1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

How can I tell if a speaker cabinet has been abused?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by monkfill, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    When I'm shopping for a speaker cabinet, what are some signals that the speakers have been overdriven or otherwise abused?

    SWR likes to use the line "speakers that have been overdriven are easily detected and not covered under warranty." How do I easily detect this?

    Basically I'm looking at an Ampeg SVT-810E 8x10 that is a floor model, and I'm wondering what I need to look for/listen for. Its in a fairly reputable store, so its not like MARS where they would let any hack come in and crank the amps, but still, you can't be too careful. . .
  2. Pretty much all you can do is play it at loud volume and let the notes die out and listen for any scratchy sounds, rattling, or metallic tinkling, or anything that doesn't sound right. Not very helpful to you, but that's all I got.

  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Make sure you can hear each individual speaker working.
  4. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    Is there anything I can visually look for if I pull the grill off?

    Obviously cracks and tears in the speakers would be bad, but anything more subtle?

    I'm sure the cabinet is fine and I'm just paranoid. . . but in my mind I'm not quite sure if "floor model" equates with "new".
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    You're not being paranoid, you're being cautious. That's smart.

    As throbbinnut said, crank it up. It's tantamount to test driving a car at 35mph when you know you'll be doing mostly 65mph driving. Better to find out in the store than on a gig.
  6. Some guys check multi-driver cabinets like this:

    Obtain a speaker cable that will 1) plug into the cab, and 2) has a dual banana on the other end. You'll also need a 9v battery.

    Touch the battery to the banana with + to positive lead of the cab. All drivers should extend outward. If one or more does not extend outward, that driver is either a) blown, b) not connected inside the cab, c) in reverse phase of the others.

    This, plus what Brad and Throbb said, should tell the tale.

    Good luck.

  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Good advice, bimp
  8. Sometimes, paper cone drivers will 'crease'. It's like taking a piece of typing paper and folding it, leaving a crease line. There will be a crease line in the cone, in a random pattern, around the dustcap. I'm not sure if this caused by moisture, or lots of use. I have a couple of cone drivers in PA cabinets that are creased, but the drivers sound and perform absolutely fine.

    However, if I were buying a cabinet, I would avoid cone creases as the cones are probably weakened along the crease line.
  9. Thanks, Brad.
  10. RichBriere

    RichBriere Guest

    Jan 1, 2003
    Upstate NY
    In your post you state that it's a "pretty reputable" store. You'll probably also get a pretty reputable warranty as Ampeg is a pretty solid company. With many mid-sized stores, something as large as an SVT is purchased on a 1 by 1 or 2 by 2 basis. In other words, they don't keep lots of them in boxes, but rather, order them in as they sell. The Bottom Line.......check as to the warranty. I think you'll be just fine. :)

    Bass-ically Yours,
  11. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    Yeah. I'm ordering a head, but they have a cabinet in stock. And it looks like they are cutting me a deal (better than some other stores in the area), so I'm thinking that if I asked him to order another 165 lb. cab when they already have one in stock, he would probably try and charge me at least for the shipping cost. Unless I can convince him, "well, you'll have to order another one anyway to replace this one." But then they probably get regular shipments from Ampeg, which would involve a lower shipping cost than a special order item.

    Basically, I think if I can make sure that it hasn't ever left the store I should be ok.

    Ampeg has a 5-year warranty I believe. The only issue is if that warranty becomes void if the cabinet is abused (which is what SWR states in their warranty).
  12. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    Plus like I said, this place isn't MARS. The guy stayed with me until he made sure that I wasn't some hack that was going to blow things up.
  13. I manage a music store, and items like that are on a 1 off basis. We dont have room or finances to carry two of everything. So long as that item has never left the store, you will have no problems, it is brand new. The likelyhood of it having been abused in the shop would be like getting struck by lightning.
  14. Marty, thanks for your words of encouragement.

    No, we consumers don't get struck by lightning.

    But yes, we do get defective merchandise, new, used, and floor model.

    Just trying to prevent a consumer and sales person/ manager from an unpleasant encounter.


  15. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    Defective merchandise can happen to anyone. Actually it seems like you'd have a better chance of getting a non-defective unit off the floor, since its probably been plugged in and tested. Whereas with a new out-of-the-box, you won't know until your special order arrives in the store. My main concern is that the cabinet hasn't been abused by some hack that doesn't know what he's doing.
  16. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    In general I agree with everything that's been suggested. If you were looking at a ported cabinet from a guy that's been using it, I'd recommend that you take a flashlight and shine it through the grille to look at the cones for creasing. The one example that I've seen had creases about a half inch or so away from the surround from speaker overexcursion. I wouldn't expect this kind of damage to occur near the dust cap.

    With a demo 8x10 in a store...just pop the grille off and look at each speaker. They're electrically in parallel in the Ampeg 8x10 so when you play through them they should all move forward at the same time.

    I would seriously doubt that the cabinet has been abused in the store...one hint might be that the windows are blown out and have been boarded up
    : - D.

    You might want to look over the tolex on the box well for damage. Tip the cabinet over on it's back and look at the bottom too. Check the seams for any signs of water damage, etc.
  17. PICK


    Jan 27, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    The same thing works with a standard 1/4" plug aswell. Touch the positive to the tip of the plug and the negative to the sleeve. The drivers should extend outwards.
  18. I would seriously doubt that the cabinet has been abused in the store...one hint might be that the windows are blown out and have been boarded up
    : - D.

    Great description!!!! I'd be absolutely amazed if anyone could get away with cranking one of those up load enough to hurt it in a store... Ive played da@# loud through some on big stages and never been able to turn one up that much!! They are brutal cabinents..great to use if you don't mind moving a refridgerator in and out of every gig......(or got somebody else to do it....)
    I wouldn't lose any sleep worrying about that box being bad... takes ALOT to damage one of those even with years of use. :D
  19. Some interesting tips there - I wouldn't have thought of some of them. I would nromally scrutinise the exterior, and 'test drive' the interior.

    Something about long term reliability - the probability of most electrical devices failing is given on the attached picture (known as the BathTub Curve - 'cos of the resemblance to the cross section of an old style bath!).

    What the graph shows (against time or lifetime) is the probablility of failure through the useful life of the product.

    So the three sections of the graph show - early lfe failure (where you get the product out of the packaging and it just doesn't work!), normal life (this is where as the product is working normally, there is a low probablility of failure), and then wear out (when the product reaches the end of it's useful life through wear and tear) - this last one is like the 'old age' and death of the product.

    On an interesting side note, when the salesmans offers you an extended warranty for fee, they are usually selling you a warranty that covers the time the product spends in the normal expected life - ie where there is a low probablility of failure. In other words, they take your money, and don't expect to ever pay out!!!! Sometimes (over here anyway) stores make more profit from selling the extended warranties, than they do on the product!
  20. Like others have said, I can't imagine anybody being able to crank up a SVT 8x10 in a music store loud enough and for a long enough period to hurt anything.