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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ryan Stone, Apr 10, 2002.
Is it ok to put 10 more watts trough a speaker than what is reccomeded by the manufactuer????
Using a 110 watt per channel amplifier or receiver with 100 watt speakers is ok. You should have no problems at all. If you want to be sure not to have problems, then make sure:
1) The quality of amp/receiver is decent.
2) You don't crank the bass AND crank the volume up really high together.
3) You don't run speakers with an impedance lower than the amp/receiver is rated for. For instance, if your speakers are rated 4 ohms and the receiver is only designed to handle 8 ohm speakers, then I'd recommend getting a better receiver/amp.
If the reciever is typical mass market material, its power ratings are most likely inflated. Denon , Yamaha, Kenwood, Onkyo, are some examples of manufactures that smuge thier specs to look good on paper. Since they dont test output with all channels driven at the same time they can post higher output per channel. So on average youre typical manufacture who rated at 110 is closer to 60-80 watts when all channels are driven. Dont worry too much about over powering youre speakers, underpowered ones are much more likely to become damaged due to amp clipping.
Clipping causes driver failuer. If you had the money, and good speakers, (money is for a realy amp) You would be able to put your speakers on a 1000W amp. JUST DONT CLIP
The fact is, even if your receiver can put out all 110 watts, you'll probably not hit it. It only takes a few watts to produce adequate volumes with most speakers. Now if you're trying to hit 110dB, it might become a problem, but then the amp will probably be running out of power before you stress the speaker. The rating of the amp is the theoritical maximum it can reach within a certain level of distortion, it does not mean it is constantly pumping out that much power.
Unless the speakers are inefficient,
the average power while listening to
music tends to be in the 1 to 10 watt
range. Brief transients may require
10 times more power.
Clipping is a minor factor in driver damage.
A low power amplifier that often clips is less
dangerous than a high power amplifier that never
In fact, some very low power amplifiers can not destroy a voice coil at all, even at full volume with constant clipping ... while some very high power amplifiers are capable of destroying the voice coil in virtually every driver made ... with no clipping at all.
If a low power amplifier is really more dangerous than a high power amplifier, then the most dangerous amplifier in the world is probably the 1 watt amplifier that drives the 3" speaker in my cheap TV set! Of course the truth is that a one-watt amplifier can not damage any modern driver even when clipping 100% of the time!
These old wives tales about how dangerous low power amplifiers are have been repeated again and again over many decades. The Rane article link I provided (below) has a technical explanation of my point -- clipping distortion is a minor factor in driver damage -- it does add some harmonics that do reach the tweeter through its high-pass filter ... but a few watts of harmonics are only a small fraction of the total power needed to destroy a typical tweeter that is rated to handle 40 watts RMS or more:
(Examples: Vifa D25AG-35-06 1" aluminum dome tweeter rated for 100 watts RMS power handling for $29.50 ... and even the cheapest tweeter I could find in the Parts Express catalog,,the $4.35 Pioneer 2.5" cone tweeter, was rated for 40 watts RMS power handling!).
Technical article about clipping and speaker damage:
The voice coil does not care whether it is playing music too loud ... or playing distortion too loud ...
(or playing some modern music that sounds like distortion to my ears!) -- when the power input to a voice coil exceeds its power handling ability, damage will eventually occur.
The fact that clipping distortion sounds bad to our ears
compared with music does not mean loud music with audible clipping distortion is dangerous to drivers ...
but loud music with no clipping is not dangerous.
I suspect the "small amplifiers are dangerous" myth helps audio stores sell more powerful amplifiers (or is used by audiophiles to justify their purchases of powerful amplifiers).
But the fact is many amplifiers can produce enough power to damage drivers and the cause is turning the volume control too high -- it barely matters if the amplifier is clipping or not.