can heads be a higher wattage than the cab?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by gumby7, May 31, 2000.

  1. gumby7


    Feb 15, 2000
    its me yet again. can a head be a higher wattage than your cab? like can your head be like 800 watts and you cab be only like 400 watts? will it sound okay? or will i blow the cab?

    Sometimes life seems like a dream, especially when I look down and see that I forgot to put on my pants.
  2. Mo' bass

    Mo' bass

    May 4, 2000
    I think that as long as you are carefull with the master volume on your amp you might prevent the speakers from exploding in your face. If you hear the cab distort, turn down the volume. And be *very* carefull with the bass control on the amp.

    If your head's wattage is much less then the cab's you would think you were safe. But then you have to worry about clipping the amp. That can (and will) also fry your speakers.

  3. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    I have about the same question, read the thread "matching head and cab"!
  4. Speakers can usually handle 2-4 times their rated power, as long as it's in short (1 sec or so) bursts. As long as you don't constantly push the amp's max power through the cab, you should be o.k. Psycho Bass Guy, who should be around here, even recommends using a head with twice the power of the cab. I don't agree with him, but he has good arguments to say so.

    If it'll sound ok, that's a different issue. The speaker will probably heat up more than with a smaller amp, and you'll get socalled "power compression". Meaning you'll lose low end and master volume, because of the high temperature of the voice coil (about 200 deg. celsius). A hot coil has a higher impedance than a cold one, and this result in less power.
  5. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    Im getting a ready to buy and Epifani 3X10.Nick Epifani recomends that you power his cabs with very powerful amps.Like the Stewart 2.1 which Im also buying.From what I have been told by several people that know is that you really should be looking at the peak power handling,not rms.The 3x10 handles
    1800 watts peak.
  6. gumby7


    Feb 15, 2000
    hey thanks guys. the reason i was asking was because i saw a carvin head that was powering a 4x10 on ebay for real cheap but i think a 4x10 would be too much to lug around and was thinking about a 2x10. so i was wondering if that would be fine. one more question... do you guys know of any really good sounding head and cabs or combos that put out at least 150 watts of power for really cheap?

    Sometimes life seems like a dream, especially when I look down and see that I forgot to put on my pants.
  7. Slater

    Slater Bye Millen! Hello?

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    gumby7, I just picked up a new Peavey DeltaBass (that I use for rehearsal and small gigs) for $260. It's 160watts @ 4ohms. It's just as loud as the SWR WM 2004 (I compared my DeltaBass to a friends 2004) and sounds better IMO (of course I'm bias now).

  8. gumby7


    Feb 15, 2000
    slater hey where did you get that delta bass?
  9. Slater

    Slater Bye Millen! Hello?

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    gumby7, I got my DeltaBass at Wonderland (I call them Blunderland) Music in West Bloomfield, Michigan. (The location on your profile is blank, so I don't know where you are.) I haven't found an internet or mail-order dealer that sells new Peavey gear, so you'll have to visit a Peavey dealer. The list price for the DeltaBass was $350. My band is starting to get bigger gigs, so I'm planning on getting the FireBass 700 next.
    P.S. The DeltaBass is a new product, so if you want to check it out at, you have to type "deltabass" in the search box on their home page.
  10. mljohn


    Jul 16, 2000
    I run my Peavey T-Max at 500W through a 115 BX and 210 TFX 4 ohm enclosure. I know the 210 TFX is rated at 175 rms/350 pk. I haven't had any problems so far, but I don't turn up much over 2 on the pre gain and master volume. It's just too loud and overpowering.(Did I just say that?)
    From what I gather from the Peavey forum, it's more important to have the correct ohm rating.
  11. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky

    I'm just killing a few minutes before I turn in for the night and thought I'd bump the oldest thread I could find, just to <Thor**was here editing partially covered profanity> with y'all.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2014
    S-Bigbottom, Bassdirty and heynorm like this.
  12. Get some sleep. Happy Earth Day.
  13. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic and card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Turn everything up to 11. As long as the speakers are not sounding distorted, you are fine. Distortion is your friend, in that it will alert you to emanant driver toasting.
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    It gets tricky for those like me: I often dial in overdrive/distortion when playing with my hard rock band. IME if you listen carefully you can hear the difference between speaker distortion and dialed-in distortion.
  15. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    Holy thread revival, Batman!

    But, I suppose rather than just saying that, i'll chip in. My main getting around rig is an Orange TB500 with a Markbass NY121. The head is rated for 500w while the cab is only rated for 400w. Maybe it's not the right frame of reference, but I monitor how much I'm pushing the cab by how much visible speaker excursion I can see while I'm playing. To my mind, a lot of visible (and constant) movement probably means I'm starting to go too hard. So far no problems with that system (notwithstanding any flaws in my thinking!), but it's only been a little over a year...
  16. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    This thread was started long before I became a member. Why do folks keep dragging up long dead threads instead of just asking a question? :(

    Phil, your thinking is very flawed. A cabinet rated at 400W is usually the thermal rating of the voice coil or the point at which it begins to melt. Typically a driver can actually make use of about 50% of that rating before running out of excursion and into damage territory. I would recommend a second identical cabinet to share the load.
    Thisguy likes this.
  17. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Because anytime someone starts a new thread on a subject that has EVER been discussed before someone jumps all over them to so a search.

    Sent from my iPad using TalkBass
    samson3382, Fat Steve and SunnBass like this.
  18. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    First off, see post #11.
    Next, consider that this is one of those frequently asked questions that people get blasted for asking "because the search function works and [they] need to use it".
    Third, I wanted to see how many of you even noticed the thread date (I never look, and happily answer questions I know or have an answer to).
    Lastly, consider that in another 15 years, this question will still be getting asked.

    I will say, though, that as of the original postings, I think only the first few responses were really very helpful before a near derail. Someone came in there and set it right, but man, things sure haven't changed that much, huh? :smug:
  19. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    I do have the second cabinet, but due to physical limitations, I can only carry one cab with me on the TTC. So one is all I bring to many gigs

    Typically when I'm playing at a show, I cannot see any visible excursion. If I start to notice anything besides the occasional bit of movement, I back off my settings a bit. Anything more than that, and I know I'm getting into danger zone
  20. kdogg


    Nov 13, 2005
    Typical talk bass. Even after seeing that the OP posted in 2000, they still can't help themselves.