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Amp volume conundrum

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by SixWhippys, May 7, 2003.

  1. SixWhippys

    SixWhippys
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    Hi, a newbie post.

    I’ve recently built an entertainment PC and connected the Audigy soundcard to a Denon AVR-1602 via SPDIF coax. The amp drives a set of Eltax Silverados and an Eltax Sub-8. (I’ve been working to a very tight budget!)

    I’m really happy with the quality of the sound but I feel I’m pushing the amp too far in terms of volume. To get room filling sound when watching TV in Pro Logic II I have to set the volume to –25 (min –60, max +15), so that’s about 50% of total. Playing MP3s in 5ch stereo via Winamp I have to take it up to –15 (about 60%) and when watching DVDs playing in Dolby Digital via PowerDVD I have to turn it up to 100% (the max in this mode is lower at +3, and I have to turn it up all the way to +3).

    After playing MP3s for a couple of hours in 5ch stereo at 60% the amp runs very hot, so I wasn’t surprised when it keeled over and died at my birthday party on Saturday after playing MP3s all night (probably for most of the time at 80-90% of maximum – there were over a 100 people in the house!)

    Whilst the amp is at the repair shop being sorted out, I’m left asking whether 70wpc is enough for me, or whether the Eltax Silverados are the right speakers for the amp as I believe that Eltax recommend an amp with 100wpc to drive them. (I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that driving the speakers at full tilt with an under powered amp hasn’t damaged them.)

    Anyway, can anyone offer any advice on this? If I replace the amp with a 100wpc or higher, what make/model would be recommended? Or would it be possible to get speakers that would deliver bigger oomph with the same amp?

    One other thought – would cable length make a significant difference? The length to the fronts is about 8 meters, and I’m using Gale XL 189.

    I’d welcome any comments on this.

    Cheers,

    Graeme.
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    From what you've said,Graeme,I think you've answered your own question there!

    If your amp has died as a result of a good night's work at nearly full power,then it is a bit overstretched.....running a relatively low powered AV amp in 5 channel mode at those levels is a fairly severe test.

    Speaker damage due to underpowered amps clipping and sending lots of high frequency rubbish through the tweeter is a lot more common than damage from using too high powered amps.

    One thing to remember is that to increase the sound level by 3 dB,you will need to double the power output of your amp assuming the speakers will handle that.

    As to different levels experienced when using different media on different software players,it depends on the level the media was recorded at,and the relative level your software players are set to output also.
     
  3. mbbx0bbr

    mbbx0bbr
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    Here are some expentation of what might be going on. (my experience, may not be happening with ur comp tho').

    When using PowerDVD it has a tedancy to set Master volume to half and Wave volume to half in the cound card/Play control panel.

    If u do not change these after, it may be that all ur music is coming out of ur sound card at half wave and master volume.

    The wave is the source (i gather). and the master volume on the PC is how much ur sound card amplifies the wave source.

    Also note that the volume control in Windows media player does not change the wave and master, uses it own adjustments i guess. Not sure how Win amp works.

    I used to run my PC sound through a Denon 1803 (V. similar to ur denon).

    I have an external Extigy sound card connected to the denon 1803 via an optical link. I used to set the master volume to about 90% and wave volume to 90%. (in windows media player then at about 90 or 95%). i've read at places u should set everything at 75%, but i reckon if it sounds OK, and ur amp has to work less hard then it should be better for ur speakers and listening exprience (runnign denon at full wack may cause clipping, i found then 1803 never sounded to cool at V.load volumes), On most modern sound cards having the volume at max doesn't cause distortion like the old sound cards used to (ExTigy are latest creative line, and are top notch).

    Don't know if that helps u, let me know.. also try updating drivers for ur sound card. www.soundblaster.com

    Just out of intrest what r u running dennon at (i.e. -xx) if u set all ur settings to 90% (as described). in 2 channel stereo form, i used to run my denon 1803 at -30 for most 2 channel stuff.

    Bob

    Note: My denon 1803 is available 2nd hand as I have now gone pure 2 channel audiophille!
     
  4. SixWhippys

    SixWhippys
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    Thanks for the replies, gents. Any suggestions on 100wpc amps to replace the 1602 later in the year (when I've saved up for it)?

    On that score, thanks for the offer of the 1803, Bob, but I think I'll move up to something a bit more powerful (the 1803 is 85w, isn't it?). I mean, I've got a New Year's Eve party to look forward to and I don't want to run the risk of a repeat performance! As for the sound control settings I'll try that when I've plugged everything back together again and I'll let you know how I get on.

    If I have damaged the speakers through clipping, is there a risk that I might damage the amp when I connect it all back up again? Is there anything I can do to test the speakers? I'm obviously not looking for guarantees here, just guidance.

    Graeme.
     
  5. sounddog

    sounddog
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    How about ... any HC amp you fancy ... plus a NAD C370 if you like things loud.

    Vikki
     
  6. Sunday Ironfoot

    Sunday Ironfoot
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    SixWhippys, make sure you check this out first as this may be the cause of the low volumes coming from your system.

    Check the volume sliders in the sound properties section in Windows (go to control panel etc.) and make sure they're set to max, if they're not the that's why your system sounds so low. As mbbx0bbr said modern sound cards like the Audigy won't have problems with distortion when set to max.

    If this sounds really obvious to you and you've already checked it out, then sorry mate :p
     
  7. mbbx0bbr

    mbbx0bbr
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    i'll second that , if u want it load get a NAD C370 (i might even sell mine) :)

    cos i move it 5 degrees and my flat m8ts are banging on the wall!

    it's laod, real load... i reckon it's to powerfull, but it sounds soooo gooood. (well till i get better!)

    theres one for sale in the classifieds, last time i looked it had been reduced to £300, the guy might go down..(so u could still use ur denon for surround, and use pre outs if it has them and hook up into ur NAD)..

    Bob

    (wow some1 quoted what I wrote !!)
     
  8. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    I would add if you want a no-bones, drive your speakers into the ground for ever and a day then the Rotel 1095 would do the job, fairly expensive but at 5 x 200w this is what you might need for 100+ "parties".
    Just how big is your listening room? that you could fit so many people in.

    Steve.
     
  9. SixWhippys

    SixWhippys
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    >>Just how big is your listening room? that you could fit so many people in.

    My wife was wondering the same thing when we sent the invites out! But hey, it was my 40th so I wanted to push the boat out a bit.

    Since you ask, the lounge (where the 5.1 speakers are) is 20'x12' and so I used the 5 ch stereo to spread the music both ends of the room. The rears also spread sound into the thru dining room at that end (another 12'), and I've also got speakers in the kitchen via the amp's A/B switch, so they were going all night as well as the 5 in the lounge, so some people tended to stay out there (with the drink), and then there was the hallway (I removed the door between the lounge and hallway to give a bit more room), and I opened the French windows between lounge and conservatory so people out there weren't left out of it. So basically, we had music pretty much through the whole ground floor of the house and people spread out accordingly. Bit of a cheat but it worked.

    I like the idea of a second amp - especially 5 x 200w! - but I think only the subwoofer is preout on the 1602? I assume I couldn't drive the 2nd amp using the normal speaker terminals on the 1602? Sorry - the Denon is the 1st amp I've owned so I'm pretty new to this.
     

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