Can I blow my speakers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Edwin_M, Dec 27, 2001.

  1. Edwin_M

    Edwin_M Agent

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    I asked this question before but I'm about to buy a new reciever and I want to be sure. If I buy a 400 watt reciever with 80 watts per speaker and I have speakers whose max input is 30 watts then am I in danger of blowing them if i play something at normal levels? I know that if I raise it too high then I will certainly blow them up but what I'm worried about is low to normal levels.
     
  2. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Edwin,

    Blowing speakers is incredibly easy with a lower powered amplifier. The quickest way to damage speakers is by clipping the amplifier. This sends direct current (although in very short burst + and -) to the speaker. This causes heat, heat causes wires to melt, wires melting=bad.

    The other way is by over excursion or simply pushing that driver beyond its physical limits. Both of these examples you will hear by means of serious distortion.

    The power rating on speakers is nothing more than a general guideline. Some may disagree but there is no such thing as too much power.

    edit - didn't really answer your question. You'll be fine with a 500 per channel amp at any level that is not causing the two phenoma I described. If it sounds like doo-doo then turn it down.
     
  3. Steve Stogel

    Steve Stogel Supporting Actor

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    I'm sorry, but I've just got to say one thing. It really depends on how well you know your speakers, your commitment to each other, and how long you think you will be together.

    I apoligize if my off-colored comment breaks any rules (I checked before I posted, and I didn't see anything about good-natured ribbing). Please remove it immediately if that is the case. It was just too easy.

    I haven't posted here in a long, long time (bought a house a year ago, so my HT has been severely neglected). I just couldn't remember if this type of kidding was allowed. I hope it is.

    Steve

    P.S. John is right that it shouldn't be a problem. I can't imagine 80 watts blowing out your speaks if you don't plan to listen at very high (and distorted) levels.
     
  4. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    LOL! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    >> No such thing as too much power?
    Too much amplifier power into the speakers causes excessive excursion that destroys the cones, and also can cause overheating of the voice coil and other electronic parts such as crossovers.
    The damage caused by clipping an amp is due to the extremely rich high frequency content which clipping produces. This overloads the tweeters. The power rating on a speaker system is based on "normal" sounds such as are heard in everyday life or produced by acoustic instruments, which sounds have a relatively low percentage of high frequency content.
    If the sound is distorted, turn it down quickly. Clipping usually occurs in the later amp. stages, after the tone controls, so turning down just the treble is not a cure and offers no safety.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Steve,
    When I first saw Edwin's question, my immediate reaction was to ask him if his speakers are anatomically correct. [​IMG] To build on your point, don't rule out the possibility of a one-night stand between speakers and their owner. People return speakers all the time due to dissatisfaction in one form or another.
    Edwin,
    We are just joking around with you. As for your real question, John covered it well. You would have to play music or movies very loud to kill your speakers. Just watch the volume. At normal listening levels, your amp will not be driving more power to the speakers than they can handle.
     
  7. Dan Baxter

    Dan Baxter Agent

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    I burned up a crossover in my Paradigm Studio 100's last week with my Parasound 2205a (220x5) amp. The speakers were not clipping everything sounded perfect and all of a sudden the right speaker went silent. None of the drivers were damaged but the crossover was toasted. Has anyone else every burned up a crossover? My dealer was shocked and tried to blame my Parasound amp (that wasn't bought from them, of course). As I wait for Paradigm to send me a new crossover the amp seems to be working fine with another set of speakers. Hopefully it was just a fluke and won't happend again.

    Dan
     
  8. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Dan,
    I have melted a crossover in a Polk RTA15. But my cause was from a "friend" listening to Van Halen at 2:00 on my then HK integrated amp.
    Lost both tweeters as well. But hey, least I didn't do it. My commitment to my speakers is a little to strong to abuse them. [​IMG]
    Why did your crossover melt? Playing it too loud (clipping) or just defective maybe?
     
  9. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    Edwin,

    You don't have to worry. The wattage of your amp is a measure of peak power. Think of it was reserves. If you are not playing at an obscenely loud level, your amp is not going to be putting out all of its wattage. Lots of people believe that it is good to have ample "head room" in your amplification stage. This ensures that you have plenty of power on tap for dynamic passages.

    The basic theory is that if a given section of music at volume X on speakers with an efficiency of Y requires a wattage of W, then an amp which can produce 100 times the necessary power will be under less strain than an amp which can only produce a maximum of 10 times the necessary power.

    -Max
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Dan, I certainly hope you don't have another problem with the Paradigm speakers, but your story reminds of something a local dealer told me recently. I bought an Energy e:XL surround-sound speaker package from this dealer back in April 2000. At that time, the major speaker brands they carried were Energy and Paradigm. Fast forward to October 2001 when I went back there to audition some floorstanding speakers. Now, I hadn't been in the store since April 2000, and much to my surprise, they were carrying Energy and KEF speakers and no Paradigms. The salesman who was helping me audition speakers told me that they had dropped Paradigm in favor of KEF some months ago because they had too many customers bringing back Paradigms with blown drivers and other problems. He said they simply had too many quality control issues with Paradigm. That's the first I had ever heard such a thing. One, of course, has to be careful with salesmanspeak. As I said, I sincerely hope your experience was a fluke.
    I blew a voice coil on one of my Totem Arro floorstanding speakers a couple of months ago. About a month after I bought the Arros, I blew the voice coil. While listening to "Gaia" on the James Taylor Hourglass CD, I heard a flapping sound from the left speaker during a heavy percussion portion. I brought the speakers back to the dealer and was told that I blew a voice coil. The salesman I always deal with said that the thunderous percussion in "Gaia", a song he is familiar with, could have blown the voice coil if I had the volume too loud. I'm not sure if that is what caused the damage or not. I say this because just a couple days earlier, I inadvertently played a test track on a DAD that the jewel case said should not be played through speakers. I only had it play for a couple seconds, but the damage could very well have been done in that short period of time. In case it was the thunderous percussion on "Gaia" that blew the voice coil, I now use a subwoofer in the system. Everything is cool with the Arros now. [​IMG]
     
  11. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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