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Author Topic: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?  (Read 17001 times)

Harris Wangberg

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will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« on: May 14, 2012, 12:42:37 am »

Hey guys, I'm new to the live sound arena, and needing some help.  I just purchased some dual 12 pa speakers from seismic audio, rated for 600 watts rms, 1200 peak, and 4 ohms 45 hz - 20k. My guitarist has a peavy ipr 1600, at two 4 ohm speakers it is rated for 530 watts per channel.

Today we were setting the gear up, our equipment is all run through an old fender 100 watt power mixer. When I turned the bass channel up to only about 9 o clock on the mixer to get some smooooooth grooves from the bass guitar, immediately the guitarist told me to shut it off, then insisted the bass guitars open note is too low for the speakers to handle, (it's a B1) and that he read countless testimonials online about how putting bass through pa speakers can blow the speakers. And further insisted the bass cab will be more than enough to carry the bass.

Sounds fishy to me. B1 is around 60 hz, I don't see a problem. and his peavy shouldn't be sending a clipped signal to the speakers if we don't crank it. am I missing something?

any insight would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.
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Brad Weber

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2012, 12:34:33 am »

Hey guys, I'm new to the live sound arena, and needing some help.  I just purchased some dual 12 pa speakers from seismic audio, rated for 600 watts rms, 1200 peak, and 4 ohms 45 hz - 20k. My guitarist has a peavy ipr 1600, at two 4 ohm speakers it is rated for 530 watts per channel.
I'm not sure how much value the Seismic Audio specs have.  For example, 1,200W Peak would normally relate to 300W "RMS" while 600W would be the Program rating.   And they may be rated 45Hz -20kHz, but without any limits, such as +/-3dB or -10dB, that is an essentially useless specification.  I personally have trouble trusting products from manufacturers who don't even seem to understand the specifications they publish for their products.  The reason I point this out is that you cannot really tell what low frequency response that box can supposedly provide.

Today we were setting the gear up, our equipment is all run through an old fender 100 watt power mixer. When I turned the bass channel up to only about 9 o clock on the mixer to get some smooooooth grooves from the bass guitar, immediately the guitarist told me to shut it off, then insisted the bass guitars open note is too low for the speakers to handle, (it's a B1) and that he read countless testimonials online about how putting bass through pa speakers can blow the speakers. And further insisted the bass cab will be more than enough to carry the bass.

Sounds fishy to me. B1 is around 60 hz, I don't see a problem. and his peavy shouldn't be sending a clipped signal to the speakers if we don't crank it. am I missing something?
It is common to run low frequency or full range sources through the mains provided they can handle the response and levels you are looking for them to provide.  Because that is not always the case, it is also common with entry level sound systems in smaller venues to just use the bass rig and not run the bass through the system.
 
I don't know what bass you have, but a standard four string goes down to E1 or around 41Hz and a standard five or six string to B0 or around 31Hz.  However, much of the energy is in the overtones and it is often possible for the brain to 'fill in the fundamental' from the first few overtones, for example if you hear 62Hz, a bit less 93Hz and even less 124Hz the brain will likely "fill in" there being a related 31Hz fundamental even if that 31Hz sound is not actually present or is way down in level.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 12:06:52 pm by Brad Weber »
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Tim Weaver

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2012, 10:15:50 am »

Hey guys, I'm new to the live sound arena, and needing some help.  I just purchased some dual 12 pa speakers from seismic audio, rated for 600 watts rms, 1200 peak, and 4 ohms 45 hz - 20k. My guitarist has a peavy ipr 1600, at two 4 ohm speakers it is rated for 530 watts per channel.

Today we were setting the gear up, our equipment is all run through an old fender 100 watt power mixer. When I turned the bass channel up to only about 9 o clock on the mixer to get some smooooooth grooves from the bass guitar, immediately the guitarist told me to shut it off, then insisted the bass guitars open note is too low for the speakers to handle, (it's a B1) and that he read countless testimonials online about how putting bass through pa speakers can blow the speakers. And further insisted the bass cab will be more than enough to carry the bass.

Sounds fishy to me. B1 is around 60 hz, I don't see a problem. and his peavy shouldn't be sending a clipped signal to the speakers if we don't crank it. am I missing something?

any insight would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

Yes Harris, you will blow your speakers if you run bass through them. Luckily for you, you will probably blow them up running vocals, guitars, and keys through them too. And you will definitely blow them if you let a DJ use them!

Point being, those are bottom of the line chinese made junk. Sell them ASAP and get something better from craigslist or a swap meet. Peavey actually makes some very good products for your situation. That's where I would look. I'm not well versed on peavey's line up, but search around. You'll quickly find which pieces are worth spending money on and which are not.
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Harris Wangberg

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2012, 10:38:58 pm »

I'm not sure how much value the Seismic Audio specs have.  For example, 1,200W Peak would normally relate to 300W "RMS" while 600W would be the Program rating.   And they may be rated 45Hz -20kHz, but without any limits, such as +/-3dB or -10dB, that is an essentially useless specification.  I personally have trouble trusting products from manufacturers who don't even seem to understand the specifications they publish for their products.  The reason I point this out is that you cannot really tell what low frequency response that box can supposedly provide.
It is common to run low frequency or full range sources through the mains provided they can handle the response and levels you are looking for them to provide.  Because that is not always the case, it is also common with entry level sound systems in smaller venues to just use the bass rig and not run the bass through the system.

There a limit rating on the back of the speakers and +/- 3 sounds right, but that's only a guess, the speakers are now at my guitarists house. I remember seeing it, not knowing what it really meant and discarding the information.

@Tim, I'll admit I got caught up in their marketing.  Their mission statement is noble, and the ratings they claim for their sensitivity, wattage and frequency were all better than other speakers I found in that price range and the 30 money back no questions asked policy helped tip the scale. Price was the deciding factor. My co worker asked us to play at a party this upcoming weekend and my budget was about 300 dollars.  After purchasing them I discovered this site and haven't read much good about them. If they don't blow during the show I'll consider it money well spent. I needed something now.

Since that my original posting I've read elsewhere that most PA's can handle it, but most are better than what I have in both quality and design, (larger drivers, better construction).

Thanks guys.
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Tim Weaver

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2012, 12:24:47 am »

There a limit rating on the back of the speakers and +/- 3 sounds right, but that's only a guess, the speakers are now at my guitarists house. I remember seeing it, not knowing what it really meant and discarding the information.

@Tim, I'll admit I got caught up in their marketing.  Their mission statement is noble, and the ratings they claim for their sensitivity, wattage and frequency were all better than other speakers I found in that price range and the 30 money back no questions asked policy helped tip the scale. Price was the deciding factor. My co worker asked us to play at a party this upcoming weekend and my budget was about 300 dollars.  After purchasing them I discovered this site and haven't read much good about them. If they don't blow during the show I'll consider it money well spent. I needed something now.

Since that my original posting I've read elsewhere that most PA's can handle it, but most are better than what I have in both quality and design, (larger drivers, better construction).

Thanks guys.

Honestly I would bet that the horns will pop before the woofers. That's pretty typical of cheap stuff. The other part of the equation is that there is probably no crossover on the woofers so that when the horn does go, you might not notice it for a while because "some kind" of high frequency is still coming out of the box.

Go ahead and use them until they blow, then have a bonfire with the corpse. Consider it a "stupid tax" and move on. The best scenario is that you will make your money back before they go...
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duane massey

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 10:59:06 pm »

Just to chime in here, if the bass is loud enough without going thru the PA, great. This is very common with smaller bands in smaller rooms. People tend to forget the primary function of a PA is to make the performers audible and (hopefully) balanced. You don't need to mic the guitars, drums, horns, tambourine, etc, if they are already loud enough (or too loud).
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Duane Massey
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2012, 11:51:26 pm »

Just to chime in here, if the bass is loud enough without going thru the PA, great. This is very common with smaller bands in smaller rooms. People tend to forget the primary function of a PA is to make the performers audible and (hopefully) balanced. You don't need to mic the guitars, drums, horns, tambourine, etc, if they are already loud enough (or too loud).

I'll see your tambourine and raise you a.... COWBELL!  ::)
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Jordan Wolf

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2012, 12:59:58 am »

I'll see your tambourine and raise you a.... COWBELL!  ::)
Well at least it's not a banjo...
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2012, 07:46:22 am »

immediately the guitarist told me to shut it off, then insisted the bass guitars open note is too low for the speakers to handle, (it's a B1)
I think you have a bigger problem than running the bass through the PA.  If the bass does not have the low E string-then that is quite a limited instrument.  most bass palyers like to have all 4 (or more) strings.    Maybe there is some reason the low E string has been taken off??????

The real answer is "it depends".  In this case it depends on how loud you turn it up.  If you don't run it to loud-then running the bass will be just fine.

If you turn it up then you could blow them.

How loud can you turn it up?  NOW it gets a lot more complicated-real quick.
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Chuck Simon

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2012, 08:14:16 am »

I think you have a bigger problem than running the bass through the PA.  If the bass does not have the low E string-then that is quite a limited instrument.  most bass palyers like to have all 4 (or more) strings.    Maybe there is some reason the low E string has been taken off??????

The real answer is "it depends".  In this case it depends on how loud you turn it up.  If you don't run it to loud-then running the bass will be just fine.

If you turn it up then you could blow them.

How loud can you turn it up?  NOW it gets a lot more complicated-real quick.

Ivan, you do realize he is talking about a 5 string bass, right?

As Duane said, the bass is usually loud enough in small rooms with most bands and you probably won't need to put in in the PA.  I wouldn't.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2012, 08:21:38 am by Chuck Simon »
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Charlie Zureki

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2012, 08:57:23 am »

Hey guys, I'm new to the live sound arena, and needing some help.  I just purchased some dual 12 pa speakers from seismic audio, rated for 600 watts rms, 1200 peak, and 4 ohms 45 hz - 20k. My guitarist has a peavy ipr 1600, at two 4 ohm speakers it is rated for 530 watts per channel.

Today we were setting the gear up, our equipment is all run through an old fender 100 watt power mixer.

any insight would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

  Hello,

  Just as others have written, the speakers are pretty bottom of the barrel.  If the 30 day thing is still in effect, take them back and look to rent a couple of speakers for your gig until you can save enough to purchase something a little better.  This box has a lousy $9 horn in it.

   Also.. how are you connecting the outputs of your 100 watt head mixer to the peavy amp?

   If you insist on using this rig for your party...put only vocals and a snare/hat mic through it.  It's not only the Bass guitar's low notes that you'd have to worry about, it's a kick drum that could cause over extension of your drivers.... but, I wouldn't worry too much as Brad had mentioned, the speakers seem under powered.  Just remember...no clipping.

  Good Luck....remember...a bargain isn't a bargain if it won't fit the task.
  Hammer
   
   
« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 06:08:37 pm by Charlie Zureki »
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Rob Gow

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2012, 09:57:59 am »

Today we were setting the gear up, our equipment is all run through an old fender 100 watt power mixer. When I turned the bass channel up to only about 9 o clock on the mixer to get some smooooooth grooves from the bass guitar, immediately the guitarist told me to shut it off, then insisted the bass guitars open note is too low for the speakers to handle, (it's a B1) and that he read countless testimonials online about how putting bass through pa speakers can blow the speakers. And further insisted the bass cab will be more than enough to carry the bass.

I also caught the highlighted tidbit...

Running a powered signal to a power amp is not a good thing to do...
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David Morison

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2012, 07:49:06 am »

Ivan, you do realize he is talking about a 5 string bass, right?

The note referenced in the OP is an octave above the bottom B of a conventionally tuned 5 string, which is what Ivan was pointing out.
Of course, it could just be a typo, but maybe the OP's band uses some funky old baritone guitar for the low end or somesuch.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2012, 08:03:55 pm »

Ivan, you do realize he is talking about a 5 string bass, right?


But he said B1.  B 0 is 32 Hz.

I assumed that he was also doing some weird tuning on the low string to get B1.

Apparently there is a lot "mixed up" in this situation
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Kenny Deal

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2012, 11:19:20 pm »

Just to chime in here, if the bass is loud enough without going thru the PA, great. This is very common with smaller bands in smaller rooms. People tend to forget the primary function of a PA is to make the performers audible and (hopefully) balanced. You don't need to mic the guitars, drums, horns, tambourine, etc, if they are already loud enough (or too loud).
+1.
Don't put anything in the pa but vox and possibly a little gtr and that is only to keep the gtr stage volume down.
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Harris Wangberg

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2012, 01:37:54 am »

Thanks for the information guys, since my posting we played, everything went well, actually the guitar running through the pa was too loud and drowned out everything else if you were standing in front of the speakers. The audience stood off to the side and we were told it sounded really clean and clear.

As for the tuning, it is a four string, tuned to c# standard or drop B. I was going entirely off what guitar pro tells me the notes are for that tuning, (guitar: c#3, f#3, b3, e4, g#4, c5) bass being one octave lower usually, I figured it was a b1, as the guitar would be a b2.

Rob: I have wondered if that was a bad idea, thanks for the note, I now know we need to get a passive mixer.

Again, thank you all.
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Bob Leonard

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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2012, 06:54:08 am »

Harris,
Party indicates house gig / small hall. forget about pushing anything but vocals through the PA. Have the bass player use his own rig or rent one if needed. After that get a good mix on stage below the loudest vocals and you're all set. Work on replacing the cabinets ASAP and if they're within the 30 day window send them back after the gig.
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Re: will putting bass through pa blow speakers?
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2012, 06:54:08 am »


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