Amp Life and Processors/Effects

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rickbass, Mar 19, 2001.

  1. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Recently, I got a SansAmp Bass Driver, and now my amps/basses sound twice as big as they do without it.

    I've always been a believer in the old adage, "There's no such thing as a free lunch." Does anyone's instinct or experience say that these add-on processors/effects affect amp/speaker life?

    I don't use effects much, but I can easily see running through this Bass Driver all the time.
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Why should it?!?

    Amp and speaker will fail only if you exceed their specifications over an extended period of time, e.g. running at full volume without proper cooling, or feeding a MUCH, MUCH too strong signal (read: current (V)) into them, thus destroying resistors, speaker coils and such.
    The Sansamp functions mostly as a an EQ, not as a booster (when used properly), so your gear is safe.

    The price you pay is not shorter amp/speaker life but more signal noise and an altered sound, but you like the latter, right? ;)
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Well, it just seems like the signal must be pummeling the components to death. It's like my bass is on steroids now! As for noise, it doesn't produce any unless the treble is cranked.

    Yeah, I like what it does and I'll continue to use it regardless. But I just wondered if the amp components were engineered around certain tolerances and now, WHAMMO!!!
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Yeah, just go for it!
    It's the same for me with the BBE Sonic Maximizer.
    The bass sounds 'bigger' and it's almost if I had a curtain on my speakers before - and it's gone now.
    It's just a different/enhanced signal that the amp gets - and it doesn't care. Signal is signal, as long the current doesn't exceed the circuit's specifications and destroys resistors and ICs.
  5. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Hi, Rick,
    I'm not familiar with the effect(s) you're actually using, but I can say this: if the effects are synthesizing a subharmonic, you might wind up with excessive cone excursions. If this is a possibility, keep an eye on the cones and see if they are moving too much.

    Another thing is if the effects are generating a lot of harmonics (such as with a fuzz pedal): these harmonics can represent a signal similar to a clipped sine waveform. If they approach a square wave in shape, for example, it means the amp may deliver almost twice its RMS sine rated output to the speakers - even if the power amp stage itself is not overdriven!

    A third idea is - if your processor has a dynamic "expander" (opposite of compressor) that actually increases the dynamics of the music, it is conceivable that it could create short-term spikes that make the amp momentarily put out many times its rated power. Such transient spikes, in certain cases, could damage something.

    These are the things I'd watch out for most. If they don't apply to your situation, then I wouldn't be too concerned.
    - Mike
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Mike - Thanks for a very knowledgeable post!

    No matter what kind of torture this stuff puts an amp/speaker through, I'll always use `em as long as it gets the sound I need. It's just that this Bass Driver seems like the first one I'll ever use 24/7 and my sense is that's it's "whipping the mule."

    Unlike a bass, when I'm in the market for an amp, one thing I always consider is, "How long will this one last before it gets beaten to a pulp?" Unfortunatetly, I cannot buy an amp on impulse. I have to budget well ahead of the purchase.

    Similar to the optical pups, one of these days, we may see an amp that doesn't use cones/coils and we'll all have to have those to stay in the game. :rolleyes: