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Underpowering? Is there such a thing?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Trevorus, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I read a lot of people here talking about "underpowering" being bad for speakers. Is there really such a thing. Underpowering is really just like having the volume down on a more powerful amp. How is that going to damage speakers?I can understand when you have to run a small amp full out that the distortion might hurt the speakers, but if you don't overdrive a small amp, then is that going to hurt anything? Say if I run a 300 watt speaker with a 100 watt amp... If I only ever turn the amp halfway up and never overdrive it, will I damage the speaker? I am usually pretty good with this electronic stuff, but has anyone really hurt a speaker by underpowering?
  2. You seem to have a pretty good handle on it.

    An amp half as powerful running full out and distorting will be worse for speakers than twice the amp running at half volume.

    If you never overdrive your amp you won't have anything to worry about.
  3. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    No such thing. Period. End of story, end of thread.

    I recommend a search but be aware that there are more people on this board talking about the issue that dont know what they are talking about then there are people who are truly knowledgable. Take what you read with a grain of salt.

    Once again... no such thing.
  4. If you do a search under "underpowering", you can find a couple of threads.
  5. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Underpowering is certainly a misnomer. It is possible to damage a speaker with a low power amp the same as it is possible to damage one with a high power amp. I am not talking 100W into a 1000W speaker here, but something more around 1000W where it is basically throwing square waves into the speaker from being driven so hard.

  6. rossco

    rossco Unregistered

    Mar 8, 2003
    Ok.....we've heard all sides of this one now....

    Truth is that 'underpowering' and 'overpowering' are the same thing......that being in both scenarios it's caused by pushing the amp too hard......'overpowering' is caused by pushing too much power through a driver, whilst 'underpowering' is caused by making the amp work too hard........it's not caused by using a 250w head to push 50w through a 1200w stack.....pushing 1w through a 1200w stack wont damage the stack.....I've heard some real b#llsh#t about 'underpowering' drivers......likewise it wont damage the amp......pushing the amp so hard it clips 'may' damage your stack but that will happen whether you use a 250w head and a 1200w stack or a 1000w head and a 100w stack.......truth is that number 11 doesn't need to exist on the gain control unless you choose.......if you feel the need to push your rig so far then your whole rig is wrong for you and you need to rethink what it is you want and what it is you've got....

    At RCC we always take a lot of time to get the 'want' and 'need' factors sorted before we even start on the design.

    nuff said

  7. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    thank you. I have done a search or two. You are right, there are more people that don't quite know whats going on that are talking about this. It's just the way people talked about it, it was never clear. Well, it is as I thought.
    So, final summation:

    Underpowering = Pushing amp too hard. Signal becomes square, speakers suffer, so does amp.

    Overpowering = Pushing speakers too hard. Signal amplitude is huge, speakers suffer, amp is loud.

    Thank you for helping me put the confusion to rest.
  8. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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