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Denon Volume Question (1 Viewer)


Second Unit
Feb 12, 2001
Well I set up my new Denon 1802 last week-end and I’m ready to give it a real workout this week-end. I want to do it safely though. I upgraded from a many years old Sony that had a red dot on the volume knob. Thus, the concept of XX dB is a little foreign. I always used the “Don’t turn it past 12 o’clock (half way)rule" on the Sony. My Denon runs from –60 dB to +18 dB.

My question is, how far can I turn this baby up and still feel safe that I won’t burn up my speakers? I’ve got a small Polk 5.1 system rated to 100 watts, the Denon is listed at 80 watts.

P. S. I’ve got all the speakers at 0 dB in the set-up.

Thanks in advance!
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Marc Rochkind

Second Unit
Aug 26, 2000
If I understand what you mean by setting the speakers to 0db in the setup, it seems that you haven't used a sound-level meter to set up the speakers, but just adjusted the on-screen sliders to 0. If so, the system isn't set up right for surround sound, and that's an important thing to do. There is no way to do it without a sound-level meter, which costs around $30 - $40 at Radio Shack.

If you really set it up right, all the speakers are playing at about 75db during setup. If your Denon is like my Denon, the main volume control has on effect on the setup.

Now for your main question. My understanding since my ealiest days of HiFi has been that is isn't sheer power that blows speakers, but distortion. So, the key is not how loud the Denon is playing, but how high it can go and still be putting out a clean signal. (I haven't used the right terminology in this paragraph, but I think I have the basic idea. If not... we'll surely hear about it!)

Still haven't answered your question... My guess is that anything up to maybe 90db on the sound-level meter would be very safe. Perhaps someone else can come up with something more definitive.

By the way, the db markings on the main volume dial mean nothing. They're just numbers.

Norman L

Second Unit
Feb 19, 2002
Marc, very good

I will only add that Wally said his speakers are rated at 100w and that the amp is 80w. Speakers will blow when the amps watts drop down below the minium for the speakers lowest rating. This might happen when all channels all running and the source is a strong signal. Polk 5.1- what is their lowest rating. Most speakers today are from 10w to 25w as the low rating.

Wayne Ernst

Senior HTF Member
Feb 24, 2002
Speakers will blow when the amps watts drop down below the minium for the speakers lowest rating.
How so? I'm sure on many occassions, most of us are running our systems with only a "few" watts of power while listening to some softer music. Did you possibly mean: when an amp can't provide enough power (e.g. - can only produce 30 watts), but the speaker range is 10 to 90 watts and the amp starts to "clip" at 30 and above, you'll blow your speakers. I'm not aware of someone "underpowering" their speakers and blowing them - they may not sound the greatest, but they shouldn't blow. However, pushing your amp above clipping could easily "zap" your speakers if you were pushing some distortion.

Norman L

Second Unit
Feb 19, 2002
I mean:

1. The source material is strong & loud (opening in Toy Story 2)

2. The amp drops it's rated power by 50 to 60%, which some amps due, when all channels kick in. If the drop in power distorts the source signal to a speaker.

3.The min rating of the speaker is higher than the drop in power a speaker could blow.

Kevin. W

Oct 27, 1999
If you can get your hands on a sound level meter, use it to calibrate your speakers to 75db. Usually when the volume nob is set to 0db. Once you've done this just listen at a level thats comfortable for you.


Jason Bell

Stunt Coordinator
Apr 3, 2002
I know it is dependent on room size, speakers, and your prefered listening levels but I find myself hangin around the -8 to -15 on the volume dial for movies 0 is set to reference on my 1802. For Stereo mode music, I usually hang around -10 to -25 depending on the CD. This usually gives me about 75-80 db which is pretty loud. Oh btw I'm using Axiom M22s and they are about 90db sensitivity. Like other people in this thread said you definitely want to get a SPL meter from Radioshack. It made a huge difference in the sound of my system for movies. These were my final numbers after calibrating.
LF 0
RF +2
LS -4
RS -6
I dont think I could have come up with those by ear.:)

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