Do sharper sounds or bass damage speakers?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by JasonRabb, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. JasonRabb

    JasonRabb Extra

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    I was wondering if loud sounds damage speakers, i.e. bass from The Haunting or other movies that go from quiet to sharp explosions etc.

    I figured that well made speakers like B&W for instance (7's in my case), can handle sounds that even the human ear can't detect. I mean, good speakers seem to be finely tuned instruments of sound, is it possible to damage them from watching movies at elevated, but not extreme levels?

    Thanks...I want to enjoy listening to my theater but I don't want to worry about it every second, or jump for the remote. Your thoughts and advice are appreciated...

    :b

    -Jay
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Sudden sharp/low-frequency sounds can damage the woofer. But not many things create that type of sound so it's not a problem. (Note: some older amps create a sudden thud in the speakers at power-on which is rumored to cause damage. Most modern electronics bring power up over a few seconds when you hit the switch to prevent this.)

    Lots of minutes of low-frequency sounds (like the Lobby shoot-out scene of The Matrix) can over-heat your electronics, but I have not heard it is damaging to the speaker.

    I think the rule of thumb is that too-little power for the volume you are trying to listen to can cause damage. If the sounds become strained/distorted - you need to back the volume control down. But short of that - your ears will become damaged before your speakers.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. JasonRabb

    JasonRabb Extra

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    Ah thanks. Now I can listen without worry. : ) (Not that I listen at concert volumes anyway, but its good to know the fact!)


    Thanks!

    -Jason
     
  4. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    If the sonic content is unusually rich in higher frequencies, the tweeter can blow long before the speaker's rated power overall is delivered from the amplifier and long before output circuit fuses blow. The tweeter is simply not rated for the same number of watts (perhaps a hundred) that the woofer might be rated for.

    Overdriving the amplifier to clipping produces, and a few programs of synthesized electronic music possess, large quantities of higher frequencies. For this reason an amplifier with "too little power" can damage your speakers. Not turning up the volume so much will provent speaker burnout.

    The cannon passages in 1812 Overture are some of the things that will blow woofers when the volume is quite high.

    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     

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