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When do you "daisy chain"?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jammin' Jimmy, Jun 7, 2001.

  1. Jammin' Jimmy

    Jammin' Jimmy

    Jun 6, 2001
    im new at this whole stack thing, im just learning what to daisy chain something is, but im not sure when to do it and for what to do it with. please give me some answers. thanks:)
  2. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Well, here's what daisy chaining is from a sound guy's point of view, which should be the same for a bassist. (I'm a bassist, I just have a combo anp and don't deal with this stuff ;) ) Anywho, if you take the cable and run from an amp to a cab, you have a working system, yes? Now you have two choices for the second cab, (if you have one that is) you can either run it using the OTHER output of the amp (if you have one that is ;) ), OR you can use the output jack (also called a parallel input) of the first speaker, and plug the other cab into the first cab. That's what "daisy chaining" is.

    So daisy chaining is Amp output -> Cab 1 -> Cab 2

    while the other way is:

    Amp output 1 -> Cab 1
    Amp output 2 -> Cab 2

    Watch those impedences!

    What we use daisy chaining for is when we don't want to use another power amp for the onstage monitors, and we don't need too many different monitor mixes, or we just don't have enough power amps. Say we had three guys onstage, and the drummer and bassist don't care if they have the same monitor mix. (They're usually not as picky as those pesky guitarists). So, we use one output of a power amp to go to the guitarists monitor, and then daisy chain the other two monitors together so that we don't have to fire up/get another power amp.
  3. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    Actually, I was under the impression of something different, but I could be wrong...Mikey? Joris? bgavin? Ya'll correct me here.....

    I thought daisy chaining was your first example:

    Amp > Cab1 > Cab 2

    I didn't think that using both of the amps outputs was considered daisy chaining...:confused:
  4. A daisy chain implies a sequential set of devices on a cable.

    Head -> Dev1 -> Dev2 -> Dev3 and so forth.

    You can hook devices up in either serial or parallel. The is the important part.

    Serial hookups add the impedances of each device (cabinet) in the chain. If you have (3) 8-ohm cabs, you will have a serial impedance of 24 ohms. This is how cheap christmas tree lights used to be wired. Any of the bulbs blows (cabinet) and the whole string is dead.

         Cab1    Cab2    Cab3
    ___|     |___|     |___|     |

    View a serial chain as a single line that enters each cab, then exits on the other binding post terminal. The last device in the chain has its output binding post returning directly to the amp.

    Parallel hookups reduce the impedance of the string.

    1/Z = 1/Z1 + 1/Z2 + 1/Z3

    Or, (3) 8-ohm cabs is:
    1/8 + 1/8 + 1/8 = 3/8

    The reciprocal of 3/8 is 8/3, or 2.66 ohms.

    View a parallel chain as a pair of wires, and each cab binding post taps one of the wires, or two connections total per cabinet.

       |        |       |
    Cab1 Cab2 Cab3
       |        |       |

    Impedance-wise, using both speaker outputs is the same as a parallel daisy chain, but this is a hub and spoke configuration and not a daisy chain. Because it is parallel you must be careful not to go below the recommended minimum impedance for the amp.
  5. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Yes. bgavin's post is technically accurate and encompasses series and parallel. But for most common applications, it means you connect a bunch of speakers together one after another. In our language, this is a "series" of devices, but electrically, "series" means something very specific (as explained by bgavin). Maybe we call it daisy-chaining to avoid the word "series". If you have several speakers, each with two jacks (usually wired in parallel internally), daisy-chaining means the amp output goes into one speaker's input, then the next speaker gets connected to the spare jack on the first, and so on. In effect, the whole *series* of speakers is wired in parallel. Isn't that confusing? It's a series of speakers (meaning one after another) wired in parallel, not a series of speakers *wired* in series. Alternatively, if you wire them as described by bgavin, you can have a series circuit.
    - Mike
  6. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I phrased it wrong. I didn't mean that using both outputs of the amp was the other way of daisy-chaining, I meant it to mean that it's the other (as in NOT daisy chaining) way of doing it. My bad. sorry for any confusion. The first way is daisy chaining, the other is NOT.
  7. ubersam


    Oct 12, 2000
    could this be considered a form of daisy chaining:
    Bass > Amp > Cab1
    Same Amp - Line Out > Power Amp > Cab2
  8. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Nope, cuz the signal is taking separate, distinct paths. Downstream of the line out (preamp output) everything is independent.

    In a daisy-chained speaker configuration, if you unplug the power amp and push a cone in on one cabinet, you might see the cone(s) on the other cabinet move! They are electrically in the same circuit.
    - Mike
  9. The above is what I thought it was. Now, I have a 4 ohm (1-18) and a 8 ohm 2-10. The Ampeg has two outputs- 1 Speaker, 2 Ext. Speaker. It also has a 2-4-8 ohm selector switch. Now if I go speaker out to 8 to 4 ohm cab, it will be 2.6 ohm, right?
    Selector switch on 2 (to be below spkr impedence). Safe but cabs may be volume mis-matched. That's OK tone adjustments fix that.
    But, if I run 4 in Spkr. & 8 in Ext Spkr, will I get the same effect?
    Please Note: I accidentally plugged into the Ext.spkr once without the spkr output occupied, and no sound came out, maybe a whisper. So the ext. spkr only works when the spkr is occupied also.
  10. At this point of discussion the main thing to remember is impedance. It should be paramount.

    I'm fortunate when I can understand this, I just did a course in Electronics for GCSE.
  11. That clears things up. Thanks
  12. ok, i have a question here......

    lets use this as an example

    Amp > Cab 1 > Cab 2
    Amp > Cab 3 > Cab 4

    Lets say all four of these cabs are at 4 ohms.

    If they go in a series, the ohmage adds up, therefore there is 8 ohms per side

    but then woudlnt the two 8 ohms combine to form 4 ohms? is this correct?
  13. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    And here I thought 'Daisy Chaining' was something that went on at those 'Swinging' parties out in the 'burbs...

    Actually, I've got some tough Dandelions in my front yard that probably wouldn't mind chaining a few Daisies and having their way with them~!

  14. A fountain of information!!
  15. Yes. :D

    Phasing is important here. With a flashlight battery, you hook up to the speaker cabs and watch the direction of the cones when you MAKE the circuit. The cones will move the oppositive direction to their resting point when you BREAK the battery circuit.

    All cones must move the same direction on MAKE. If one cab moves backwards, and other moves forwards, you will have zilch for sound. The two jacks on the amp are wired in parallel, so you don't have to worry about them being anti-phase to each other. *Each* cabinet string must all move the same direction on MAKE.
  16. Is there any benefit soundwise to daisy chaining vs using the speaker outs of a mono amp?
  17. No.
  18. ubersam


    Oct 12, 2000
    I was thinking more along the lines of Jimi Hendrix daisy-chaining amplifiers, not speakers.
  19. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Yes - I see your point now. I would say you'd be daisy-chaining amplifiers if you took your master amp (into which your bass input goes) and fed its preamp output to "slave" amplifier B's input, and from B to C likewise, and so on. I'm not sure it's such a great idea, though, because if done pre-gain, there is more noise added at each amp in turn. A better option would be to have a master amp feed all of its slaves in parallel - in effect, a "distribution amp" - so that the signal is degraded only once before going to each power amplifier. You could go wild, I suppose, with this daisy-chaining idea: have your master amp feed 10 slave amps, daisy-chained serially; then have each associated power amp feed a set of 4 daisy-chained speaker cabinets. (By the way, I'm sure this sort of thing is done in large distributed sound systems, such as in train stations, for example.)
    - Mike
  20. The old band like Hendrix, Cream, Who, Etc. did not use slave (Power Amps).
    They used to go in the input of one amp, then jumper the second input to the next amp's input, and so on. This was also referred to daisy chaining amps. Alot of old amps then had two INPUTS, not two channels.

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