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Gain/master & peak light relationship

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Transverz, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    In regards to how high to set gain and the master volume to get the cleanest sound possible:

    I went to my amp/cab today to do some gain/master relationship testing. Everyone (including the manual) says that in order to have the best signal-noise ratio, you turn the gain up as high as possible. Cool. So I turned the gain to 3:00 (3/4). Turned the master down (of course). True, I got some very, very clean sounds out of it (like Ampeg Insider mentioned about turning up the gain in the 3 Pro in another thread).

    But then I took a gander at the almost solid red peak light. That wasn't cool. I mean, it sounded cool, but that couldn't be good for the cab. So I turned down the gain to 1/2. Got the red light with every strong A string and definitely anything on the E string (I play a 4-stringer). So basically I had to put the gain to a bit less than 1/2 but then I had to start turning the master up, and I'm back to where I started, with a bit unclean sound.

    So what do I do? I play an active bass...is that what is making the input clip? I have the -15db button pushed so I don't think that is a problem. I just don't get it. Will EQ'ing it in a certain way help?

    I guess what I'm saying is, how can I turn the gain up more to get cleaner sound if I"m already clipping at halfway?

    Some additional info: I just switched to a 2x10 from a 4x10. Does that have any effect on the gain peak? I'm planning to add another 2x10. How about then?

    Any help is appreciated...thanks! :D


    Now, what is it that I am doing wrong?
  2. K-Frog


    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    sounds like what I experience with my B1R.
    I usually run my gain at 25% and my master around 60-75%.
    Keeps from illuminating the stage with that funny red glow.
    I run an active bass with the -15dB engaged. i also use the solo boost channel at about 75%, don't know if yours has that or not. Mine's just a low powered head trying to push an 8 ohm 15, so it's needs a little extra boost.

  3. Are the tone controls on your bass dimed? If so, back them off. Start running them flat and then adjust in small increments if needed. If you turn them all to 11 you are adding too much gain to your signal. Common mistake.
  4. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    thanks for the suggestions so far...

    My bass has only volume and "tone" (which is a boost at around 100hz if I remember correctly). I put my volume at 6-7 most of the time. The tone yes, does increase the output gain, and yes, I've tried it totally down. It really cuts down the volume (and bass) and I get a more trebley-jagged sound. But still I try that out with the same results.

  5. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    Ok, that must be the SVT4PRO in your sig.

    Clipping is as clipping sounds. And the peak light is a little early in the 4PRO.

    Trust me, if you are clipping enough to bother the speaker, you will hear it, 9 times out of 10. The tweeter, if you have one, will emphasise clipping harmonics on higher strings, making that stand out.

    Also, clipping isn't "instant death by nerve poison" to cone speakers. It raises the average power into the speakers, sure. But if that is still within their rating, nothing bad happens.

    Tweeters , maybe, but they will usually give warning as above, with unmusical sounds.

    Bottom line, is that if you don't hear clipping thickening up the sound, you aren't probably clipping enough to matter. Even if you hear it, it still may not be damaging anything.

    It's a rare player who can get above 1/3 of the amp power long term. It's a lot of work, and not very musical to get close.

    Advice is to listen, and if you hear a lot of clipping, it may be too much as in not musical. That will probably happen well before damaging amounts of clipping. Unless you like very compressed and clipped bass, your ears will tell you what is too much.

    The peak light indicates "close" to clipping. It can't be correct for all styles of playing, because some styles are much "peakier" and light it earlier, while some "walking bass" type playing might be very 'sine-waveish", and be very loud while not lighting the peak light much.

    It doesn't necessarily mean you are 'already" clipping. So you can generally play into it a bit.

    The peak light is an indication, but you still should use your ears.
  6. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks AI! Appreciate the info...

    Yes, as the manual states, the peak light is when "approaching" clipping levels. Thanks for confirming that.

    Only reason why I worry though is that I sold my 4x10 that would have handled all those watts. Now that I'm inbetween cabs I really want, I'm playing through a 2x10 (an SVT-210PRO actually!) in the meantime. I'm running it mono/bridged @ 8 ohms and is actually handling all that power quite well! I'm just scared to push it as it still is only 2x10s. I'm adding another custom cab 2x10 (strangely enough loaded with Celestion Ampeg Pro Series speakers too!) and I'm wondering if that will change the way the gain lights up on me.

    BTW, since I have your valuable attention, do you have any specs for the SVT-210Pro such as frequency roll-off or any of those standard cabinet specs? The information on this cab is extremely scarce! Did they use those Celestion Ampeg Pro Speakers in there too? (BG10H-150 I believe?) Any other info, history, insight, or ANYTHING at all would help out greatly (especially for my curiousity!). I never considered buying Ampeg cabs because they were out of my price-league, but these were priced right used and they sound great!

    One last question (I promise): All other things being equal, would a pair of 2x10s sound the same as a 4x10 of the same speakers, in general? I've read different accounts on whether a pair of 2x10s can go deeper than the same 4x10. What would be the difference, as I know there is one? Thanks again! Anyone's insight or experience would be awesome!

    -T :hyper:
  7. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    That makes sense! The cab is "power rated" for 300Watts, speaker wise (2 150W speakers). Actual power handling is different at different frequencies, because at the low end 2 10s just can't move far enough to handle unlimited power.

    Your capability is 900 watts from the amp into 8 ohms. Only 3 times the cabinet power rating............!

    I normally wouldn't worry to much about power matching, but THAT is enough to be concerned about......I see your point.

    The Celestion loaded ones are pre-1995. After 1995 they were made with the Eminence.

    I'll check into the other ratings, it might take a little digging, the specs were not always produced for publication. Might be next week.

    As far as the 2x 210 vs 410, theory is one thing and practice is another. You can put 2 x 210 in places where they couple better to the room than the single larger 410 cab. But in general, they would be expected to act more or less the same if the 210 are stacked up like a 410.

    You can, however, use two different types (like your Celestion and Eminence loaded cabs) and get a mix of the characteristics. That can work out well if the tone mix is good and both are fairly close to the same loudness/efficiency.
  8. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Wow, amazing info, as usual...thanks again...

    Oh, no hurry with the specs! Anytime you have time out of your busy schedule. It's only a lowly end-user like me, anyway :)

    How can I tell my cab production date range? Will the serial # reveal anything? I would look at the speakers but I can't see too far into the rear porting. If it is Eminence, what model Eminence speakers were they? Eminence keeps a great model history that I can refer to...Celestion on the other hand... :scowl:

    Another strange thing about my cab that I noticed over the few other SVT-210PRO cabs I've seen: The Ampeg plate is on the bottom right while the PRO SERIES logo is on the top left! Strange. Did someone re-locate the logos? Or was this a charateristic of a specific year? :eyebrow:

    And thanks for understanding my concern. But now that I am adding another 2x10 with the same 300watt power handling, I am now at 600watts RMS handling @ 4ohms, making my 4 Pro put out 1200watts continuous. So 300watts per speaker. That's not that bad...is it? Especially for these "pro" speakers? And no, I won't be overdriving the heck out of it.

    Anyone else own these SVT-210Pro cabs?

    Thanks again! :D

  9. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    When I use my Eden 800 the master volume is all the way up and I adjust the gain for the volume level I want. Mmmmmm Clean.
  10. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Wow, now that's a different approach from what we currently were discussing!

    Goes to show that there is more than one way to bbq a hotdog. :eek:


  11. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    for the most part if you are "Clipping" the preamp that shouldn't hurt your speakers
    as far as overpowering your current cabinets - you'll know you will hear the speakers start to "freak out" - a little experimenting should let you know about where that happens, but always listen when you are playing - especially at a gig where it's not always easy to hear when a specific unpleasant noise is YOU :eek:
    insofar as 2 2x10's having more apparent low end than a 410, that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer - a lot of time that does happen as the 210 box has more cubic feet of enlosure than 1/2 of a 410 from the same manufacturer (this happens with swr and eden cabs in particular)