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You can use a higher wattage head with a cab that can't handle it?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ThePaste, Feb 3, 2001.

  1. I just noticed the Carvin Red Eye 210 has a 600w head teamed up with a cab that can only handle 400w, so it's ok to team a head with more wattage with a cab with lower wattage handling capacity?
  2. From what I have noticed with some companies, they have a real problem with RMS and Peak......
  3. By the way that remark is in no way intended to be an attack on Carvin.... Agood friend of mine plays a Cyclops and the thing ROCKS!!!!
  4. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Yes, it is ok and prefered. It's actually just the opposite from what you are thinking. The bigger problem would be too little power for your cabinets.
  5. What?!
  6. I beleive that the Carvin amp has more power than the speaker cab does so that it can power a second optional speaker cab. My 1994 Carvin ProBass 500 powers 3 speaker cabs. 2 1x15's and 1 2x10 on top.
  7. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    The point I am making is that using an amp that has a larger amount of power available than the speakers are rated for is actually a good situation. The power reserve, or headroom, allows the amp to remain cooler, and you don't have to worry about getting the amp in the clipping range (very bad). The lower power rating on the speakers is not really a problem. Of course, you don't want to send a full 1000 watts into speakers designed for 100.
  8. The amp is rated at 600 watts, but that's into 4ohms. If you're putting an 8ohm load on it, ie: one cabinet, it's not putting out 600w, more like 350.
  9. DownCaster


    Aug 22, 2000
    well...lets put it this way...you cant run a 400watt head through a 200watt 15'
    I know from experience...
    unless you are into that whole playing but not hearing anything that comes out...
  10. So, not turning up the volume (on a 380w head) makes it ok to run that high wattage current through a amp rated at 250w?
  11. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Please see my comment about "underpowering" in http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?threadid=11339

    BTW, it is possible to destroy speakers by overpowering, so be careful not to generalize too much. If someone would like to give me $200 to replace the drivers, I will demonstrate this on my Carvin RC210. I'll run the R600 head bridged into the 2x10 with bass full up and clipping like a mad barber! I guess I should do this outside so I don't have to clean up the smoke damage. ;) Oh - if that isn't overpowered enough, I'll try it with my R1000 head (1000 watts++ when clipping) and surely demonstrate an overpowered cabinet! Now where did I put my gas mask?

    Okay - enough humor. What this is really about is something called "duty cycle" or average power. A 600 watt amp, if not clipping much and handling typical bass signals, probably is dealing with peak-to-average power ratios of at least 5 dB (my guess). This 5 dB of power is a 3:1 ratio. This would mean that if the amp is barely ever clipping, the peaks might be at just about 600 watts (momentary transient output) so the average signal (the wattage that is effectively heating the speaker coils) would be only 200 watts in this example. A momentary spike to 600 or even 1000 watts, if short enough, will typically not damage a 400-watt speaker system. But my tongue-in-cheek example above (destructive testing) was like putting my bass right at the speaker, letting it feedback into a blaring, waveform-clipped cacaphony for 20 minutes or whatever time it takes for the speaker coils to turn red hot and short out.

    - Mike

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