onboard preamp settings that might require you to adjust your amp's controls to lower settings than you might use with a passive bass, but that's it. FWIW, a preamp pedal and a passive bass would be essentially the same thing. Once again, IME/IMO most any bass player would immediately hear that an adjustment was necessary to get to their "usual tone/voicing".
  11. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    Were you playing through any pedals?
  12. bbh

    bbh Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    Never mind, I read it wrong.
    S-Bigbottom likes this.
  13. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    Just curious. Do you know an inactive member named BogeyBass? Your posts are very similar in style.
  14. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Not everybody knows this, but an “active” bass can actually cause blown speakers, but only if the volume control in the Active Bass goes to 11. If it only goes to 10, then it is exactly One below what it might take to push the amp to the point of Blowing A Speaker. Of course, if the amp also goes to 11, then you are Safe. Also, if the Amp is running on 220 volts, then the Active Bass actually has more “Headroom” and usually won’t blow a speaker. Unless the Active Bass has an 18 volt preamp, in which case the preamp voltage X amplifier watts + 60 Hz (or 50hz in Europe) X The refined value of the WGS84 gravitational constant (mass of Earth's atmosphere included) X a snowball’s chances of survival in hell = approximately the chances of a blown speaker being caused by an active bass.

    Your music store guy has some interesting ideas. Wrong, but interesting.
    red_rhino, deste, lark_z and 10 others like this.
  15. My active bass does not have numbers so I do not know if it goes to 10, 11, 39 or 4... Hmm...:cautious:
  16. I've been using active basses since 1986. Never blew up a speaker.

    But a cranked 140w amp with a live drummer is a recipe for disaster, IMO. :dead:
    Balog, Rip Van Dan, DrMole and 3 others like this.
  17. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    Nope, Nope and more nope.
    Clutchcargo likes this.
  18. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    I’ve blown a couple speakers through the years, but I was using a passive bass, so I might have disproved the theory. Maybe the guy at the music shop was just saying blown speakers in general are common....
    GodPlayedBass likes this.
  19. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Fresno California
    This music shop guy A) is lying to you or B) has no idea what he’s talking about. Either way, I HIGHLY recommend you find another music shop to patron.

    Also, I’ve owned and played only active basses since ‘99 and have never blown a speaker.
  20. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I'm not diagnosing your issue, You're Welcome! But to your question I have a couple East preamps and I forget that the high is boost/cut but the low is boost only. So (because I am known to be dumb) sometimes I knock the high and low to the center point before I remember that 'center' is the midpoint of the 12 dB gain. While I haven't blown anything I have gotten some groans from my amp on some low notes. In brief moments of clarity I remember to dial it back a little. I suppose anything is possible. I hope your speaker isn't blown.