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Y-cable from single speaker output into 2 cabs-- ok?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by EBGB, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. EBGB

    EBGB Member

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    I have a modded JCM800 (50w) head where one of the speaker outs was used for a knob.
    So I only have one speaker output left.
    I received some varying reactions to this idea, so...

    Is it ok to split a single speaker output using a Y-cable into 2 cabinets?

    If so...
    It would be more convenient for me to use a male mono 1/4" to 2 female mono 1/4" adapter and then plug 2 speaker cables into that.
    Is there any reason to choose a full length all male Y speaker cable over the above approach?
    In any case, I'll be needing beefy speaker wire to handle this right (16-gauge?)?

    Is doing this the same electronically as using 2 speaker outputs on an amp?

    Pls recommend options. Thanks!
     
  2. Plague Dog

    Plague Dog Member

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    You won't have a problem with using a Y cable, but if one or both of the cabinets have two paralell jacks you can just simply run a speaker cable between to two cabs. Just make sure you have the ohms setting right on the head for the load. 2x16 ohm cabs run in parallel = 8 ohms. 2x8 ohm cabs = 4 ohms.

    Do not use instrument cables for speaker cables.
     
    ericb likes this.
  3. EBGB

    EBGB Member

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    No parallel jacks on either cab

    The top cab is a JCM900 1960A with Celestion CL80s in it
    I believe it was the vintage-style cab--
    it has the single funnel shaped input

    The bottom cab is a stock straight '69 basketweave with bass cone 25watters
    It has the single jack near the bottom

    Both cabs are wired at 16 ohms,
    so i understand that using both together I would set the amp to 8 ohms
     
  4. CaptainJake

    CaptainJake Member

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  5. KBN

    KBN Member

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    I wouldn't use a standard Y-cable though unless you know that it is specifically made for speaker cable. If you wire one up yourself you should be good to go.
     
    ToneGrail, Kyle B and sg~guy like this.
  6. guitarfarm

    guitarfarm Member

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    I was recently confronted with this same problem. I just made a y cable out of some speaker cable i had laying around. As you you suggested in your original post i made a short "pigtail' kinda thing that i could run my speaker cables to. It works great. If you have two 16 ohm cabs and you wire the y cable in parallel you want to set the amp at 8 ohms.
     
  7. wayne87mott

    wayne87mott Member

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    What will it hurt if I use an instrument cable for speakers?
     
  8. Plague Dog

    Plague Dog Member

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    Instrument cables were designed for high impedance, low level signals that are highly susceptible to electromagnetic interference. They were NOT designed for low impedance, high current signals like the output from an amplifier.

    Seriously, unless you're running a high powered amp through a really long cable then you're not likely to hurt your amp by using instrument cables. However, the capacitance and series resistance of an instrument cable are much too high for the output of an amp. The output from the speakers is going to sound weaker and the highs are going to be more muted than if you used proper speaker cables.

    At low volume a guitar cable will work. And at high volume a guitar cable will work for a little bit then there will be a sudden drop in sound and if a tube amp probably fry the amp. If you can afford a stack amp you can afford 10 bucks for a proper speaker cable.

    In a tube amp, if the cable fails you can fry the output transformer when the load is cut.
     
  9. guitarfarm

    guitarfarm Member

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    Well put. For folks who aren't sure about what cables are what, here's a quick experiment for you- try using a speaker cable in place of your guitar cable. It should become evident rather quickly why you should use the right cable for the right application.
     
  10. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    Yes.
     
  11. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    Sounds like you've got it covered.
     
  12. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    This one post really answers the whole thread well. Copy, paste and memorize.
     
  13. thiscalltoarms

    thiscalltoarms more gadgets than Batman. Gold Supporting Member

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    http://procablesnsound.com/items/speaker-y-cables/PYBOX-detail.htm

    Use that. Speaker cable from Radial out to the in, 2 speaker cables from the two heads back to the Radial, 2 speaker cables from the ProCable parallel box to the respective cabs.

    You'll need five speaker cables total. The Headbone worked flawlessly for me in the past.
     
  14. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    http://procablesnsound.com/items/guitar-cables/power-y-adapter-70001-detail.htm

    I have two Y cables from them, one parallel, one series. Good stuff.
     
  15. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    It will be fine. If you just use an instrument cable type Y it will be fine also. Done it many times. The resistance difference in a short speaker vs instrument cable is about nil. However many Y's are very small gage wire.
     
  16. Plague Dog

    Plague Dog Member

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    If you are proficient with a solder gun it would be best if you make a Y-cable or a splitter box. #16 gauge wire in a short cable should be fine. A y cable for line signal will work but if it fails it could cause expensive damage to your head. But if your solder joints fail it could be just as bad
     
  17. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Super simple project if you have any soldering skills. The patch box idea is easier since there's more room to work, but the Y cable isn't hard, either. If I were doing the Y cable, I'd use a large plug at the amp end so there's lots of room to solder the two cables onto the jacks in there. And I'd use 16 or 18 gauge lamp cord for the size and flexibility.
     
  18. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Most likely nothing will happen at the beginning, but the wire gauge isn't big enough and eventually the wire will burn up now you will have an open circuit. Once you hit that huge chord at high volume watch your amp blow up.

    Here's the takeaway, don't be a dummy, get the right cable.
     
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  19. ledzep618

    ledzep618 Supporting Member

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    Won't hurt, just make sure your Y cable is made of proper speaker cable.
     
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