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Avoiding speaker break-up?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by E5RSY, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    51
    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    Is there a formula or guideline for this? For example: In x-watt amp, y-watt speaker will provide enough "clearance" to avoid break-up.

    Just curious. Thanks, in advance.

    Scott
     

  2. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    I don’t know of any formula. It’s my understanding that smooth cones tend to break up easier than ribbed. Lower power handling speakers “tend” to break up before higher rated ones.

    In general, smaller magnets and voice coils will breakup sooner.

    I’m no expert, so take all this with a large grain of salt.


    Are you looking to avoid or obtain breakup?
     
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  3. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    Williamsville NY
    The generalities that @JustABluesGuy mentioned are excellent generalities. Know, however, that any speaker is the sum of its parts when it comes to breakup and other characteristics.

    Cone style, cone material, cone thickness, edge dope/no dope/dope thickness/dope material, dust cap diameter, dust cap material, voice coil dimensions, voice coil gap, magnet type, magnet size, magnet strength, cosmic rays, the price of beer...

    Be guided by the generalities, but choose by manufacturers' descriptions and other people's experiences.
     
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  4. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    Generalizations:
    Smooth cones = earlier break up
    More wattage = better cone control
    Larger voice coils = Better cone control
    Doping controls the cone some too
     

  5. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    I hate speaker breakup. Can’t stand it generally.

    My rule of thumb is go at least twice as many power handling watts RMS as amp wattage. More if possible.

    I have no problem putting an 80 or 100 speaker in a 20 watt amp. I used to have a 240 watt 2x12 cab I used with a 30 watt head.

    I find any less than twice rated power, and I’m not a big fan.
     
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  6. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    I generally like a cleanish speaker and twiddle with the amp or pedals for breakup. It seems more controllable that way. Sure, you can get a tweed Bassman to sound perfect on leads by overdriving the original P10R speakers until they get that creamy smooth sound. But it's a one trick pony at one loud volume...
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
    JustABluesGuy and Jakedog like this.

  7. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    Yorkshire
    Generalisations again. x*4 amp Watts ( for RMS figures ) or x*2 amp Watts where a peak figure is given is the minimum RMS handling of the speaker for clean signals.
    Speakers have a hard time with a clipping amp and square waves. The ramp up on a square wave can flap a cone into farty zone quite quickly.

    More power handling doesn't hurt when clippy-square signals are being presented.
     
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  8. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2008
    Texas
    Speakers are designed by engineers to do whatever the maker thinks is appropriate for the consumer that demands a particular model. Bass speakers and sound reinforcement speakers are designed to not distort within their power handling limits under normal use. I've never encountered a guitar speaker that wasn't designed to have some desired breakup with the exception of the big magnet EV speakers like EVM12L and the classic JBL alnicos like the D-120 and D-130, along with similar JBLs and some Altec and Gauss models. The JBL D-130 was a sound reinforcement speaker re-purposed for musical instruments, and the subsequent similar K and E series were descendants of those initial late 40s sound reinforcement designs.

    Every other guitar speaker I've encountered has some breakup characteristic built in, and that includes high power-handling speakers. Some manufacturers offer description of the sort of breakup their speaker models produce.

    If you want NO speaker breakup, I'd get one of the EV models like the EVM12L.
     
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  9. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 3, 2004
    Wattage rating is not a guarantee of cone stability. The two are not directly connected, but linked more through construction/intent of the designer.

    Speaker breakup is caused by cone deformation. Ribbed cones and heavier cones keep their shape better when pushed. Since most high-powered speaker come with heavier cones, they usually stay clean, but it's possible to build a high-powered speaker that breaks up early or a low-powered speaker that never breaks up, or anything in between.

    TL/DR There is no guarantee a higher wattage speaker won't break up early, shop for a speaker designed to stay clean.
     

  10. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    Somewhat true, but what usually goes with a higher wattage speaker is a bigger magnet. The magnetic field is the main thing that controls the cone. But someone could build a high wattage speaker (durable voice coil/wire) with a tiny magnet I suppose.. But haven't ever noticed one!
     

  11. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    51
    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    Part 2:

    What's the difference between musical power and rated power?
     

  12. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2008
    Texas
    Manufacturers use various terms, some are more "sales pitch" than real specs. Whatever the rating is, I wouldn't put more than half that number through it in clean amp wattage ... 100 watt speaker/50 watt amp. If your amp clips, makes square waves, oscillates, even low watts can fry a speaker. Speakers are rated for clean wattage, and there's no use splitting hairs. Take the lowest rating number ... RMS, music power, whatever, and count on it handling half of that power under real gig usage. My 15 watt Blues jr has a 75 watt speaker. My Twin has two 75 watt speakers. I do not want to blow a speaker.
     

  13. Billnchristy

    Billnchristy Tele-Holic

    891
    Sep 21, 2017
    Georgia
    I try to make sure they talk through their issues and if that doesn't work, I drown them in alcohol so they forget.
     
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  14. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Meister

    Age:
    45
    470
    Apr 3, 2018
    victor,ny
    I find that with lower watt amps, a high power handling speaker strangles the amp. You loose sensitivity and detail
     

  15. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    51
    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    As an example, on the Jensen site every speaker has a Musical Power figure that is twice its Rated Power.
     

  16. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 24, 2012
    Southern California
    The more efficient with a higher power rating means less speaker breakup. Many guitarists like using JBL speakers to eliminate any speaker breakup.
     

  17. 1955

    1955 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 10, 2010
    Certain uncertainty
    Ribbed cone, 2x as powerful as the amp, efficient, ceramic magnet was what I did in a couple of my amps several years ago. Finally figured out that I didn't like speaker breakup, especially because they sounded "broken" haha
     
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  18. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Godzone
    There are different ratings: peak 800 watts (instant - instant, even a 100 watt RMS can double or triple that at certain freqs), then 400 watts music power ie rated for continuous playing of one instrument, then 200 watts for programme ie sound reinforcement reproducing full spectrum (full band, drums, Vox, instruments) or doof-doof.

    You see the latter particularly on heavy duty woofers designed for bass, keys or PA cabs.
     

  19. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2008
    Texas
    Right. That's the sales pitch. If it's rated at 50 watts (Rated Power), that's the amount of power it can turn into music and heat. I would double that for a 50 watt amp ... use two 50 watt speakers, or one 100 watt speaker. The "Music Power" term is something I'd ignore.
     
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  20. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    Williamsville NY
    “Music power” is marketing BS, essentially. It’s 2X RMS and is supposedly a peak power that an amp can achieve, peak, at clipping. It’s pretty much a made up number.
     
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