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I did something stupid - no speaker cable


Golder7

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Hi guys,

 

So, yesterday I had a rehearsal with my band. While getting set up I realised   I had not brought with me my speakon-speakon speaker cable... I asked the rest of the band whether they had one and the guitarist hands me one. Its not speakon, and it doesn't feel/look like a speaker cable. I go ahead and connect my Ashdown ABM EVOIII 500 to my ABM 410T and think nothing more of it - hence the title of this post, entirely my fault.

 

After half hour or so at playing with the amp's  output dial at 12 it started to cut in/out and become  a bit farty (for reference I was using my MIM P, passive). A couple minutes later it just stopped outputting anything at all. All the lights/dials were still on.

 

I turned her off and went through the PA for the rest of the rehearsal. This morning I set up it up, properly... and turned it on. It''s all working perfectly normally.

 

Now, I can't turn up the volume much past 8 o'clock because... neighbours so my question is, presuming the problem yesterday was that the 'speaker' cable was in fact an instrument  cable, AND I am getting sound today (at a lower volume) am I likely to have done any serious damage that I may not notice until the volume is up higher?

 

Conversely, presuming the cable WAS a speaker cable, any ideas what might have caused it to cut out like that?

 

Thanks all!

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if it was an instrument cable and it got hot and partially shorted the amps protection circuit cut's in, I've had similar when a (proper) speaker lead got a partial short on it, the amp was fine  when another lead was used 

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The bit that makes no sense is that Speakons are designed to be idiot proof. The whole shape of the sockets makes it really difficult/impossible to get the wrong plug into the socket. You can't for example get a Powercon connector to fit even though they look similar and i can't think of an instrument cable that would fit in any way.

 

I think it was a Speakon but may have been faulty, who knows?

 

I also think Paul is right, something was wrong and the protection circuits cut in and saved any further problems. I hope you'll find all is good and you won't have problems in future. I stick one lead in my guitar case and one in with the amp so it halves the chance of ending up with a lead missing and gives me a spare if one goes down at a gig.

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Sorry, I didn't mention that the 'instrument' cable was a 1/4" jack to jack cable. The speakon to speakon cable I referred to is my cable, which I (stupidly) left at home! The head has speakon/jack combi sockets, and the can has separate speakon/jack sockets. 

 

Thanks for the replies guys, I certainly hope Ashdown, as I suspect most manufacturers do, have catered for the stupidity of some of its users i.e. me, and saved me a whole heap of trouble!  

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1 hour ago, Golder7 said:

After half hour or so at playing with the amp's  output dial at 12 it started to cut in/out and become  a bit farty (for reference I was using my MIM P, passive). A couple minutes later it just stopped outputting anything at all. All the lights/dials were still on.

 

You will probably find that the guitar cable is no longer a guitar cable, but a plastic tube full of pools of copper.

That is the point of Speakons, to stop people using guitar cables.

Edited by Woodinblack
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I often read about the dangers of not using proper speaker cables, but tbh I only learned if the existence of such cables when I joined Basstalk.

For the preceding decades I used the same cables as I used for my instruments with absolutely no ill effects.

I'd often wondered if this whole speaker cable thing was a kings new clothes situation

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Yep you cooked the guitar lead as they handle very small currents.

 

I use 2.5mm conductor speakons to handle my RM800 

 

Sounds like you got away with it and it shut down as cable probably failed

 

If this was a valve amp it would now be toast so think yourself very lucky !!

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2 hours ago, BassAdder27 said:

If this was a valve amp it would now be toast so think yourself very lucky !!

A valve amp is unaffected by a shorted output. For that matter Fender valve amps use a switched speaker jack that shorts the output so that the amp won't be damaged by what will hurt it, which is no load. That's why they don't work when you inadvertently plug in to the extension speaker jack rather than the speaker jack. SS amps that lack short circuit protection circuitry, which are rare, can blow output devices and more with a shorted output cable.

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3 hours ago, stewblack said:

I often read about the dangers of not using proper speaker cables, but tbh I only learned if the existence of such cables when I joined Basstalk.

 

Absolutely not - I have seen it (and done it) at many times over the last 40 years. Easier with a bass it must be said, an old vox ac30 flat out is pushing 2 amps, whereas a 400w bass cab flat out is 7A. Signal cable isn't rated for anything like that. Obviously it will do it for a length of time (and nothing is ever totally flat out) but it will be pushing out a lot of heat. The longer your cable is the more it is going to heat, the more likely it is to go.

 

 

3 hours ago, stewblack said:

For the preceding decades I used the same cables as I used for my instruments with absolutely no ill effects.

I'd often wondered if this whole speaker cable thing was a kings new clothes situation

 

It really isn't (and there is nothing new to this). Its one of those things you can get away with often for a while, but like in the victorian days when they wired their houses without insulation and from the light socket, eventually you are going to burn the house down

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18 minutes ago, Bill Fitzmaurice said:

A valve amp is unaffected by a shorted output. For that matter Fender valve amps use a switched speaker jack that shorts the output so that the amp won't be damaged by what will hurt it, which is no load. That's why they don't work when you inadvertently plug in to the extension speaker jack rather than the speaker jack. SS amps that lack short circuit protection circuitry, which are rare, can blow output devices and more with a shorted output cable.

What about an open circuit in the failed cable so in effect no cab connected to the amp

 

That would fry a valve amp as no load connected which is a no no 

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We did a gig in an outdoor area a couple of years ago, about the time we were going from using the old PA which was passive speakers and a 4 channel amp, and my mixer and the active speakers. Because of the location around a corner the singer decided to put a speaker round the corner to get to the crowd there. Because they had already used the speaker cables so using a monitor as an extension I just managed to catch him just about to use my 1990 whirlwind cable as a speaker cable!

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23 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

 

But not keen on an open output, who is to say how it would melt.

When the insulation in the cable melts the usual result is a short circuit. For an open circuit to occur the conductor would have to melt. That could happen, but long before the conductor melts it would create enough heat to melt the insulation and likely cause a short circuit. I've never seen an instrument cable used as a speaker cable suffer a melted conductor, but I've seen plenty with melted insulation. It's all Leo Fender's fault, for using the same jack for inputs and speaker outputs, because that was the less expensive option.

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8 minutes ago, Bill Fitzmaurice said:

 It's all Leo Fender's fault, for using the same jack for inputs and speaker outputs, because that was the less expensive option.

 

I have seen a cable melt open, but as you say it is less common (and is normally to do with overheating in the plug).

 

However, from Leos point of view, it makes sense. His options were really Jack or RCA, and the Jack already has the short on not plugged in thing happening.

Plus his amps at the start were 6W and 15W, and cables were probably heavier back then so probably no problem.

 

If only guitar amps had stayed at those sensible levels!

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On 31/08/2021 at 04:55, stewblack said:

I often read about the dangers of not using proper speaker cables, but tbh I only learned if the existence of such cables when I joined Basstalk.

For the preceding decades I used the same cables as I used for my instruments with absolutely no ill effects.

I'd often wondered if this whole speaker cable thing was a kings new clothes situation

I assure you that it CAN be a very real thing. Getting away with it is quite different from good practices.

 

There are 2 possible problems, the first being that the conductors themselves may be too small to carry the necessary current, and the other being that with some instrument cables the capacitance presented to the amp can create an illegal load (a load that the amp was not designed to handle safely) and damage the amp.

 

There are other benefits that can be attributed directly to SpeakOns, but that's a different topic.

 

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On 31/08/2021 at 01:58, Golder7 said:

Hi guys,

 

So, yesterday I had a rehearsal with my band. While getting set up I realised   I had not brought with me my speakon-speakon speaker cable... I asked the rest of the band whether they had one and the guitarist hands me one. Its not speakon, and it doesn't feel/look like a speaker cable. I go ahead and connect my Ashdown ABM EVOIII 500 to my ABM 410T and think nothing more of it - hence the title of this post, entirely my fault.

 

After half hour or so at playing with the amp's  output dial at 12 it started to cut in/out and become  a bit farty (for reference I was using my MIM P, passive). A couple minutes later it just stopped outputting anything at all. All the lights/dials were still on.

 

I turned her off and went through the PA for the rest of the rehearsal. This morning I set up it up, properly... and turned it on. It''s all working perfectly normally.

 

Now, I can't turn up the volume much past 8 o'clock because... neighbours so my question is, presuming the problem yesterday was that the 'speaker' cable was in fact an instrument  cable, AND I am getting sound today (at a lower volume) am I likely to have done any serious damage that I may not notice until the volume is up higher?

 

Conversely, presuming the cable WAS a speaker cable, any ideas what might have caused it to cut out like that?

 

Thanks all!

The most likely cause is simply an intermittent speaker cable or connection.

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Hey guys, as soon as I read about it I switched to OBBM speaker cables. I'm not decrying the science.

My only point was that we all used the same cables from amp to cab, from instrument to amp. Everyone I knew, every band -all of them. For years and years and years and no one I ever played with or was friends with ever suffered any problems.

Which is why I wondered about it. That's all. 

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1 minute ago, stewblack said:

Hey guys, as soon as I read about it I switched to OBBM speaker cables. I'm not decrying the science.

My only point was that we all used the same cables from amp to cab, from instrument to amp. Everyone I knew, every band -all of them. For years and years and years and no one I ever played with or was friends with ever suffered any problems.

Which is why I wondered about it. That's all. 

 

You and your mates were probably using speaker cables as instrument leads ...

 

😂😉

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10 minutes ago, stewblack said:

My only point was that we all used the same cables from amp to cab, from instrument to amp. Everyone I knew, every band -all of them. For years and years and years and no one I ever played with or was friends with ever suffered any problems.

If it’s any consultation stew, so did I back in the day, with no problems whatsoever, they were all just mixed up in a crate, but now all my leads are custom made by OBBM 

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15 minutes ago, stewblack said:

Hey guys, as soon as I read about it I switched to OBBM speaker cables. I'm not decrying the science.

My only point was that we all used the same cables from amp to cab, from instrument to amp. Everyone I knew, every band -all of them. For years and years and years and no one I ever played with or was friends with ever suffered any problems.

Which is why I wondered about it. That's all. 

I used orange 2 core mains cable back in the day. No chance of mistaking that for a signal cable.

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27 minutes ago, stewblack said:

Hey guys, as soon as I read about it I switched to OBBM speaker cables. I'm not decrying the science.

My only point was that we all used the same cables from amp to cab, from instrument to amp. Everyone I knew, every band -all of them. For years and years and years and no one I ever played with or was friends with ever suffered any problems.

Which is why I wondered about it. That's all. 

I did the same and so did everyone I know, trading amps, selling guitars/basses when you were skint, borrowing cabs when someone else provided them, not a care for cables or ohms even,  just getting drunk and having a blast. 
different times.., 

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13 minutes ago, nilebodgers said:

I used orange 2 core mains cable back in the day. No chance of mistaking that for a signal cable.

The guy who built and fitted the PA in my bar used two core mains everywhere for speakers.

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2 hours ago, agedhorse said:

I assure you that it CAN be a very real thing. Getting away with it is quite different from good practices.

 

There are 2 possible problems, the first being that the conductors themselves may be too small to carry the necessary current, and the other being that with some instrument cables the capacitance presented to the amp can create an illegal load (a load that the amp was not designed to handle safely) and damage the amp.

 

There are other benefits that can be attributed directly to SpeakOns, but that's a different topic.

 

Hi Andy! Good to see ya over here.

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15 hours ago, stewblack said:

Hey guys, as soon as I read about it I switched to OBBM speaker cables. I'm not decrying the science.

My only point was that we all used the same cables from amp to cab, from instrument to amp. Everyone I knew, every band -all of them. For years and years and years and no one I ever played with or was friends with ever suffered any problems.

Which is why I wondered about it. That's all. 

Similar experiences in my teens. Jack cables were jack cables (and generally crap).

But then again no-one was using more than 100W - usually less. 

Big transistor PA amps were what first raised concerns - MM Electronics rack units were 400W (?) and used XLRs - that's when we started making 'speaker' cables with mains twin core.

The jacks themselves were always border line, XLRs not much better, current wise, and then Neutrik introduced Speakons.

Edited by Bigguy2017
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