Could more power help a shrill sound?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by EdNichols, May 15, 2003.

  1. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    I have an Onkyo Tx-Sr500 with 65 wpc. I am very pleased with the sound, up to a point. When I want to really crank it up the sound gets shrill almost to the point of me cringing. It doesn't happen neccessarily on bright recordings either. I have Energy speakers with 94 db sensitivity so they don't require alot of power and I have a separate powered sub that I send all the lower bass to. That being the case would a more powerful amp sound less shrill? I know it would probably louder but would it take away some of the shrillness? The recordings sound fine at low to mid levels. Has anybody had this problem and what did you do to solve it?
     
  2. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    In my experience I have found both Onkyo and Energy to be on the bright side. Also the power of your Onkyo seems a little on the low side esp if you have a large room, so you could be driving it to the point of distortion which is making you cringe. Good clean sound should never make you cringe even at high volumes (within reasonable limits of course). In that case more power will get you smoother sound at higher volumes. Have you thought about changing your speakers or even before that maybe having some room treatments in your room esp if you have lots of hard surfaces. If you really want to get a newer receiver or an amp consider a warmer sounding amp or a receiver like HK or Denon. That will give you smoother sound with a rich midbass.

    Best of luck.
     
  3. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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  4. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Are those Energy speakers small satellite types, say, with 3-4" woofers? Do they have metal dome tweeters?

    If yes to either of the above, I would think the speakers are the culprit. Small woofers like that aren't always good reproducing lower midrange/upper bass (causing shrillness); and many metal dome tweeters at high volume levels can start "ringing", causing the highs to sound brittle.

    Also, what kind of music are you listening to? Does the room you're in have a bare floor?

    LJ
     
  5. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    The Onkyo receiver, or your speakers (though that's less likely), might sound harsh even when not pushed to its limit. While getting a good quality amp would definitely help, it might not be the extra power that makes the difference. If the speakers really are 94db, then 65 watts should drive them quite loud. Can you pin a decibel number on "really crank it up"?
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Maybe...out of curiousity, which Energy's and what's the room size? Just get them?
     
  7. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    The Energy's are floor standing EXl26's with 2 -6 1/2" woofers and a 3/4" metal dome tweeter. They are rated for 200WPC so I am certainly not over driving them. I would think the Onkyo could provide good clean sound all the way to max volume. I drive a separate powered sub for the lows so it's not like I am robing power to drive the bass. The room size is 16x20 with 3 openings to other rooms and carpeted floor. The Energy's don't seem overly bright at lower volumes on most music. FWOW I don't expect concert level volume but on a good song I would like to crank it up.
     
  8. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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  9. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    There are 3 openings to other rooms, 3 windows, and an outside door. The entertainment center is along one of the long 20ft walls and the couch is on the opposite 20 ft wall. There is a fireplace on one of the 16 ft walls and two chairs on the opposite 16 ft wall.
     
  10. Chris A H

    Chris A H Stunt Coordinator

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    The Onkyo's are notorious for delivering lower than spec'd power when all channels are driven. And it does not have pre-outs, so you can't add an external amp.

    Time to audition new receivers...
     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Just because you have high sensitivity speakers does not mean they do not draw a fair amount of current, especially when driven harder. No matter what speakers, when you hear a change in the speakers at elevated volume that makes the sound unpleasant, you are running the risk of damaging the speakers because you are under powering them.

     
  12. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    "metal dome tweeters"

    Say no more. I'd have to say that there are two culprits. An underpowered system (your receiver is only going to put out so much and then you'll experience problems) and the aforementioned metal tweeters.
     
  13. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Lord only knows what sort of volumes you're looking to drive those to! My best guess is you're underpowering them. As an aside, that doesn't sound like the friendliest location to be listening from and I think you could improve matters provided you've got permission from the 'boss'.

    Forgetting about room gain as well as losses due to the openings let's assume you're actually sitting about 4 meters (~13 feet) from the speakers. Your speakers are spec'd at 94 dB/1 watt/1 meter. Every time you double the distance you need 4 times the power (inverse square law for power). So you're about 4 meters away so 4 squared is 16. Also in order to make the perceived sound twice as loud, the sound pressure needs to go up by 3 dB. Given that we have the following:

    94 db 16 watts
    97 db 32 watts
    100 db 64 watts
    103 db 128 watts
    106 db 256 watts

    What's dolby reference, something like 105 dB? If so you need about 250 watts to reproduce that level on peaks.

    Don't know about your receiver, but if it's got small/large settings, put the speakers to small. And I am assuming you've calibrated things with the old Radio Shack SPL meter, yes?
     
  14. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    CHU,
    Yes the speakers are set to small. Yes, I have calibrated them. Based on your sound level estimates, (which you are correct on the distance of the listening postion from the speakers) I need a lot more power to get to reference level. And you also right about the sound level, I haven't checked it in a while but it seems like it was about 100 db when I turned it up. You would think 100db would be plenty loud, but in reality I would like more volume on those certain songs that just cry out to be played loud. I sure didn't think my receiver was that much of a weenie though. I can't imagine having 250 watts.
     
  15. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Ed,

    Careful. 100dbs on music is INSANELY loud. If you want those kinds of levels then you're probably looking at more power, if not different speakers as well.
     
  16. Karl_Luph

    Karl_Luph Supporting Actor

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    For what it's worth, I just got finished having to replace a couple of diaphragms for my tweeters in some PAL pro audio stage monitor speakers. I once heard in the pro audio arena that if you blow the tweeters out there's a good chance they got blown because an underpowered amplifier was pushed to clipping, if the woofer gets blown out it's usually due to too much power being pushed to them. I find it better to have too much power than not enough.
     
  17. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    It's not just the receiver that can distort significantly well before its rated output limit. Speakers are even worse.

    The fact that they have a metal dome tweeter has nothing to do with it. Also, if speaker nonlinearity is to blame, the high efficiency might not help much either (distortion would simply occur at lower power input).

    I had a 100 watt amplifier and 87db efficient speakers and noticeable distortion occured with peaks over 95db, in a small room. The amplifier would clip at 103db; the speakers are rated 150 watts. Haven't measured the sound levels now that I have a higher power/quality amplifier, but I think it's 3-5db more output before the sound degrades. My reaction to some loud fun music is no longer "oh, sweet.. ow" but rather just "oh, sweet!" [​IMG]

    100db peaks are loud, but not insanely loud, especially if it's dynamic music. 100db continuous music, on the other hand... now that's loud.
     
  18. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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  19. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Ed, if it's possible to bring the seating in somewhat then you'll be balancing things a bit more and, as you can see from the table above (only a rough approximation) less power will be required. Now that doesn't mean you still won't need a more powerful amp or receiver however this may be a solution (at least in the semi-short term). If you're interested, I'll send you some links on speaker placement considerations written by Floyd Toole. By moving yourself in, you'll tax the front amps less and perhaps distribute the power in a more amplifier friendly fashion. BTW, those are relatively efficient speakers.
     
  20. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    Chu,
    Thanks for the info. I will have to work on the WAF to get the couch moved. Wish me luck!
     

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