Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

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EvilSpudBoy
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Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by EvilSpudBoy » January 27th, 2010, 5:18 am

I just read an article that was posted titled "Respecting Others While You Practice" by Mark Mills and I just wanted to point out some potentially bad advice.

The article says to disconnect one of the speaker leads on your amp. If you have a tube amp, this is a good way to destroy it. Unless you attach some kind of dummy load to dissapate the output power then you can fry the amp. I think in general it is safe to do on a solid state amp since they generally have circuitry that shuts down the output stage when there is an open circuit, but I imagine a solid state amp without any kind of open circuit protection would fry just as easily. I think in general if it is a solid state amp that drives the speaker directly (without an output transformer) you are safe.

I'm not sure If this is the place to post this, or in the lesson section. I'm hoping maybe the article can be updated to warn people to never do this on an amp with a tube output stage.
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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by Moonrider » January 27th, 2010, 6:16 am

EvilSpudBoy wrote: The article says to disconnect one of the speaker leads on your amp. If you have a tube amp, this is a good way to destroy it.

I'm not sure If this is the place to post this, or in the lesson section. I'm hoping maybe the article can be updated to warn people to never do this on an amp with a tube output stage.
You shouldn't run ANY amp without a load!

David, can you contact Mark and have him correct this?
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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by kingpatzer » January 27th, 2010, 6:29 am

Yeah, that's just :shock:
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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by dhodge » January 27th, 2010, 6:33 am

Shall do, guys!

Thanks for the heads-up and we'll hopefully have things taken care of shortly.

Peace

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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by Laz » January 27th, 2010, 8:26 am

Just to keep it sane, most/all amps with a SS output stage can run with no load, no problem, no shutdown protection required. I would think that most tube heads (though not necessarily combos) can also run without a load.

If your tube amp has two speakers, or an internal and external speaker connection, you should be able to disconnect one or the other, though perhaps not both.

Each amp is different (check the manual), so I'd be careful with absolutes here.

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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by EvilSpudBoy » January 27th, 2010, 9:54 am

Exactly, I didn't mean to speak in absolutes or generalize about all tube amps or all solid state amps. I think it is safe to say that some amps will be damaged when run without load, and others will be fine, but unless you know for sure your amp can be run without load, don't disconnect the speaker. The article should probably just state that. And it could also say that if you are in doubt, check the manual, or check with the manufacturer (maybe ask on their forum if they have one), or find someone who knows your particular amp.
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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by dhodge » January 27th, 2010, 10:14 am

Thanks to everyone for their input (special thanks to gnease for (hopefully) helping me write this all out in readable English :wink: ). I'm planning on putting this note at the start of the article:
EDITOR'S NOTE:

Please be aware that the advice in this article is meant, primarily, for those for have solid state amplifiers (the author himself has a Crate GLX 120).

With tube amplifiers, the situation changes. The speaker (generically, a "load") should not be disconnected from a tube amplifier without the substitution of a nearly equivalent -- but silent! -- resistive load. All the power that would have gone into the speaker ends up being absorbed in the power (output) amp transformer (part of tube amp design) and fries either the transformer or something else. It is entirely possible that someone HAS managed to do this with a tube amp and not damage it, as disconnecting a serial EFX loop as shown also removes signal from the power amp stage. That would save the tube amp. But even so, destruction is still possible if: EFX loop is a parallel loop (v. unusual) or the person forgets to reattach the speaker before playing through the amp normally.

Most solid state amps do not have this issue due to fundamental differences in principles of design and operational.
In other words, never operate a tube amplifier or any large wattage tube or solid-state amplifier without a proper output load: e.g., properly rated speaker, resistive load or power soak device. Only use this method on a smaller wattage, solid state amplifier.

And always consult the amplifier's user manual to confirm that no load (no speaker, no resistor, no power soak) operation will not damage the amplifier.
Should this work and make everyone happy (and keep their amplifiers safe)?

Peace

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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by Nuno » January 27th, 2010, 12:17 pm

Perfect!

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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by Dan T. » January 28th, 2010, 4:19 am

Who edited Mark's article to begin with?! :shock: I wouldn't recommend anyone disconnecting speaker leads just because you never know if it will damage the amp or not. At least the editor's note will hopefully stop people from following this poor advice. :roll:
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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by dhodge » January 28th, 2010, 6:33 am

I did the editing and I will admit that I made a huge mistake when doing so. As most of you know, electronics is certainly not my realm of expertise and I should have gotten some outside help with editing before posting and not after.

Again, my apologies and I'll work harder (and hopefully smarter) in the future.

Peace

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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by EvilSpudBoy » January 28th, 2010, 9:01 am

Thanks,

That's a very nice clear explanation--I like it. I see you updated the article already. The amps of the world all breathe a sigh of relief.
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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by Laz » January 28th, 2010, 9:52 am

Has anyone ever seen first/second hand an amp that was damaged by no load? Just curious.

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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by TRGuitar » January 28th, 2010, 11:26 am

It has been my understanding that no load is OK with solid state and a big no no with a tube amp. I'm sure there are exceptions. A lot of SS amps have headphone jacks that silence the speaker.

Where is Ric on this one? He probably fainted reading the first post and has not come to yet. :lol:

I just want to say the attention paid here to this is a statement to the quality of this site. First class all the way ... well done!
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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by Moonrider » January 28th, 2010, 8:32 pm

Laz wrote:Has anyone ever seen first/second hand an amp that was damaged by no load? Just curious.
LOL! Oh yeah. Burning Output Transformer smells HORRIBLE.
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Re: Bad Advice in "Respecting Others While You Practice" Article

Post by gnease » January 29th, 2010, 8:09 am

Moonrider wrote:
Laz wrote:Has anyone ever seen first/second hand an amp that was damaged by no load? Just curious.
LOL! Oh yeah. Burning Output Transformer smells HORRIBLE.
not nearly as invigorating as napalm
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