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More power handling or more speakers?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by andruca, Feb 9, 2005.


  1. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Hi everybody! I completed phase 1 of my new rig building. I changed my head for a SansAmp RBI+multiband compressor+parametric EQ+power amp (Behringer Wuropower 1500 -2x700W@2ohms/2x450W@4ohms/2x280W@8ohms-). I have currently a couple of Hartke cabs (a 4.5XL -4x10"+5"- and a 215XL -2x15"-). I like the sound, but at high volumes it gets rather dirty, with speakers farting a little on peaks. I absolutely like hi-fi tone and sometimes I need very high volume, so, in order to achieve very loud undistorted sound I was thinking of one of these two options:

    - Speakers that can handle more power and/or with more excursion (I thought of having new cabs built, same configuration, but with Eminence Kappa Pro 15LFs and Kappa Pro 10s) (is there a better choice than Kappas for bass?)
    - Adding more speakers (buy another couple of cabs just like the ones I have). In this case I wouldn't have impedance problems as my power amp can work at a minimum 2ohms.

    So, what do you think is better? Thanks so much!

    ANDRUCA
     
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    If it were me, I'd definitely nix the Hartke speakers. Those are some of the worst farty speakers I've ever heard (ie when they're pushed). Also I've seen more than one Hartke cone blow clear across the stage. The Kappa's are supposed to be pretty good. I haven't used them myself, 'cause I've found my Bag End's to be perfectly adequate. They sound great when they're pushed. One S-15 is rated at 200 watts, but I regularly pump maybe five or six hundred watts through it (with a WW Ultra or a Stewart 2.1), and it not only handles the power, and doesn't complain, but sings beautifully. Great speakers. Highly recommended. :)
     
  3. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Thanks nonsqtr!!!! Problem is Bag End is not available here in Europe. I can only get Ashdown (which I hate -they fart more than my Hartkes-), Ampegs (not my type of sound), Warwick, Peavey (I certainly like Scorpions' tone and realiability but am affraid they don't have as clean a sound as I need), H&K, Trace Elliot, GK, SWR (don't like them either), Eden (WAY expensive here) and even Avatars (through Cas @ ToneTools, but at very expensive prices due to shipping and customs costs). I think having good cabs built with Kappas is a good choice and also it's cheaper and better than almost any of the above. Any other suggestions will be welcome.

    ANDRUCA
     
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    +1 on the bag end, too bad about the availablility
    280 a side into 8 ohms should be pretty loud, so your cabs are definitely your issue.
     
  5. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    It depend on whether it's farting because his cabs are over excursing(sp?) or if his amp is clipping
     
  6. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    I think overexcursion is the reason. Normally I use masters on both the SansAmp and the power amp at 12 o'clock. Now this is the last "fart-safe" point. It's absolutely loud for almost any stage and definitely too loud for rehearsing. If I put either the SansAmp's or the power amp's master at 1 o'clock, that's when it starts farting (only the 4x10 and only on the attack phase of certain notes -I didn't go further-). I know the power amp's effort is the same en either case, but this didn't sound as amplifier clip at all. I notice now I have one more thing to try. I have compressor and EQ connected throug the effects loop of the SansAmp and particularly the EQ is boosting the signal by around 10dB (because the input meter on the EQ shows almost no signal if I leave it at 0dB). I will try to start from flat volumes (I mean, to leave volumes unchanged wether I use or bypass both the EQ and the compressor), see what happens and get back to you all tomorrow. Thanks so much!

    ANDRUCA
     
  7. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    The overexcursion is happening at some pretty low wattage. What's the rated power handling of your cabs?
     
  8. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i would also try cutting some bass as well and see how that goes.

    i belive eminence makes the bag end 15e speaker these days. i'm sure they can't sell you one, but they might be able to give you ideas re: a fifteen that has similar power handling specs, sensitivity, etc. That and a look at bgavin's spreadsheet and other cab building info might point you in the right direction. One of the reasons i liek the BE so much is that it seems to be able to handle a lot more power than it's rated for.
     
  9. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Yeah I was throwing 1100 watts into my EA 210's that where rated at 500 watts. I could run the amp into clipping and the speakers never overexcursed.
    same with my Bergantino NV215. I'm running 1600 watts into that one and it can take it all
     
  10. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yeah, there's something awesome in the sound of a speaker that's operating right at the hairy edge of extinction. :D
     
  11. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I have only tried the NV215 in a store, but with my two VL-210's, I routinely feed them 3,000 watts between the pair, and they love it. They sound better and better the harder you drive them. Conversely, many speakers do get stressed when you drive them too hard. My Mesa Boogie 4x10 is a very clean sounding 4x10, and it can handle a respectable amount of power, but if I try to feed it the same 3,000 watts, I could easily destroy it.

    ANDRUCA:

    Can't you also get EA cabs in Europe? How about Hevos? I have a Hevos Midget, and I am simply amazed at how much power than 1x10 can handle, and how good it sounds.

    Tom.
     
  12. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    One item at a time:

    Rick:
    My cabs rate 400W both. The 4x10" (the one that farts) is 8ohms and the 2x15" is 4ohms. The Europower 1500 has a low cut switch (at a 50Hz center frequency) which I have engaged for channel 1 (the one that drives the 4x10").

    IvanMike:
    As I said I use the power amp's low cut (very noticieable), but I tried to cut more lows from the SansAmp's EQ and it stops farting, but lowering the lows means also less power so it is still difficult to find where the distortion is comming from.

    tombowlus:
    I could not find any store (even on-line or a shop) that has EA here in Europe. And regarding Hevos... 450€ for a 1x10" cabinet!?!?!?!? Check it out, you'll be surprised! http://www.hevos.nl Same case with EBS here. No one can afford them because they're sickly overpriced! I think I'll sell my cabs and stick to my original idea of having 4x10 and 2x15 cabs built (I can get all the Kappa Pros I need for 800€).

    ANDRUCA
     

  13. The upshot of this is that you don't actually feed those cabs 1500W each. If you actually put that much power into them you'd melt the voice coils in about 30 seconds. There is a huge difference between powering a 500W rated cab with an amp rated@1500W and actually putting 1500W into the cab. The thing is that because music is dynamic, the amount of power going to the speakers is always changing. More on peaks, less on rests and lulls. The average power going to the speakers even when you're hitting the amp's clip lights on peaks is some small fraction of the amp's rated power. On the order of 1/8 of the full power. This is why you can power a cab with an amp rated for more power than the cab.


    Andruca: Are you seeing the clip lights on the amp when you're hearing the farting?
     
  14. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Good point, Mark. Perhaps my wording was poorly chosen. I agree 100%. But, the distinction remains that with some cabs (and the VL-210's moreso than any other cab I have tried) you can "overpower" to great results, while other cabs under the same circumstances might not be able to safely handle the amount of power being used. So, caution is to be used in any such "experiment."
     
  15. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    No, they don't light at all. And I know they work 'cause they check when you turn the unit on. So back to the speaker route! I've been playing around with WinISD, calculating on the basis of a 180 liter cab (similar to Avatars). I calculated for a 4x10 cab and for a 1x15 (eventually I'll have two of these) and found nice response curves tuning the 4x10 at 52.5Hz (almost exactly the same as my Hartke 4x10's tuning freq.) and the 1x15 at 41.5Hz (a little lower than my Hartke 2x15). Anything else I should consider when using WinISD? Thanks!

    ANDRUCA

    P/D: I don't know what bgavin's spreadsheet is about but I'm downloading it right now!
     
  16. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    How did you go about figuring out what the tuning frequency of the Hartke cabs were? I didn't think they published that information . . . only the frequency RANGE . . .
     

  17. Yup, no clip lights indicates that it is indeed a speaker issue.
     
  18. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    One more question. Should I consider a seled cabinet? Advantages and disadvantages? Thanks again!

    ANDRUCA
     

  19. Yep.. How the cab is tuned and the excursion limits of the drivers are generally the factors that dictate this. You can exceed the excursion of lots of cabs with way less than rated power. This is not reflected in the power handling numbers. Properly designed cabinets work better. :D
     

  20. There are advantages and disadvantages of sealed boxes (like any box). The advantages are that they exhibit a slower rolloff of low frequencies than a ported box, they don't exhibit the group delay you get with ported boxes and they don't unload below a certain frequency like ported boxes do below the box tuning frequency. The impedance curve is also flatter. The disadvantages are that they are less sensitive than ported boxes and they begin to roll off at higher frequencies than ported boxes with the same physical volume.

    Personally, I like sealed boxes. They're tight and punchy, great with tube amps. Easier to design than ported boxes too.