Can SACD/DVD-A really blow small speakers?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Ken Stuart, May 21, 2003.

  1. Ken Stuart

    Ken Stuart Second Unit

    Jan 31, 2000
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    When people talk about the necessity of adding Bass Management to DVD-A and SACD, they usually give two reasons:

    - That low bass sent by the mixing engineer to small satellite speakers will not be heard, thus comprising the fidelity of reproduction (undoubtedly true),'


    - That low bass sent by the mixing engineer to small satellite speakers will blow them out, thus comprising the finances of the listener.

    My question is whether the second part is actually true.

    One can find a lot of small speakers being exposed to significant bass in the real world, and I can't remember the last time I heard of a speaker being blown by excessive bass - distorted, definitely - but not blown.

    (I have heard of many tweeters being blown, usually by simply applying excessive power to cheap speakers with limited power handling.)

    For example, there are millions of clock radios with 3 inch speakers which undoubtedly are tuned sometimes to classical stations playing Organ works.

    Also, millions of TVs have played loud commercials with heavy bass (that can only really be heard when the TV tuner is connected to a full-range system).

    In both cases, the engineer of the product has matched the power handling of the speaker with the power output of the amplifier (and in such products, the amp power is pretty low anyway).

    So, if the small speaker has sufficient power handling to match the amplifier power output, isn't it unlikely that low bass from SACD or DVD-A would blow such a speaker?
  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Jan 23, 1999
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    In the cases you've described the speaker isn't getting any low bass. It's in the original signal, but is filtered out by the device before being amplified.
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Jun 24, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Bass is not what usually damages speakers, distortion is. You are correct in that it relatively uncommon to damage the average mid-bass driver by power alone, but distortion can damage ANY speaker by destroying the voice coil.


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