Subwoofer pushed too hard?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Sam Pat, Jun 16, 2004.

  1. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a Paradigm PS1200 which I bought a couple of months ago. Been having lots of fun with movies at loud volumes, where it literally shakes the house. It's a hoot!

    However, recently I told this to my friend and he mentioned that I should make sure I'm not overdriving the sub. I'm really an audio noob so this sort of thing isn't intuitive for me. I've been running it hard because I haven't noticed any major distortions (like the bass sounding totally loose, or rattling really loud). Making matters more complicated, I do almost 100% movies which means alot of the time it's hard to tell whether my sub is distorting or it's the signal.

    From listening position, I do hear rattles on occassion when playing at my normal, pretty loud volumes, but alot of that is from the blinds and doors and other furniture of the room so I've been ignoring them.

    I decided to put on a test. I would play a bassy sequence over and over and put my ear up to the sub turning the volume up and down. However, I noticed that even at moderate volumes, I hear a slight rattle coming from the sub. My buddy told me that ANY rattle from the sub is bad - something about the cone hitting something. I normally play the sub louder than the volumes where I first start hearing a rattle, too. So does this mean I've been beating the sub too hard and it's now damaged?

    How do you tell whether you're pushing the sub too hard? What is this "clack" I've heard about? Is my sub OK?

    I've also read that the sub I have tends to be boomy, so is that why it tends to rattle slightly?
     
  2. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a Paradigm PS1200 which I bought a couple of months ago. Been having lots of fun with movies at loud volumes, where it literally shakes the house. It's a hoot!

    However, recently I told this to my friend and he mentioned that I should make sure I'm not overdriving the sub. I'm really an audio noob so this sort of thing isn't intuitive for me. I've been running it hard because I haven't noticed any major distortions (like the bass sounding totally loose, or rattling really loud). Making matters more complicated, I do almost 100% movies which means alot of the time it's hard to tell whether my sub is distorting or it's the signal.

    From listening position, I do hear rattles on occassion when playing at my normal, pretty loud volumes, but alot of that is from the blinds and doors and other furniture of the room so I've been ignoring them.

    I decided to put on a test. I would play a bassy sequence over and over and put my ear up to the sub turning the volume up and down. However, I noticed that even at moderate volumes, I hear a slight rattle coming from the sub. My buddy told me that ANY rattle from the sub is bad - something about the cone hitting something. I normally play the sub louder than the volumes where I first start hearing a rattle, too. So does this mean I've been beating the sub too hard and it's now damaged?

    How do you tell whether you're pushing the sub too hard? What is this "clack" I've heard about? Is my sub OK?

    I've also read that the sub I have tends to be boomy, so is that why it tends to rattle slightly?
     
  3. Ryan Leemhuis

    Ryan Leemhuis Second Unit

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    Well....I don't know about your rattling sound but if you are overdriving it...it will sound frankly like your sub is farting. Its loud...annoying bass. Unfortunately it can be tough to notice. You have to be careful.
     
  4. Ryan Leemhuis

    Ryan Leemhuis Second Unit

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    Well....I don't know about your rattling sound but if you are overdriving it...it will sound frankly like your sub is farting. Its loud...annoying bass. Unfortunately it can be tough to notice. You have to be careful.
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    don't quote me on this, but i think you're talking about the excursion of the driver.

    it's the amount of "travel" that the woofer cone can move. if you push it too hard, you cause the bass driver to bottom or top-out. kinda like a car engine piston slamming into the engine.

    if you're hearing this rattle, even at low volumes, then i would agree that something may not be right. you may wanna get it checked out.

    ps, while bass is good, too much bass is really *not* good. you should calibrate your sub (do a search for how to do that), then bump it up a touch if you want. only for special occasions, i'll allow you to crank it up! [​IMG]
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    don't quote me on this, but i think you're talking about the excursion of the driver.

    it's the amount of "travel" that the woofer cone can move. if you push it too hard, you cause the bass driver to bottom or top-out. kinda like a car engine piston slamming into the engine.

    if you're hearing this rattle, even at low volumes, then i would agree that something may not be right. you may wanna get it checked out.

    ps, while bass is good, too much bass is really *not* good. you should calibrate your sub (do a search for how to do that), then bump it up a touch if you want. only for special occasions, i'll allow you to crank it up! [​IMG]
     
  7. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the replies. I still don't know whether my sub is broken, or whether I've been overdriving it. Any sure way to find out?
     
  8. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the replies. I still don't know whether my sub is broken, or whether I've been overdriving it. Any sure way to find out?
     
  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    isn't that the same difference? [​IMG]
     
  10. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    isn't that the same difference? [​IMG]
     
  11. keir

    keir Stunt Coordinator

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    more often than not, it is a wallboard or other lose item near the sub that's making the sound. you might try moving the sub away from that wall and playing at the same volume to see if the rattle goes away or is obviously coming from somewhere else. at moderate volume the sub wouldn't rattle unless theres a piece loose somewhere, which is doubtful. i wouldn't worry about driving the subwoofer too hard. its much harder to damage a subwoofer driver than say, a tweeter driver. if you reach the excursion limit of the driver it may make a pretty noticable sound when the driver slaps against whatever suspension is nearest. if the sub is in distress the sound it makes should be pretty obviously uncharacteristic of normal bass notes.

    just wanted to add, you should probably get a sound level meter and test disk. a lot of the time people run their subwoofer much louder than the other speakers, and that could definately cause a subwoofer to be driven beyond it's limits. bumping the bass a little is ok, but when you have it 15 dB higher than the other speakers you can easily run into trouble.
     
  12. keir

    keir Stunt Coordinator

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    more often than not, it is a wallboard or other lose item near the sub that's making the sound. you might try moving the sub away from that wall and playing at the same volume to see if the rattle goes away or is obviously coming from somewhere else. at moderate volume the sub wouldn't rattle unless theres a piece loose somewhere, which is doubtful. i wouldn't worry about driving the subwoofer too hard. its much harder to damage a subwoofer driver than say, a tweeter driver. if you reach the excursion limit of the driver it may make a pretty noticable sound when the driver slaps against whatever suspension is nearest. if the sub is in distress the sound it makes should be pretty obviously uncharacteristic of normal bass notes.

    just wanted to add, you should probably get a sound level meter and test disk. a lot of the time people run their subwoofer much louder than the other speakers, and that could definately cause a subwoofer to be driven beyond it's limits. bumping the bass a little is ok, but when you have it 15 dB higher than the other speakers you can easily run into trouble.
     
  13. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, keir. I'll try that.

    Before I do, that slapping sound you're speaking of when being run to its limits, will it be noticeable at the listening position? The rattling I'm hearing from the sub is slight, I need to put my ear next to the ports to hear it.
     
  14. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, keir. I'll try that.

    Before I do, that slapping sound you're speaking of when being run to its limits, will it be noticeable at the listening position? The rattling I'm hearing from the sub is slight, I need to put my ear next to the ports to hear it.
     
  15. Johnny_M

    Johnny_M Second Unit

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    I wouldnt worry too much about a rattle. Could be the driver or the amp just not tightened down enough. When you ruin a sub you will know it. You might want to get an SPL meter and find out how loud your actually pushing it. You may be over reacting for nothing.


    Johnny
     
  16. Johnny_M

    Johnny_M Second Unit

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    I wouldnt worry too much about a rattle. Could be the driver or the amp just not tightened down enough. When you ruin a sub you will know it. You might want to get an SPL meter and find out how loud your actually pushing it. You may be over reacting for nothing.


    Johnny
     
  17. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    I just did more listening. Maybe the sound I'm hearing isn't a rattle, after all. It's not distinct enough to be classified as a rattle. It's more like looseness. But I don't even know if it's just that particular signal that's loose. You know the theme song from the Sopranos? That's what I've been using. The louder I put the sub, the more "loose" it gets. How loose is too loose? How loose is = overdriving the sub? Even at the loudest, I don't really hear any distinct "rattle", just more looseness. At the highest volume, the bass becomes a flubbing noise, like it's fluttering or choking. I take that to mean that's bad. But at moderate volumes, it's just a scaled down version of that. It's just less loose.

    I'm so confused.
     
  18. Sam Pat

    Sam Pat Stunt Coordinator

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    I just did more listening. Maybe the sound I'm hearing isn't a rattle, after all. It's not distinct enough to be classified as a rattle. It's more like looseness. But I don't even know if it's just that particular signal that's loose. You know the theme song from the Sopranos? That's what I've been using. The louder I put the sub, the more "loose" it gets. How loose is too loose? How loose is = overdriving the sub? Even at the loudest, I don't really hear any distinct "rattle", just more looseness. At the highest volume, the bass becomes a flubbing noise, like it's fluttering or choking. I take that to mean that's bad. But at moderate volumes, it's just a scaled down version of that. It's just less loose.

    I'm so confused.
     
  19. Johnny_M

    Johnny_M Second Unit

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    If your comfortable doing this, and if its easily accessable on your sub, take the driver out of the box and then play your theme song. If the problem is the speaker you will still hear that sound. If the sound goes away its probably just a rattle.


    Johnny
     
  20. Johnny_M

    Johnny_M Second Unit

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    If your comfortable doing this, and if its easily accessable on your sub, take the driver out of the box and then play your theme song. If the problem is the speaker you will still hear that sound. If the sound goes away its probably just a rattle.


    Johnny
     

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