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How much can you safely push a solid state amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by danielfnj96, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. danielfnj96


    Jan 29, 2012
    NJ, USA
    So recently i found that if i turn up my pre-amp enough, set my bass's volume to ten, and turn down the output volume i get a fuzzy overdrive from my amp clipping out, but what i want to know is how far can i push it. From what ive heard its generaly safe to overdrive your amp by turning up the pre-amp, but what if i put a line booster into the equasion to get some more gain? Do you think it would cause any damage or blow the amp? Also has anyone ever fried out their amp and how? Any feedback would be appreciated.
  2. ThisBass


    Aug 29, 2012
    Probably your amp runs into protecting mode if it is hard pushed to its rated rms power all along the line. That's due to the huge amount of heating losses at rated (rms=root mean square) output power.

    May be you will kill your cabs earlier, that means before your amp runs into heat protecting mode, but I don't know anything about your cabs rms power handling.

    But if the heating protecting system of your amp is like a lame duck then yes it is possible to grill the power stage.
    But I don't know the heating protecting architecture of your amp, so what, every amp is different.
  3. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I'm not aware of anyone destroying their gear with a distortion pedal, which amounts to the same thing, i.e., overdriving the pre-amp gain stages. As long as you effectively manage the gain structure of the entire system (Google gain staging), you should have no problems.

    The biggest risk is likely to be that a highly distorted signal may make it more difficult to hear whether your speakers are in distress, which I find much easier to hear using a clean signal than a dirty signal.

  4. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    +1 it's the spkrs that are at much greater risk.
  5. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Heads with built-in pre-amps can handle the channel at "10" and the master at any level.

    Same for driving power amps, from a pre-amp. Turn down the attenuator on the power amp. There's no enough power at pre-amp levels to cause destruction.

    But as soon as you turn up the master - your distortion may vanish.
    You'll have a lot more control over your sound, and distortion, by using signal processing that introduces it at any level. Usually called a fuzz box. Many heads have built in distortion controls.
  6. My caution is using a actual signal booster. If you exceed the input voltage you can very well damage an amp head, SS or Tube. Case in point there used to be a booster called LPB-1, guitarist chained two of those together into a pre-CBS Fender Twin Reverb and did extensive damage.
  7. Razman


    Feb 10, 2005
    Orange Park, FL
    Sounds like you have all the gain you need - a distortion pedal puts that sound in a unit that was meant to produce it, and not the initial preamp gain stage of your amp (which you would run clean, and let the DS pedal do all the work).

    That being said, what amp do you have? I can clip the input to my 800rb because my bass runs pretty hot but I'd rather not do that as I prefer my amp to run clean (and use a pedal or the boost adjustment to get some grind).