Question Regarding speakers with twice power rating of amp

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by PorkPieCat, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. PorkPieCat

    PorkPieCat
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    I have some speakers rated at 88db sensitivity, and rated to use 100w input. I have paired them with a Nad stereo amp capable of 50wpc with a "soft clipping" feature.

    I'm wondering at what point I might need to worry about damaging a component in terms of volume. I've already been told that a "loud source" wouldn't cause the amp to use more power. I suppose that means that the variable output from my PC doesn't make the amp work harder whether the volume is set to 5% or 100% (or that's what I took from it). Now I'd like to know about the other ways in which my equipment can be damaged.

    I'm asking because I have the gain knob turned to about 9 o'clock, and it seems scarily loud at times from 3 metres away. Am I really not damaging anything? Could the "loud source" cause the cones to vibrate so much they can be damaged? Is the "soft clipping" feature protecting anything? Is 9 o'clock on the dial actually safe, or am I in fact being too cautious? People often talk about taking the volume dial up to the half way mark, even, though admittedly my amp is half the power that my speakers are rated for.

    Sorry, it's a lot of questions. I think I basically want to know A. how far I can safely push my amp, B. whether "loudness" can damage speakers regardless of power draw.
     
  2. Ambienz

    Ambienz
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    You shouldn't need to worry about clipping until you push an amp past 12 o'clock. How far depends on the amp - some distort (clipping, THD) at 1pm, others later. I have one that is supposed to be fine at 3pm. I think that i tested it many years ago, but IMHO that is too loud (depending upon room acoustics) for continuous hearing without risk of damage. The fact that your speakers are rated 100W and amp 50w is fine (and is one of my current setups). Distortion is the thing that kills speakers. The manufacturer will tell you how much power they can handle, so it is not loudness (which is a function of sensitivity as well as amp power), per se.

    Using your amp at 9pm is perfectly fine in your situation and realistically that should cover everything you need, other than parties. You would be surprised that you probably don't use anywhere near 50W, it is really for dynamic headroom.

    However you may need to consider what input power level you are supplying to your amp. I do not know (but someone here will), but amps use a line level input. If you are using the headphone out socket from an appliance IME this should be fine. They both run at 1000s of ohms and as long as the output voltage isn't too high it should be fine. But. . . there maybe some situations, sound cards etc where you may be supplying a higher voltage feed, meaning that at a given amp setting, the sound is louder than say a CD, and distortion will occur at a lower amp volume level.

    The safe answer is, don't have the volume at such a level that it is 1. scary or 2. risks long term hearing damage so that you are unable to enjoy music and quality hifi components and maybe keep your computer output at 80% max as a safety buffer.

    :)
     
  3. PorkPieCat

    PorkPieCat
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    My sound card outputs 2V rms via line out, which seems normal from what I've read. Can't seem to find anything about impedance.

    Anyway, I'll put my mind at rest. Thanks very much :)
     

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