Top Six Ways to NOT use an Amplifier

When using a power amplifier in your signal chain, you always want to make sure you are using that correctly. It can be easy to destroy your prized gear and or people’s hearing, if you don’tcf6da733-ae53-49be-90bb-9f052e0d00bc (1) know what you are doing. Listed below are just a few things that can be “good practices” for making sure you don’t fry your PA system.

  1. Do NOT overpower your Speakers. Overpowering them can cause the tweeters and woofers to blow, and possible sound distortion can occur. Make sure your amplifier is 1 ½ times more powerful than the speakers RMS rating.  The amplifier will run more efficiently and allow your speakers to reach their maximum performance.
  2. Do NOT under-power your Speakers. Even more dangerous than overpowering your speakers, under powering them can cause stress on internal components such as; tweeters, woofers and crossovers. This will cause the speaker to not reach its maximum performance. The best way to counteract this problem is to get a higher rated power amplifier.
  3. Do NOT plug a powered speaker into a power amplifier.  This will definitely result in noise and static.  Worse, it could cause damage to both the powered speaker and the power amplifier.
  4. Do NOT run your amplifier at the wrong impedance. Measured in ohms (Ω), typically 4, 6 or 8. The lower the impedance, the more demand the speakers place on the amplifier, which is why matching the impedance of your speakers to your amplifier is important.  The important one to watch for is the dreaded 2 ohm load.  It is very easy to create this resistance with your monitor setup or a pair of dual speaker cabinets.  However, many power amplifiers cannot handle it.  Check out the Magnitude3600 or the Epicenter5202 if you need to power a 2 ohm speaker setup.
  5. Do NOT attempt to fry bacon on your amplifier. Seismic Audio Amplifiers are meant to power speakers, not fry bacon.  Besides, the engineering that has gone into all of our amplifiers means they will never get hot enough to properly cook anything.
  6. Do NOT run your amplifier with small gauge speaker wire. For the least amount of power loss and speaker damping, you want to use the heaviest gauge that is practical. The length and the gauge should both be factored when deciding on a speaker cable. The longer the cable the smaller the gauge, as well as the shorter the cable the higher the gauge. Also, the amount of watts you are pushing from your amp is a major factor towards what gauge wire you get.

These are just a few things that we hope will help you with setting up your passive PA system. Of course, the best way to get help with that is by giving one of our representatives a call at 1-877-347-6423 or, visiting www.seismicaudiospeakers.com. And remember, always practice “safe audioing”!

5 thoughts on “Top Six Ways to NOT use an Amplifier

  1. In point #1 above, there is an implied phrase that seems to be missing. Are you saying, “Make sure your amplifier is AT LEAST 1 1/2 times more powerful than the speaker’s RMS rating.” OR are you saying, “Make sure your amplifier is NO MORE THAN 1 1/2 times more powerful than the speaker’s RMS rating”? Is it OK to have an amp that is 2 or 3 times higher than the speaker’s RMS rating? For example, I have a pair of FL-155PCs that I connect to a stereo amp providing 3000W per side at 4 ohms. Thanks!

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    1. Sorry for the confusion. Yes, AT LEAST 1.5 times more powerful. This is mostly about not sending a clipping signal to the speakers, as a more powerful amp is less likely to do so. Your FL-155PCs will be just fine. All you need to watch out for is turning the amp volume all the way up, because then any peak will be likely to overpower your speakers. With the amp not turned to maximum, there shouldn’t be a problem.

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  2. Just a thought from a retired electrician about point 6. “Do NOT run your amplifier with small gauge speaker wire.”Some (possibly many) could misinterpret this as 8 gauge=small gauge and 16 gauge as large gauge as the small # might mean small wire. Higher # wire gauge = smaller diameter wire. Lower gauge is larger and thus able to carry a higher current without overdraw. I’m not sure this was phrased clearly in your post. It’s absolutely correct, but a bit confusing the way it’s worded. I had to read it a few times before I clearly understood what y’all were trying get across. (The first read through I actually thought you had exactly backwards until I reread it). Please let folks who aren’t familiar enough know that 12gauge cable is larger than 14gauge for example. Some may think a larger number means a larger cable. Thanks for your time and as always, thanks for sharing important information with everyone.

    P.S. I love all my Seismic gear. Keep up the great work.

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    1. It was written correctly, but yes, it is confusing that wire guage is INVERSELY RELATED to the size or diameter of the wire. I, for one, would like to know why that it’s…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wire’s physical dimensions go down as the gauge goes up as a result of the way wire was (is) manufactured. The number was representative of the number of times the metal was drawn through the die to size it. The fewer the passes the larger the wire, the more passes the smaller the wire.

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