#1
Hi, first off, i searched and didnt find anything. But to the question!!!

Ok, so simply put i got a new head. And i have a 4x12 cab. I've heard that people prefer setting the impedance to 16 ohms rather than 4. Why? is there any sound difference? I mean 4 is a hella lot louder but 16 gets pretty ridiculously loud but is more defined and clearer. Is that all there is? or any like little tone "hints"

Thanks for your time.


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#2
maybe you should try it out and compare them together, that way you can have it set to your own liking
#3
4ohm shouldn't be any louder than 16ohm if you are matching the setting on the head with the impedance of the cab. Mismatching in either direction with a tube amp will result in less power, and can damage the head. It doesn't work like SS heads because of the impedance matching output transformer used by tube amps. It can sound different mismatched, since the OT will be running hotter or cooler depending which direction you mismatch, and that can affect the tone. Mismatching in either direction with a tube amp is not recommended however, although you can usually get away with matching a lower impedance head to a higher impedance cab. The tone gets a little darker that way since the OT is running cooler.

People sometimes like to use the highest impedance setting a head has, since it's using all the winds of the transformer on the highest setting/tap. Some people say it has better tone that way, but it's usually a pretty negligible difference IMO.
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#4
^ Thanks! but yea i compared today and it just sounds louder and muddier on 4.
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#5
Lower ohms get better bass responce, but the higher they are, they get cleaner/clearer. But lower = more volume, too.

Matter of preference, I'd say.
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#6
I run my Uberschall on 16 ohm with a 1960BV cab and I have all the bass response I'll ever need. No need to run on 4 ohms to get even more bass otherwise you won't need a bass player
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#7
1st off you need to be sure you are matching the ohms of your cab with your amps output impedance. If you are matching them then there should be no difference in volume between the 16ohm setting and the 4 ohm setting.

16ohms gives you are darker tone while 4 ohms gives you a brighter tone. It's part of the difference between the british sound and american sound in vintage amps. If your output transformer can be set for different ohms ratings its typically best to use the highest rating the transformer is capable of. This is because the inductance of the unused coils will effect your tone in a negative way and if you are using the highest ohms rating you will not have any unused coils.
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#8
Oh my god no!!
dont run your amp set on anything other than the impedance that matches the cabinet

however re-wiring a 16ohm cab to be a 4 ohm cab...........
Shut up and play your guitar!
#9
Have you read your amp’s owner’s manual? It will tell you specifically NOT to mismatch the impedance. If the amp’s output impedance is 16 ohms, you MUST match it to a 16 ohm cabinet. You are risking catastrophic damage to your amp, especially at high volume levels if you mismatch. One day the amp will just stop making noise, and you’ll be posting here wondering why and what to do about it. You’ll be told the output transformer burned up and you’ll be paying a lot of cash for a new one plus labor at a minimum.

Some people purposefully mismatch their amps for the sound produced, but this is not recommended. Some of these people know what they are doing and are careful, other are just experimenting with no idea of what they are doing to their amps internally.

I am an advanced electronics instructor. I am well trained in this stuff. Take the manufactures recommendation/warnings seriously.
Trav
#10
Quote by Traveler 45C
Have you read your amp’s owner’s manual? It will tell you specifically NOT to mismatch the impedance. If the amp’s output impedance is 16 ohms, you MUST match it to a 16 ohm cabinet. You are risking catastrophic damage to your amp, especially at high volume levels if you mismatch. One day the amp will just stop making noise, and you’ll be posting here wondering why and what to do about it. You’ll be told the output transformer burned up and you’ll be paying a lot of cash for a new one plus labor at a minimum.

Some people purposefully mismatch their amps for the sound produced, but this is not recommended. Some of these people know what they are doing and are careful, other are just experimenting with no idea of what they are doing to their amps internally.

I am an advanced electronics instructor. I am well trained in this stuff. Take the manufactures recommendation/warnings seriously.


Mismatching with a lower impedance cab involves no danger for a tube amp, higher might blow some power tubes or the OT. That's it.
And I don't think this is the topic of the thread, he wonders what the difference is between using 4 or 16 ohms (matched).
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#11
I run my JSX at 4 ohms. But that's because it's hooked up to two 8 ohm 4x12's. Sounds HUGE!
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#12
just curious, but how does the ohm setting affect the performance of a combo? or is that just too different of an animal, for a different thread?
#13
Let's be clear on a few things.
1. With a tube amp (head + cab, combo + speaker, etc) you can always mismatch the load (speakers) twice that of the output (amp). You can usually mismatch the load half the output as well, but I'd not recommend it with cheaper amps or Marshalls since they have touchy transformers. Well-built amps can take a load four times the output impedance, but there's not usually a good reason to do such a thing.
2. The power difference in watts when you mismatch 2:1 (up or down) is 11%. That is very little volume-wise (not an audible difference unless you have a very loud amp)- but mismatching will effect your tone in some way.
3. When matching impedances, use the highest impedance available to you. For instance, if you have a head that can switch between 4, 8, and 16 ohms, it is preferable to use a 16 ohm load since it uses all of the transformer's windings.
4. Mismatching the impedance may shorten the life of your output transformer, so mismatching is only useful if it sounds better to you.
5. Use your ears and the brain in between them
#14
Quote by Roc8995
3. When matching impedances, use the highest impedance available to you. For instance, if you have a head that can switch between 4, 8, and 16 ohms, it is preferable to use a 16 ohm load since it uses all of the transformer's windings.
It may be preferable, but not necessary by any means. It actually relies on what the speaker cabinet you use the amp with. Many companies only offer 8 ohm mono cabs like Mesa, Randall, Engl, so you then match your amps impedance appropriately.
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#15
^They do that so it's easier to daisy-chain cabs. If they did 16 ohm cabs you'd be limited to running them in parallel. With 8 ohm cabs you can do series or parallel.
But yes, it's preferable- nothing more.
#16
Quote by Roc8995
^They do that so it's easier to daisy-chain cabs. If they did 16 ohm cabs you'd be limited to running them in parallel. With 8 ohm cabs you can do series or parallel.
But yes, it's preferable- nothing more.
That makes sense, namely with my Mesa cab because it has an 8 ohm in and out, for daisy chaining multiple cabs.
I run my cab with another 8 ohm mono H&K cab, but I don't chain them together. I just run two speaker cables from my amp and set the impedance selector to 4 ohms.

Would daisy chaining through the Mesa have any better/different results?
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#17
Different, yes. Better, who knows. The different cab and speakers will make a much larger difference than the impedance selection.
#18
Quote by Traveler 45C
Have you read your amp’s owner’s manual? It will tell you specifically NOT to mismatch the impedance. If the amp’s output impedance is 16 ohms, you MUST match it to a 16 ohm cabinet. You are risking catastrophic damage to your amp, especially at high volume levels if you mismatch. One day the amp will just stop making noise, and you’ll be posting here wondering why and what to do about it. You’ll be told the output transformer burned up and you’ll be paying a lot of cash for a new one plus labor at a minimum.

Some people purposefully mismatch their amps for the sound produced, but this is not recommended. Some of these people know what they are doing and are careful, other are just experimenting with no idea of what they are doing to their amps internally.

I am an advanced electronics instructor. I am well trained in this stuff. Take the manufactures recommendation/warnings seriously.


Yes i have been matching. Kinda dumb not too IMO.
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#19
Isn't there someway that you can wire a 4 ohm cab to 16 ohms? I've been considering this seeing as then it'd work with the new head I'm getting, but I've read that if a speaker blows, it all dies and that can result horrifically for a head. I've got 65 watt speakers in the cab, so would they be at risk of blowing?
#20
^You might be able to, but it depends a little on how many speakers the cab has and how it was brought down to 4 ohms. If it just a 1 speaker cab with a 4 ohm speaker then you are stuck. If it's a 4 speaker cab with 16ohm speakers in parallel then you are stuck. If it's a 2 speaker cab with 8ohm speaker in parallel then wire them in series and you will get 16 ohms. If it's a 4 speaker cab with 4ohm speakers wired in series then you need to rewire them in parallel.
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#21
Quote by bowen
Isn't there someway that you can wire a 4 ohm cab to 16 ohms? I've been considering this seeing as then it'd work with the new head I'm getting, but I've read that if a speaker blows, it all dies and that can result horrifically for a head. I've got 65 watt speakers in the cab, so would they be at risk of blowing?


Your speakers are not at risk, even with a 100w head. It would take A LOT to blow those and it would be incredible loud.

I wouldn’t fool with re-wiring your cabinet unless you know exactly what you are doing. Take it to somebody who does. The repair guys at the guitar store have the knowledge. But they would have to see your cabinet.
Trav
#22
If there's only one 65w speaker in the cab then yes it is at risk. If there are 2 it's risky (as a 100w tube head can output more than 130w some times), but if there are 4 there's no risk (4x65w = 260w).
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#23
Quote by bowen
Isn't there someway that you can wire a 4 ohm cab to 16 ohms? I've been considering this seeing as then it'd work with the new head I'm getting, but I've read that if a speaker blows, it all dies and that can result horrifically for a head. I've got 65 watt speakers in the cab, so would they be at risk of blowing?


It's really not that hard to rewire. There's a youtube vid somewhere that shows how to solder and the guy shows you how to connect wires to a speaker. There are also numerous sites that show how to wire a cab in various ways.
The problem is for you that the speakers are probably 4 ohm each, wired in series & parallel to get a 4 ohm cab.
If you wire them all in series you'll get 16 ohms but if one speaker suddenly dies you risk blowing up your amp as the load would be too high (no signal gets back to the amp).
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#24
Quote by Ventor
It's really not that hard to rewire. There's a youtube vid somewhere that shows how to solder and the guy shows you how to connect wires to a speaker. There are also numerous sites that show how to wire a cab in various ways.
The problem is for you that the speakers are probably 4 ohm each, wired in series & parallel to get a 4 ohm cab.
If you wire them all in series you'll get 16 ohms but if one speaker suddenly dies you risk blowing up your amp as the load would be too high (no signal gets back to the amp).


Thats not a problem if you run your output tubes in triode mode though.
#25
Quote by 1337void
Thats not a problem if you run your output tubes in triode mode though.


Meaning?
I don't see what tubes have to do with the impedance of the head.
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#26
Consider this…

Take your 100w amp and turn everything up all the way. Now, hit a chord. There are 2 things going on:

1. The attack. When you hit the chord, your 100w amp will be putting out well north of 100 watts. That’s called instantaneous power. It’s there for a fraction of a second then gone.

2. After the attack, your chord is ringing out. That’s called continuous power. If you measure it, it’ll be somewhere between 20-40 watts. And that’ll be pretty loud, won’t it?

First of all, your amp is rated 100w continuous, that means it’ll put out that much power safely. But it has the capability to put out huge amounts of power, well above 100w for brief periods.

Your speaker is rated at 65w continuous. That means it’ll handle a chord ringing out at 65w safely, but you wouldn’t want to be in the room with it, it’ll kill your ears. What about your 65w speaker and the attack, power well above 65watts? No problem because it is only there for a fraction of a second and it’ll be able to absorb that safely.

Let me give this example, my home stereo…

I have 100w speakers. My power amp is rated at 250w/channel continuous power. When I have it cranked and I watch the power meters this is what I observe: The meters will be indicating 40w continuous power, meaning the LED’s are lit and stay lit. During the snap of the snare and the bass parts, my amp is putting out from 1000-1100watts, but that’s peak or instantaneous power, the LED’s are jumping up that high then back down to 40w. Get it? The 1100w is only their instantaneously, and my 100w speakers are handling it fine.

If I get stupid and keep turning the volume up, there would be the possibility of damaging the speakers IF the power gets past 100w continuously. But who listens to anything that loud?

So, your 65w speakers will be fine during normal playing, even really loud playing.
Trav
Last edited by Traveler 45C at May 28, 2008,
#27
Quote by Traveler 45C
Consider this…

Take your 100w amp and turn everything up all the way. Now, hit a chord. There are 2 things going on:
1. The attack. When you hit the chord, your 100w amp will be putting out well north of 100 watts. That’s called instantaneous power. It’s there for a fraction of a second then gone.
2. After the attack, your chord is ringing out. That’s called continuous power. If you measure it, it’ll be somewhere between 20-40 watts. And that’ll be pretty loud, won’t it?

First of all, your amp is rated 100w continuous, that means it’ll put out that much power safely. But it has the capability to put out huge amounts of power, well above 100w for brief periods.

Your speaker is rated at 65w continuous. That means it’ll handle a chord ringing out at 65w safely, but you wouldn’t want to be in the room with it, it’ll kill your ears. What about your 65w speaker and the attack, power well above 65watts? No problem because it is only there for a fraction of a second and it’ll be able to absorb that safely.

Let me give this example, my home stereo…

I have 100w speakers. My power amp is rated at 250w/channel continuous power. When I have it cranked and I watch the power meters this is what I observe: The meters will be indicating 40w continuous power, meaning the LED’s are lit and stay lit. During the snap of the snare and the bass parts, my amp is putting out from 1000-1100watts, but that’s peak or instantaneous power, the LED’s are jumping up that high then back down to 40w. Get it? The 1100w is only their incautiously, and my 100w speakers are handling it fine.

If I get stupid and keep turning the volume up, there would be the possibility of damaging the speakers IF the power gets past 100w continuously. But who listens to anything that loud?

So, your 65w speakers will be fine during normal playing, even really loud playing.


I'm not buying it. Do you have a source to confirm this? I know the attack produces more wattage, but most guitar songs have continuous attack. I'm pretty sure you'll blow your 65w speaker on a 100w tube amp cranked.
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#28
Most if not all recordings have a lot of compression added to everything, even the vocals just so they can get it on to tape. Without the compression, live signals are just too dynamic; the loud parts (attack) are too loud, record levels must be turned down to safely record them or distortion may result, the soft parts then are too soft, so levels must be increased and as a result, raising the noise floor to an unacceptable level (more noise in the recording). The solution is to add compression, squashing the loud parts (attack) and raising up the quieter. What your hearing in songs is compressed guitar, not so much continuous attack.

Source?
1. 27 years in the advanced electronics field, including being an instructor of Test Equipment Calibration and Air Search Radar. Lots of experience measuring peak and continuous power levels.

2. Here’s a quote from the following link (keep in mind that this discussion is geared towards setting up a PA, guitar amps clip differently and our speakers are built to accommodate them): “Suppose you need to supply 1000 watts for peaks, and your speaker's continuous power handling is 250 watts. A speaker's peak power handling is typically 4 times its continuous power handling. So the speaker can probably handle 1000 watts peak. That means you can use a 1000 watt amplifier to drive that speaker

3. A 1000w amp to drive a 250w speaker, that is perfectly safe to do and industry standard. Accordingly, the 65w speaker in question should be able to handle up to 260w peak power, or instantaneous (attack) power. It will handle the 100w amp just fine.

4. http://www.crownaudio.com/amp_htm/amp_info/how_much_power.htm

You are correct, the attack does produce more wattage from the amp, but it’s only there for as long as you are ‘hitting’ the strings. The amp settles down to much lower power as the strings are ringing out. How much power? I doubt anyone would like to be in a room with an amp ringing out at anywhere near 65w.

I’m playing through a 100w re-issued Plexi and a 4x12 Marshall cab. Each of the speakers is rated at 25w I believe. I’ve played the amp wide open, at gigs and haven’t blown the speakers yet
Trav
Last edited by Traveler 45C at May 28, 2008,
#29
Quote by Traveler 45C

You are correct, the attack does produce more wattage from the amp, but it’s only there for as long as you are ‘hitting’ the strings. The amp settles down to much lower power as the strings are ringing out. How much power? I doubt anyone would like to be in a room with an amp ringing out at anywhere near 65w.

I’m playing through a 100w re-issued Plexi and a 4x12 Marshall cab. Each of the speakers is rated at 25w I believe. I’ve played the amp wide open, at gigs and haven’t blown the speakers yet


Ok but fast metal or solo's for example has people picking the strings over 10 times a second, wouldn't that be a continuous high wattage to the speaker?
And 4x25w = 100w, and I know most speakers are rated conservatively, so they can handle more than they show on the back. But for a single 65w speaker to handle a cranked 100w tube amp... I wouldn't try nor recommend it.

And isn't there a difference between home audio equipment where there is no actual physical force involved (picking strings)? The peaks are not as high there as for real guitar amps, or am I wrong?
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#30
Also interesting in the link you provided:

If you can prevent the power amp from clipping (by using a limiter), use a power amp that supplies 2 to 4 times the speakers continuous power rating per channel. This allows 3 to 6 dB of headroom for peaks in the audio signal. Speakers are built to handle those short-term peaks. If you cant keep the power amp from clipping (say, you have no limiter and the system is overdriven or goes into feedback) the amplifier power should equal the speakers continuous power rating. That way the speaker wont be damaged if the amp clips by overdriving its input. In this case there is no headroom for peaks, so youll have to drive the speaker at less than its full rated power if you want to avoid distortion.


As far as I know guitar amps have no limiter and can clip, so in this case they recommend using the same (or higher) continuous power rating for the speakers.
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#31
Good questions!

Ok but fast metal or solo's for example has people picking the strings over 10 times a second, wouldn't that be a continuous high wattage to the speaker?

10 times a second? Man that’s fast! I can't even count to ten that fast

The average or continuous wattage would be higher, yes, but believe it or not, the time between the picks is probably longer in duration than the picking time itself bringing the average power down. We’re talking about a clean amp here, no distortion added.

Think of it this way, the metal guys are mostly using high gain devises before the amp or preamp distortion. This type of distortion is highly compressed, meaning the attack is not that much higher than the sustain. In this case, cranking the amp all the way up would be dangerous as the amp would be trying to reproduce this continuous sustain and would be putting out close to its max output (100w), and that would be 100w continuous power. Jamming that into a speaker rated at 65w continuous would probably melt it.

Realistically though, high gain and high volume don’t mix very well as the amp would be uncontrollable at this power level, squealing and feeding back unmusically so to motivate the player to turn it down before actually losing the speaker, or his hearing

And 4x25w = 100w, and I know most speakers are rated conservatively, so they can handle more than they show on the back. But for a single 65w speaker to handle a cranked 100w tube amp... I wouldn't try nor recommend it.

It would be ok as long as the amp isn’t pushed to output 65w continuous (sustain, ringing) power. It’ll handle the attacks just fine.

And isn't there a difference between home audio equipment where there is no actual physical force involved (picking strings)? The peaks are not as high there as for real guitar amps, or am I wrong?

You are correct. There is a major difference between our guitar amps and home stereos. Live signals are hugely dynamic while recorded music is severely compressed as you’ve indicated. There is no way that a stereo will handle the dynamic signal direct from a guitar (how many of you have tried it?), and there is no way that my 100w stereo speakers will handle the signal from even my 40w Fender. They are not built to take that kind of abuse, our guitar amp speakers are.
Trav
Last edited by Traveler 45C at May 28, 2008,
#32
Quote by Traveler 45C

Realistically though, high gain and high volume don’t mix very well as the amp would be uncontrollable at this power level, squealing and feeding back unmusically so to motivate the player to turn it down before actually losing the speaker, or his hearing


Then you never heard my Uberschall at max gain on high volume during gigs!

So I guess we agree that for guitar amps the cab should at least match the output power of the guitar amp? Preferably 50% more if you use high gain and high volumes
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Last edited by Ventor at May 28, 2008,
#33
Quote by Ventor
Then you never heard my Uberschall at max gain on high volume during gigs!

So I guess we agree that for guitar amps the cab should at least match the output power of the guitar amp? Preferably 50% more if you use high gain and high volumes


That would be great, would love to hear you and your amp...

If one is using high gain and running the amp at max then yes, but who could do that realistically? At 10-20w maybe, but I think anything above that power will be impractical.

Normally though, at practical volume levels, a 100w amp won't be putting out anywhere near it’s max power ‘continuously’, the peak or attack levels will be above and safe for lower rated cabs.

So, for the guy with the 65w speaker, he can use his 100w amp as long as he doesn’t play a Santana note and hold it while the amp is turned up all the way.

Can we agree on that one?
Trav
#34
Quote by Ventor
Then you never heard my Uberschall at max gain on high volume during gigs!

So I guess we agree that for guitar amps the cab should at least match the output power of the guitar amp? Preferably 50% more if you use high gain and high volumes


That would be great, would love to hear you and your amp...

If one is using high gain and running the amp at max then yes, but who could do that realistically? At 10-20w maybe, but I think anything above that power will be impractical.

Normally though, at practical volume levels, a 100w amp won't be putting out anywhere near it’s max power ‘continuously’, the peak or attack levels will be above and safe for lower rated cabs.

So, for the guy with the 65w speaker, he can use his 100w amp as long as he doesn’t play a Santana note and hold it while the amp is turned up all the way.

Can we agree on that one?
Trav
#35
Quote by Traveler 45C
That would be great, would love to hear you and your amp...

If one is using high gain and running the amp at max then yes, but who could do that realistically? At 10-20w maybe, but I think anything above that power will be impractical.

Normally though, at practical volume levels, a 100w amp won't be putting out anywhere near it’s max power ‘continuously’, the peak or attack levels will be above and safe for lower rated cabs.

So, for the guy with the 65w speaker, he can use his 100w amp as long as he doesn’t play a Santana note and hold it while the amp is turned up all the way.

Can we agree on that one?


Check my profile blog, got a few high volume youtube vids there (****ty quality tho)
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