Using cabinets rated for less than the amp...have you done it? Dangerous?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jfh2424, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. Hello, I have two Eden 210 XLT cabs rated at 350 watts 8 ohms. I am looking for a new head for them.

    My understanding is that together they can take 700 watts at 4ohms.

    I am looking at a head that delivers 900 watts into 4 ohms. Would this be a bad idea? Should I get something that really just delivers the perfect amount of watts for my cabs?

    Have some of you gone over the wattage allowed for your cabs? If so, what happened?

    Thanks for your input!
  2. This is just MY opinion and there are others in tb that will disagree , but for what it's worth , here goes. I run speakers that are rated for higher power than my amps. That being said , even doing that I am sure I could blow my speakers if I eq'd the amp with really high low end response and high volumes. I have seen posts in here that state (and I agree) "use your ears." If it sounds like it's gonna hurt the speakers , it probably is. This holds true for just about any power configuration. Running a higher power amp than speakers from what I have been told should not be a problem if you don't get crazy with the eq and volume levels. I hope some with differing opinions will chime in and help broaden your (and my) understanding of this. Just my 2 cents.
  3. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    I am me
    I have an amp that is rated at 500w at 8ohms, and 800w at 4ohms. My cab is rated at 400w/8ohms. I've been using it almost exclusively with this single cab for a couple of years now with no problem. I don't get crazy loud with it though. If I use it as part of a shared backline, I'll take an extra speaker.
  4. It's like having a car with too much horsepower. If you hit full throttle you will probably go out of control and wreck the car. If, however, you only hit the throttle to the limit (or slightly less) of the capability of the chassis, then you will have a beautiful experience.

    The danger is when someone else takes your rig for a ride and doesn't know what they are doing.
  5. SickAura

    SickAura Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2013

    I am doing the exact same thing

    Also read somewhere that in the movie theatre sound business they fully believe in having amps more powerful than what the speakers are rated for. The theory being an under-powered speaker might not be operating at its full range of potential. I could be dead-wrong on this but if I read it online it must be true :)
  6. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    A couple of things to know. 1) an amp rated @ 500 watts at 4 ohms can actually generate almost 1000 watts when pushed hard, and 2) a cab rated @ 500 watts may actually "fart out" at closer to 250 watts.
    Conclusion- pay LESS attention to "ratings", and more attention to the eq on your amp, and the actual sound your cabs are making. A spkr will cry out when pushed beyond it's mechanical limits, (ratings are thermal limits). There is no magical perfect pairing re: the wattage ratings of any gear, just good common sense, understanding the actual limitations of the specific gear in use.
  7. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    if you use your ears, you should be fine. if your speakers start sounding crappy (farting, distorting, etc), you are too loud. turn down. you're hurting your speakers. otherwise, you'll be fine.

    IME 700 watts is already overkill (in a good way :)). i doubt you'll run into problems with this.
  8. stonewall


    Jun 14, 2010
    I had a Traynor Dyna Bass 800h ..600 watts @ 8ohms 800 watts @ 4ohms.I many times ran my 300 watt @ 8 ohms cab with that head with no problems it actually had a sweet low volume punchy sound.The reason for running that cab was smaller rooms i didnt need huge sound.Of course when i required big sound i brought the big 600 watt @ 80hms my opinion go with more power than less you will always have spare.
  9. /\

    I will also add - "Underpowering" is a myth
  10. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    There are many ways to blow up a speaker cab. I tend to go the other way but many have successful used higher wattage amps.
  11. Just a word of thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread. As you can see, I'm not super knowledgeable about amps and this thread helped me a lot.

    Thanks again!
  12. I drive cabs with bigger amps more often than the other way around. An idiot can blow cabs either way.
  13. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    I've often done it with no ill effects.

    As others have said, use your ears. Back off the volume immediately if you hear the speakers distort. That's pretty easy to detect if your tone is clean, normally.

    Another thing is to be sparing with bass boost, either on the instrument or the amp. Jacking the bass EQ can add a lot of watts in the sub region, which will seriously tax the speakers. (The response curve of the amp matters here; some roll off below 35 Hz or so, which lessens the risk.)

    Added: I was commenting on a pairing in which the amp is rated at a modest amount over the speakers, as in the thread starter post. As for pushing a 100 watt cab with a 500 watt head...I wouldn't do it, no.
  14. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    You just have to know what you're doing.
    It's like pushing a 1000 HP car in a 25 zone.
    If you know what's on tap, and what the limits are, you know to be careful.

    I ran a 1000W amp into a 300W head with no issues.
    I never ran the amp over '2'. It was enough.
    And the amp was very, very clean running at a minor fraction of its rated output.

    _Something_ is always going to be the weakest link.

    The basis for the 'underpowering' myth is that if you turn a little amp up beyond its reasonable THD range, you can overpower a speaker with undesirable and unexpected power. So don't do that.