BASSBOSS Questions

Hello David hope this message finds you well!

I am considering bringing a smaller system to burning man. I’m thinking I will bring my EAW tops and Two of the VS21’s as to keep the main bulk of the equipment in perfect condition. As this
will be our first year as a sound camp I am worried about power consumption needs and would like to know some information if you can help me out here. I have a couple of these generators
( and I would rather bring them then rent a large one from someone.

My question is how many of the VS21s could be run on one of these generators at a loud level but not maxed out. Just 1, maybe 2? I have quite a lot more stuff to power there and was rather confused by the 360watts at typical 1/8th power. I’m assuming here that I would be running them a lot harder than that being a dance music focused camp. I can run both of them in parallel as they are matching.

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David Lee

Your message finds me just fine! Only a shortage of hours in the day… Hope you’re doing great, too!

I have never personally run our gear on one of those Harbor Freight generators but I have used the Honda EU7000 for a pretty big system. I can tell you what we ran on the Honda, where the limits were and why the ratings are what they are.

First, the 360 Watts at 1/8th power is based upon the average consumption over a period of time, such as 10 minutes or an hour, even when the system is turned up loud. The peaks will be much higher but the valleys still occur and the average, when all things are factored, is still quite low. These figures are appropriate to calculate power consumption under normal use circumstances and assume the power is being pulled from “the grid”. The reason that assumption is relevant is “the grid” doesn’t have an absolute current draw maximum. The maximum is set by the breaker feeding the outlet into which the amplifier is plugged. Breakers will pass more than their rated current for short durations without tripping and a brief peak draw from grid power will not cause a significant drop in voltage.  

When running amplifiers on a generator, the generator’s maximum capacity is the absolute limit because, unlike the grid, it has no excess capacity… no headroom. As soon as the current demand reaches the limit of the generator, the voltage drops, hard! Everything draws more current to do the same work on lower voltage, so it’s a death spiral. Breakers trip or equipment browns out or the gennie shuts down.  

Normally you can expect to be able to run 2 VS21s on a grid-powered 120V, 20A circuit as hard as you like and not trip the breaker. You should be able to run one VS21 on a 3500W generator if it lives up to it’s ratings. That’s 2400W with 1000W of “headroom” for peaks so as to limit voltage drops. You can run 2 VS21s on the same generator but at a reduced level. The question to answer is whether 2 boxes at a reduced level will provide more overall SPL than one box at full power. In theory, yes, they will. The problem might be called “temptation” or “Fader Creep” because there is a lot of temptation to push a little harder, so you might be able to get more sound from two boxes that could overload the generator - if you don't overload the generator - but you’re less likely to find yourself sitting in a temporary silence if you run just one.  

So, you can run two VS21s on two of those generators IF you don’t eat up your headroom with too may other electricity consumers, not least of which will be amps for the EAWs. You may not be able to get every last decibel out of them but they should give you plenty of whomp!  

From personal experience, we ran quite a bit on the EU7000, which is theoretically two of the Harbor Freight gennies. We had 3 x 4000 W amps powering 4 x double 18” subs and 1 x double 21” sub and two QSC amps running 6 line arrays and more amps running 2 monitors and 2 fill speakers along with a DJ controller and a DSP unit. When the system got cranked up and the gennie hit its limit, the DJ controller and the DSP shut down due to voltage drop. Even so, before over-exuberance pushed it over the edge the rig was pretty impressively large and loud for running on one EU7000!  

And as much as I would love to hear that system on the Playa, I totally understand and agree with the plan to keep as much stuff new and pretty for as long as possible! Besides, those two Harbor Freight generators couldn’t possibly run the rig you’re getting to any level that would do it justice!  

Thanks and best regards!
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Good afternoon all!

One year at a festival I was given a tow behind, non-inverted, generator. The voltage sagged enough to cause the same issue. The stage gear, including my mixer "reset" because of the brownouts a few times. Talk about being a nervous wreck for 12 hours! 

Before the event came up the next year, I purchased a Tripp Lite SU750XL. It's a SmartOnline 120V 750VA 600W Double-Conversion UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). It accepts input voltages between 80-150V (65-150V at loads under 70%), regulating output to 120V AC +/-2%. It also continuously converts incoming AC to DC, then back to perfect sine wave AC output at 120V AC (+/-2%). Removes harmonic distortion, fast electrical impulses, frequency fluctuations, and other hard-to-solve power problems.

I put my mixer, wireless microphone receiver as well as the CDJs and other DJ gear on that and never had a problem with gear being restarted or shutting down. I now use it for every event.

It won't handle an amplifier or speaker, but if a breaker trips and you're pulling 200W from the unit, it will last 18 minutes. Plenty of time to turn a breaker back on (if you know where it's at).


Gear List: 2x AT212 | 2x DV12 | 2 DV8 | 4x ZV28 | 2x VS21
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