Why are Amps made to self destruct?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by WashburnAB95, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    I just got a Ampeg BA108 as a birthday present. I love the tone very retro and fuzzy in a good way. I told my folks who bought it for me... you could not have bought anything that sounded better for cheaper and you could have have gotten anything as good but smaller without spending significantly more.

    I play a passive bass that dosn't have a particularly hot signal. Once the volume gets to 5 (only half way up)I feel like I have to be super careful with out how I play it... it sounds like it is going to fall apart. We are told volume numbers mean little so use your ears.

    Why do amp makers give us so much more volume than we could realisticly use? In my mind when playing with a passive instrument you should never be able to fry a well paired amp/speaker combo. Is this needed for people that demand destortion? Do the amp manufacturers hope you blow your equipment?

    God help you if you play with a very hot active bass!
  2. Reaching good volume levels with the knobs not turned up much makes people think the amp is more powerful than it is. The other side is there are a few amps you have to really crank the knobs to get full volume and people label them as weak (even though they are not). It is all customer "perception" and has little to do with what the amp is REALLY capable of.
  3. Amps don't really self destruct... it's more a matter of being careful about pairing heads and cabs. You don't pair a 2000 watt head with a 1000 watt head and crank it. You do the opposite! 1000 watt head with 2000 watt cab.

    Generally amps aren't made to cause you trouble. That wouldn't be very beneficial for the brand.
  4. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Whenever you see someone go 'wow, this amp is really loud on 2, great', that is why.
  5. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    All amps have their best applications and limitations ... there is only so much you are going to get out of an 8" speaker, before compromises need to start being made .. you raise the volume, you will probably be needing to adjust the EQ as well reducing the bass response required ... volume comes back down, your will be able to EQ more low frequencies back in ... the old addage that you dont take a knife to a gun fight type of deal ...

    ... BTW, Happy Birthday, nice folks too ;)
  6. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
  7. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Endorsing Artist: VF Cables, Dirtbag Clothing
    How is you eq set ? It seems a lot of people think "I play bass, I have to crank the bass knob to 10" and then wonder why they are blowing drivers a part.
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    Plus, consider this. What if someone owned a bass with incredibly low output? They would have to turn up pretty high on the amp to get anything from it.
  9. Yep. Amps need to be able to get to full power with a wide range of input signals. To get to full power with a low output instrument and/or player with a light touch requires a lot more amplifier gain than getting to full power with a high output bass and/or a heavy hitter.
  10. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    "Once the volume gets to 5 (only half way up)I feel like I have to be super careful with out how I play it... it sounds like it is going to fall apart."

    Crank it, get over your fear. Push it to see how far it you can push it.
    If you do break it, then you know you need more. Cranking the amp to get use to it at high volume is not abuse. Smart manufacturers design in the fact people may crank them. They build in protection. Bad manufacturer's support call it "user error" if you turn the knobs past some undocumented level.

    If you bought it at a normal store then you have a 30 day return.
  11. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    For the same reason that circular saws are made to cut fingers off.
  12. MingusBass

    MingusBass Commercial User

    Sep 27, 2004
    Fort Wayne,Indiana
    Sweetwater Sound-Sales
    Why do people make stuff up and claim it as fact?
  13. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound

    Nov 29, 2008
    Well said
  14. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    I bought an Ampeg BA110 used from GC that rattled like crazy when I tried it out. I pressed on the amp chassis, and the rattle became less pronounced. I took it home, and removed the amp, and found that the plywood blocks where the wood screws that attached the amp chassis had failed by the plies having separated. I put some Gorilla glue on them, and clamped them over-night. I re-attached the amp chassis the next day, and it works great.
  15. Remus_Redbone


    Dec 27, 2010
    Western AR
    Contemplate; drums are made to beat with hardwood sticks and still sound good.

    Hot rods run best just before they blow.

    Amps aren't really made to self destruct, but they sound best when they're about to...
  16. My BA108 sounds great when headphones are plugged in or if its on low settings, but if I get it up to 4 or five, higher pitched notes make the whole thing vibrate,rattle, and make weird noises. That's why I'm planning to upgrade soon.

    Its a nice amp, it just is really fragile.
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Amps don't destruct amps - people destruct amps.
  18. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    It's a practice amp with an 8" speaker. It's not made to get loud.
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you're getting up to 5, you're doing pretty good. You must remember that trad. SS amps have twice their rated power available for peaks, and on an amp with a single volume knob, that is par for the course. Even the single-volume SVT's like the VR and vintage heads start distorting right around that point. When it starts distorting noticeably, that is where you're getting past its RMS (clean) power.
  20. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member