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another speakon

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by cobrasneverdie, Aug 13, 2003.


  1. ok i have heard alot aboot speakon connectors and every thread i have read on them doesn't say how much power you are gaining from using speakon. so exactly how much power are you getting from speakon vs 1/4 connections.
     
  2. ChenNuts44

    ChenNuts44

    Nov 18, 2001
    Davenport, IA
    That's not how it works. You won't be "gaining" any power. What you will be doing is establishing a better connection.
     
  3. The major difference between the two connector is how much power the connection can reliably handle.
    A top quality Neutrik 1/4 inch plug and jack can handle around 10 Amps of current and maybe 100 Watts of power without loss.
    A speakon connector on the other hand is rated to handle over 30 Amps of current and thousands of Watts of power without loss.

    So, it's not so much that you will gain power, you amp puts out the same no matter what connector you are using.
    But your amp will run better and cooler and more efficient with a high quality connector.
     
  4. dpaton

    dpaton

    Jan 21, 2002
    Schaumburg, IL
    You don't gain any power. Connectors only transfer it from one place to another.

    Some of the things I love about speakons:
    *Don't short out like 1/4" (which short as you plug them in, bad if the amp is on)
    *Lockable (don't get pulled out like 1/4")
    *More power capability
    *Less resistance (less power loss, more gets to the speaker)
    *Easier to attach (ever try soldering 12AWG to a 1/4"?)
    *Never get loose (ever worked with a 20 year old 1/4" jack?)
    *More or less waterproof (really!)
    *Can't short internally...

    I could go on.
    In addition, I use them for my PA, which means I have a pile of cables and connectors around all the time.

    1/4" cables are great for guitars and stomp boxes, but they're a terrible idea for carrying any kind of power.

    -dave
    bass player, sound guy, and EE
     
  5. ok i should rephrase the question. how much power am i loosing by running a 1/4th. or am i completly on the wrong page....
     
  6. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    So, if a guy always used 1/4 inputs, and wanted to switch to these fancy-schmancy speakons, how would he go about it? Can you convert 1/4 to speakon?

    -Mike
     
  7. dpaton

    dpaton

    Jan 21, 2002
    Schaumburg, IL
    If your 1/4" connectors are in good shape, probably not enough to hear, but if you have a high power (>100WRMS) rig you're probably running them qui6te far beyond what they're designed for, and if they're in sketchy shape...well...

    Well...

    I'm assuming that the cab in question has a connector plate with just 1/4" connectors, and no fancy tweeter controls or anything like that. If it were my box, I'd get myself a dual speakon plate from my local musical instrument dealer (if they don't know, find a new dealer), hopefully one that's the same size or a touch larger than the old 1/4" plate. Then I'd remove the 1/4" plate, and adjust the size of the hole as required, most likely with a jigsaw. Then I'd wire up the speakon plate and be done with it.

    Of course, if your cab has one of those fancy tweeter pads or you don't wanna get rid of your 1/4" plate, cut a new hole and mount the plate, instead of replacing the old one.

    For what it's worth, Speakons are rated at 7.5Kw RMS (250V/30A) and 10KW peak (<1 min, 250V, 40A). 1/4" connectors are rated to 25W (25V/1A), but can withstand up to 150V asuming the current is suitably reduced. All figures from the manufacturer's web sites (www.neutrik.com www.switchcraft.com)

    -dave
     
  8. squire_pwr

    squire_pwr

    Apr 15, 2003
    San Diego, CA.
    It depends on the scenario involved in switching from 1/4 to speakon. If your amp already has speakon outputs, it's pretty easy to convert to fancy-schmancy speakons. Just buy a speakon cable! Or, for the DIY or low cash people, buy 2 speakon male plugs, take your 1/4 speaker cable(s), cut off or otherwise take off the 1/4 plugs and replace with speakon plugs. It's supposed to be dead easy and soderless. If your cab doesn't have speakon inputs, I hear it's relatively easy to convert 1/4 inputs into speakon inputs... there are a few who have done so for Avatar cabinets but I don't know about other types. You run into problems if your amp doesn't have speakon outputs... then, I don't know what you would do. I guess you wouldn't make the switch to speakon. :p

    cobrasneverdie - I don't really know, but my guess is that nobody can really tell you without doing some sort of measurement on your amp, cab, and cable setup. It's probably really specific and doesn't fall under the category of "losing x for every y" type things. Maybe it's like asking, "what kind of performance gain do I get from using an optical versus a standard mouse?" Sure, you might be able to say "optical tracks faster and better" but I doubt you'd be able to measure how much each person would benefit from switching over to an optical. At least, that's how I understand it (which is limited to begin with...). :)
     
  9. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Alright then.....thanks for the input.

    Right now I am using a Hartke3500, it has no SpeakOn connections on it, so I guess I will stay with 1/4.

    It isn't the end of the world. My 1/4 connections were fine until I read this thread and decided I need SpeakOn connections.

    -Mike
     
  10. i dont think im gonna dish out the extra cash for the mr fance pants high tech speakon cables.
     
  11. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Speakons are easy once you look at them internally.

    I even added a speakon jack to my former Carvin Power amp for bridged operation (they all have them now from the factory, BTW). You can get the jacks for about $3 each, and replace just about any 1/4" jack on a cab in a few minutes (might need to drill the hole a tad larger).

    Its definitely a better, more robust/roadworthy, and much safer connection, but odds are you aren't going to hear much difference if any at all with a rig running less than 300 watts. You might be losing some power, but your ear won't notice it at that range. I run 1500 watts into my main cab, so I need speakons and wouldn't go without them.
     
  12. rdkill

    rdkill

    Jan 20, 2003
    The big thing you gain is "dampening factor". If your amp is capable of a reasonably high dampening factor, adding connector/wiring resistances of a reasonable max of .1 ohms reduces the dampening factor AT THE SPEAKER to 80 on an 8 ohm speaker. Dampening factor is what helps keep the cone under control. Poor cables/connections can make your speaker sound "muddy" and "fart". Just FYI a 10' 16 gauge cable has .084 ohms. 14 gauge brings it down to .052 ohms and 12 gauge .034 ohms. On a 4 ohm cab with speakons I still wouldn't run more than 12 feet of 12 gauge!
     
  13. debassed one

    debassed one Guest

    Jul 30, 2003
    san fran.,calif.
    A differnt point of view on speakon connectos. I used them with a Swr 750 and gol.3 & big ben cabinets. after a nights playing they would refuse to release, especially while amp was warm. If I ever left fan off, for quiet passages, I could never get them to release. Also sound tech. person claimed sound pressure level was lower from my rig when using them. It's interesting some manufactures provide them with speakon at one end of cable and 1/4" at other? this match anybody elses experince?
     
  14. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    Damping factor.

    To get a high dampening factor, you have to soak something in water. ;)

    But really, even a 1/4" connection won't affect damping factor in any significant way. It's just not as reliable and robust as a Speakon connection; 1/4" connections have a much, much greater tendency to become intermittant. The problem then is interruption of the signal. I suppose you could consider that a damping factor of zero, but that's sort of a roundabout way of expressing it. ;)
     
  15. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    If the SPL was indeed lower, it wouldn't be attributable to the Speakon unless something wasn't wired correctly.