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Underpowering Cabinet Question?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Frankenwill, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. I currently have an orange Terror Bass 500 head and an orange sp410 isobaric cabinet as well as an ampeg 8x10 cabinet. I've started to notice that playing at the loud volumes I'd like to be, the head begins to distort at relatively medium settings (volume and gain at 11 oclock) and begins to sound really "farty" for lack of a better term. Is this because the amp only pushes 500 watts and the cabinets are rated for 1200 watts (orange sp410) and 800 watts RMS (Ampeg 8x10)? Would upgrading the head to a TB1000 help out, or is the problem elsewhere? Any other head reccomendations to get more low end and general volume? I don't feel like this should be a problem, but it is. Thanks!
  2. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Underpowering is a myth. Read the FAQ at the top of the forum
  3. It sounds like you're overpowering the cab(s).

    Ignore the wattage, that is pretty meaningless as a cab is rated at X watts at 1khz which doesn't require much speaker cone movement to reproduce (maybe less than 1mm).

    With low frequencies, like the low E on your bass, the cab will take much less, depending on the speakers in the cab, as the cones have to move a lot further, and will eventually reach their effective limit.

    You can help this by backing off on any bass eq you may have added. Try boosting low mids instead - this can give a good punchy effect without farting the speakers out.


  4. To me, it seems like I'm overpowering the head. It sounds like a really awful overpowered tube distortion, but I'm not running the head at really extreme settings. It's confusing.
  5. Also, a gentleman at the local music store warned me that if I cranked the volume or gain or both past 12 oclock, I risked damaging the drivers in the cabinet as well as the head itself....Not sure if this is accurate, but it's got me paranoid. So even if I get a decent tone and less "farty" sound I worry that I am pushing it too much.
  6. 'Farting' is a term most people use to describe speakers that are being driven too hard with a low frequency signal, like that from a bass geetar.

    I'm no expert here, but I think that if there was a problem with the amp it wouldn't necessarily show up when the volume was cranked - it would more likely sound crap all the time, IME of broken amps.....

    If it sounds ok if you back the volume/bass eq off a tad, I would bet that it is the speakers.

    How loud have you got that thing!!!

  7. That's just it, it's loud, but not REALLY loud. My band plays lighter acoustic folk rock, and I have a tough time cutting through the mix, filling in the low end without cranking it. I'm only competing with drums, an acoustic guitar, and an electric guitar. The guitars are playing through small vox combo 2x12 for electric, and an old fender tweed 1x12 tube amp. The drums aren't miced for practice. Seems like my big daddy rig should shake the house down in comparison to theirs. I'm beginning to think it may be a low output problem from my actual bass.... 1980 rickenbacker 4003. Perhaps a good setup, wiring/pickup checkup or repair is in order?
  8. Haha, yes! i would think that a TT on top of an 8x10 should be able to cope with that!

    Have you tried it with another bass?
  9. Sounds like the amp is running out of power to me. What's your EQ look like?
  10. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    For maximum clean output turn the volume all the way up, turn up the gain only as much as required. The single 8x10 should be all you need, BTW. For that matter I'd think the 410 alone would be enough considering what you're competing with.
  11. Eq is about 10 oclock for treble, 2 oclock for mids and 12 oclock for bass. Maybe I will try backing off the gain and cranking the volume more. The guy at the music store just had me scared to really push this amp thinking I would either damage my cabinet, head, or both.
  12. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    And you wonder why there's no low end? :confused:
  13. Bass is not boosted or cut, but if I start to boost, the nasty "farty" sounds starts quicker as I increase the volume.
  14. Also, their isn't a whole lot of noticeable difference in low end to be honest as I boost the bass on the eq.
  15. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    That indicates either the pre-amp or power amp or speaker is out of headroom. I suspect it's from having your master volume way too low, as even the 810 alone should be massively loud powered with 500 watts.

    BTW, how are you able to run both cabs when that amp is only rated for 4 ohm operation?
  16. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Wow, a 4x10 and an 8x10 and you're not cutting through? Maybe it's the acoustics of the room you're in or is this everywhere y'all play? If your band is not a loud band, I don't understand how you can't be heard. I run 2 GK Neo112's and we can get pretty loud at times but I'm nowhere near the loudest I can get and quite often get told to turn it down.

    Wondering if that amp has a tube and it can do overdrive/grit? As mentioned above....with the gain higher than the volume...maybe this is what's happening.
  17. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
  18. JHAz


    Jun 29, 2011
    The BassGearMag review of the Orange 500 shows quite a bit of bass boost with the control at noon. To make the amp "optimally flat" they turned the bass and treble both to fullest CUT position, and mid to fullest boost (!)

    At ay rate, OP, you can't make speakers distort by not giving them enough power, or they'd distort like mad whenver you play quietly. You could try a bit of bass cut to see if that cleans things up.
  19. The biggie I see is the Isobaric 4x10. It has four ten inch drivers but will only get as loud as a standard 2x10. The other two drivers just compensate for a smaller cabinet volume.
  20. I use either the sp410 OR the Ampeg 8x10 not both simultaneously. The SP410 is 8Ohm and the Ampeg is 4 Ohm when ran mono. The terror bass has a switch to run either 8 or 4 ohm. I suspect the acoustics of the room do have a lot to do with it. We recently have changed practice space, and the issue is ten fold at the new space.

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