A couple questions on max power

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Shaun Graham, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. Shaun Graham

    Shaun Graham Agent

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    I currently have Onkyo's HT500 HTiB 5.1 speakers hooked up to a Pioneer 811S receiver. The Pioneer is 100 W per channel for 8 ohm speakers and the Onkyo fronts, surrounds, and center are all 8 ohms rated at 100 W maximum power. Seems about right. I have two questions:

    1) In the manual, I can't find a similar maximum power rating for the subwoofer. It says "75 W Power Consumption" and "150 W Dynamic Power Output." How do I know how much power it can handle, specifically if it can get up to 115 db? (see next question)

    2) I'm wondering, can this system handle Dolby Ref Level?Since that is the benchmark calibration point, it seems pretty much any system would be able to handle those volumes but I'm not sure. I haven't yet got an SPL meter or a test disc so I can't actually test it yet, but I figured I'd ask if I'm going to blow my speakers with the sound turned up that high.

    As always, thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
     
  2. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Shaun, the subwoofer amplifier's continuous power is probably between 80 and 100 watts. This power rating has much less to do with the maximum output of the subwoofer than the driver and enclosure do. However, I'm afraid it is pretty unlikely that it will reach 115db. It will go pretty loud, but 115db (which is almost as much bass as any movie soundtrack would ever call for) is a different kind of loud.

    The same goes for the speakers - the receiver's power has almost nothing to do with how loud they will go. Smaller speakers are usually limited in output especially in the bass, you can get the most out of them by setting them to "small" and using a high crossover frequency, like 120Hz.

    "Reference level" is a very demanding thing and not really a practical guideline; 95% of people don't listen to movies at that level even if they can. Many systems can get to reference level without being damaged, but it takes pretty strong (big) speakers to make that much sound without distorting.

    It can't hurt to try turning it up a bit, but to avoid damaging anything: if you hear distortion, turn it down immediately.

    Anyway, calibrating your system to balance out the sounds between the speakers, and figuring how the volume scale on your receiver relate to 'reference level', is a pretty important thing.
     
  3. Shaun Graham

    Shaun Graham Agent

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    Thanks for the info Michael. I suppose Reference Level will have to wait until my budget allows for it...and even then 105 or 115 db sounds uncomfortably loud to me. Oops, excuse the pun. [​IMG]
     
  4. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

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    Last night I was watching Fight Club, and the volume on my Denon 1802 was at -23, which is generally where I watch at. The explosion scene on the airplane caught me so loud that I ducked for cover. I have a fairly large room, and I am sitting 16 feet away from the sub and the mains. -23 on Denon with my 91dB /100W Kefs would equal to what, maybe 75dB ? I can't imagine more than that really, let alone ref level. Interesting example showing how preferences differ [​IMG]
     
  5. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    I don't have a 5.1 system... but I think that even with a really powerful system, reference level would be pretty damn loud!
     

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