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Amp clip urban legends

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by fuzzspiral, Dec 2, 2019 at 5:27 PM.

  1. fuzzspiral


    Dec 8, 2018
    Hi! From what I hear and read around, from people with more knowledge than me (technicians included), some say that clipping is normal and there's nothing wrong with it (even when the clip light blinks continuously), others say that the amp is going to blow. Oh, and there's the third category "no problems, it's supposed to do it, but is better not to make it clip :meh: ).
    Do anyone out there know for sure?
    I have a GK700rbII, and it starts to growl (that should be its characteristic) when it clips...is there a risk to damage it? I think that from a 480watts amp I should get more volume/power than this...the drummer covers me even with no other instruments (flat EQ or bass pumped a little), boost at 9 max
  2. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Can’t talk about volume without disclosing your speaker cabinets.
    Omega Monkey, Kro, teh-slb and 4 others like this.
  3. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    #1 Follow the manufacturer recommendations. All of them say something about their clip lights. The lights may not even indicate clipping, just an adequately strong input signal.

    You know you have a good signal if the light flashes. No flashing and signal could be weaker than you expect. You may get higher noise and hiss if the light doesn't flash and you turn up the master.

    Flashing a little is right as it would be above the noise.

    You don't want it on constant because you could theoretically blast the pre-amp input.
    The "power amplifier" part of the head has protections to shutdown if it's driven hard and hot.
    The pre-amp input doesn't have protection.

    The power amp part of the head has its own pre-amp. The knob pre-amp may actually overdrive the power amp pre-amp with high signals. This is part of many head's "signature sound" - an overdriven pre-amp in the middle of the head. The light flashing a little will get that signature sound more than if the light barely flashes.
  4. joel406


    Dec 27, 2013
    My amps don’t clip.

    if you have more
    Power than you could possibly use.

    You just never clip.
    lfmn16 likes this.
  5. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    There are lots of happy and experienced GK users here on TB, I'm sure some will be along shortly to offer you insights into gain staging (pre, boost, master) your 700rbII. This is a pretty classic workhorse amp and depending on your cabs and your overall volume expectations, it should be able to deliver what you need if it's in good working order.

    In the mean time, here is a link to the GK manual for your amp.
    700RB-II & 1001RB-II Owner's Manual - Gallien-Krueger

    good luck!
  6. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Are you talking about the input or the output clipping?

    The answer is "it depends".
  7. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Sometimes the manual states something like “for clean sound, the gain should be adjusted just below the clipping LED illuminating”. If you want some input related dirt, crank the gain.

    Too high a signal level, such as the output of one amp plugged into the input of another amp will cause damage. Believe me, people have done this and said that the manual didn’t say that you couldn’t.
    Ampslut and Wisebass like this.
  8. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    The RB series is a bit unusual in that it has three gain controls. First is the input gain which is labeled Volume, then comes the Boost control, and finally the Woofer and Tweeter Masters.

    The clip light on the left side of the front panel is for the front end of the preamp. It actually samples the signal before the Volume control. If this LED lights you should push the button to active the -10dB pad.

    You can get some OD and grind out of the amp by turning down the Masters and adjusting the Volume and Boost control to taste. GK has designed the amp specifically to compress, grind, and growl a bit when you run the Boost control high; this will not hurt the amp. If you want the max clean volume turn the Master up to at least 3:00.

    I have a series I 700RB/112 combo. The built in 12 was just barely enough for loud gigs, so I used to bring a an extension cab loaded with an EVM18B. I could always hold my own with a basher. In fact, on one gig I set the 18 up behind the drummer and it almost caused a fight because the drummer wanted me to turn down and the band leader kept telling me to turn up. The series I amp only makes 380W at 4 ohms, so as long as you have relatively efficient speakers you should be plenty loud as long as you set your gain staging properly.
  9. Somanytoys


    Apr 29, 2019
    I’ve only had a real problem with 1 small amp, because it doesn’t have a clipping LED. The preamp was clipping, and the poweramp pushed the clipped signal and that signal blew the speaker, and I had to replace it.

    I came somewhat close with the T21 dUg Pinnick pedal with a head. I had the pedal dimed pretty hard, going into the preamp input. I was at an angle from the face of the amp, and didn’t see that the clip LED was going nuts for a bit. I plugged it into the receive of the effects loop instead, to only use the poweramp, and it worked fine.

    it could be your bass, if you have an active bass, or are using pedals, but you s/b able to dial down the amp’s input level, as stated above to help with that. Having 3 stages is interesting, you may need to turn down your first gain setting and let the 2nd one handle more of those duties, seems like what that would be designed for, and it sounds like your first stage is what’s clipping.

    Someone with experience with that amp should be able to give you more specific info.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 11:18 PM
  10. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    hi fuzzspiral :)

    There are more than three categories! :D

    Number 4:

    And number 5:

    Amp' s cranked, the audience is blinded by the clip lights, the sound guy gives you a thump down

    because you just killed his tweeties, it sounds like :poop: and you are still not loud enough?

    =>Maybe time to get a bigger amp! :D



  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I couldn't care less about what I'm "told" to do. Use your ears and good common sense, and don't go nuts with any settings unless you're sure your cab is unblowable with the power you have, and you really shouldn't have to worry. I run amps into clipping all the time just for fun, but I go slow the first time and I make sure the master is low enough to keep from blowing the cab or making the amp go thermal.
    Curtbass and TrevorOfDoom like this.
  12. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    USA, Phoenix, AZ
    I agree with Seamonkey, I have arrived at the best sounds out of my Eden equipment by following the manufacturers setup recommendations... as a starting point Every once in a while I get a little out of control trying to tweak things in a strange/unruly environment then have to break out the book and start all over...

    And as always, as agedhorse said, it depends. There are instrument dynamics (passive, active, etc), Speakers (correct ohms), room dynamics. I know we are talking about the input side but the output side can fool you into thinking everything is alright (or not). YMMV
  13. biguglyman


    Jul 27, 2017
    Rochester, NY
    ^this^ Same experience with my Eden rig.
    juancaminos and Rip Van Dan like this.
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I once had an amp on the bench plugged into my "test speaker", the 8" speaker from an old Harmony guitar amp with the chassis removed. I wasn't hearing any output so I was turning up the amp, then I flipped a switch on my test oscillator and it was like "Back To The Future"...an incredibly loud, distorted sound, then puffs of smoke coming through the speaker grille which quickly burst into flames. The entire speaker cone was gone and I had an 8" hole in the grille where you could see nothing but the metal basket left.

    Do not try this on a gig :roflmao:
    gungrog and Engle like this.
  15. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    Some amps use the clip light as a way of helping you set up input gain, some amps have it to tell you you ARE clipping, some clip lights are bad, and some can be ignored. Some clip lights tell you a limiter has been engaged, and some clip lights tell you you are getting into bad territory.
    Read the manual.
    hennessybass likes this.
  16. fuzzspiral


    Dec 8, 2018
    Thanks to all for the replies!
    Just to clarify: the bass is a Precision, cab is an Ampeg svt410hlf.
    Since the bass is passive, it shouldn't be necessary to push the-10db button, I think...if I do, the volume drops really too much...(already tried)
    Following the manual's instructions yes, I can have a better performance.
    Maybe it's just me that have a wrong idea about the relation between watts and volume that you should hear (it's my first head/cab combination, always used 120 or 200 watts combo). The cab seems to be ok, speakers doesn't fart, the only distorted sound comes from the amp (I don't how to explain in a different way). Speakers start farting in a bad way, up to this moment, only when I use an Ampeg SVT classic with gain and master at 12 o'clock and low/mid-low pumped up a bit.
    I'll be glad to upgrade to a 1001rb, but with 700watts I think I'd have to change also the cab (that I love). And the only "similar" around here where I live is a Markbass 4x10 at 4 ohm (meh...:meh:, not a big fan of Markbass in general, strange low-mids. At least to my not-so-experienced ears )
  17. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    The 1001rb will be a perfect mate to the cab you have. Just use your ears, and don't do anything dumb.
    Kro likes this.
  18. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    This does happen on gigs, hence my often stated warning about powering cabinets with a reasonable margin of safety.

    How can the speakers not fart and yet also fart?

    I'm not following you here.
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  19. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    If the speakers are not farting you are proabably OK. If the distortion is from the preamp, mild clipping is not going to be an issue.

    Change in wattage is not as much a change in volume as you might think. If the ratings are accuarte moving from 480 to 700 watts will give you less than 3 dB more output. Noticeable, but not a lot. My rule of thumb has always been to go for at least four times the wattage (6 dB increase) when I felt I needed more volume. Which for you would be about 2000 watts! That would be insane...start looking into your EQ (and think about adding a second cabinet). Running the P's tone all the way open and some upper mid EQ boost might be all you need.
  20. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    A farting sound can come from the amp, the speaker, or a combination of both.

    An amp can fart when it runs out of headroom. This can happen when the input is presented with a signal that is too strong or when the power amp is overdriven. The tone setting play a roll as well. Too much bass is like turning the volume up. It adds energy to the signal going through the amp.

    A speaker cab will fart when it is overdriven, even if the amp is putting out a clean signal. If you don’t want the speaker cabinet to fart, you need a conservative match with the amp. For instance, a 200W RMS rated amp matched with AT LEAST a 400W RMS rated cabinet. Even then you could hear some distortion.

    Some speakers are rated more conservatively than others when it come to power handling. That’s why it is often safe to go with the amp manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to matching speaker cabinets.

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