Goliath III distorting at only 240 watts

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Pycine, Jan 24, 2003.

  1. Pycine


    Jan 11, 2003
    Im running a Hartke 3500 (240 watts at 8Ohms) into am SWR Goliath III 8 ohm cab. The Goliath III is supposed to take up to 700 watts, but i can't turn my amp up much past half-way without getting distortion. My buddy said that I may just need to replace the preamp tube in the Hartke, but the sound also seemed distorted when I had the SS/Tube blend all the way on SS. Does anyone out there have any idea what's going on here?
  2. slonlo420


    Sep 20, 2002
    Washington, DC
    The most likely cause of distortion is the fact that you have a cab that wants 700 watts to operate and you're only giving it 240 watts. That's how speakers get blown. Underpowered = square wave = clip = might as well plug the speaker straight into the wall. I'd recommend not using that head with that cab. Give the Goliath III at least 500 watts and more if you're going to push it hard. Ideally that cab should get 700-1200 watts to run nice and clean.
  3. bassmanjones


    Feb 23, 2002
    Boston, MA
    Unless you're operating your amp properly and one of your drivers is actually blown, there's nothing wrong with your cab. Yes, it can handle 700 watts. That doesn't mean you can turn your amp up all the way just because it's 240 watts max.

    To put it basically (because this stuff can get complex when you get into the whole scientific explanation) when you turn your amp up to a certain point it starts to distort, or 'clip'. When it clips, it sends a nasty distorted signal to the cab and it sounds like distortion coming out of your cabinet even though the cause is actually your head. This happens with any SS amp (tube amps clip but sound different to a point, no reason to explain that now) when you push it to its very limit. They just won't do it cleanly.

    So...turn down the volume on your Hartke until it stops distorting. Hear it now? That's the maximum volume you can play it without damaging your cab. If you need more volume you need a more powerful amp, period.
  4. Distortion doesn't hurt speakers; overheating from too much power and unloaded frequencies hurts speakers. Even if the Hartke were to send out a complete square wave (200% output, 100% distortion, total CRAP sound and virtually impossible for the amp to sustain without overheating) the power would only be 480 watts, well under the 700 watt rating of the Goliath II.

    Given that would generate some nasty ultrasonic harmonics which would heat the voice coils without moving them, sustained use could deform their shape and cause rubbing, BUT that is by far the absolute worst case scenario. I doubt the amp has even damaged the speakers at all unless it has a faulty output.

    Pycine, you don't need a new tube; you need a more powerful amp. It's also possible that your Hartke is malfunctioning. You might want to get it checked out by a tech.