16 ohm or 4 ohm?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by cosmodog, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. cosmodog

    cosmodog Member

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    My amp head has switchable speaker output (can be 16, 8 or 4 ohm), and my cab has multiple input jacks (16 or 4 ohm). So I can set the amp to 16 into the cab's 16 ohm jack, or set the amp to 4 into the cab's 4 ohm jack.

    My question is - does it matter which I use? Is one going to be noticably any different than the other in terms of power, longevity, or anything else?

    Just curious :)
     
  2. Tele Wacker

    Tele Wacker Member

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    I don't think it matters at all as long as you keep the head and cabinet set to the same output load. With a 16 & 4 ohm choice, just don't mismatch them.
     
  3. solitaire

    solitaire Senior Member

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    Higher impedance often is prefered for some reasons. More winds and iron, less loss in cables... equals more headroom. Then you may not prefer the tone of the 16 ohm mode of the cab or the 16 ohm wind. I believe the speakers are in series and you won't get the smoothing effect with the speakers in series.
     
  4. rockonomics

    rockonomics Member

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    The only real difference is the speaker cab will either be series at 16 ohm or parallel at 4 ohm. Try both. You prolly won't hear a difference. If you do, pick the one you like better.
     
  5. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

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    I have all my 212 cabs with 8ohm speakers and wired so I can run them on either 16ohms with the speakers in series or 4ohms with the speakers in parallel. I only have a few amps with the ability to go from 4, 8, and 16ohms. When given the option, I go with 16ohms. I found at least with my Marshall 2553 that I like it better with the cab at 16ohms.
     
  6. midnightlaundry

    midnightlaundry Member

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  7. cosmodog

    cosmodog Member

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    Thanks, guys. I always learn something new here :)

    It's an Egnater 4 x 12. I've been running it at 4 ohms. I tried it at 16, and got no sound - I think there might be something wrong with the 16 ohm jack. So can't do a comparison right now. I bought it new so I might just take it back, checking with Egnater product support now.

    Anyhow, when I took the back off to see if there was a loose connection, looks like four 16 ohm speakers, left and rights are wired together in parallel (so each two speaker set is an 8 ohm load). Then I'm guessing the jack plate does some magic to either connect the two sets in parallel for the 4 ohm load or in series for the 16 ohm load (the part that isn't working for me right now). I'm guessing the sound wouldn't be too terribly different. Once I either get a different cab or the jack plate fixed, I'll compare.
     
  8. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Parallel gives a cleaner overall sound think Fender

    Series gives more damping and a crunchier tone because the speakers are loading on each other think Marshall.

    With my Marshall style head I run in series at 16 ohms, I should try 4 ohms just to see but am not that motivated as it sounds good now.

    One thing however, if you blow up a speaker when wired in series you can really damage your amp as you have created an open circuit. In parallel one speaker will still be working.
     
  9. gillman royce

    gillman royce Member

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    Using the 16 ohm tap on the amp you are using the entire transformer, as it was designed. This will give you bigger, deeper bass, more headroom, etc..
     
  10. cosmodog

    cosmodog Member

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    Hmmm... maybe I'm just a noob and don't get it, but these two statements seem at odds to me. The first seems to imply "more headroom" with parallel (4 ohm) and the second seems to say the exact opposite. What am I missing?
     
  11. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Look at Fender amps and you decide. The transformer tap matters little, it's how the speakers are wired.
     
  12. flintstoned

    flintstoned Member

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    I just read a mesa boogie manual the other day and in it Randall Smith states that tubes will last longer with a 16 ohm load
     
  13. solitaire

    solitaire Senior Member

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    Depends on how hard you drive the amp, really. Some amps were designed to be run with a certain load to sound their best. Though the tonal differences may seem small they're still there. Maybe doesn't matter much for the hobbyist I know more discerning guitarists have their favourite taps and wirings.
     
  14. axelfoley

    axelfoley Supporting Member

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    Curious, Matchless and Badcat 212 combos all come with 8k speakers wired for a 4k load. Why is that? Those amps have extra outputs for more speakers but the way they come wired you can't hook up any more speakers or you would cut the load down to 2k. I think its strange that they assume anyone that would buy one of their amps would know this.
    So why do they wire them to 4? Will the amp run its best this way?
     
  15. frank4001

    frank4001 Member

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    One thing to consider. If you going 16 ohm you have two speakers in series. On blows and you lose both and you end up with no load on the amp. Could be possibly harm the amp. If you go 4 ohms you're in parrallel and if one speaker blows the other is still there to take some of the load.
     
  16. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Pretty sure he was referring to running a 16 ohm mismatch vs a 4 ohm mismatch on the 8 ohm tap.
    Not an endorsement for 16 ohm straight up as a tube life extending strategy.
    Pretty sure. . . Best check that one. .
     
  17. freaksho

    freaksho Member

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    this thread is a serious misinformation risk. OP, you'd be better off calling up one of the smaller cab/speaker maker friends of TGP like Avatar, Weber, Scumback, WGS, etc. they are all super cool stand up folks and very willing to answer any question. or just ask Egnater, if that's not too obvious.

    then come back to this thread and correct some of these wild claims.
     
  18. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

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    This is something I have thought of for sure, but when I think my amps sounds better with the speakers in the cab in series and the amp set at 16ohms, than that trumped the safety for me.
     
  19. meterman

    meterman Member

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    that's interesting as I find the opposite to be true! :huh

    I have several heads that can be run at 4/8/16 and a cab that I built with two 8 ohm speakers that can be run in parallel for 4 ohms and series for 16ohms. I've always found the 4 ohm load to have more headroom, more power, more punch, more low end and more clarity. The 16ohm load is smoother, darker, more compressed, less open and big sounding. Of course we are talking fairly subtle/minor differences here but that's the way I hear it.....
     
  20. cosmodog

    cosmodog Member

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    So to follow up just a bit... first, I thought this was something I just didn't have the info on being a cab noobie (I've always had combos prior to this one), but I can see it's simply just not generally understood. If I learn more, I'll post back here.


    Regarding my specific cab - I took it back to the store, checked on other amps, and the 16 ohm jack was definitely dead. Got a replacement that works right, verified in-store :)

    So I tried both at home. I don't really notice a difference, but I haven't been able to really crank it up, so maybe that would make any difference more noticeable. I've also pinged Egnater support on the matter, but no response for several days now. They were quick to get back to me about the jack plate and all, so I'm wondering if either there simply isn't good evidence one way or another and they don't want to take a stand, or if they can't say for liability reasons or something like that.

    Anyway, I have it running at 16 now and am pretty happy with that.
     

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