When you do not have a subwoofer and still arranges a function at your home then you definitely think ‘Can I use my bass amp as a subwoofer?’ Do not worry much it happens with most people. Believe me, the subwoofer is not going to ruin your party plans.
But now the question arises is it a good idea to use a bass amp instead of a subwoofer? Is there is need for any precaution? Don’t think much just go down you will get all your answers.
So, can you use a bass amp as a subwoofer?
You can use a bass amp as a subwoofer but the result is not so effective. Bass amp focuses on high and mid-range frequencies whereas subwoofer highlights lower range frequencies, so there is a risk of damaging a bass amp. But with proper precautions, it will work completely fine.
You need a crossover to use your bass amp as a subwoofer. Crossover is a device that separates full-range audio according to its frequency bands and then sends an only lower frequency to the bass amp. Due to this mid-quieters and muddy sounds are not formed and the quality of sound increases.
Let me tell you first that using a bass amp as a subwoofer is not a good idea. But it will definitely help you if you don’t have any other option. This trick works as a blessing in last-minute party plans. For such a situation, I will tell you exactly how can you do this.
Your bass amp works like a subwoofer if you have a crossover. Crossover is needed to do this. Some of you may think that what will happen if I did not use a crossover? So let me clear out this first. As bass amp produces the frequencies in mids and high. While your main speaker also plays the sound in the same frequency range. So if you play the audio the volume of mid arises a lot and you get a disturbed and muddy sound.
However, the worst-case happens when mids of amp cancels the mids of speakers this will leads to produce mid quieters. Some frequencies completely disappear from their place. Obviously, no one wants that so you have to use a crossover
May now you have to understand the importance of crossover. So let me tell you what crossover actually is? Bass amp has a wide range of frequencies while the subwoofer has a lower range. So here crossover tries to solve this difference.
Crossover is a device that is used to divide the frequencies in different bands according to their range and then direct it to the correct driver. Basically, crossover acts as a signboard that distinguishes frequencies into different paths and leads to their destination. An ideal point is formed by crossover which separates full-range audio into different frequency bands ( high, mid, and low) and then certainly sends an only low frequency to the bass amp. This not only increases the quality of sound but also saves the amp’s resources and energy.
The crossover which you choose will depend on the capabilities of your bass amp. But if you have an average bass amp then I have one suggestion for you. Choose a crossover that provides frequency below 200hz, it will completely work fine.
Disadvantages of Using Bass Amp as Subwoofer
Bass amps are definitely not going to give you the exact feel of the subwoofer. So let’s talk about this. Here I am going to tell you what you are going to compromise if you use a bass amp instead of the subwoofer. And if you are ok with them then you are free to use a bass amp at your party or a function.
1. Not Designed for Line Level Input
The input of the subwoofer is specially made to receive strong line-level signals. On the other hand, bass amps are built to receive instrument-level signals.
These weak instrument-level audio signals are preamplified by bass for further processing. This is achieved with the help of a knob and preamplifier which is already built inside a bass amp. Such gain knobs convert the weak instrument signals into strong line-level signals.
It looks ok to hear but technically it’s not. As if you are deciding to use a bass amp as a subwoofer then the risk of damage arises. Let me tell you how?
If you connect line-level signal to the bass amp. Then in further process knob and preamplifier of bass increases the strength of signals even more. At the final stage, signals become way more strong. In such cases, bass amps may suffer damage. Because such strong signals increase the chances of overheating.
Most of the bass have thermal protection circuits in such case bass amps automatically get switch off. However, the worse case happens when the bass has no protection circuits. Then may your bass amp permanently get damaged due to overheating.
2. Power of Bass Amp is Not Enough to Replace Subwoofer
Bass amps are not made for high volumes which are needed in functions. Whereas subwoofers are specially made for parties and functions. A bunch of peoples enjoys the music without any disturbance with the help of subwoofer.
But if you use the bass amp in place of the subwoofer then you are definitely going to face disturbance. This is because if you exceed the volume of bass then it started producing disturbance in music. It may hurt your ear and disturb your fun moment. Beyond one specific limit sound start cracking and may it damage your amp and speakers or the scenes of blowing of amps which we generally watch in movies can literally happen with you.
However, such a case does not happen in subwoofer. Every person in the room gets a feel of good music without any kind of irritating sound. Unless and until your subwoofer is perfectly fine.
3. Bass Amp Can’t Reproduce Deep Bass in Music
Mostly subwoofer is used at parties. In such moments loud sound music such as pop, hip-hop music is played. If you use a bass amp here then I have bad news for you. As bass amps fail miserably to provide you well music. Genuinely speaking it does not sound good.
Now let me tell you the reason why this happens?
There is a huge difference between bass and subwoofer in terms of frequency response. Subwoofers respond approximately between 20-250Hz. while bass amp frequency response is too higher than this. And this is the real reason to cause a problem.
Due to this bass amps fail to give you a deep bass music feel. And it may ruin your memorable moment.
Tips For Using Bass Amp as Subwoofer
Until now, I am sure you have understood that a bass amp is not going to sound like a subwoofer in any way. It will give you some bit of feel like that but not the exact. As I have told you before there are chances of damage if you use your bass amp as a subwoofer. Your bass amp may get blowed if you increase its volume or may get burned.
So there is a risk for sure, here you can reduce the chances of damage by following my tips. But still, I would say that if your bass amp is expensive then think twice before using it as a subwoofer.
1. Pay Attention on Your Bass Amp
This tip may sound simple but trust me it is necessary. You have to pay attention to your amp during the function. Your ears and eyes should be on it. If you feel that sound is cracking then without thinking for a second switch it off. Because such sound forms when there are chances of amp overheating or voice coil burning.
Mostly sound does not cracks and such a case does not happen unless and until you increase the volume a lot. But still, be cautious. Do not let anybody increase the volume of your bass beyond the limit.
2. Do Not Use Bass Amp as Subwoofer In Big Events
Do not do a mistake by using a bass amp as a subwoofer in big events. As in such places hundred of people are gathered to enjoy the music. And the low sound of the bass amp fails here.
In such a situation, you may get forced to increase the volume and if you do so then you have to face the consequences of it. Let’s not get into question that what will happen if you increase the volume of the bass amp beyond a limit? because I have already told you everything about it, up into this article.
Just keep in mind use your bass amp as a subwoofer only when your venue is small.
3. Use a Limiter
If you want to be more cautious then using a limiter is a good option. The limiter is used to limit the volume of sound. You just can’t increase the volume of sound beyond that limit.
For example- if your limiter threshold is 10db and you try to play a sound of 40db through a bass amp. Then limiter reduces the volume and audio heard through your amp remains within the set limit. So basically limiter act as a shield to your bass amp.
But I will not suggest you buy a new limiter just for a small event but if you have it in disposal then go and use it.
What is the Difference Between Bass Amp and Subwoofer?
Bass amp speaker has a wider range in frequency
The subwoofer has a shorter frequency range
Sound is clearly audible up to the stage area
The subwoofer is audible up to the whole auditorium
Bass amp respond between 40 to 1000Hz
Subwoofer respond between 20 to 250Hz
Bass amp is not a part of the public addressing system
Subwoofers are part of a public addressing system
On increasing volume sound start cracking
The subwoofer does not cause a cracking sound
Bass amp is made to receive instrument level signals
Subwoofers are made to receive strong line-level signals
A Bass amp is a device that makes the tones of the bass guitar loud so that it becomes audible to the audience and performers. The Bass amp is designed to receive instrument-level signals. The preamplifier and knob inside the amp convert these weak signals into strong level signals and that’s how the bass amp works.
Bass amp has a wide range of frequencies from 40 to 1000hz. Due to the wide range, it can easily produce a sound close to any instrument sound. However it is not the whole story, single-handedly the bass amp cannot produce some overtones and harmonics. For such a case, some amps have tweeters inside them which help them to form the remaining tones.
But the bass amp cannot exactly sound like a subwoofer because it is not a PA system( public addressing system). It is not capable to produce a loud sound for a big bunch of people. Sound starts cracking beyond one limit and may cause damage to your amp.
Bass amp is a monitoring tool of the bass group. It is audible up to the stage and nearby area but not more than that. A single bass amp is not capable to be loud enough for the whole auditorium. If the room is small only then everyone can hear a sound otherwise not.
Subwoofers are a public addressing system due to this hundreds of people can enjoy the music at the same time. Heavy music like hip hop can give you the best feel only through the subwoofer. Like a bass amp, the sound of the subwoofer does not crack on increasing a volume.
Subwoofers are specially designed to get the best feel of heavy sounds. They are used by connecting it with the main speaker. This main speaker has high and mid-frequency while the subwoofer has a lower range from 20 to 250hz. So full range audio can be played without any mid quieters or muddy sound.
Subwoofers need more power to work compared to the bass amp. This is because it contains speakers with long excursion drivers. Such speakers amplify and boost the sound as much as possible.
How to Choose Bass Amp to Play as Subwoofer
Lots of options are now available on market, so it’s hard to recommend one specific bass amp. But here I will tell you how exactly the bass amp should be so that it gives the best performance while using it as a subwoofer.
The type of your amp (Tube amp or solid-state amp) decides how effectively it works as a subwoofer. Along with this, the woofer inside the bass amp and the wattage it requires are the major factors that need to be considered while choosing a bass amp to play as a subwoofer.
According to my opinion, a Bass amp deals more effectively with sub-bass frequencies if the woofer inside the amp is large enough. And for wattage, it’s a little hard to tell you what to choose. All I can say is tube amp sounds much louder than a solid-state amp in less wattage.
If your bass amp is bulky then it can be used as a subwoofer in events. As it gives you a much good response compared to a smaller sub-woofer. However, it is difficult to place a big bulky bass amp if you use it as a subwoofer in the home audio system. Other than that big bulky bass amp works great as a subwoofer, you can use it in big events as well.
If you are searching for a good quality bass amp at an affordable price then check out my latest article: Best bass amp under 100.
Final Thoughts on Bass Amp as a Subwoofer
That’s it from my side. I hope that you got all the answers to your questions regarding this topic.
Your questions always make me happy. So if you have any other doubt ask me in the comment section I will definitely respond to you. Also, feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions I will love to read them. Share this article as much as possible.
Hii, My name is Vishal Dorge and I am from India. I am the Creator of this site and want to help people just like you and me who enjoy music through the heart and want to learn it, especially about the guitar. Read More About Vishal Dorge Here