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How hard can you push a cab? (wattage question)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rockstarbassist, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Say a cab (like mine) is rated for 850 watts @ 4 ohms. What's a safe bet to max out through that cabinet, especially if it's one of quality design (like my Schroeder! :D). Since I only need this one cabinet right now, I'm thinking of just getting a smaller poweramp and bridging it to get more volume into my single 1210. If that'd be feasible, I'd love to get a Stewart 1.2 or something.

    How much can you push it before you need to cut back a little bit?
  2. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    that's a loaded question.

    you can use as many watts as you want with it, but you have to be careful. lots of us here use more watts than our cabs are rated for in order to have headroom. (if you're using some headroom, with a 1000 watt amp, you aren't always putting a full 1000 watts into the speakers. you might be putting 125 watts into them, with occasional bursts of 500 watts)

    the best suggestion i can make is to experiment with the amp and cabinet and see at what point it begins to break up (do this very carefully and gradually) then you'll have an idea of where the "safe zone" is as far as turning up the volume with the cab

    anothet thing to do would be to contact your cab maker and see what they reccomend.
  3. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    As all of you are surely tired of hearing about by now, I regularly run a bridged PLX3002 into either one or two Eden 112XLT cabs. Once, just for a goof, I plugged the PLX into a single Eden CX110 cab. I cranked it up until the red LED was flashing and wailed on it for a couple of hours. I nailed that little 1x10 cabinet with everything from the Jimi Hendrix "Cry of Love" album to ZZ Top's "Greatest Hits". That little speaker wouldn't blow up and it is still going strong today.
  4. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Basically, the wattage rating of a speaker refers to its thermal capacity. That doesn't have much to do with how many watts it can take in bass guitar applications, where mechanical limits are easiest to exceed, and your particular bass+amp+EQ represents a unique and complex signal
  5. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    To complicate it further, the Schroeder 1210 has, from memory, one 500w speaker and one 350W speaker. Add them together to get 850watts right? Can't blame Jorg for doing this because that's what all the other speaker manufacturers do. But it's technically not correct. At 850 watts, each speaker gets 425 watts. The 10" is rated for 350w so it could potentially be a problem in certain circumstances.

    On paper, I'd limit the power on that cab to 700w. Each speaker gets 350w and the 10 isn't likely to be overloaded. But that's on paper. In the real world, anything goes. I've played through 450w cabs that struggled to take 400W. I've also played through 150W speakers that take 400w all day without problems. The trick is to listen for any signs of the speaker complaining, then back off a little.
  6. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    How hard can I push a cab? Well, lets see...
    If I weigh 171lbs, and I simply put all my weight into a horizontal force on the cab, then I can push it at about 1675.8 Newtons. Now, I can bench press about 150lbs, so if I push on it, plus my weight, I can push them at about 3145.8 newtons.
    :rollno: sometimes I hate being a physics student...

  7. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    So would 1200W bridged probably be too much for it then? I"m just trying to save on some money here for something I may not need just yet.
  8. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    If you're going to be buying a poweramp, buy the biggest one ya can afford. Even if it's rated a XXXX wattage at X ohms, doesn't mean that when you turn it on you're pushing that much out. Just don't be stupid with the volume, EQ and gain controls and you'll be fine.
    Hope this helps,

  9. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Good advice here. I splurged when I bought my used QSC PLX 3002, and I usually only have the power amp gain get at just about half and my preamp at about 9:00 o'clock, but when I need the juice for clean power - example on the rare large outdoor stage/festival, I have it in reserves and I'm prepared for ANY occassion. Great feeling, worth an extra hunred bucks or two.

    Find out what you can afford, and try to push it to a little more, you'll be glad you did down the road.
  10. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF

    So I could even drive my power amp at about 65% without exceeding the maximum power rating, and I doubt I'd need much over that for many venues.

    This pleases me. :)

    Thanks all!
  11. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Well, it doesn't work quite like that. That is, having your power amp's controls at 65% does *not* guarantee that you won't hit full power. You can still drive your amp to full power (or even beyond) with that setting if you hit it with a hot enough signal. There's another thread somewhere around here where Bob Lee explains this.