Clipping risk? Matching a 350w head with a 500w 8 ohm cab

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Stagelab, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. Stagelab


    Dec 26, 2015
    Brooklyn, NY
    I’ve read the FAQs on underpowering cabs so I’m clear on the myth.

    I’m looking for a used 112 or 210 cab for my Aguilar Tone Hammer 350. the TH runs 175w at 8 ohms.

    I’m hoping to buy a Bergantino HT112 or an Aguilar GS112. I also found a Hartke Hydrive 210 which is at 500w, 8 ohms.

    Curious what volume level leads to clipping, which can cause damage to the cab. Running the TH into a 300w cab seems fine at higher volumes, but what if you’re powering a 500w cab with just 175w from the amp?
  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    when you attempt to turn the volume up past the "too loud" point on your specific amp --- or--- "when an audio amplifier is driven beyond its ability to generate sufficient voltage or current to reproduce the original signal to your speakers."

    --- or --- don't go past 7 on your volume knob...even if it goes to 11! :laugh:

    you may be overly worried about this issue: if you are trying to get more volume/headroom than what you currently are getting = may be time for a heftier rig! good luck! :thumbsup:
  3. Stagelab


    Dec 26, 2015
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ok. Let me put it another way. Is there any benefit in terms of reducing the potential risk of clipping if I were to match my 350w head with a 300w 8 ohm cab vs a 500w 8 ohm cab?
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    Kro, sigterm, Munjibunga and 2 others like this.
  5. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    If you are at risk of clipping you bought the wrong amp, not the wrong cab.
  6. You have failed to grasp the underpowering myth.

    Adding to your fog there is also the issue of actual real world bass power handling vs manufacturer cab ratings for thermal limit at a much higher frequency than we need to use on bass guitar. There are no 500w 115 bass cabinets but plenty of "500w" 115 bass cabinets.
  7. Rick James

    Rick James Inactive

    Feb 24, 2007
    New Jersey
    Really? Then why would you say this?
    Let alone this:
    Any amp can be used with any cab. Clipping doesn't kill speakers. Most cabs won't take more than half their rated power handling before they fart out, so if you want to be sure they won't fart out the cab should be rated for twice what the amp is.
    JMarkD and mcnach like this.
  8. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    there's no exact formula to figure out how high you can turn up. that's because of many variables including how much attack you play with and how hot your pickups/pre-amp in your bass are, not to mention your amp settings, what effects you use and how hot they are.

    let your ears be your guide.
  9. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Not necessarily. What about if the cab has a low efficiency rating like 94dB 1W/M. In this case, getting a speaker with an efficiency of 103dB would provide an equivalent SPL boost to doubling the amp's power three times.
  10. I've run my 800 watt cab with a 100 watt head with absolutely no problems. You'll be fine.
    Munjibunga and soulman969 like this.
  11. Perhaps you should first learn what "clipping" is from someone who understands it him/herself.
    mcnach likes this.
  12. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    I thought you said you were clear on the myth about underpowering cabs? It's absolutely no problem to run a cab that can handle 500-watts rms with a head that is putting out 175 to 350 watts. It would be the same as if you had a 500-watt amp and only turned it up part way...not going to hurt at all.

    One thing you have to be careful of is speaker cab sensitivity when you get into cabs with high power handling. If the cab that will handle a lot of power requires a lot of power to make it work, then you run into volume problems. Most of the Hartke cabs seem to have sensitivity ratings around 98 to 99db, which is just fine. So don't sweat the small stuff. Hook your amp up and go!

    My 410 cab will handle 1400-watts and I feed it with an 800-watt amp. It's a very sensitive cab and I'm only turning my master up to a max of 9:30 indoors because any louder will clear the room. My 800-watt amp is not putting out anywhere near the max it can generate.

    As far as clipping goes there are a few different ways that can happen. You can clip your EQ section by running too much boost on one of more of the controls, or you can run too much power into your cabs causing the power section to clip (you don't want the power section clipping) I doubt you can stay in the room with your cab by the time your power section clips.

    Your EQ can clip regardless of how much power your using though and it usually sounds pretty bad when it does. You do want to fix that because that can damage your speakers even if it doesn't damage your amp. Too much bass EQ is often the culprit on preamp clipping and that can cause speakers to exceed their maximum excursion rating. If you find your preamp clipping a lot, get a good compressor that will keep it from causing the problem. That will also help with power section clipping. Down side is the more compression you use, the less dynamics you can put into your playing.
    roccobass and mcnach like this.
  13. Nope. Nope. Nope.
  14. If you're running a 300W cab ok, then you'll run a 500W cab even better...
    The question suggests you did not really get the FAQs on 'underpowering cabs'
    The issue is not about using a cab rated higher than the amp is... The issue is using an amp that does not have the power to generate the sound level you need. When an amp just does not have the necessary power, you're likely to push it hard... and THAT is what can get you in trouble.

    The wattage on the cabs.. That is only the thermal limits of the cab, nothing more. Being rated higher means it'll take more power to get them in trouble... but it doesn't mean you can't get them in trouble (excessive bass boost can often get you there sooner than you think, so listen and if it starts distorting maybe it's time to ease down).

    In short... if you like how the Hartke sounds, go for it. If you find you need to push the amp very hard, then you probably need more speakers.
    AstroSonic likes this.
  15. No.

    PLease go back and read those FAQs on underpowering before you choose to spend your money
  16. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Your Tonehammer will run happily with the gain and master dimed, all night long.
    The clip-light is just for your info, not meant as a warning. Take a small piece of paper, write 'You Rock!' on it and tape it over the 'Clip' label of the LED. Your preamp is designed to give you overdrive when you turn up the gain.
    It is meant to do overdrive, so no harm there. Your Poweramp is limited to 350W, but in theory, capable of more. So turn it up all the way if you desire.
    snapcracklepop likes this.
  17. Stagelab


    Dec 26, 2015
    Brooklyn, NY
    OP here. Thanks for clarifying my suspicions. I had read something in one of the FAQ threads about clipping that confused me. At least cut me some slack for going to the FAQ first. Geesh.

    I’ve listened to some of the Hartkes and I need more fatness in the low end. I used to play Aguilar GS 112s and while I’d gladly buy another, I would prefer a bit more in the mids. The Bergantinos I’ve heard (on YouTube only, so far) sound great and I thought I found a 12, but I’ve lost touch with the seller.

    Any other 12 or 210 recommendations?
    mcnach likes this.
  18. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    The Aguilar DB series will bring you more mids.
  19. ficelles


    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    It's an emotive subject as some won't let go of the underpowering myth :) The generally rule-of-thumb is the cab(s) should be rated for at least double the stated output power of the amp. If you're not loud enough with the TH350 through a 110 or 112 then just add a second cab.
    mcnach and AstroSonic like this.
  20. I hate to say it but: "that's why they make a Tone Hammer 500"! Just kidding. :)
    I play my Ampeg PF350 with the PF210 or PF115 cabs that are rated 450 watts with no problem. I can push the 350 with out issues but it does reach it's point. It's pretty obvious it won't do more at that point than distort and I don't take it there. So if I'm faced with a loud band situation I'll grab my PF500 (or PF800) and maybe a second cab as well! But just to throw my opinion out: a 350 with one 12 or even 2 - 10's has it's limitations by it self in a full band setting. Your head can do it within it's limits no problem, but you can't push it to "11" without some issues.
    But goes for anything!
    Nice amp by the way!
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