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When does the quality of sound in a speaker start to fail?

Nuclearfishin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
929
I've been looking at speakers and cabs and am curious if anybody has any insight as to how much you can push a speaker so it just starts to break up and sound good, versus pushing it too far and getting bad distortion? For example, the new EVH 5150 cabs have 4 Celestion speakers rated at 20w each, but the head is 100 watts. So by my math, the head is already 20 watts more than the max of the speakers. Is it normal for speakers to take a load like that?

One of the reasons I ask is because I am interested in the Celestion EVH12 which is basically a 20 watt version of the greenback from the 60's. I'm worried if I put a 30 or 45 watt head into a 2x12 cab with these, I might damage the speakers. What am I missing?

Thanks!
 

billstets

Member
Messages
892
The head is even more than 20 watts too powerful because a 100 watt head will put out maybe 150 watts when you crank it. I don't get why they would match a 100 watt head to an 80 watt cab.
 

RobertKeeley

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
265
I've heard this reasoning before, it may help. If you under-power a set of speakers, meaning the amplifier starts to distort creating square waves and other nasty things...that has a great chance of damaging the speakers (making them endure things they really shouldn't). The amplifier, when it is creating a square wave, is like putting DC to the speaker. That will burn up the speaker as it is expecting AC, moving back and forth. DC causes the speaker to jump to one position (like putting a battery to the terminals). SO, what the idea is>>>is to put plenty of clean power to the speakers. The system (amp and cab) will have a better chance of surviving if the speaker distorts rather than the head. Sure hope that helps see one possibility that is commonly talked about.
I'm sure there are plenty of good articles on the Web about the concept.
Next time your near a car stereo shop, go in and ask the smart guy why they always over-power the speakers to see if their thoughts help further.
Robert
 

Eric Dahlberg

Member
Messages
192
If you under-power a set of speakers, meaning the amplifier starts to distort creating square waves and other nasty things...that has a great chance of damaging the speakers (making them endure things they really shouldn't).
This is how I've always understood it, as well, though I've also heard that this applies more to solid state power sections than tube. My 30 year old Celestions that are meant to handle 140 watts together have never had any trouble handling dimed 20-50 watt heads.
 




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