Clip light an Bass amp, what exactly does that do?

Recently i purchased a bass amp (240W on a 15 inch speaker, got it for $180) Now when i crank up both the gain and volume to about 7 or 8 on the amp and one volume knob all the way and the other volume knob about a quarter of the way on my bass, and start playing slap, a red (doesn't usually indicate something good) LED next to the gain knob illuminates. so i turn it back down. Cause its either telling me "HEY! Hey you, yes you! this is going to kill me!" or its just telling me that its protecting it. So anyone know what it really does?

wingman246 (author) 9 years ago
now i know, thanks to you all
gmoon9 years ago
Just an indicator that the preamp section is clipping the wave form. Like a VU meter when it exceeds 0 db, the peaks of the wave are being chopped off. It's essentially indicating you're getting distortion because the input is too "hot."

You might see this more often if you've got active pickups or a built-in preamp module on the bass.

The clipped peaks are completely lost, and won't contribute to any problems in the power amp or the speaker. But it indicates that you're also driving a whole lot of mids and bass through the amp. And to be honest, most amps are NOT designed to be run at full volume for long periods of time.
NachoMahma9 years ago
. I think Geekstreet is on the right track - it sounds to me like the light is a clipping indicator. Shouldn't be a big deal unless the light is staying on - then you run the chance of blowing a tweeter if it gets too much DC (shouldn't harm bass drivers). There is a possibility of damaging the amplifier, but most modern amps will handle clipping (or shut itself down) w/o problems.
Geekstreet9 years ago
I think it stops the speaker from moving to far in and out, it "clips"the top and the bottom of the soundwave off. If you want the most "Natural" tonal sound you don't want that light coming on. If your after a distorted sound it doesn't matter so much if the light blinks a bit. If you have the gain on ten and the light on steady you would eventualy damage a coil wire on the back of the speaker, or something else inside. It would have to do more with the specific amp then anything else. I had lots of Peavy speakers do that.