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Overdrive/Fuzz vs. Clipping and speaker damage

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by russpurdy, Oct 8, 2013.


  1. russpurdy

    russpurdy

    Apr 16, 2013
    So coming from guitar I'm used to cranking a tube amp to get breakup from my preamp, power amp, and occasionally even some speaker breakup. It's a common practice and hasn't done any major harm. I have been reading, however, that bass amp clipping can cause serious spikes that can damage speakers. I would like to use some fuzz and overdrive pedals with my bass amp and am concerned that it could cause speaker damage. Will fuzz effects have the same effect as amp clipping from a cranked bass amp? What should I listen for to keep my rig safe when using effects? The stuff ill be using is...

    Build in tube preamp drive on my yorkville head
    Blackout effectors blunderbuss fuzz
    Big muff pi

    Thanks
     
  2. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    No. A clipped waveform does not damage loudspeakers.

    Too much power does (thermal damage), and so does too much cone movement (overexcursion, or bottoming out), whether waveforms are clean or distorted.
     
  3. russpurdy

    russpurdy

    Apr 16, 2013
    Will a clipped signal from my big muff cause more/too much cone movement at similar levels as a clean signal?
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Usually not, although if you turn up really loud but clean, it's possible, especially if your fuzz tone has a lot of low end. But I use a fuzz pedal at clean volumes and don't have any trouble. Common sense is your friend in these situations.
     
  5. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    It's not likely unless you also boost the lows a lot.
     
  6. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    +1

    If it sounds like you're hurting it, you probably are.
     
  7. The problem when running distortion pedals is you may not be able to tell the pedal sound from speakers frying until it's too late.
     

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