Baby Baby Blue that underpowers external speakers?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tusitala, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. tusitala


    Nov 15, 2004
    do you think i would underpower an 1x12'' external speaker (which can handle 400watts rms) by connecting my SWR Baby Baby Blue to it without a poweramp?

    is there the risk of any damage?


  2. The 0x

    The 0x Guest

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    There is no such thing as underpowering speakers!!!! :scowl:
  3. lookjojoisplaid

    lookjojoisplaid Guest

    Oct 17, 2005
    San Diego
    ummmmmm yes there is.

    If you have an amp that puts out 100 watts and your cab can support 500 watts and you try to play your amp at gig volumes where clipping can occur from your amp then the cliping can defintly hurt your cab.
  4. The 0x

    The 0x Guest

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    That's being underpowerd for your situation.

    There's no such thing as underpowering a speaker.
  5. ESP-LTD

    ESP-LTD Guest

    Sep 9, 2001

  6. tusitala


    Nov 15, 2004
    ok, but what i want to know is if it can be dangerous for the external i risk to damage it???
  7. mike_v_s

    mike_v_s Guest

    Only dangerous if you drive the amp into clipping. At that point both the internal drivers and extension are at risk.

    SWR will tell you to turn the gain as far as you can until the clip light begins to flash when you are pushing your loudest note. Adjust the volume accordingly from there. You should be able to download the manual from the site.

  8. What does that mean? When you crash a car into a tree, will they say you crashed for your situation? Harmful waves will destroy your speakers' voice coils. This is not subjective. If you are playing quietly. Okay. When the amp clips there is the risk. The BBII series is an amazing unit. It is best used imho as a combo. Get something else for the bigger gigs. There is a point where it will lose it's sweetness and sound overdriven and not be loud enough and you need a bigger amp with bigger speakers. You know ultimately you might end up with different rigs one for outside loud concerts one or two midsized rigs and a small one for those acoustic quiet gigs. In your situation with the watts available you might get a more focused sound bypassing the internal 10 and using just the external.
  9. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    I use an Electric Blue II(head-only version) with an EA CxL112 that handles 350 watts. Works great. Sounds wonderful. But then again I don't play in groups that use bone-crushing volume on stage. As long as you don't run the preamp or amp into clipping, you'll be fine. If I need more volume I'll use a larger amp. It just won't sound as good.

  10. Speakers don't care about waveform. They care about power dissipation and mechanical excursion. There's not really any such thing as a 'harmful' wave, it's the amount of energy present that counts. The rub is that there is more energy in a clipped signal than in a clean one at the same level, how much more is dependent on how clipped the signal is.
    As long as the average power being delivered to the VC is less than its maximum rating, waveform doesn't matter.

    To the matter at hand: There's no inherent risk to adding an extension. There's certainly no risk if you're not hearing distortion.
  11. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Think of it this way:

    Same result in powering a 400 watt RMS rated speaker with a 100 watt head as there is in powering a 100 watt rated speaker with that same 100 watt head: no problem, no damage, UNTIL you start pushing the amp past its limits into extreme and continuous clipping.

    Its what you are demanding of the amp that causes the damage to the speakers, NOT that the speaker is rated higher than the amp.

    Your ears will tell you when you are pushing the amp too hard. Pay attention, and back off when you hear clipping, farting and other nastiness. If you can get the volume out of your BBII and the 1x12 that you need without clipping, then you're good, regardess of the fact that the 1x12 is rated higher than the amp.
  12. IvanMike

    IvanMike TTRPG enthusiast, Happy, Joyous, & Free. Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    nope you won't hurt it.

    check out the sticky that says "check here before asking..........." there is a good thread on "will clipping hurt speakers" or close to that title.

    in any event, the BB puts out 150 watts into 4 ohms. if the extension cab is an 8 ohm one that means 75 watts will go to it, and 75 to the internal speakers. Worst case scenario will be you send the amp into horrible poweramp clipping which can send up to twice the wattage into the cabs (300 watts or 150 into each "cab"). So in that case you send 150 watts into a cab that's rated for 400 watts. It will sound terrible, but it won't hurt it.

    I've clipped my EB head pretty hard into cabs rated for 200 watts, and never damaged the cabs. Of course, i turned down right away.

    But anyhow, there is no such thing as underpowering a speaker, simply being underpowered for your (volume) application. To be honest, in most cases your amp puts out far less wattage than the maximum into your cabinets. With the BB running at 4 ohms, most of the time you're probably using 15 watts, not 150. That gives you 10 dB of headroom, which is a good thing. ;)
  13. tusitala


    Nov 15, 2004

    hi, is there any difference between the Electric Blue (head-only) and the head that is in the Baby Baby Blue combo?
    do they have different features?

    do you use a poweramp also?

  14. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    As far as I can tell, ALL of the Baby Blue and Electric Blue amps, old and new are the same. Don't know if the newer ones use the exact same parts. Sure hope so. If that is the case, it will be the only time I've ever seen a company not take something that works well and try to improve it. If it works, don't fix it!

    Haven't done the poweramp yet but have been thinking about it quite a bit lately. Love that tone.
  15. tusitala


    Nov 15, 2004
    and what about the opposite situation: if i have a poweramp that can bring 500 watts and a speaker that can handle only 400?

    would there be risk of damage for the speaker???

    thanks for the informations...
  16. Some risk, mainly if you're clipping. If you keep it clean and undistorted it would be virtually impossible to damage the 400W speaker with 500watt amp.

    Guitar speakers handle distorted/clipping signals all day long without damage. 50 watts of distorted/clipping won't hurt a 100W speaker.

    If you're close to the speakers power limit, AND you have a tweeter in the cab, clipping is more likely to damage the tweeter. But because a clipped signal has a higher % of high freqs that go to the tweeter than it was designed for, expecting clean signals. SO a 400W amp with a 500W speaker that contains a 100W tweeter COULD blow the tweeter when the amp is clipping.

    Clipping is only a problem if it takes the amp power over the cab's power handling limit, or the additional high freqs resulting from the clipping sends more power to the tweeter than it was designed for.

  17. tusitala


    Nov 15, 2004
    so 500 poweramp watts won't damage a 400watts speaker unless i make the preamp clip pushing it too strongly right?
  18. HotTubesGrooves

    HotTubesGrooves Guest

    Jun 26, 2005
    Bristol, UK
    Right ^ :) The golden rule though is if you hear distortion, horrible farting etc turn down.

    I'm underpowered too, and it sucks! Running my Behringer with 2 8ohm cabs, one is 400w, one is 600w, so I guess I need 1000w...

    I'm giving it 300w, its just not ideal! Think I will check out that Kustom Groovebass head when I can afford it, it costs £550 over here ($940 USD), major example of ripoff Britain!
  19. BassIan

    BassIan Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2003
    San Jose, California
    This doesn't have to be so complicated. It's really quite simple.

    A 400 watt speaker cabinet is rated to dissipate 400 watts of energy as heat from the voice coil. This rating is *entirely* independent of the acoustic loading provided by the cabinet, and as such does not account for factors such as overexcursion that may limit the speaker's power handling before it reaches the thermal limit of the voice coil.

    So, we make the assumption that the user has adequate protection against overexcursion (this is another story, but we're being general enough as it is). An amplifier capable of generating 400 watts RMS is, at full power without clipping, going to have the driver's voice coil dissipating 400 watts of energy. Drive the amp into POWER AMP clipping, and the power output actually goes up beyond the rated power of the amplifier (unless there's some form of current limiting working - again we assume there isn't for the sake of argument/simplicity). In the most extreme case, which is not likely to be generated physically by bass playing but is mathematically possible, the amplifier can generate up to 800 watts. If it is doing this CONSTANTLY, it will cause the driver's voice coil to overheat, simply because it's dissipating too much heat.

    Now, the reality is, as bass players, we don't have constant output. We have extremely dynamic output that the amplifier has to reproduce, even if we're using different forms of compression. As a result, our peak volume which may occur for a fraction of a second on the attack of a note (think of slap bass as an extreme example of attack). Also, the different levels and power requirements of individual notes have a bearing on this. Point? We aren't constant output devices.

    When in a playing situation where the volume requirements exceed the ability of that 400 watt amplifier to get the 400 watt driver loud enough, a player is likely to clip the 400 watt amplifier. If the clipping is frequent and bad enough, it is POSSIBLE that the driver's voice coil may be asked to continuously dissipate more than the 400 watts it is capable of. This is where a more powerful amplifier, say, 800 watts, powering that 400 watt driver may be a better choice. Instead of undergoing the compression and additional harmonic content of a clipped signal generated by the 400 watt amplifier, the 800 watt amplifier may actually produce a peak of 800 watts into the cabinet to handle your transient attack (or whatever else momentarily called for a large amount of power). However, this peak doesn't last anywhere near long enough to damage the voice coil by overheating it. The extra "headroom" afforded by this extra clean power keeps your signal's dynamics uncompressed, and the brief power peaks do not cause thermal problems in the driver. Please keep in mind that overexcursion is always possible, though.

    Now, the flip side is that if 800 watts is STILL not loud enough (it only afforded you at best 3dB of extra "headroom"), and that amplifier begins to clip, you are still in danger of damaging your speaker. The goal with using a more powerful amplifier is that it does not clip into the drivers.

    In the case where you have a severely underpowered amplifier such as this, you could clip that amplifier all day and at BEST (WORST?) only generate double its RMS rating (or 300 watts of distorted mess into that poor 4 ohm load). Again you will find even this is impossible due to the dynamic nature of this instrument. You would also find that the amount of distortion generated to theoretically produce double the RMS power is intolerably disgusting to the ear. You would not bear it for long before saying "what is broken?"

    Hopefully this clarifies a bit. I know this is an area of severe confusion with some people. As mentioned above me, the golden rule is to avoid clipping, in any situation. The audience doesn't want to hear that anyway.
  20. don't forget that some loudspeaker voice coils will go for days at the rated power and some are like the price is right -- as close as possible without going over. some