bit of a noob question.. where does the volume end on an amp? 10 or 12 o'clock? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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09-17-2008, 04:51 AM
when i turn it up to like 10/11 it gets pretty loud but like I dont want to try it any further cos I think it might damage something?

09-17-2008, 05:18 AM
Good question - truth is, the position of the dial isn't the only limiting factor of the amplifier, and cranking it even higher might not produce more volume.

When you crank that dial, you're boosting the voltage from the pre-amp stage to the amp. If that gain is sufficiently high, it will ask the amplifier to amplifiy that signal by a certain factor beyond its capability. Exactly where that happens depends on pretty much every piece of gear and source of gain between the source recording and the speaker. Everything.

Good rule of thumb that is so simple, but so often igonred when playing loud - if things start to sound bad, turn it back down a bit.

09-17-2008, 07:23 AM
I agree with Kex. It turns until things don't sound right. Then it gets turned back a notch. That's max.

09-17-2008, 07:59 AM
I turn mine up loud enough to piss off my neighbors. Not 1 dB higher. :nonod:

09-17-2008, 01:03 PM
Long ago, someone showed me a little "trick" to see if one's system is being played too loudly: simply take a piece of newspaper, and crunch it up right next to your ears. If you can't hear that, the music's too loud. I find it seems to make sense, as whenever I can't hear the newspaper, I find the music too loud to be enjoyable.

The setting of a volume control (11:00 o'clock, 9:00 o'clock, etc.) means nothing, as it's more a measure of the preamp's gain level, and the setting will vary greatly with different pieces of equipment, as well as different locations.

Right now, if I've got the volume beyond the 11:00 setting, the music's almost excruciatingly loud. In my older home, in a much larger room, I had to set it to almost 2:00 for the same relative sound level, and at that setting, I often heard distortion in one, or both of the tweeters of my system. Now, I can enjoy robust, loud music without that distortion simply because the listening room is much smaller. The newspaper "trick" still applies though...

09-17-2008, 01:44 PM
This thread calls for a Spinal Tap reference..


Mr Peabody
09-17-2008, 06:49 PM
I know when my system gets too loud by the dimming of the lights :)

Yeah, what kex said. The dial can even vary from disc to disc. A disc from the 80's may need 12 where a CD from today or the past few years may only need 10. Ever notice today's CD's have higher output do to record level saturation? Hypothetical question, there's been many a thread spun on this.

Here's a real question, how can I tell time on my digital volume control? No knobs man.....

09-19-2008, 06:04 AM
when i turn it up to like 10/11 it gets pretty loud but like I dont want to try it any further cos I think it might damage something?
There is no one answer because there are at least five variables:

1. Gain of each recording
2. Gain of source (CDP / cartridge and phono preamp)
3. Gain of line stage
4. Gain / sensitivity of power amp
5. Sensitivity of speaker

With one of my systems, I had too much gain with the CD player so I took the line stage out of the loop. I was maxing out at about 9:00. Technically, you need to prevent clipping or overdriving your amp. That tearing, gargling, screeching sound you frequently hear emanate from teenagers cars


09-19-2008, 08:34 AM
volume ends when the amp runs out of power.

turn it up until it doesn't sound anymore like it's supposed to, from the moment this starts, immediately turn it down a little. That's pushing the amp to it's limits. Not that this would sound better though, most dynamics are gone, the amp will constantly play near clipping power, and on peaks, it will clip. Also, depending on your room, standing waves will be introduced, sound will get unbalanced, ...

Usually I prefer the volume where it sounds best to me, not the loudest...

Keep them spinning,

09-19-2008, 10:30 AM
I'm standing in front of my receiver and I'm like cranking the knob until like the windows start rattling and my neighbors are like "hey turn that thing down" and I'm like no way and there like we're gonna call the cops and I'm like, like I give a sh!t and there like your a jerk off and I'm like I know you are but what am I and then there like walking away and I'm LOL

09-19-2008, 10:31 AM
So like thanks for the recap Bert.