Will my 50watt head blow my 50watt speaker?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Nelson89, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. Nelson89

    Nelson89 Member

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    Fairly straight forward question seemingly, yet it still baffles me. I've got a 50 watt Laney Lionheart Head which is class A with 5 EL34s. I'm not sure how much power it actually throws out, but i'm lead to believe a lot of amps will output more than their rating when driven hard.

    I also have a cab loaded with a 15" Weber Bluedog rated at 50 watts. Is the laney likely to blow it up? To clarify, i don't actually dime the laney, i set the clean channel at most 4 or 5, and similar for the dirty channel, never taken the levels past 12 o clock because i haven't needed to, but i do know that with a lot of other amps, nearing 12 o clock is pretty close to full power output anyway.

    If it were a cheaper speaker or a cheaper amp i'd have just tried it and seen what would happen, but i'd like to get some insight before trying it. I know Celestions can handle a bit more than they're rated, but i'm not that familiar with Weber speakers and whether they're rated accurately or can handle a bit more than they're rated.
     
  2. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    5 EL34's? Do you mean 4 EL84's? If the latter, you should be OK with your 50W speaker. But as a general rule of thumb, 2x wattage rating for the speaker is a better way to go.
     
  3. Nelson89

    Nelson89 Member

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    No, it's 5 EL34s running in class A, hence my confusion haha. Bit of a different power section for an amp. But good to get some feedback. Hopefully a few more people can chime in.
     
  4. oldhousescott

    oldhousescott Silver Supporting Member

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    Huh, that's interesting. I had to look it up. 5 EL34s in parallel SE. Seems like overkill to get 50w out of an EL34 when 2 in PP will do.

    Regardless, 2x wattage is preferable, but there are plenty of amps that match speaker wattage to output power. At the levels you stated you intend to run, you should be fine.
     
  5. jchan

    jchan Member

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    It is a gamble to do that and as most will state, you should have 1.5 to 2x the power rating for your speaker to be on the safe side. However, I used to gig for a while, a few years ago with a DSL2000 50 watter with a 2x12 cabinet with 2 25 watt greenbacks. I ran the volume around half with pedals. It sounded great and never had a problem. I wouldn't recommend doing that though. If you do plan to gig with that, always have some type of backup plan, even if its a modeler to plugin in the event of an amp problem.
     
  6. Seakayak

    Seakayak Supporting Member

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    5 - EL 34, as stated on their wep page...? Must be a typo?

    Anyway, to be really safe, speaker(s) power rating should be twice the wattage of the amp, if you ever want to crank it up.
     
  7. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    The rule that a speaker should handle 2x the power of the amp is pretty conservative, IMO, especially with higher-end speaker companies that rate their speakers conservatively to begin with. However, no one can say for sure a 50w Weber will be fine in your 50w amp. IIRC, even in my discussions directly with Weber regarding this, they have said a 1-to-1 match (ie., 50w amp with a speaker rated to handle 50w) should be fine, but they suggested stepping it up at least one level (in this case, a speaker rated to handle 75w). Ultimately, as with all these threads, no one will give you a guarantee with a 1-to-1 match and you have to weight the risk of blowing the speaker. I think I even remember a thread with someone stating they blew an EVM12L with a Mesa (2-300w power-handling speaker in a 50-100w amp), while other people put a 15w Celestion Blue in a 22w Deluxe Reverb regularly.
     
  8. Nelson89

    Nelson89 Member

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    Yeh, i think the only speaker i've every actually matched to an amp was my Vox AC15 with a Celestion Blue, but i think that's fairly conservatively rated anyway. I'll just continue to use the amp with my other speaker cab then, best to play it safe.
     
  9. Nelson89

    Nelson89 Member

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    Nah, you can see the 5 EL34s through the metal grill at the back, as i said before it's a bit of a different design, but true class A. Not looking forward to revalving this thing when the time comes though, that's bound to be an expensive endeavor.
     
  10. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    I agree. Plenty of 50 watt combos ship with a 60 watt V30 speaker. This 2:1 thing seems to be another of those oft repeated myths without a whole lot of basis in reality.
     
  11. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    Not all speaker companies rate the power handling of their products equally


    Celestion speakers are conservatively rated (i.e. they can usually handle more power)

    Weber speakers are notoriously over rated, or at least were in the past. I haven't bought a Weber in 7 years
     
  12. DICKIE C

    DICKIE C Member

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    There's plenty of basis in reality. The reality that, if you're somewhat intelligent, but have no idea of these things, you come to the conclusion that it's better to be safe than sorry by going 1.5 to 2x the wattage rating.

    However, as others have said, it isn't always necessary to go 2x the wattage rating. It seems to depend on the particular amp and particular speakers in question. I've also run 2 celestion 25s with a 50-watt amp & had no trouble. But I also know that others have done the same thing & blown the speakers. There really is no concrete answer.

    I consult with professional techs/amp & speaker builders first, and if that option is not available, I go 1.5x as a general rule-of-thumb.
     
  13. Seakayak

    Seakayak Supporting Member

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    :beer

    I (carefully)play my Fryette Pittbull Hundred/CL through a 30 watt Weber Blue Dog alnico. Poor bastard.
    Yes, I need to buy a larger cab!!
     
  14. ssdeluxe

    ssdeluxe Member

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    2 x is too far imho, also I have noticed the heavier rated speakers are not as "bouncy" in response...by that I mean, they are harder sounding, less touch sensative.

    I try for 25%....one of my favourite sounds I ever got was my modded traynor ygl 3 (80 watts) with a swanson hylight 2x12 with blues.....I could have blown them if I kranked up....but glorious touch sensativity and "alive-ness".

    Just wanted to mention, its the spikes that kill speakers as well, and big iron amps can put out alot more at peak than advertised....just saying, know your amp well before matching.!
     
  15. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    You'll be just fine as long as you don't dime the amp. As others have stated, many speaker companies are conservative with their ratings. The 85 watt, 1963 Fender Twin Reverb used a pair of 25 watt Jensen C12N's. The Jensen's were probably good for 40 watts peak.
     
  16. soulloud

    soulloud Member

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    A friend of mine pops v30's with his blackface deluxe non reverb fairly often. Fantastic player with great tone, uses a fuzz a lot.
     
  17. soulsurfer

    soulsurfer Member

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    It all depends on whether you are running the speaker at its limits and for how long...Heat kills!
    The problem is simply we don't know what the true pwer ratings of amps and speakers.
    There isn't an industry standard that regulates power ratings. No one gets sanctioned, ticketed, fined or jailed for underrating or overrating their product.
    Ultimately we only have anecdotal points that may or may not apply to you.

    Here's something to think about; why would celestion up the wattage on their greenback speakers from 15/20 - 25w - 30? (we would have to ask celestion to be sure)
    How many times have you seen a vintage green/black/cream-back that had been reconed?
    Why did jimi, while playing thru' a full stack 100w marshall repeatedly blow speakers that were when added together totaling 200w?
    ...but had better luck with 30w x8 ?

    I can give you several personal stories where I have blown celestion and other name brand speakers being driven by an amp that was rated LESS power output than what the speakers were rated to handle.

    However, once I started using cabs/speakers that were rated at least 1.5x the amps rated output, I have not killed any spkrs.

    Not to counter anyone else's experience or advice. I just have my own experience to offer.

    All of that to say; sure, match 1:1 but just be careful as YMMV
     
  18. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    Weber is pretty conservative on their ratings. You are probably OK, but do run some risk. If you use strong OD in your setup a bit higher risk. I've run 25 watt speakers in a DR before with OD and no issues.
    You could order a 75 watt Blue Dog.... actually Weber will recone any way you want for $25..
     
  19. dbeeman

    dbeeman Gold Supporting Member

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    the 2x thing is pushed by certain speaker manufacturers. Better safe than sorry, in my book. I do run my Morgan dual 40 with 2 *12 Celestion Blues, but not flat out with fuzz driving the input hard. When I run it with an ASW Elegante, I think it sounds better with a single 12 (they are 80watts). I don't think it is the case that all speakers sound better ran higher up in their power handling range, but for some it appears to be the case.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
  20. jchan

    jchan Member

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    I wouldn't call it a myth, rather, an extra measure of safety.
     

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