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Amp and cab power rating

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by hrasty, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. hrasty


    Feb 21, 2012
    I'm looking at some amp heads and cabs and since I'm pretty new to this (I have been using combos) I am slightly confused about the power ratings.
    I have figured out the Impedance issues and I have some questions about power.
    Let say the head is rated at 600w@4ohm (TraceElliot AH600). Do I have to use a cab rated at 600w or can I use, let's say a 400W or 800W (all @4ohm)?
  2. You can use any cab with any amp IF you listen to the driver for fart out and turn down accordingly. I have repeatedly run my SVT 4 Pro (1400 watts bridged) into a single 15" or my fridge (8-10") the amp could blow them both simultaneously (I never run them together) but I am always right in front of the cab listening to it and paying attention to the sound it is making. If you use common sense and have the right cab for your job then you should have no problems.

    If on the other hand you listen like my next door neighbor the pro DJ... He just turns his system up till it hurts and can't understand why he is over at my house asking what went wrong with his brand new self powered speakers on sticks (no subs) that keep blowing (three times till the retailer told him NO MORE...). He was used to a pair of Pyramid 2-15" cabs with piezo tweeters and his new downsized single 15's could not keep up.

    So use an appropriate cab for your band, but listen to it if you are going to use a monster amp. I love the extra headroom (I use a clean sound predominately) the big amp offers, and will never need more power at a gig. Might need more speakers but that is what the FOH is for anyway. My fridge will be more than I wish to carry to work before I stop using it, and at 55 I still lift one end into and out of the back of a Saturn Vue repeatedly most weekends.
  3. It might be possible to damage the 800 watt cab you mentioned if you run the amp with all of the knobs all the way up, so watt ratings are a guideline not an absolute limit. You could probably use any of the cabs you mentioned (400, 600 or 800 watt rating) with no problems if you pay attention to the cab while playing and not allow it to fart out or sound like it is laboring to keep up with your needs. The most likely to be over powered is obviously the one with the 400 watt rating but again if it is loud enough without laboring you should be fine. I use a fridge with a 300 watt rating powered by my 1400 watt SVT 4 Pro and have never broken it in 5 years now.

    You can clearly hear speakers dying (in most cabs, direct radiator designs yes/horn loaded designs not so much) when they are being over powered so listen while you play...
  4. Is the Trace a new one or an old one? The old AH600 were stereo heads with twin 300W power amps.

    I don't know much at all about the new ones but the oldschool ones have serious grunt, putting many modern amps to shame. Extra reason to use your ears and control the volume and EQ to spare your cab.

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