Can you really damage speakers with a "powerful" amp?

gadgetluvr

Active Member
Here is more if you want to read the whole article:
That was a good piece, thanks. Just reinforces what I said earlier about manufacturers putting big numbers on stickers to grab headlines. To be fair, it's not unique to the AVR folks - other industries do it too and marketing people have to earn their crust somehow I suppose ..

Just buy power amps and never look back. I have 2.1kW on tap and that's all channels driven full range 0.05%thd
Please don't start lol! I came across this forum initially with a simple plan and have since decided to get an AVR, then upgraded it on someone's suggestion, changed speaker wires, now added Atmos speakers etc. Ideally I'd like to stay married at the end of this all ... but I might just read up on power amps.

Also, does anyone have a link for AVAnonymous .. ?
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
That was a good piece, thanks. Just reinforces what I said earlier about manufacturers putting big numbers on stickers to grab headlines. To be fair, it's not unique to the AVR folks - other industries do it too and marketing people have to earn their crust somehow I suppose ..


Please don't start lol! I came across this forum initially with a simple plan and have since decided to get an AVR, then upgraded it on someone's suggestion, changed speaker wires, now added Atmos speakers etc. Ideally I'd like to stay married at the end of this all ... but I might just read up on power amps.

Also, does anyone have a link for AVAnonymous .. ?

I don't have Benxh tests of your amp, bit the 4*** range which is two lines up from yours has 76w with 7 channels driven
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I don't have Benxh tests of your amp, bit the 4*** range which is two lines up from yours has 76w with 7 channels driven

Most people don`t listen anywhere near limits of their av-receiver as they have neighbours who come knocking the door or call cops. And they are worried about their hearing for long term.

As you mentioned the 4000 range. From review which used 5.2.4 system with Denon:

For a real-world understanding of how much amplification the X4500H delivers, take this into consideration: it's enough to push a full Atmos speaker system to roughly reference listening levels in my 13- by 15- by 8-foot secondary home theater system without too much stress or strain.

Even when I drove the system to peaks of 99dB or thereabouts, dialogue remained wholly discernible. And this was frankly pretty close to the receiver's output limits (in, again, a 1,560 cubic-foot room with 87dB sensitive speakers about seven feet away; in smaller rooms or with more sensitive speakers, you'll likely be able to play it louder with no problem).
 

Doc Jimbo

Standard Member
Any knowledge I have on this subject is about 20 years old and the point may have been made already in the thread, but I always thought that it was more likely that you would damage speakers by running a relatively low powered amp at high volumes than you would if using a higher powered amp.
 

Slalom

Member
I left a party over 40 years ago and mentioned I was not impressed with the sound, my cousin said he (host) spent a lot on the speakers.

Two weeks later I heard via my cousin that the tweeters had blown, clipping in the amp. That causes the speaker to receive high frequency crap aka distortion. If you look at generating square waves from sine waves you have your reason.

All in all you are less likely to blow a speaker with too powerful an amp, but pushing an amp to power the speakers is a no no.
 

TerFar

Active Member
I've just ordered the the Denon AVR-X2700H and Wharfedale DX-2 (5.1 setup) package on the recommendation of a well known retailer. I wasn't aware you had to match amps to speakers, and now I'm worried the amp might be too powerful and will damage my speakers.

I (now) understand connecting speakers to an amp that's a lot more powerful than what the speakers can handle results in the speakers unable to dissipate the heat/power being generated by the amp, which then burns up the voice coil and suspension in the speaker - and destroys it. The amp puts out 150W per channel, the speaker specs state "Recommended amplifier power 20-60W".

Is this a real issue? If I want to keep the speakers (they were the cheapest 5.1 speakers I could find!) is there any way I can mitigate the issue?

Many thanks in advance.

It's the person using the volume control that could blow the speakers. You shouldn't have any problem with that setup.
 

gadgetluvr

Active Member
Most people don`t listen anywhere near limits of their av-receiver as they have neighbours who come knocking the door or call cops. And they are worried about their hearing for long term.

As you mentioned the 4000 range. From review which used 5.2.4 system with Denon:

For a real-world understanding of how much amplification the X4500H delivers, take this into consideration: it's enough to push a full Atmos speaker system to roughly reference listening levels in my 13- by 15- by 8-foot secondary home theater system without too much stress or strain.

Even when I drove the system to peaks of 99dB or thereabouts, dialogue remained wholly discernible. And this was frankly pretty close to the receiver's output limits (in, again, a 1,560 cubic-foot room with 87dB sensitive speakers about seven feet away; in smaller rooms or with more sensitive speakers, you'll likely be able to play it louder with no problem).
I suspect the only way to accurately assess/know where to "draw the line" in terms of buying gear is once you've got everything installed in your specific environment. Then again, that's possibly too late because you've already bought the gear at that point!

I'm coming from an all-in-one Panasonic 5.1 home theatre system which actually is half decent even today! I couldn't justify spending over double on the X4700H I don't think - but I won't know the limits of my 2700H till it's up and running (hurry up Denon!). Other than listening out for distortion and/or clipping, is there any other way to know you're pushing the limits of your receiver and/or speakers? And please don't say smoke coming out of the receiver is another sign ... :)

All in all, if my new setup isn't a marked improvement over my current one I'll also be on the lookout for a good divorce attorney ...

It's the person using the volume control that could blow the speakers. You shouldn't have any problem with that setup.
One of the first things I'll be doing is limiting the volume on the AVR I think. My lounge is 19 x 13 feet, but it's not open plan so I'm hoping I don't need to push the limits of the DX2's for moderately loud listening - only one way to find out I suppose !
 

sansui au719

Standard Member
Absolutely. But you can also damage a speaker with a "lesser" rated amp.

I did physical damage by over-extending the driver of a 100W rated KEF LS50 with a Sansui au719 amp, rated at 90W continuous power/channel in 8ohms (THD at rated power of 0.015%). I suspect several factors contributed to the damage. I wanted to see how reasonably loud I could push "Another One Bites the Dust", and since I have no neighbours I had few restraints. I didn't go to full volume but Sansui in the 70s were notorious for under-rating their amps - I've read of these amps bench-testing at closer to 130W - and finally, I guess sh*t can happen that close to the limit.

In my case there was no audible distortion at the time (other than my ears gently bleeding). Only one speaker was damaged and that damage only became apparent much later as an almost inaudible teeny tiny tap-tap-tapping at high volumes. I had to replace the entire UniQ driver but the KEF people were very helpful and I enjoyed visiting KEF's HQ in Kent, which is heaven for an audiophile.

On the flip side, having that extra power on tap can be a real advantage. Under-powered amps often struggle to get the best out of a speaker, particularly a less-sensitive speaker such as the LS50.

I have a rule now where I never go past about 2/3 volume, which is more than enough anyway.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I suspect the only way to accurately assess/know where to "draw the line" in terms of buying gear is once you've got everything installed in your specific environment. Then again, that's possibly too late because you've already bought the gear at that point!

I'm coming from an all-in-one Panasonic 5.1 home theatre system which actually is half decent even today! I couldn't justify spending over double on the X4700H I don't think - but I won't know the limits of my 2700H till it's up and running (hurry up Denon!). Other than listening out for distortion and/or clipping, is there any other way to know you're pushing the limits of your receiver and/or speakers? And please don't say smoke coming out of the receiver is another sign ... :)

All in all, if my new setup isn't a marked improvement over my current one I'll also be on the lookout for a good divorce attorney ...


One of the first things I'll be doing is limiting the volume on the AVR I think. My lounge is 19 x 13 feet, but it's not open plan so I'm hoping I don't need to push the limits of the DX2's for moderately loud listening - only one way to find out I suppose !

If you have Mrs. watching movies with you i think it´s one of the best "volume limiters" there is. The nagging/screaming will make you rush the remote turning it down fast.. 😅
 

Grumble

Active Member
Any knowledge I have on this subject is about 20 years old and the point may have been made already in the thread, but I always thought that it was more likely that you would damage speakers by running a relatively low powered amp at high volumes than you would if using a higher powered amp.
I had a problem with one of my Quad speakers, the mid range stopped working. Quad sent a replacement after making sure that my amp had enough power to drive them. So yes a low output amp will damage the speakers. P.S. I watch a lot of rock concerts on my system at realistic volume levels.
 

Graso

Novice Member
Yes is the simple answer to your question I still remember the burning smell of my speakers after a party guest heard a song they liked come on whacked up the volume control manually and the rest is history!🤣
 

Branislav

Member
I've just ordered the the Denon AVR-X2700H and Wharfedale DX-2 (5.1 setup) package on the recommendation of a well known retailer. I wasn't aware you had to match amps to speakers, and now I'm worried the amp might be too powerful and will damage my speakers.

MIne is x1700H and I never played it above half the power because power is a SECONDARY property of the audio system and my big Mission floorstanders are sensitive enough. It all depend how EFFICIENT are speakers! Like if your speakers sensitivity is 96 dB, your power amp does not have to be more than 30 W per channel. If their sensitivity is 86 dB, you power amp must be capable of delivering 300 W for the SAME loudness! dB is logarithmic scale BTW.

However, good thing is that you can hear when they are close to damaging by the distortion in sound. Play as loud as you want, but as you soon hear any distortion, lower the volume.

Finally, good thing about that Denon series of amps is that you can LIMIT the maximum power in some of the menus.

Real power of the speakers and amplifiers is usually a thing they are fixing it on many ways. There is only one proper way to measure and no one is using it because it gives funny (small) figures. They amp/speakers can withstand 10W of constant power, but for a short time they can stand 50W. Then they use 50W to market their speakers. Some measure "music power". Some "peak power", but non pure sine power.

So take my advice of the one who is listening music for 40+years and who build tons of (pre)amplifiers - rely on your ears. No distortion, all is good. If you hear any distortion, volume down.
 
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rccarguy2

Well-known Member
MIne is x1700H and I never played it above half the power because power is a SECONDARY property of the audio system and my big Mission floorstanders are sensitive enough. It all depend how EFFICIENT are speakers! Like if your speakers sensitivity is 96 dB, your power amp does not have to be more than 30 W per channel. If their sensitivity is 86 dB, you power amp must be capable of delivering 300 W for the SAME loudness! dB is logarithmic scale BTW.

However, good thing is that you can hear when they are close to damaging by the distortion in sound. Play as loud as you want, but as you soon hear any distortion, lower the volume.

Finally, good thing about that Denon series of amps is that you can LIMIT the maximum power in some of the menus.

That's not maximum power that's maximum volume. Not the same thing.

Eco mode does reduce power consumption and therefore maximum power usage.
 

Branislav

Member
That's not maximum power that's maximum volume. Not the same thing.

Eco mode does reduce power consumption and therefore maximum power usage.

No, that is power, not the volume, volume does not mean anything really.

I am not talking about Eco mode, but maximum power that can be limited on that Denon amp.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
No, that is power, not the volume, volume does not mean anything really.

I am not talking about Eco mode, but maximum power that can be limited on that Denon amp.

If you mean the -10 that isn't limiting the power output. Can you take photo of manual
 

gibbsy

Moderator
No, that is power, not the volume, volume does not mean anything really.

I am not talking about Eco mode, but maximum power that can be limited on that Denon amp.
Is this what you mean. I use the power on level at -30dB.


Limit
Make a setting for maximum volume.
60 (–20 dB) / 70 (–10 dB) / 80 (0 dB)
Off(Default)

The dB value is displayed when the “Scale” setting is “-79.5 dB - 18.0 dB”.link
Power On Level
Define the volume setting that is active when the power is turned on.
Last
(Default):
Use the memorized setting from the last session.
Mute:Always use the muting on condition when power is turned on.
1 – 98 (–79 dB – 18 dB) :The volume is adjusted to the set level.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
How you or they call it does not matter - it is limiting output power on the very basic level.

Not really. Volume and power usage is not the same thing. There is not "use maximum of 200W at the wall" or "max power out 30W per channel" setting
 

Branislav

Member
Because it depends on the signal it is playing of course. It is not a resistor on DC current.
But what it basically do is to lower the power output. Let me put this way: it is limiting MAXIMUM power. It is like when you put something behind pedal in the car and you cannot press it all the way down. Some will say you are limiting fuel consumption this way, but what you actually do is that you limit car power. That "power" in audio equipment is a thing that can be manipulated in various ways and manufacturers are doing it without any hesitation.
What matter is sensitivity of the speakers and distortion, forget all the numbers.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Because it depends on the signal it is playing of course. It is not a resistor on DC current.
But what it basically do is to lower the power output. Let me put this way: it is limiting MAXIMUM power. It is like when you put something behind pedal in the car and you cannot press it all the way down. Some will say you are limiting fuel consumption this way, but what you actually do is that you limit car power. That "power" in audio equipment is a thing that can be manipulated in various ways and manufacturers are doing it without any hesitation.
What matter is sensitivity of the speakers and distortion, forget all the numbers.

leaving it switched off reduces power output also!
 

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