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Need More Power Mr. Scott

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by wally, Aug 10, 2001.

  1. wally

    wally Second Unit

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    I'd like some advice. I'm close to upgrading my receiver and am considering the Sony DB940 or trying to find a discontinued ES333. My question is, my current Polk speakers are rated to 100 watts the ES is a 110 watt receiver. My rule of thumb (to me and the kids)is keep the volume below half-way. Will I be risking damage to my speakers by going 10 watts over the rating? Is my half-way up rule valid?
     
  2. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    Go for it Wally. You're more likely to damage speakers with an underpowered amp or receiver than with an overpowered one. Besides, unless you listen at ear bleeding levels, you're not likely to be using more than a fraction of the power 95% of the time. Where it comes in handy is for those dynamic peaks.
    Go for the ES if you can, they're the best in the Sony line. The DBs aren't too shabby either.
    KJP
     
  3. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    The half-way rule is a good one. However, volume controls tend to be misleading. AFAIK, a very few high-end components have volume controls where the complete range of the volume pot (or potentiometer, the actual thing that you turn) maps to the complete useful range of the amplifier. What a lot of manufacturers do is set the volume pots in such a way that the system starts playing very loud with the volume at 30%-50% of its maximum value, and drives the amplifier into distortion by the time the pot reaches anywhere close to 100%. Psychologically, this is usually pretty effective, because the buyer thinks "Wow, this sounds so loud with the volume at 9 o'clock, my old amp needs to be turned to 12 o'clock to get it this loud, therefore this amp must be more powerful than my old one". The truth is, that doesn't really mean anything. In fact, I would prefer an amp which reaches 100% of its capacity at 100% on the volume dial. For one, that gives you finer control over the volume, because now the entire volume range is usable, not just the narrow region between 0 and 30%. Also, this provides some safeguard against a careless person handling your equipment and blowing something. Sure, it looks less impressive to have the volume control way up high and the system not playing so loud, but then, we didn't buy our systems to impress other people, did we?
    Or did we?
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    To give a specific example:
    Most Yamaha receivers are adjusted so that when the volume-control is in the 12 o'clock position, the receiver is producing it's maximum, steady power output for it's rated distortion values.
    All receivers are capable of producing MORE than their published watts of power. The trick is that the DISTORTION of the signal vastly increases as you go past this point.
    But I disagre with Saurav that this is to make you feel like your amp is more powerful. [​IMG]
    The problem is: it takes a LOT more power to produce low frequency sounds than the higher-frequency sounds.
    If they adjusted the volume control to produce the max power when the knob reaches the end of it's travel, what frequency of sound is getting that 110 watts? 10 hz, 100 hz, 1,000 hz?
    You have now imposed a limit based on 1 frequency, and created a possible damaging situation for sounds below this.
    So you adjust things to produce the rated output somewhere less that the full-range. Why not at the 50% point? This way you have some over-head and dont limit the power output based on the volume control. You leave it up to the user to adjust things to his liking.
    Wally: the half-way-up limit is a fine rule for you and the kids. I would not worry about blowing up the speakers even if the ES333 was 200 watts per channel.
    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Ryan Peddle

    Ryan Peddle Second Unit

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    Just to let you know...most speaker owners think, at first, that you can only input the power that the speaker is rated at. In most cases members with separate amplifiers go well above the speakers rated amplification.
    I own Paradigm Monitor 7 v2s and they are rated for 50 to 175 watts. I have recently been looking for a two channel amp that does 200 watts an above.
    Now you wouldn't want to run 1000 watts into a 100 watt speaker. You could...but it would get loud with a small turn of the volume dial.
    But over powering the speaker is much better than under powering them.
    ------------------
    Oops, I dropped my eardrums.
    Could you pick them up for me?
     
  6. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  7. Drew Eckhardt

    Drew Eckhardt Stunt Coordinator

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    The volume control doesn't set volume directly; it sets how far the selected input is attenuated before it gets amplified.
    For the sake of argument, let's assume that the maximum possible input with no attenuation would drive the amplifier to 10X or 10dB beyond its rated output (although the amplifier would clip before then).
    While this would be very bad (potentially damaging) with a maximum level input, not all devices can reach that level, and recordings will be (often much) softer. With such a device or recording, if you didn't have that extra gain, you may be unable to reach an acceptable listening level.
    If you want to avoid damage, don't turn the volume up past where you start to notice distortion. Since this depends on the source selected (-20dB from the DVD player may be much louder than just -10dB out of the satellite), if it's loud turn it down before switching sources.
     
  8. wally

    wally Second Unit

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    Thanks everyone! That puts my mind at ease. I guess I can now consider higher power/cost solutions. As for Mrs. Wally well, what goes on the board stays on the board right? Now if I could just password protect the HT from the kids. I'm sure they aren't as picky with the half-way rule as I am.
    Thanks again.
    wally
     
  9. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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