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Can I play bass through Hi-FI surround/stereo speakers with av reciever? (setup question)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Tinko, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Tinko


    Jan 20, 2021
    Let me explain :

    I connected an RCA cable (audio left and right) on the av reciever input to 3.5mm phono (headphones) output on my fender mustang 1 amp. I played my guitar like that and with some eq tweaking it sounds amazing (A lot better than the 1x8 speaker from the amp). Now I had to lower the bass a lot. I tried playing my guitar with pitch shifter (octave lower, like bass) and the speakers started to distort the sound a bit. I think I was pushing the boundaries there. I have two old tower speakers and they can produce a lot of bass, so I thought it would work for bass guitar, but I'm not so sure after they started distorting.

    I know that playing bass on a guitar amp is not a good idea, because of the speakers, but what about those bigger hi-fi speakers? Also If I buy a subwoofer, would that make it any better?

    I plan to buy in the future boss katana 100w amp. I had following setup idea when I get it: firstly to connect it through either the stereo expand line out or the phones/rec out to my av reciever input.

    If that would't work I thought of buying a bass cab and connecting it to the katana. I thought it would be better to use the katana, because then I can use all the effects modeling and can record through usb.

    Other idea I had in my mind: If I buy an bass cab, could I use it as a subwoofer for my hi-fi ?

    Does any of this make sence? What would you do ?

    Sorry for my ignorance, I don't know that much about amps, speakers and setups overall, but I'm interested in electronics and putting setups together
  2. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    Well you certainly CAN plug stuff in the way you've described, but generally speaking, your hi-fi speakers aren't going to be able to stand up to being used as bass guitar speakers, whether from an actual bass or a simulated one via modeling. They'll work at an extremely low level, but that distortion you heard was the sound of the speakers being driven beyond their mechanical limits -- you can only do that for about half-a-sec with your hi-fi speakers before they go 'pffft'. Adding a sub is just more of the same -- it will only work up to a minimal level. Getting a decent musical instrument speaker cab -- one rated for bass -- to pair with the Katana when the time comes is the way to go IMO.
    Giraffe, Wesley R, TinIndian and 4 others like this.
  3. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    It isn't a good idea. I am pretty sure your system is built for higher impedance than your bass puts out. This will make it hard to get a good sound and probably require you to crank the volume. This leads to the second problem. At anything other than very low volumes you can easily kill your speakers.
    basspraiser and gebass6 like this.
  4. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, ChopShopAmps
    Different animals all around.

    Bass speakers are just plain different from hi fi woofers by many factors. The main one is being far more robust. Instruments are very dynamic. Pre recorded music is compressed and somewhat normalized. You noticed the biggest difference in the material and construction when the speakers started distorting. The idea of using a sub isn't too bad; the excursion will help. This is still using the wrong tool for the job. Even though it may produce sound and work, it will work until it doesn't.

    There are better ways and more technical ways to explain it, but basically it isn't a good idea.

    Also, no, it isn't a good idea to use a bass cab as a hi fi sub. Bass speakers are not subs. They are less likely to be damaged by prerecorded music in a more full range as a woofer, but they will be at risk as a subwoofer.

    There will be lots of better answers and details coming.

    Not recommended. Lots of risk..
    basspraiser likes this.
  5. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    You should use something between your bass and the hifi.
    The best thing would be a modeler that does ampsim and cabsim. The output of one of these is much more speaker friendly than raw signal.

    A good bass cab is a mediocre subwoofer for a hifi. A hifi subwoofer is a terrible bass cab.

    Either way, you're forcing a cabinet to do something it was not built for.
    macmanlou, BassNugget and Wasnex like this.
  6. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    In my experience using an adapter to plug a bass into a standard RCA input of a stereo works fine, but it's unlikely that you will be able to get very much volume without risking damage to the speakers. As you have observed, bass guitar tends to cause the speakers to stress out at a much lower volume than recorded bass. Keep in mind recorded bass tends to have a lot of processing to include compression, high pass filtering, EQ etc.

    I did this several times with my stereo back in the early 80s. I thought it sounded great and it set me off on a long tone chasing journey that cost me fortune...I never did find musical instrument speakers, or even PA speakers for that matter, that produce the same sound quality as my old stereo. But modern cabs do get a lot closer than the most of the junk that was available back then.

    Likewise you could used a bass cab as a subwoofer for your Hi-Fi, but most bass cabs are not well suited for this role. Many bass cabs don't actually play deep enough to be beneficial as a true subwoofer. Also speakers that are designed for musical instruments and PA duty are expected to be able to play loud. Certain tradeoffs are generally necessary for a speaker to be able to play loud.

    As long as you have the discipline to keep the volume down, it will probably be fine. There is always some degree of risk though. If you lack self control, then don't do it unless it's okay to destroy the cabs. Ask yourself how much you value the speakers and determine if they can be repaired if you blow the drivers. If you place a high value on them, and replacement drivers are not available or are too expensive, then don't take the risk.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
    Joebone and BasturdBlaster like this.
  7. Tinko


    Jan 20, 2021

    OK thanks for the answers. To sum it up I learned that mixing instrument amps/cabs with home hi-fi systems is not a good idea.
    What about using boss katana 100w combo with a bass cab ? Someone on reddit reccommended me getting a small bass amp with multiFX pedal, what do you think about that ?
  8. 808State


    Dec 30, 2020
    Ive been practicing with Software for about 20 years now.
    Instead of using a amp, I have access to thousands of amps and effects at home.

    My " Bassamp" is just a HiFi system. Basically a monitor
    Cab simulation does the rest, I can record and playback drums and guitar on the same monitor.
    Basically a home recording studio.

    If your speakers distort with bass, then you found the limit.

    Before I had " good" monitors I used a basic Stereo Amplifier for Computers.
    The Satellite speakers actually had very good midrange and tweeters.

    For being computer speakers they worked well.
    Probably didn't distort with bass because the system had a Sub.

    Sub is low passed at 120 hz the small speakers are high passed the same
    So my little speakers didnt distort with bass.

    So yes, every system will vary. If your tiny speakers are distorting
    Its too much bass for full range bookshelf type speakers.

    For just playing bass a 1x12 or 1x15 combo will rock the house.
    If you want to monitor or record. You just need better monitors.
    Doesn't have to be a expensive system. Ive seen plenty of expensive computer speakers
    with a sub at thrift stores for 25 to 30 dollars.

    See guys paying 300 to 400 dollars for these " butt kicker" or tactile mount speakers.
    Computer Sub does the same thing.....30 bucks
  9. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    You can use the Katana to power a bass cab, but the internal speaker would need to be disconnected because of it being an open-backed guitar combo-- otherwise, it will probably start to break up at pretty low volumes as well. A dedicated bass cab is what's needed, but it doesn't have to be big -- a 110 or 112 would be fine.

    You don't have to have any sort of amp if you just want to record the bass -- you can use a direct feed from something -- a preamp, or a USB audio interface, for instance. You could monitor via a headphone output or with your audio system if you keep the volume down.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
  10. s.m.80808


    May 5, 2006
    In my room I use a HX STOMP > Stereo Receiver > Polk Audio bookshelf speakers.

    the HX STOMP does modeling duty and acts as an audio interface for playing music from my laptop.

    Works great for practice and learning new songs
  11. Steve88


    Mar 27, 2014
    Macedon, NY
    I did it once, out of curiosity.

    Bass > mixer > open RCA input on Hifi preamp

    I wasnt super concerned about damaging anything because my amps and speakers are capable of much more volume and power than I can handle. I also have the speakers high-passed and the sub low-passed. I played with the volume about normal conversation level. As I recall, my bass has never sounded so good...deep and clear.

    I didnt turn it up any higher, and only played for a few minutes. I probably wouldnt do it again though. I'll just do my best to get that sound out of actual bass gear.
    BassNugget likes this.
  12. I can tell you from experience that it’s a bad idea. I did this back in the late seventies with my roommates stereo. It blew the speakers and he was not a happy camper.
    petch and agedhorse like this.
  13. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    It’s a good way to ruin a hi-fi speaker unless you keep the volume very low (lower than where it starts distorting.
  14. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Inactive

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody notices
    Yup, it'll work. Now, using a bass cab as a subwoofer will not though. Sure, it'll kick out whatever you send it. But, bass cabs are not sub woofers. In fact, bass cabs roll off those frequencies on purpose. And sending just those frequencies to a bass guitar cab could very well blow your speakers. But yes, you can hook your stuff up the way you described.
  15. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    Typically using anything other than a bass speaker cab isn't the best idea. Some would say it's just insane. There are rare exceptions to the rule like plugging into a QSC k12.2 powered speaker, but they're actually designed with an option to use with a bass plugged in direct. No matter what you choose, you always have to be aware that a speaker farting might lead to the speaker equivalent of letting all the magic blue smoke out.
  16. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    Expect a lot of farting...
  17. deste


    Sep 14, 2009
    Bologna, Italy, Europe
    Endorsing Artist: GullanskyLab pickups
    Before blowing my first guitar amp when I switched to bass back in early 80's, I had blown my hifi speakers by simply plugging guitar into the aux input.
    Just don't do it.
  18. Scarey Larry

    Scarey Larry Supporting Member

    Bad idea. Tried it. The sounds of violent equipment death always makes me sad.
  19. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    A little aside...Once when visiting my home town, in Los Angeles, my friend took me to see a very popular local band. I was taken by the great pa sound. Come to find out it was a small mixer running thru a home stereo system!
  20. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    ...And...remember the music you played through those speakers is all produced and compressed and limited. You can't expect the same performance or volume with any live application.
    chadds and agedhorse like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Feb 26, 2021

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