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Tweeters + Overdrive = DEATH?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ishouldbeking, Oct 1, 2008.


  1. ishouldbeking

    ishouldbeking

    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    This was an add-on question i posted in another thread of mine, but i didn't get an answer... so the question reappears here with its very own thread.

    I normally play through a sealed tweeter-less 610, and my main tone is a gritty slightly overdriven rock / indie pop sound, but I kick in an OD pedal for some heavily overdriven lead tones at times. My question arises because I'm looking into getting a smaller setup for some of our smaller shows, possibly a 115, or a 210 stacked with something, or a schroeder 1210, or a slew of other combinations... basically, i'm looking at a lot of little cabs... and almost all of them have tweeters.

    If I'm aiming for the same basic sound I have now, i assume the tweeter will sound like crap if i leave it turned up, due to the overdrive. But if i'm running a lot of power into a small cab, is it safe to just turn the L-pad or attenuator down? Doesn't this generate dangerous levels of heat? If so, what's the solution?
     
  2. Guest043

    Guest043 Guest

    Apr 8, 2008
    L-pads and tweeters have been bad news in my experience..

    out of the mix, youll probobly hate the sound. in the mix you might just cut through a bit more..

    id suggest EQing out the highs before turning the L bad all the way down (a combo of both wont hurt, either)
     
  3. cbass717

    cbass717

    Jun 30, 2008
    my amp has a tweeter in it. when i kick in OD it sounds like ass
     
  4. ishouldbeking

    ishouldbeking

    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    I guess I'm asking if it's safe to just turn down the tweeter when you're running a lot of juice into a small-ish cabinet?

    I don't want to remove the treble from my tone, so EQ'ing out the high end isn't gonna work. Why every cab doesn't have a tweeter bypass option, I'll never know.
     
  5. BeauZooka

    BeauZooka

    Oct 2, 2007
    Seattle USA
    I am of the opinion that tweeters in a bass cab are a bad idea. Even more so with distortion.
    Re-wire the cab to remove the tweeter from the circuit.
     
  6. ishouldbeking

    ishouldbeking

    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    I'm surprised no one wants to offer an in-depth physics explanation as to why or why not it is (or isn't) okay to crank an L-pad all the way down. I've seen this come up a ton of times in passing, but I haven't found a thread that offers any definitive answers. I'd love it if someone could provide one....
     
  7. KPAX

    KPAX Banned

    Mar 22, 2005
    I think distortion + tweeter = BAD is a MYTH
    I've heard it sound good.
    I have a DVD of early Tool (JC Dobbs Club, Philly '92) where Paul D'Amore has a grindy somewhat distorted sound and is obviously using the tweeters in his SWR cabs - it sounds AWESOME.

     
  8. BeauZooka

    BeauZooka

    Oct 2, 2007
    Seattle USA
    The house sound at that gig may have D.I.ed or they could have been micing just the speakers and not the tweeters. What you hear on the DVD may have nothing to do with tweeters at all.
     
  9. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Just my 2 cents here.

    I play through a 4x10 with a tweeter and I use OD all the time, it sounds great, but maybe thats because of the size of the cab? Cant say for sure, I havent played through a smaller cab in years.
     
  10. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    LPads work by burning off power, literally, which creates heat. Enough heat will burn out the LPad, and the most heat is created when they are turned all the way off. The problem is fixed by using an LPad with a high enough rating to withstand the heat created when turned all the way down, and by using a higher order crossover on the tweeter, but both those fixes raise the cost of the cab. To complicate matters the reason why you have to turn the LPad down is that distortion greatly increases the power level in the high frequencies, and that greatly increased power also exacerbates the potential to overheat the LPad when you turn it down to compensate for that added high frequency power.
     
  11. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Ohio
    It is fairly simple to install a DPDT toggle switch to completely bypass a tweeter/L-pad, if you can solder. It can also be done in a certain way to completely bypass the tweeter/L-pad and the cab's crossover--this would allow just a straight path to the woofer(s). As another option, you can install a 1/4" switching jack with your normal full-range jack. The switching jack can be wired to only use the woofer(s) when something is plugged into it. This modification would also allow the tweeter to be accessed by itself on the normal jack.
     
  12. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    If the high pass filter is 2nd order removing the load can present a dead short to the amp at the filter corner frequency. In that case the disconnect must take place pre-filter. This mod falls into the category of if you don't really know what you're doing leave it alone. And a SPST switch is all that's required.
     
  13. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Ohio
    I should've elaborated. You would want the switch pre-crossover. Otherwise, you'd only get a low-pass filtered tone (assume 1st order) from the woofer(s).
     
  14. KPAX

    KPAX Banned

    Mar 22, 2005
    Have you seen the bootleg I'm talking about?
    a. It's a small club - I mean small. I just googled JC Dobbs Philadelphia - max occupancy 81! This show was 1992 (after Opiate, before Undertow was released).
    b. The camcorder is right up at the front of the stage - you're hearing stage volume.
    c. The bass cabs are pointing RIGHT AT the camera.
    d. The stage volume is LOUD - and the bass is the loudest (a very good indication you're hearing stage volume). The drums are not as loud (another indication). Adam Jones is playing thru his old Marshall plexi which is oviously CRANKED (plexis don't have stacked gain channels - they only sound that way cranked). Stage volume.
    e. Tool is the opening act and there's not many people there - the first song is the sound check.
    f. You can hear the tweeters. Ever played thru SWR cabs? It sounds like SWR cabs with tweeters on.
    Just watch and listen to it. If you're a gigging loud rock player you'll know.

     
  15. andrew

    andrew Supporting Member

    May 20, 2000
    Vancouver BC/Pacific Northwest
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Spector, Regenerate Guitar Works, Tech 21 NYC
    I prefer the sound of tweeterless cabs for distortion too. I will say that I think the tweeter in my GS412 does handle distortion well, but given how much I like the AGRO, I really hope Aguilar makes a new tweeterless cab larger than their new-ish 115.

    I'm guessing your sealed tweeterless 610 is a Bergie NV610, which is a killer cab for handling overdrive. I don't know of any cabs smaller than it with the same tone, hopefully someone here chimes in with some suggestions. I also spoke with Jim Bergantino about doing smaller (or bigger) NV series cabs, and it doesn't seem like either will happen.

    If weight isn't an issue I think the EV loaded old Mesa 1x15 Diesel cabs sound great, and you can find tweeterless versions of those.
     
  16. BeauZooka

    BeauZooka

    Oct 2, 2007
    Seattle USA
    I stand corrected as to the DVD sound.
    I used to own a SWR Triad cab.
     
  17. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie

    Mar 24, 2006
    NoVA
    What if...you unplug the wires from the horn itself, and leave the L-pad in whatever position...that way the signal goes to a dead end (open circuit) rather than a tweeter or the bypass network in the crossover? I mean if he uses a tweeterless cab in the first place, he wouldn't miss it, right?

    Now, I'm not saying I know ANYTHING about tweeters or crossovers, just asking what if...(zipping up my flame suit tightly)
     
  18. I've blown tweeters w/ an overdriven sound twice. That is only b/c I forgot to turn them off- I loathe the darn things, overdriven or not!
     
  19. thejohnkim

    thejohnkim

    Sep 30, 2003
    NYC
    i never had a problem using overdrive through my cabs with tweeters. you need to buy cabs that have good quality tweeters that sound smooth. not the cheap $5 parts that you find in typical cabs. even so, my overdrive pedals usually have enough tone controls for me to dial in a sound that is nice and smooth without the harshness. (FT Bassdrive, Tech21 BDDI, MXR M80, Tube King TK999HT, Polish Love, many tube preamps, etc...)
     
  20. ishouldbeking

    ishouldbeking

    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    My cab is actually a custom LDS sealed 610, but part of my inspiration was the NV610... 'cept my custom was a whole lot cheaper (and weighs 20 lbs more, alas, there's always a tradeoff).

    On cabs that have an on/off switch for the tweeter (such as Ashdown cabs, and a few others I believe), does using the switch to turn off the tweeter generate the heat the way an L-pad does? And if not, why don't more cabs come with a switch like this? Seems like common sense that a lot of rock players would want to turn the thing off...
     

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