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Dumb noob question about speaker cabinets

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Mikhaijlovich, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Mikhaijlovich


    Feb 1, 2013
    Greetings. As you might've deduced from the title, I'm a total dimwit about cabinets, so please bear with me.

    So, putting it in the most basic of nutshells, you have two pieces, the cabinet and the amp head, which need to have compatible specs as far as wattage and impedance are concerned. I understand that much.

    Getting to the point, I have a Boss ME-50B pedal board that I've used time and time again to line directly into PA systems. Logically, I came to the conclusion that I could do much the same with a cabinet. Though I realize guitar and bass cabinets are not the same thing as PA speakers, the principals should be similar, should they not?

    The pedal gives me a tone I am satisfied with, and so my reasoning is this: why, in addition to the $400 I would spend on the cab, should I have to blow another $200-$300 on an amp head when in theory, my pedal board does the same job as a power amp, plus effects?

    Now feel free to stop me right there if I'm dead wrong about any of this, but...no matter how many Google links I click, I only get tutorials about "Connecting your amp head to your speaker cabinet" or "Finding the right cabinet for your amp head" or long-winded explanations from electricians about how impedance works (goes right over my head every time).

    Sorry if something like this has been posted before, but I'm getting the feeling that what I'm trying to do, no one else has ever tried before... :rollno:

  2. Pedal boards and effects DO NOT supply power to speaker cabs.

    When you send a "line to the board", it still has to go through power amps before the signal goes to speaker cabs.

    That is why you still need an amp.
  3. froghat

    froghat Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    Rhinebeck, NY
    Nicely put, BP. You don't have to buy a bass head though. If you like the sound you get from your Boss pedal, just buy a power amp. The Crown XLS series gets a lot of love here for being lightweight and powerful.
  4. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Correct, you still need a poweramp, no matter what. And, be sure the amp is happy with whatever the output is on the Boss. It likely won't drive just any amp.
  5. MontanaBassDude


    Sep 20, 2011
    And you're not a dimwit.

    That's reserved for me.
  6. If you tried to drive a cab with your pedal board it would be like trying to light an incandescent household light bulb with a AA battery. The voltage output just is not there.
  7. If you set google to look for output of me50b or ask another more specific thread about what output level it has, over at effects forum would be the go, then we can match up a power amp for your needs.
  8. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    You basically have to buy amp + cab. It's pricey to be a bassist, especially a loud one.

    Looks like power amps go fairly cheap used these days, especially if you are going for old/heavy stuff as opposed to new/high tech. Go used on the cab too, just do your research carefully and be patient. You can find a good deal.
  9. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    To put it graphically, when you run your pedal board to a PA, your chain is

    bass => me50b => PA mixer => power amp => cabinet.

    The power amp might be integrated into the mixer board (in a powered mixer) or into the PA cab (in a powered speaker), but if it's not there, there's no power to make the speaker move air.

    If you can count on access to a good PA, you can just keep doing this (doesn't Geddy Lee do without amps onstage, just runs straight to the PA?). But if you can't count on a PA that can handle your line plus all the singers etc. in your band, you're safer having an amp. Besides which, some people just LIKE the tone they get from their amps.
  10. Helaskold

    Helaskold 100% Mediocre

    Jul 22, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Get a Crown XLS 1500 and never bother buying another amp again. Have fun!
  11. -10dBU is nominal output of the ME50B. You would indeed need a mini mixer or something to boost it up for a power amp to run cabinets.

    Price of gear varies wildly across the globe but a decent used bass amp and cab can generally be found for less than $600.
  12. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    The bit about needing compatible wattage is wrong. Wattage doesn't matter much, its all about spl. And there is basically no relationship between amplifier wattage and speaker wattage.
  13. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    It's not wrong, but rather a reference point. A reference point from a lab test that may or may not apply in the real world, but not necessarily wrong.
  14. Just wholly unreliable.