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Cab Wattage Ratings Question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sanctum, May 15, 2002.

  1. Are bass cabs rated (wattage) based on their peak handling capacity, or the amount they can handle continually? Or does it depend on the manufacturer?

    Specifically there is an older Mesa 2x15 cab that is rated 800 watts, but as my SVTIII Pro is only 450, I'm concerned about driving the sucker and clipping problems.

    I've also noticed that on Boogies website, all their cabs are rated above what the heads can put out, so that's why I'm asking. For instance, their current 2.x15 is also rated 800 watts, but the most powerful head they have now is 600 watts. (plus their cabs are 8 ohm)

    And I dont mean to start the "headroom" argument thread again :p


  2. It depends on the mfr to an extent, though I think that now most rate cabs primarily with RMS (continuous) and with peak values only secondarily if at all. That Mesa could well be 800 W continuous if they were using two 400 W EVs, which I believe they were for a time.

    And don't worry about the rating. Having a cab rated higher than your amp's rated power does *not* make you more liable to clip your amp, despite the common myth. What makes your amp clip is just being turned up too high, pure and simple. If you don't have to run your amp hard to get the volume you need, then you don't have a problem, regardless of whether your cab is rated at 400, 800, or 8000.
  3. what if your cab(s) are rated lower? i.e. I have a 1000w amp and 2 400w cabs. Problem?
  4. Richard

    Thanks. It does indeed have two 400 watt EV's in it. I'm taking my head down there to check it out.


  5. Not if you don't work your amp too hard. Now, if you clip the amp, or somehow compress it and crank it to the point where it's putting out near-maximum power on a near continuous basis, then you will probably have a problem.

    But the type of combination you describe is very common, and many folks do this with no problems at all. The key is that they're not working the amp that hard. They use the extra power for headroom; they're not cranking out anything like the amp's full power on anything like a continuous basis.

    When an amp is rated at, say, 1000 W, that doesn't mean it's putting out 1000 W all the time. It means it's *capable* of delivering 1000 W if needed.

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