You never want to operate an amp without
a speaker load connected. If there is only one
speaker in your amp—or the speakers are wired
in series—then blowing a speaker could cause
the output transformer to arc internally, which
can damage its windings. A “no load” condition
can cause high-voltage arcing in the output
tube sockets, requiring them to be replaced,
and the filter caps in the power supply can also
be damaged if the speaker load is suddenly lost.
If your combo amp has parallel-wired speakers,
or if it is driving a cabinet with series/
parallel-wired speakers, as in a Marshall 4x12,
then blowing a speaker will typically not cause
If you suspect that your speaker has blown,
stop playing immediately and check the connections
to the speaker. You don’t have to turn
the amp off right away, as nothing is going to
happen unless signal is being fed into the amp.
Also, almost all Fender amps as well as many
other brands feature a shorting jack to prevent
damage to the amp if a speaker is not connected.
—Gerald Weber, Kendrick Amplifiers
The idea behind impedance matching is to
have a proper load on the amplifier. If you use
too high of a load, say a 16Ω speaker connected
to the 8Ω jack, then the amp will lose a little
volume and the tubes will compress more. If
you do the opposite, however, and have a 2Ω
cabinet plugged into the amp’s 4Ω jack, then
the tubes will be operating closer to a short
circuit, and tube life will be shortened considerably.
—Gerald Weber, Kendrick Amplifiers
It will work for a while but eventually the
output transformer will overheat and blow. The
stock Champ transformer is wound with thin
wire that is rated to handle only 30mA of current.
Most Champs idle at slightly more than
that, so they are always running hot, even with
the stock 6V6 tube. —Gerald Weber, Kendrick
An output tube will perform its best only
when it is properly biased. The problem is that
as the tube wears in, its performance characteristics
are constantly changing. You could
have a new set of tubes installed, and a month
later the idle current will have drifted. If the
current drifts too low, the amp will lack power
and dynamics, and will sound cold. If the
current drifts too high, the amp will lack headroom
and tube life will suffer. My advice is to
learn how to bias your amp, or have a tech do
it for you if you don’t feel competent, and check
the bias setting often. —Gerald Weber, Kendrick
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