low-watt amps into speaker cabs

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by DMace, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. DMace

    DMace Friend of Leo's

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    Dumb question du jour: I have a BF Princeton (non-verb) and was curious what the result would be of running it- or any low-watt amp- into a 2X12 or 4X12 cab. Taking into account that speaker efficiency varies dramatically, on the whole, would it/could it make a 12-watt amp loud enough to gig with? Any has anyone experimented with this: different amps, cabs, recommendations? Thanks.
     
  2. marshman

    marshman Friend of Leo's

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    I've heard that running a 15 watt amp into a 200 watt cab is very dangeous to the speakers, for reasons I've never been fully able to understand...I've just heard it from people smart enough that I've simply taken their word for it. That said, using a Princeton to drive, say, a 2x12 with a couple typical Jensen RIs or low-watt Celestions should represent no problem. Perhaps, simply getting a new speaker for the amp in question would do the trick...Jensens' NEOs are pretty effecient.

    Bear in mind the dB ratings...G12Ms, G12H, and 'Blues' are usually a good bit more effecient than similar Jensens, and would therefore be a good bit 'louder' if installed as a pair in a standard cab.

    Expect Tim Armstrong along any moment with his SM57 picture.
     
  3. GUITARmole

    GUITARmole Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been around for awhile...and I've never heard that one. :confused:

    Also the Jensens seem to have higher output than the Celestions you listed regardless of efficiency rating (which are highly inaccurate due to each manufacturer having a different way of measuring)...I'm just basing that on my unscientific firsthand observations though...YMMV.
     
  4. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Ad Free Member

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    Naw, instead I'll repeat "The Tim Armstrong Champ Stack Story"!

    Which is that I hooked a nice little Fender Champ to a 4-ohm 2x12 cab and it was like letting a fire-breathing dragon out of it's cave! Played a wedding gig with it, and it kept up with another guitarist (Paul Honeycutt, who was playing through both a '66 BFDR and a Vox AC-15), a keyboardist playing through a big Leslie cab, a bassist with a full-sized rig, and a drummer.

    It rocked!

    I didn't even mic it!

    Tim
     
  5. Gary in NJ

    Gary in NJ Tele-Meister

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    The power output of an amps is (or should be) rated at an industry standard condition and expressed in a similar standard, RMS (root mean square). The term "RMS power" or "watts RMS" are used to describe average power. However, while a 100 "watt RMS" amplifier can produce a sine-wave of 100 watt average into its load, with music the total actual power would be less. With a square-wave, it would be more.

    A small amp run into clipping (a square wave) can in fact damage a speaker rated for higher handling. The square wave carries a lot of current, which in turn creates a lot of heat at the coil. That is typically what gets damaged.

    A distortion pedal or overdrive also produces a square wave, however the gain seen by the amp is typically within the amp's ability to faithfully reproduce the signal. When this too has been exceeded, damage can occur even if the amp and speaker are properly matched.

    Of course, there are no absolutes here. I'm just trying to explain a circumstance where a "little" amp can fry a "big" speaker.
     
  6. DMace

    DMace Friend of Leo's

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    Tim, no kidding. I asked because I've been looking into buying a head to gig with (the venues I play generally supply 4X12 cabs), and then it dawned on me, 'what about the 12-watt princeton?'. I remember running a crappy little Peavey something or other with an 8" speaker into a Marshall cab one time at a recording studio long ago, and the thing sounded like Jeff Beck. But I wasn't sure how it would work on stage, if it would be enough. Maybe I'll give this a whirl. Thanks for the info.
     
  7. marshman

    marshman Friend of Leo's

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    Honestly, the first I'd heard of it was as a teenager--my buddy had bought a set of high-grade 200 watt Jensens for his car, and continued to dime his 20watt POS original car stereo and fried 'em in less than 2 weeks. Installer refused to honor warranty on the grounds of abuse UNLESS he bought a proper highpowered car stereo to go with it.
     
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