power ratings/output

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by roirat, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. roirat

    roirat Guest

    Hope ya'll can help. I've heard you can damage a speaker by underdriving it as by too much power. What's the safe zone, percentage wise? Let's say I've got a speaker rated at 100 watts. I need to give it at least so-and-so, but not more than such-and-such? What are these numbers?

    Thanks. I'm thinking about getting a rotary cab for my guitar, and I can probably spend less if I use my 50 watt amp to drive it, but I want to make sure to match things up right...

  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    I don't know what it is in the guitar world but for PA system power and for powering speakers in general, 2x power is commonly suggested so that you have enough headroom for peaks.

    Underpowering speakers does more damage then overpowering them in most cases as the lack of headroom in the amp or rather when the amp is overdriven, the distortion causes a square wave to be sent to the speakers/horns and this is what does the real damage.
  3. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    On raging guitar amps it can be the reverse as the guitar amp spends it's life in distortion and clipping. As such the average level is higher than it would be if it where a monitor amp with a mix runing through it.

    50 to 100W head might have a quad box with 4 x 30W to 50W Celestions in it.
    OR a single 120W 15 inch.
    For slamming gigging Bass you might go for a 200W 15 to go with a 100W Head. Stage gear can be different to studio gear. Horses for courses.
    ... very general rules here.

    Hope that shows how instrument an amp/speaker systems can differ from a monitoring/full mix system.
  4. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    In the studio I try to go for 2x to 3x amp/spkr power ratio. Not sure there really is a max as I have seen people exceed this ratio by a lot.

    For guitars I aggree with Kev
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