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Question about clipping...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by GeorgiaHonk, Sep 1, 2004.

  1. ...how can an amp that produces 300 watts damage speakers which are rated at 1000 watts? To wit:

    My amp has a speaker protection circuit that identifies when the amp is about to begin clipping, allowing me to lower the gain and/or volume and prevent damage to my speakers. My cab is rated at 1000 watts, yet occasionally the LED on my speaker protection circuit indicates that the amp is clipping and could damage the speakers. Am I really in danger of damaging these speakers? Is there anything in this "proctection" circuit that takes into account the power rating of the speakers?

    Thanks in advance
  2. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    The speaker protection led on your amp knows nothing of what speaker you are using. You could damage the speakers if your amp is clipping hard for a good length of time. What happens is when amps clip they can put out much more power then they are rated for. If your 300 watt amp is clipping hard it can put out a lot more then 300 watts.
  3. Eldermike


    Jul 27, 2004
    A speaker is damaged by exceeding it's power rating. Short burst of power will not overheat a speaker but it can over extend it (bottom it out). A 300 watt amp not clipping makes perfect sign waves, these waves produce an average power depending on frequency, the lower the frequency the higher the average power produced. Clipping means cutting the tops off the sign waves making them flat or more like square waves. Square waves produce more average power, again it's dependant on the frequency, lowest frequency = highest power.

    So, it's possible but not likely that a 300 watt amp making very flat square waves would make enough power in very low frequency to damage a 1000 watt speaker. However, the mostly likely outcome is just bad sound. There is no replacement for head room in an amp. When you run an amp right at it's clipping point you have zero head room and no dynamics left in the sound.