1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Can Cranking an amp hurt it ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by fenderaholic, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. fenderaholic


    May 25, 2005
    Burbank ca
    the other day i was playing a ampeg b2r,korg DTR-tuner rackmount through a ampeg 8x10 cab. i was playing all out cranked. was not getting all the power of the amp becuase the ohms requirments. and the amp was 4 inchs away from a drum set the drums were rattling like crazy. would this hurt the speakers in any way.

  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    Very good way to ruin some perfectly good speakers. Read up on impedance, wattage and bass amps in the stickies above.
  3. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    +1 on all counts

    Cranking your amp is bad. You'll end up damaging the amp, the cab, or both quite quickly.
  4. oldgreyOlds


    May 12, 2005
    Delta, BC
    so how loud can you put the amp before you damage any of the set up?
  5. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    Until anything in the chain starts to clip at any playing level (ie - clipping when you dig in, even though it's not every time).
  6. oldgreyOlds


    May 12, 2005
    Delta, BC
    oh good, looks like Im safe then. just checking.
  7. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    OK, I'm going to ask a similar question. I often crank the gain on my bass amp to the point of distortion, I don't play that loud, but it gets a really vintagey distortion... I take it this is "Tube Drive" right? Is this bad? Will it destroy my amp?
  8. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    It depends on the amp. You may be clipping the pre-amp, which may cause damage to the poweramp (check with your amp's manufacturer).

    If it's a tube pre-amp, it should be fine, but I would still check if I were you.

    Better to make sure than to regret it later.
  9. TheChariot


    Jul 6, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Um.... it sounds to me like you were getting full power. The 810 is 4ohms... the B2R is 350Watts into 4ohms.... so yeah. That's full power.

    Its just that the B2R is friggon quiet for louder genres of music.... simple as that. You'd honestly be better off selling your B2R and your 810, and seeking out a more powerful head and a more efficient cab. If the B2R is strugging for you (like it did with me), then you'll probably be looking for something 500-700Watts at least.

    Another option would be to add a power amp to your setup. A QSC RMX850 sells for $300 new, and you could use your B2R as a preamp. It sounds pretty good (since I really dont find much of a problem with the B2R's tone) and it'll really get your speakers moving for once.
  10. fenderaholic


    May 25, 2005
    Burbank ca
    Hey chariot the rig isnt mine someone left it at my friends drummers house for over a year my friends drummer told me the guys in jail. they didnt no what the rack was or anything about ampeg so im gonna offer $500 for the rig. also playing a clean non distorted guitar through it wouldent hurt it right ?
  11. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    You'd be fine to play guitar through it...
  12. DaveMcLain


    Jun 19, 2005
    Cuba MO
    If you're using an amp that's designed properly, I doubt you'll hurt anything playing with it cranked, why would it? I understand that you'll probably be cliping the signal and that's hard on the speakers and you are using the amp in a maxed out situation. But, modern amps have protection circuits that will shut it down if it starts to overheat or has some other output malfunction.

    I would say that as long as it doesn't sound like crap it's probably not hurting anything except for your ears possibly.
  13. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    It would be a good idea to learn to recognize the sound of T.O.F (threshold of farting). Playing in or beyond the threshold of farting will damage your speakers. Unless you want that Jack Bruce sound, of course. In that case it is better to get that "tone" at the preamp stage rather than from your speakers.
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I have to disagree. Many modern amps don't have limiting circuitry, and even those that do aren't failproof at stopping clipping. The most damaging of this happens at the pre stage. If you're running your pre and your main full out, you're living on borrowed time. Clipping is more damaging than overpowering in most cases, since it sends uncontrolled high wattage signal (beyond the amp's stated rating). Tube amps are less of a risk, but not completely safe from this.

    This has come around many times around here...do a search.
  15. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    The O.P. was referring to a B2R, which has a limiter, and should be fine IF limiter is used.

    If you turn OFF the limiter, which can be done, of course you can do almost anything, clipping-wise, so some care is needed. Turning it off does let the amp "open up" more, which just means it will use all of its power and more.

    Mostly clipping won't damage an amplifier of reasonably decent design. But if you really have no ears and run it into heavy clipping, you may generate more heat, may cause the transformer to overheat (and shut off for a while) etc.

    Of course it will sound bad if clipped that hard, and it wouldn't be particularly good for the speakers if they are being somewhat over-powered already. You may see the infamous speaker protection lamp light up.........
  16. godraphonic


    Jun 6, 2005
    The guy I use to service my amps insists pushing a tube bass amp to clipping (ie growling, woofing, distorting, breaking up etc) is a really bad idea.

    He makes a clear distinction to bass vs. guitar in this regard, but i'm not sure if he's just covering his ass or exagerating any issues.

    The specific amps where my former V4b and my current early SVT (converted to 6550's). He says that if the SVT starts growling at noon, not to turn it past 11 o'clock. seems he feels that clipped bass signals have the potential to do very bad things to the power section of the amp.

    Is he being overly cautious? he doesn't seem to be talking reduced component life, he seems to feel that a major destructive event is the concern, like cooking a transformer, at any time and without warning. There's a lot of conflicting information about this on the net, so I do try to heed his warnings.

    He's very adamit about this regardless of the fact that growling seems to define the sound these amps are famous for, and that the original set of power tubes lasted nearly 30 years.
  17. Do the decades of use thousands of other bass players have gotten out of SVT's cranked to overdrive count for anything? ;)

    Your 'tech' is either being dishonest or is incompetent.
  18. godraphonic


    Jun 6, 2005
    It hard to say either of those things about him psycho, from experience with him going back over ten years.

    think he has a reason for his warning other then inexperience or being dishonest, because he sincerly sounds like he doesn't want to see the amp come in fired. If it did its a great payday for him. MAybe its because the amp is still full of 36 year old parts, and he's a bit of a puss.

    he subcontracts all the repair work for nearly every store in a large radius, i'm sure he's seen enough to have an informed opinion.

    JUst because lots of guys on the internet say cranking a tube amp to distortion sounds great (and it does), doesn't neccecarily mean its a great idea.

    I'm not a tech, but the idea is there's somthing about a 40 hz signal clipping in a power tube that can make an amp eat itself. If he's full of ****, bring the tech. I would love to learn.
  19. I understand what you're saying. There ARE things that are VERY bad for tubes amps, bass amps in particular, like too high a speaker load that I've warned people against for ages. Overdriving an SVT does NOT hurt it. If you do nothing BUT overdrive it, you'll wear tubes faster, (they'll only last 20-30 years instead of 30-40), but neither your ears nor your speakers could withstand that much abuse, and they will give out LONG before anything in the amp.

    Hard jobs are NEVER 'paydays', and a trashed amp is NOT something a tech looks forward to. You can never really adequately bill time for research, 'fixes' that don't work, and outright frustration.

    If he suspects any parts are likely to fail and hasn't changed them, then he IS incompetent.

    Maybe, maybe not; I've seen more than one "service center" that had no business doing ANY electronics work. I can name three locally.

    Who's quoting anonymous 'lots of guys on the internet?' I've personally seen and cranked my SVT for a DECADE now, and I've been servicing amps even longer than that. I stand wholly behind my previous comments.

    I AM.

    That's easy to disprove. All you have to do is feed the SVT a square wave at 40Hz and get maximum power out of it into a dummy load. Your output transformer will 'sing' mighty ugly, but the amp itself will be NO worse for wear.

    I don't understand that last comment, but if you mean 'disprove your tech,' try what I said.
  20. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    Yeah +5

    It would be hard to find a bass amp that has been more comprehensively abused than the SVT, and they are still kicking....

    If there is a weak part, ok, maybe it will fail. And, over time, insulation gets leaky, etc, etc. yes, eventually, ALL the old SVTs will have catastrophically failed and be gone. I expect most all of us will precede them.......

    Your guy is being conservative. I haven't seen the unit, so maybe he sees something. But, if its is parts that need replaced, I agree, he ought to have done that (unless you want a museum piece "all original" SVT, but since yours is already converted to 6550s, that's out...).

    There is a tiny bit of sense to it, kind of like not routinely winding out your carefully restored 1950s Jaguar on the track.... but electronics don't have the same sort of wear-out mechanisms.

    Anything truly damaging will also sound very bad.

Share This Page