Won't too much power damage the speakers

 

Unregistered guest
Hello.
I know that if you connect an amplifier with too low power to some speakers and try to maximize the volume, it can damage the speakers. Now, what about the other side? if I have for example 300w speakers, and I buy an 200w amp with burst power of 1000w - won't it damage my speakers when it peaks?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Touche6784

Post Number: 74
Registered: Nov-04
yes u can damage your speakers if you play them loud enough to use that much power. but that will be after you eardrums bursts, your house falls apart and your neighbors come with knifes at you for playing your speakers so loud. in reality, unless your room is the size of a cathedral, you wont use over about 30 watts from your amp unless you have very ineffecient speakers. the rest is for bursts and headroom.
 

Unregistered guest
First of all thanx.
Now, I'm talking about the burst - if there's some "explosion scene" etc. which uses the dynamic headroom and all that, it will go beyond my 300w speaker capability, won't it? and won't it damage them?
 

Paul D, H.
Unregistered guest
The main problem is under powering speakers, more than over powering speakers. If you turn up the volume above the output of the amp you will flat top or square wave the output to the speaker. This will send high frequencies to the tweeter and will burn out the tweeter.
 

malky
Unregistered guest
I know what will happen if I drive an underpowered amp to my speakers. But what happens if I deliver too much power to my speakers? if the amp _can_ stand that power, but the speakers can't?
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Too little power will normally destroy tweeters. The clipping distortion from the amplifier is all high order distorted harmonics which will eventually heat the voice coil of the tweeter to the point its shape is distorted and the coil can no longer negotiate the gap of the speaker's pole piece and magnet. Extreme amounts of high frequency information can destroy tweeters with the same type of action even if the amplifier is not driven into clipping. Ferrofluid cooling is designed to act as a heatsink for this type of distortion product. The amount of wattage directed to the high frequency driver is typically in the range of a few watts even when a high power amp is being used.

Too much power will normally destroy woofers and midrange drivers. The deeper the bass, or the more explosive the bass quality, the more power it requires to reproduce the signal. The two qualities together can be particularly damaging to speakers. The same problem can exist as in tweeters when the voice coil is overworked and heats up. With the heavier gauge of wire used in the voice coil of these two type of drivers the more common problem is the voice coil is driven beyond the physical limits of its excursion capacity. When this happens the voice coil is actually outside of the gap of the speaker and is no longer controlled by the magnetic structure of the speaker. The only physical connection being made at that point is the surround of the driver which will act as a spring and try to return the voice coil to its starting position. If the voice coil catches any part of the mechanism on the edge of the gap as the speaker returns to a neutral position, the voice coil will eventually get a knick in the wires and sooner or later will cause a rubbing sound as it moves back and forth. If left unattended the voice coil will eventually freeze in place from the heat generated by the friction of rubbing parts. Another possibility is a large voltage burst causes the voice coil to move so far out of the gap the surround can no longer control the cone's movement and it is displaced to an extent it cannot go back in the gap.

It is certainly not impossible to destroy a speaker with too much power, but, in general, you have to try a lot harder to accomplish this than with clipping an amp.


 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2148
Registered: Dec-03
The answer is yes if you put to much power into a speaker it can and will blow.

But just because you put a 500watt amp on a set of speakers that are rated at
250 does not mean you will over power them by normal listening or headroom.

An amp doesn't just kick out it's max power. It's power output is controlled by the preamp.
so if you have an amp that's rated at 500watts you may be running at 50 watts
when your listening and spike to 100 or so. It all depends on how far you turn
the volume and the gain/output on your preamp.

Some people will buy more amp then they need but just don't turn it up as far
so as not to go into clipping on the amp.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Divin11112000

Michigan

Post Number: 13
Registered: Dec-04
So would the suggestion from you guys be to buy an amp which has a little more power then your speakers are rated for and just don't crank the preamp portion? The reason I ask is i have a pioneer reciever (vsx-d811s) which I'm not sure has enough power for my Klipsch RF-35s to prevent clipping at hi-action points in movies and music, however has all of the HT features I was looking for. So I was considering buying an amp as opposed to going out and getting a new reciever (since the functions change so rapidly with recievers).

thanks
chris
 

Gold Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 2149
Registered: Dec-03
Chris you certainly could purchase an amp to power the klipsch and it
might be a little better quality amp then whats in the pioneer reciver.

But your klipsch speakers are very efficent and don't need that much power
to drive them to solid levels so your probably allright with the reciever.

Remember even doubling the power output of an amp only gains you 3db in
volume so with your effecint speakers they don't take much power to get a lot
of volume regardless of what they can handle!

But if you'd like to get a quality 2 channel amp to drive them you may notice
an improvement in sound quality comparred to the reciever!

Those rf35's could be driven by 30watts of tube power to great volumes.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

My suggestion is buy the amplifier and speakers you like and ignore the max. power rating of your speaker. It is, as you should understand, a totally meaningless specification. Use the amp with the speaker you choose and, as always, when you hear distortion - turn down the volume.


Other than the dimensions of the box, there are no meaningful specifications typically given to the prospective speaker buyer.


 

Bronze Member
Username: Divin11112000

Michigan

Post Number: 14
Registered: Dec-04
Thanks a lot for your input guys. I've just been worried that I may start clipping and damage the speakers. I don't really crank them up because 1) its a little house and most of the time i don't need it that loud 2) worried that I may start clipping. I never hear anything, but not sure what clipping sounds like and this is my first step into high end speakers. Don't want to ruin the speakers, espically since it's taken so long to get all of them as well as alot of $. Glad to hear that i should be ok with the current reciever (at least till i save up enough for the next large purchase of the amp)
 

joeman12
Unregistered guest
joeman12
 

Bronze Member
Username: Cheapskate

Post Number: 97
Registered: Mar-04
yes, as mentioned, underpowering a speaker will cause it to blow faster than overpowering it. once you send an amp into clipping, voltage spikes (or is it drop offs? i can't remember) will occur that will blow a speaker.

clipping sounds like a popping noise if i remember right which leads to a buzzing noise in the speaker when it seperates from it's voice coil if blown. clipping might also sound "fuzzy" like an electric guitar with lots of distortion. i can'r remember exactly what clipping sounds like as i read the article mentioning it too long ago.

any time you can hear any sort of distortion at volume, you're listening too loud. the best thing to do is just not drive any of your equipment too hard regardless of power ratings. if you hear distortion, turn it down. easy rule of thumb.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

http://sound.westhost.com/clipping.htm

http://sound.westhost.com/tweeters.htm



 

Bronze Member
Username: Nuck

Parkhill, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 31
Registered: Dec-04
Alonnnng time ago a guy had a technics unit, i dont know the model, but it had a little led that lit for 'clipping'. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Sure, lots of amps had clipping indicators. People would come back and ask how to turn off that annoying light that keeps flashing.



 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 360
Registered: Sep-04
Chris

Clipping is something an amp does, not a speaker. If your amp is set to a high volume and has too low a power output (or headroom), it can't send the complete music signal, so it 'clips' it to the maximum it can do. If the signal were a sine wave, what you'd see with a clipped signal is the rise on the left, a horizontal line and the dip on the right instead of a nice smooth curve. Very nasty. If the amp has the headroom to overdrive your speakers and is playing at high volume, what can happen is you may hear a 'crack' at some point. This is the sound of the woofer hitting its end stop much in the same way as a car suspension hits its end-stops when you charge over a humpback bridge. If you only do this once or twice, the speaker is unlikely to be damaged. If you keep on doing it, the woofer will break...

Regards,
Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Nuck

Parkhill, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 34
Registered: Dec-04
did they work, J?
 

SkieS
Unregistered guest
Question, I will most likely be buying 2 Klipsch La Scalas rated at 100w/400w peak, and pair them with 2 15" subs rated at 5000w/10,000w(yes, 10, 000!). I am looking at this amp. I don't understand the Ohms thing quite yet, but I'm working on it.

La Scalas: http://www.klipsch.com/product/product.aspx?cid=6&s=specs
MA Audio 15" Subs: http://www.maaudio.com/productcatalog.cfm?class=263
Blue Ice Amp: ahttp://www.topdjgear.com/tehiblicexam.html
 

SkieS
Unregistered guest
Question, I will most likely be buying 2 Klipsch La Scalas rated at 100w/400w peak, and pair them with 2 15" subs rated at 5000w/10,000w peak(yes, 10, 000!). I am looking at this amp. I don't understand the Ohms thing quite yet, but I'm working on it.

La Scalas: http://www.klipsch.com/product/product.aspx?cid=6&s=specs
MA Audio 15" Subs: http://www.maaudio.com/productcatalog.cfm?class=263
Blue Ice Amp: ahttp://www.topdjgear.com/tehiblicexam.html
 

Bronze Member
Username: Tevo

Chicago, IL USA

Post Number: 43
Registered: Feb-05
This rig may give new meaning to the term, Disco Inferno...

:-)
 

SkieS
Unregistered guest
Oh, wait... I never asked a question there. Would this all go together well? Any suggestions/opinions?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Tevo

Chicago, IL USA

Post Number: 44
Registered: Feb-05
If you aspire to turn your residence into a nightclub. I think this would work very nicely. :-)

Don't forget, those subwoofers need their own enclosure. Are you going to build them or buy pre-made enclosures? And how are you going to drive those subs and integrate them with the La Scalas?

Ohms is a unit of measure of impedance- the amount of resistance of an electrical circuit has to the flow of current. The lower the ohms, the less resistance there is.

I would recommend you read up on the various aspects of consumer audio equipment/hi-fi... an excellent place to start is on the Internet at the various forums and sites.

Also, this book may be of value:

"The Complete Guide to High-End Audio", 3rd Edition by Robert Harley.

Good luck.
 

Dana Briere
Unregistered guest
Hey,
I have a guitar 'head' and a guitr 'cab'
something doesn't sound right here's the stats, maybe you guys could give me an opionion
the head is 60watts and calls out a minimum 4ohm load resistance
the cab has 4 16 ohm speakers, there is a switch to either put them all in parallel and get a 4ohm result or put them into a parallel/series combo that yields 16ohms
which setting at the cab would most likely make the 60watt head 'clip' and thus underpower the speakers
we have the gain fairly high on the head, because it brings on a gritty sound, but maybe this is hurting things too, the overall sound is just too distorted, theres a fuzz in there that is unpleasant
thanks
Dana
 

Dana Briere
Unregistered guest
my bad its a 50W head and the 16ohm speakers are celestron i don't have the part number right now to look up and get more stats on them
Dana
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