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Volume not loud enough......


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#1 of 3 OFFLINE   arturob

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Posted February 05 2011 - 05:57 PM

Ok so I am new here, I have been into home theater stuff for about 10 years now and I still don't know enough. I just upgraded my yamaha reciever to a new yamaha rx-v467. I got it at bestbuy. So the reason I uograded is cause I noticed about 5 years ago that I had to crank the volume on the reciever more than half way to get it loud enough to my liking. I don't know how that can happen from one day to the next but whatever. So now 5 years later I upgraded. I have boston acoustic speakers and sub. The front are book shelf size speakers. Specs are 8ohms, amp requirement ulis between 15-100 watts. The old reciever was a 425 watt reciever so thats about 85 watts per speaker. The new reciever is a 525 watt reciever so that's about 105 watts per speaker. So my question is the following how come I still feel like I have to crank this thing for it to be loud. I don't get it. My next door neighbor has one of those sony surround sound packages and that thing sounds amazingly loud. We live in town homes so I can hear everything. I don't feel mine is that loud. So that's it any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks

#2 of 3 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted February 05 2011 - 09:47 PM

Let me see if I have it right.  You say "I had to crank the volume on the reciever more than half way to get it loud enough to my liking" which leads me to believe you CAN get it loud enough, you just want it loud with the volume low.


You're falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book.  How FAST the volume goes up on the volume knob has nothing to do with power.  It's simply how the volume is designed, and manufacturers make it go up fast to make cheap garbage equipment appear to be powerful.  For a comparison, my system has over 3,000 watts available, and I mean real power, not exaggerated power.  The two external amps weigh about 150 lbs and each can draw almost the full capacity of an AC circuit.  I'm only telling you this because, with some sources, I can turn it up 3/4 the way before it really gets loud.  That's because the equipment isn't made to appear more powerful than it is.  Receivers these days generally have volume controls which are linear, rather than having rapid increase way down at the bottom of the range.  I suspect your neighbor's system goes into severe distortion well before the volume is half way up.  What is the point of that?


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#3 of 3 OFFLINE   Leo Kerr

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Posted February 06 2011 - 02:21 AM

Also, amplifier wattage is one of the most easily misunderstood things out there.


To increase the SPL by 3dB, you need to double the wattage.

Also, at least in all of the Yamaha amps I've seen, the volume scale is marked in dB, with the max position being 0dB, going down to -120dB or -(infinity)dB.  One of the important things to remember here is that the amplifier is actually only "working" at one level.  The volume control is the "gate" into the amplifier.  Provided the signal isn't screwed up to begin with, it won't hurt the amp or the signal to "crank" the volume knob.


Another place that might be "causing" trouble, especially between your system and your neighbor's Sony system, is "sensitivity."  This is a measurement for the speaker where you see, for example, how loud a 1kHz tone is at 1 meter, dBA, when fed a 1 watt signal from an amplifier.

Common numbers for sensitivity are between 86-92dBA@1W@1m.

Which means the 86dBA speakers are going to take 4W to match a 92dBA speaker at 1W.

Now, translate this to something... bigger.  After all, most people don't spend a lot of time listening to 1kHz tones.  A broader-spectrum signal is going to need more power, and running more than one channel is going to need more power.  But if you take a situation where you're running "comfortably" at half the amplifier's capacity, say (arbitrarily,) 42 watts/channel into 92dBA speakers, and you replace them with 86dBA speakers, you need to jump your amplifier power to 168watts/channel.


[Note: these numbers do not reflect actual power levels required, nor get into the whole realm of "headroom" and all sorts of other things, but are meant for illustrative purposes only.]


But I think, in short, what John and I are trying to say in different ways is, follow Duke Ellington's tautology: if it sounds good, it is good, and don't panic about where the volume knob is.


Leo