Amps FAQ - any ideas?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MikeyD, May 18, 2001.

  1. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Hi, Fellow TalkBassers,
    For those new members who have some common questions, such as "what are ohms?", "what is impedance?", "are tube watts louder than SS watts?" and the like, you might have better luck if you use the search facility and try reading what's been discussed before. Many of these types of questions have been discussed extensively in the past, and this may be the reason you're not getting a lot of new responses. If you read up on these things, you're likely to get the answers you want, and then if you have particular questions (i.e., less common) concerning equipment, many of us will be glad to step in and help if we can.

    I wonder if there might be a way to have FAQ pages available for these kinds of things. Yawnsie? It would be cool to simply give a URL in a response to these types of things. Any opinions on this?

    - Mike
  2. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    You called? :D

    I've been giving the matter some thought as well, after seeing JT is trying to do the same thing for double basses. It would be a great idea to have something newbies, or anyone for that matter, could look at.

    What I propose is that I make a thread full of frequently asked questions, from whatever I can find that may be of use, or whatever you good people are kind enough to contribute. When it's done, I'll ask Paul if he can put a link to it, say at the top of the Amps page, but if not I'll put a link to it in my signature.

    Either PM me with any suggestions, or anything you'd like to include, or put it in this thread. It'll be a lot of hard, thankless work, but I'm sure Hunter will be up to it. ;)
  3. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Because of the lack of replies, and and views of this thread, I've renamed it in the hope that more people will look at it.
  4. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Hi, Yawnsie!

    Thanks for your support of this idea. I have started to make a list of possible topics to cover in an FAQ. What might be a good idea is to first generate discussion and come to some agreement on what topics to cover. Once the initial list of topics is decided on, then we can ask people to submit answers and possibly ask for "peer review". For example, we might search the archives for one (of probably many) good, clear explanation of how to calculate impedance. We might use that post as is, or perhaps modify it a bit to clean it up and make clearer. It would be ideal to have a number of knowledgeable folks contributing and critiquing - then the FAQ would be awesome!

    Anyway, here are some ideas for topics for an FAQ on Amps. Please feel free to comment on them or suggest others. Thanks!!
    - Mike

    1. What is resistance, impedance, ohms?
    2. How to calculate impedance (ohms), serial vs. parallel connections
    3. Frequencies of pitches (based on A-440 standard)
    4. Tubes vs. Solid State - loudness, etc.
    5. Amplifier clipping - what it is, how to avoid it
    6. Speaker sizes (including net radiating area), cabinet types (closed box, ported/vented, horn-loaded, other), power handling
    7. Amp specifications - what they mean:
    __ (a) Watts - what is it, how measured, RMS, peak, etc.
    __ (b) Loudspeaker efficiency and sensitivity
    __ (c) Frequency response
    __ (d) Impedance
    __ (e) Distortion, clipping
    __ (f) Bi-amping vs. full range
    __ (g) Stereo vs. bridged amps
    8. Speaker cables and connectors - types, gauges
    9. Good links to amp design information (would need to be checked periodically)
    10. Good links to speaker design information (would need to be checked periodically)
    11. Links to manufacturers' web sites, etc. (would need to be checked periodically)
    12. How we hear - acoustics and psychoacoustics of bass guitar
    13. SS amp maintenance
    14. Tube amp maintenance
    15. How to tell if speakers may be damaged
    16. Equalization
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Great idea Mike!!!, IF (and that could be a BIG, "IF" on some aspects) you can get agreement on the info it offers. Or, at least, agreement not to challenge the info since you and some others here are tech studs and lots of tech info is indisputable.

    As a former training and development pro, I can opine that the info has to be very accessible and apparent. Two of the reasons I was able to make a living in that former life were;

    1. The "Put up a note on the wall and expect that will change behavior" mentality.

    2. "There already is a great deal of info....if you can find it." The sidebar of the screen under "Channels" may be a good spot.

    BTW, I know you will include the ever popular, "8 ohm extension cab bridged to a 4 ohm....." :D
  6. You could also explain to newbiew what a preamp, power amp, cabinet, head, combo amp, and rack system are.
  7. MikeyD, thanks for an excellent suggestion. I've been looking to expand the usefulness of my site, and this is a good shopping list for me to work from.

    I have almost an entire CD of reference info, etc, that I carry in my briefcase along with all the other CDs that support my business. Most of it is on my server but offline to the web site cuz it's so much work building all those pages.
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Whoops! I almost forgot one of the typical pitfalls of static info - No one to maintain it.

    For instance, it wasn't too long ago that a pickup reference would have referred only to magnetics or an amp reference to all SS amps.
  9. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    You're right Rick - the subject of maintainence is one that needs discussing. As moderator of Amps, I'm happy to at least compile the FAQ, and update it whenever needs be, but there may come a time when, for whatever reason, I won't be able to commit myself any more - and would a new moderator want to undertake it?

    Anyway, it's good to see some enthusiasm for this -hopefully, we can make it a really good resource. Keep the ideas coming!
  10. All that above seems good. I can't think of any other junk. Maybe it'll keep me from spouting off my "electricity is like water" sermon every week.

  11. Excellent idea and good topic list, Mike!

    Q: Is it possible to have a separate forum where, after submitting it to a moderator, an article can be posted (with links to discussions in the normal forums) and viewed as read-only, but editable by the original author?

    Like this: we (the tech-heads) post articles, without any of them gradually sliding into oblivion, and no-one ever reads them because they aren't in the recent threads anymore.
  12. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    Yawnsie, this is one of the areas that I DEFINITELY feel where I don't quite "live up to the standard's of a mod". I know little to nothing about amps, which is one of the reasons why I GLADLY accepted this forum, so hopefully I would learn something during my moderating tenure. I wouldn't consider myself qualified to compile an FAQ about the aforementioned things, simply due to my lack of experience and knowledge of amps. We could do a thang where I could do most o' the moderatin', and you could work on the FAQ, IF you had the time. Just PM and let me know what you think.

    BTW, I whole-heartedly support the idea, as having to look over multiple threads about "what is an ohm" is gettin' old REAL fast:D
  13. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Hi, Everyone!
    Thanks for your support of the FAQ idea! One of the things that should be determined is how the FAQ can be easily accessed - such as a link in the sidebar or a persistent thread at the top of the forum (thanks, Rickbass!). I envision each topic being sort of a sub-thread or sub-header in which there may actually be multiple entries. These entries could be extracted from archives of posts and/or include fresh new things.

    I would expect some topics to have some dissent, even among those most knowledgeable. It might be a good idea to present several viewpoints in this case. I also like some variety of explanation - for example, throbbinnut's garden hose, etc. for resistance (I hope I recalled that correctly!).

    Looks like we're getting close to 20 possible topics (and I'm sure it will continue to grow), so the entirety of the FAQ could get quite large and cumbersome. If there is a technical way in this forum software to create branches or sublinks, that would be great. If Hunter585 or Yawnsie could find out about how to set it up, then we could determine the best format.

    Next, maybe we should solicit volunteers to start compiling answers to each subject area. The moderators would have final say as to the ultimate content. Each volunteer could compile a good answer or set of answers - and even solicit specific new opinions; assemble a concise subject question/answer for that topic area and submit it for comment in this forum. After everyone has a chance to comment or point out corrections needed, then the moderator could copy it into the FAQ. Thereafter, anyone could request updates or corrections via the moderators. For example, if links are outdated, anyone could simply point this out and ask the moderator to make the changes needed.

    This is kind of guesswork on my part, but maybe it will generate appropriate discussion regarding "process". I've done a lot of document development in my career, and maybe this could use a similar process.

    Looking forward to more of your good input on this!
    - Mike
  14. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    17. use of car audio speakers....

    This FAQ section is a good idea and Mike's topic list is excellent.

    BTW: I suggested this last summer, but as I don't know nothing about forums (and computers in general) I could not make any useful suggestions, so this idea was forgotten...

    I collected some answers of this forum to the questions I had - I can contribute that.

  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    If possible make FAQs for each forum and have it stay at the top. Submit changes or additions to the mods.
  16. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Well, as good an idea as this would be, it would require fundamental changes to the forum software - whether or not these changes are made depends on whether or not Paul actually wants to implement them.

    When it comes to this sort of thing, I'm afraid that me and Hunter have as much say as anyone else - being moderator doesn't give us any special abilities. I can suggest this to Paul if it's commonly agreed this is the best way to go, but if at all possible I wouldn't want to trouble him.

    What I would envisage is the FAQ in the form of a closed thread, stuck permanently at the top of the forum. This way, it's easily found by anyone visiting amps. The fact that the thread is closed obviously means that only moderators are able to edit the contents of the FAQ. Again, this is something that I would consult Paul over first, before sticking threads at the top of the forum without his say.

    Anyway, there have been some good points raised so far, and I'd like to see them continue. I'll be informing Paul soon enough, to get some sort of idea of what he thinks of all this, but I'd like us to be approaching some sort of consensus first - at the moment we're just throwing ideas into the air. But they're mostly good ideas, so carry on!
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    hunter - You'd be a perfect person to give it an acid test, (not that kind of acid), to help determine it usefulness to the target audience.

    Once a person has been neck-deep in this tech stuff for a while, it's all too easy to forget what it's like to be at, "Do I need some sort of cord to go from my bass to my amplifier? I saw U2 on TV and they didn't."
  18. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    This sounds like it has potential. The only thing is, as I mentioned, the thread could get very long. A decent treatment of each topic might be several to many paragraphs. If you wind up with 20-30 topics, then the thread might get on the order of 100 paragraphs (or posts) long. But maybe there's a way around this. Maybe the top of the thread has the simple list of topics and hot links to the answers. This could take the viewer down to the right spot in the thread or perhaps even to another page somewhere. I've seen this sort of technique used in many other FAQ-type web pages elsewhere. Maybe the page could appear like the equipment reviews and the hot link could index to the right place. I think it would be great to have the "navigation" concept figured out, and your idea is certainly worth looking into.
    - Mike
  19. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Exactly, Rick, and maybe your training background will be invaluable in this regard. That's why I think each topic's answers should be posted for "peer" review - and for both technical merit as well as ease of understanding from various experience levels. In other words, each topic gets its own active thread until comments are made and the wording is changed so that "everyone" is happy. Then the moderators could copy the text into the closed thread (or whatever mechanism is used to present the final FAQ). I put "everyone" in quotations, because undoubtedly there will be dissent on certain topics. If it can't be resolved, maybe the moderators should choose to present the various viewpoints and let the reader decide which seems most sensible. Of course, maybe the moderators will have to consider the background and experience of the contributors... but then, this isn't a formal scientific forum, so I guess we shouldn't get too carried away with it. If something turns out to be obviously faulty, I'm sure someone in the future will post something to refute it.
    - Mike
  20. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Good comments, Matthias, and thank you! As long as TalkBass's server doesn't "lose" the entries to this thread, I will go back later and find all the suggested topics, such as your #17 above, and re-summarize the proposed topic list. If you have a set of questions and answers from before, you could send them to me via e-mail. Either that, or wait until we set up "working groups" to develop the FAQ for each topic and submit your ideas for the topics then...?
    - Mike