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  1. #1
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    How loud can it go?

    Audio Engineers:

    How loud can I turn my stereo up?

    For stereo listening my stereo is comprised of:

    Pre/Pro: Denon 2800 (85 Watts per channel, however amp section is not used)
    Power: Proceed HPA 2 (250 Watts)
    Speakers: Paradigm Studio 60ís V2 (1 inch metal dome tweeter w/ 2 6.5 inch drivers)
    Sub: Velodyne HGS 18Ē V1 (1250 Watt dedicated amp)

    I am very pleased with this setup. It is a nice compromise between accuracy and ability to play LOUD rock and/or roll music.

    My question stems from how preamps are designed to be used, and the fact that I am using a receiver as just a pre/pro. Denon recommends that you turn the volume up no louder than Ė5 Db. Sometimes, for short periods of time, I like to listen louder, especially on older recordings that have a low record volume. Can I turn up the stereo louder than Ė5 Db without fear of damaging the speakers? These particular speakers are fairly efficient (I believe 92 Db???). I canít imagine they would cause my amp to clip given how beefy it is. However, maybe I am wrong??? Since I am not using Denonís amp section, should I disregard their warning? How can I tell if the music is too loud for my speakers? I have never heard distortion of any kind? Will I hear distortion before doing damage? I check out the woofer excursion to make sure they are not being pushed to hard, but I cannot do the same with the tweeters. Can you blow a tweeter if no clipping is present?

    Please advise, thanks!

    Note: I donít need any lectures on hearing damage. I am careful in this regard and have an spl meter to measure how loud it actually is. If I listen loud, it is generally for a short period of time, i.e. under 10 minutes.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    You basically answered your own question. You can play it as loud as you want, and turn it down when:

    A) You hear the drivers breaking up.
    B) Your ears start bleeding.

    The -5 db you see on the Denon means nothing. It's just there as a reference point.

  3. #3
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by brulaha
    Audio Engineers:

    How loud can I turn my stereo up?

    How can I tell if the music is too loud for my speakers? I have never heard distortion of any kind? Will I hear distortion before doing damage? I check out the woofer excursion to make sure they are not being pushed to hard, but I cannot do the same with the tweeters. Can you blow a tweeter if no clipping is present?

    Please advise, thanks!

    Note: I donít need any lectures on hearing damage. I am careful in this regard and have an spl meter to measure how loud it actually is. If I listen loud, it is generally for a short period of time, i.e. under 10 minutes.
    This type of question has been asked before but I have never seen a knowledgeable answer. The real meat of the question asks more about the specific cause of speaker/amp damage. Nobody ever answers that in detail. You just get terse answers about hearing damage and such.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Well you have to realize, there's no way to answer that question. You might as well ask "how much food can I eat?" Well...you eat till you bust, I guess. Or "how fast can I drive my car?" Well..until you lose control and hit a tree I guess.

    "How loud can I play my stereo?" is impossible to answer, which is why you've never seen a good answer for that question.

  5. #5
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    The short answer is very

    Quote Originally Posted by brulaha
    Audio Engineers:

    How loud can I turn my stereo up?

    For stereo listening my stereo is comprised of:

    Pre/Pro: Denon 2800 (85 Watts per channel, however amp section is not used)
    Power: Proceed HPA 2 (250 Watts)
    Speakers: Paradigm Studio 60ís V2 (1 inch metal dome tweeter w/ 2 6.5 inch drivers)
    Sub: Velodyne HGS 18Ē V1 (1250 Watt dedicated amp)

    I am very pleased with this setup. It is a nice compromise between accuracy and ability to play LOUD rock and/or roll music.

    My question stems from how preamps are designed to be used, and the fact that I am using a receiver as just a pre/pro. Denon recommends that you turn the volume up no louder than Ė5 Db. Sometimes, for short periods of time, I like to listen louder, especially on older recordings that have a low record volume. Can I turn up the stereo louder than Ė5 Db without fear of damaging the speakers? These particular speakers are fairly efficient (I believe 92 Db???). I canít imagine they would cause my amp to clip given how beefy it is. However, maybe I am wrong??? Since I am not using Denonís amp section, should I disregard their warning? How can I tell if the music is too loud for my speakers? I have never heard distortion of any kind? Will I hear distortion before doing damage? I check out the woofer excursion to make sure they are not being pushed to hard, but I cannot do the same with the tweeters. Can you blow a tweeter if no clipping is present?

    Please advise, thanks!

    Note: I donít need any lectures on hearing damage. I am careful in this regard and have an spl meter to measure how loud it actually is. If I listen loud, it is generally for a short period of time, i.e. under 10 minutes.
    You should have no problems blowing your tweeter out either.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  6. #6
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brulaha
    How can I tell if the music is too loud for my speakers? I have never heard distortion of any kind? Will I hear distortion before doing damage?
    There is a phenomena known as "listening fatigue" which occur if amp is clipping (excessive THD), or if speaker is distorting. This phenomena usually occur about after 15-30 minutes of continuous listening, and it make you to want to turn off the system. If you can listen to your system with out tiring for couple of hours of loud listening, then you are hearing the music undistorted and your system is OK.

    And since your speakers are rated at 92 dB, your speaker can get pretty loud without putting too much pressure on the Amp.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpcounty
    This type of question has been asked before but I have never seen a knowledgeable answer. The real meat of the question asks more about the specific cause of speaker/amp damage. Nobody ever answers that in detail. You just get terse answers about hearing damage and such.
    Your absolutely Right. I want to have a scientific answer on what will cause damage to my stereo. As of yet...nothing.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    You should have no problems blowing your tweeter out either.
    It's a wonder your a moderator with that kind of response.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    Well you have to realize, there's no way to answer that question. You might as well ask "how much food can I eat?" Well...you eat till you bust, I guess. Or "how fast can I drive my car?" Well..until you lose control and hit a tree I guess.

    "How loud can I play my stereo?" is impossible to answer, which is why you've never seen a good answer for that question.
    I would think that there are tolerences that could be described in detail. One would think heat is the ultimate demise of the system. But I was looking for a detailed answer. In part, if a recording is super soft, can the volume be turned up all the way, or will the system still overheat. In other words is there a difference between the actual decible level being much lower at max volume setting than a lower volume setting with a higher decible level.

  10. #10
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    I though your question was answered correctly

    Quote Originally Posted by brulaha
    It's a wonder your a moderator with that kind of response.
    Note; I didn't lecture you on hearing damage, even though it's quite obvious that your system could easily induce it if you try to figure out "how loud can I play it"

    Your amp could easily fry your tweeters, of that I'm sure. Of course listening at that level would likely lead to hearing damage, even if your not driving your amp into clipping, but of course you already know this.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  11. #11
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Now I see your real question

    Quote Originally Posted by brulaha
    I would think that there are tolerences that could be described in detail. One would think heat is the ultimate demise of the system. But I was looking for a detailed answer. In part, if a recording is super soft, can the volume be turned up all the way, or will the system still overheat. In other words is there a difference between the actual decible level being much lower at max volume setting than a lower volume setting with a higher decible level.
    The header "HOW LOUD CAN I PLAY IT" Is one that just invites the hearing damage responce.

    It's a matter of gain. Your preamp can only boost a line signal a certain amount. If the signal is low, then it is perfectly OK to use full gain. Several preamps that I've used have adustable gain from 6db-18db. The one I'm using now also has a passive setting that has NO gain, it just acts as attenuator.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  12. #12
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brulaha
    Audio Engineers:


    My question stems from how preamps are designed to be used, and the fact that I am using a receiver as just a pre/pro. Denon recommends that you turn the volume up no louder than Ė5 Db. Sometimes, for short periods of time, I like to listen louder, especially on older recordings that have a low record volume. Can I turn up the stereo louder than Ė5 Db without fear of damaging the speakers? ?.
    The short answer is yes, you can listen to your system, even at FULL volume without worrying about damage if you're playing a signal that is at a low level. The problem is that at full volume, any clic/pop/spurious signal could FRY everything. I've blown BOTH my tweeter fuses playing the track Time by Pink Floyd. I thought I had it set to a good level, but as soon as the alarms went off, so did both the fuses.

    Quote Originally Posted by brulaha
    These particular speakers are fairly efficient (I believe 92 Db???). I canít imagine they would cause my amp to clip given how beefy it is. However, maybe I am wrong??? Since I am not using Denonís amp section, should I disregard their warning? How can I tell if the music is too loud for my speakers? I have never heard distortion of any kind? Will I hear distortion before doing damage? I check out the woofer excursion to make sure they are not being pushed to hard, but I cannot do the same with the tweeters. Can you blow a tweeter if no clipping is present?.
    Yes, you can blow a tweeter if no clipping is present, but it's harder. A tweeter, or any driver for that matter can only dissipate a certain amout of heat. If it is driven past the ability to dissipate the heat, it will heat up until it self distructs. On your speakers I'm sure that level is at a very high SPL, and I doubt you will ever have that problem.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  13. #13
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    question

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    The short answer is yes, you can listen to your system, even at FULL volume without worrying about damage if you're playing a signal that is at a low level. The problem is that at full volume, any clic/pop/spurious signal could FRY everything. I've blown BOTH my tweeter fuses playing the track Time by Pink Floyd. I thought I had it set to a good level, but as soon as the alarms went off, so did both the fuses.



    Yes, you can blow a tweeter if no clipping is present, but it's harder. A tweeter, or any driver for that matter can only dissipate a certain amout of heat. If it is driven past the ability to dissipate the heat, it will heat up until it self distructs. On your speakers I'm sure that level is at a very high SPL, and I doubt you will ever have that problem.
    Is damage an all or nothing affair or is it progressive? What I mean by that is, lets say you are listening to music and then you encounter the listening "fatigue" that was described earlier, and you lower the volume. The music sounds OK at the lower volume but have you degraded the quality of the sound by taking the speakers to clipping? OR is the sound quality still the same but you have just put some extra wear and tear on the parts?

    An analogy might be if you rev your car engine really hard, the car still can go just as fast and has the same acceleration but you may have just decreased it's life expectancy before failure? Do you think speakers can be thought of this way?

    Did I make any sense?

  14. #14
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Usually it's all or nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by tpcounty
    Is damage an all or nothing affair or is it progressive? What I mean by that is, lets say you are listening to music and then you encounter the listening "fatigue" that was described earlier, and you lower the volume. The music sounds OK at the lower volume but have you degraded the quality of the sound by taking the speakers to clipping? OR is the sound quality still the same but you have just put some extra wear and tear on the parts?

    An analogy might be if you rev your car engine really hard, the car still can go just as fast and has the same acceleration but you may have just decreased it's life expectancy before failure? Do you think speakers can be thought of this way?

    Did I make any sense?
    A voice coil is (usually) a winding of copper wire. When driven to thermal overload the copper quite literally melts, and you loose continuity in the wire. Repeated "near overload" conditions could also stress the wire to the point of failure too. But, playing your speakers within thier operating range, even at high volume should have no detrimental effect on them.

    Also, clipping does not necessarily mean damage to speakers, or your amp. Clipping is simply your amp reaching a point where it can no longer provide enough current to accurately follow the waveform. The amps output waveform shows "clips" off the top and bottom and you can hear that in the speakers as a grating unmusical sound. Tube amps clip in a different way; they compress the signal more than lop the tops off, so they sound "better" when driven to clipping, although they are no longer following the waveform correctly.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

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