Speaker rattle question

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by hiko, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. hiko

    hiko
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    I've got the Bronze BX surround system (sans the subwoofer) running a 5.0 surround stage driven by a Denon AVR-2310, and I've started to notice a very nasty rattle inside my BX2 speakers whenever I have bass low & loud enough.

    I first noticed it watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind, about 21mins in during the scene when Dreyfuss's character first encounters the UFOs. There's a very deep rumble through that scene and all through it there's a loud persistent rattle coming from both front stereo speakers (my other speakers sound fine). At first I thought it was something loose in my room (a bookshelf maybe), but no it's definitely coming from inside my BX2s. For the most part bass is ok, it's only when it gets really low. Another example that causes rattle is the Windows 7 Speaker Test (via the control panel), which causes the rattle during the SUB test. It seems to me that my Right BX2 is worse than my Left BX2, rattling at lower volumes.

    Is this a fault with my speakers, or could it be that I'm simply driving my stereos too low because it's a 5.0 set up without the woofer to take care of the lowest frequencies? I basically just need to confirm that you can drive these speakers too low or whether they are supposed to work flawlessly across the entire frequency range that they can actually produce.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  2. simonblue

    simonblue
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    Hi
    1/ add an sub
    2/did you an Audyssey's set up ?
    3/What are your main speakers ?
    4/Is the bass set to high ?

    :)
     
  3. hiko

    hiko
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    It is set up with audyssey, my main speakers are Bronze BX2 with BXC centers and BX-FX surrounds. Not sure if the bass is too high or not tbh, it doesn't sound too bassy for me, but the Denon is known for its "bassiness" once it's been calibrated via audyssey.
     
  4. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    It's caused by attempting to extract more bass from the speaker that it can reproduce, causing it to bottom out due to its being overdriven.

    The solution is to add a real subwoofer and reconfigure the amp to use that subwoofer for the bass. In the meantime lower the volume, reduce the bass, and stop trying to use the subwoofer test from your PC.

    The main problem you face is that with time the speaker will be damaged by the abuse it's being subjected to, and it sounds as though this process of destruction has already commenced.
     
  5. simonblue

    simonblue
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    Switch the audyssey to off,and see if that help.

    Also i would add an sub :)
     
  6. hiko

    hiko
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    Crikey, I hope there's no permanent damage! I haven't actually ran the speaker test or watched a blu-ray/whatever that has pushed the bass of the speakers since well before xmas, and the speakers themselves are only around a year old so fingers crossed nothing permanent has happened. I did decide to buy a subwoofer when the problem first arisen, but I'm in the process of purchasing a new projector so I've had to hold off on buying the BXW10 until April.

    I just need to figure out now how to lower the bass on my amp! Am I right in assuming that I do this in the TONE CONTROL section of my amp? I have the ability to adjust bass from -6db to +6db there.

    In order to adjust the bass by ear, is there an audio file I could maybe download that would play low frequency sounds to help me calibrate by ear, or is it just a case of me putting in a CD and doing it that way? I've just had a quick play with the TONE CONTROL adjustments and I couldn't really perceive much difference tbh.

    Just gave it a go and ran the windows sound test, there wasn't really any significant difference.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  7. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Curious, were the Grill Covers off when you were playing the speakers, and can you give us some idea of how loud you were playing?

    AVR's usually have a numeric digital read out for volume, how high was that set? (the number?) If the grill covers were off and you were pushing the speaker to or above their mechanical limits, you should have seen massive movement of the woofer cones. Confirm or deny?

    If it really is a rattle, then press the frames of the various drivers while listening to music or a movie, and see if you can find a spot where the rattling stops. That would imply a loose driver. If the drivers have screws on the front, then gently tighten them with the appropriate screwdriver. You want them firm, but not brutally tight. At this point, you are simply trying to determine if any of the screws are loose. Unless I'm mistaken, some Monitor Audio don't use screws in the front, they use on big bolt from behind. Again, simply assure that the bolt is snug and not loose.

    To SimonBlue's suggestion that you turn Audyssey off, that might have some merit. Some, in fact most, newer amp have EQ. It could be during setup, Audyssey detected a lack of deep bass, and boosted the bass to make up the difference. So, while the Tone Controls may not be in play, the amp internally could be adding a bass boost. The Monitor Audio BX2 are not short on bass, and they go deeper than most bookshelf speaker, however, they are only 6.5" bass drivers compared to the substantial 10" bass driver found in most Subwoofers. So again, Audyssey EQ could be boosting the bass.

    However, in Direct or By-Pass mode, the EQ should be out of the picture, has this every happened with music?

    If you run any "Speaker Tests" or frequency sweeps, keep the volume reasonable. You don't hear the lowest of the low or the highest of the high they same way you do mid-frequencies.

    When running frequency sweeps on my amp, I usually set a reference volume level at 1khz, as that will sound the loudest. Then Sweep at that volume setting. Bass especially will not sound as loud as 1khz, so there is the temptation to turn the volume up. If you value your speakers, you will resist that urge. Set a 1khz reference level, or set the amp to a comfortable listening level for music, and leave it there.

    For what it's worth.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  8. hiko

    hiko
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    My usual listening level of the amp for film/tv is usually between -20db to -10db depending on how quiet the source, this can be fairly loud for a film at say -16db like Close Encounters when the bass kicks in, but it hardly shakes the house down. I don't know what those levels on my amp correspond to in actuality, they're just the volume levels my amp displays. I can't say I've ever noticed any rattle/distortion when listening to music.

    Anyway, I tried a few of your suggestion today Blue Wizard and it looks like the majority of the distortion or "rattle" is coming from my grills: So I removed the grills and there was a definite improvement, replacing the grills brought back the rattle big time. I'm still detecting something deep down in the sound on the Close Encounters test, but it's possible that may be some distortion in the source given its age. I basically need to do a "clean" low frequency test to ascertain there's no distortion at all.

    So I basically have two questions now:

    1. How do I run a frequency sweep? Is it a test facility built into amps or do I have to download a file to run one?
    2. What can I do about my speaker grills? Is it normal for them to be rattling (they're magnetic) or should I expect them to operate silently?

    I'm a total ignoramus when it comes to speaker technology, and I've always kept the grills on because I'm paranoid about damaging the drivers with the covers off. I don't know whether dust accumulation would be a problem or not, etc.
     
  9. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    Your speakers won't do deep bass, but will be damaged (further?) by attempts to achieve what they were designed not to be capable of delivering. If you want deep bass, house shaking, or realistic LFE effects you'll need to add a subwoofer. (-10dB is normally considered pretty loud, my wife would be at my throat at that level).

    If the grilles are loose, the simplest solution is fixation, e.g. velcro, blu tack, screws. If the cloth is loose, taughten it.
     
  10. hiko

    hiko
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    I'm not really concerned about having loud bass, I've never been one of these guys who likes to stack huge speakers and blast out drum & bass as loud as they can. I'm just a simple film viewer who likes his action films to have some bite. I never have the volume so high that you have to raise your voice to be heard.

    For instance, I'd never have something like transformers 3 playing at -10db, that would be absurdly loud to me, but I have many old classics in my collection and some of these have quiet audio presentations that require a boost beyond -15db or so. -10db is very much the extreme end to me.

    So is it normal for magnetic grills to have this issue with vibrations? IE: Is the magnetism perhaps faulty and should I be thinking about contacting Monitor Audio for replacement grills, or is it a case of having to fix the problem myself?
     
  11. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Frequency Sweeps -

    Here is a source of low frequency sweeps and Audio Test Tone -

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/speakers/925527-audio-test-tones-several-sources.html

    This is a somewhat old thread, but simply searching the internet should bring up a selection of Test Tone sources. These can be burned on the a CD, and used in your CD Player.

    Note of caution, Test Tone like this are continuous sounds, that causes a lot of heat to build up. You don't want to sustain these tones indefinitely. Pause very now and then, to give the speaker a chance to cool, and set the overall volume to a reasonable level.

    There are two types, one is a series of fixed test tones. These can be in 1/3rd octave or 1/6th octave. One Third Octave cover 20hz to 20khz in 31 steps. One Sixth Octave cover the same range in 62 steps giving you finer increments of frequencies. I have two types, one sustains the tone for 1 Minute. That's too long if you are going to be stepping from tone to tone. The other has 10 Second tone burst, which is reasonably safe, but still stop every few tones to let things cool down.

    The other, Frequency Sweeps, are the Tones from Real Traps. These are 100 seconds long, and cover a span of 10hz, so the frequency increases 1hz every 10 seconds. EG: time= 0, freq = 30hz; time = 10, freq = 31hz; time = 20, freq = 32hz; etc.... You can use the counter on you CD Player to determine what the current frequency is. Definitely pause between Sweeps with tones that last this long, and keep the volume at a reasonable level.

    On my amp, because it is a Stereo Amp, finding a reasonable volume is simple, I can go by the position of the Volume Control. Normal listening is in the general area of 10 o'clock. Not so easy when you have a Volume Control that has a numerical read out.

    Alternately, I put in a music CD or play a 1khz tone, and set it to a comfortable level, then leave the system fixed at that level through out the test. Low frequencies and High Frequencies do not sound as loud as Mid-Range frequencies. That means you will have the urge to turn them up - DO NOT. Set the Mid-Range Level and leave it there.

    As to your grills vibrating, that is odd, and I've never heard of this before in those speakers. If the magnets are strong enough to hold the grills in place, they that should be sufficient to prevent rattling. A tiny little dab of Blu-Tack on each magnet should hold them tight and act as a cushion to prevent the rattling. A very low cost solution and certainly worth trying.

    For those who don't know, Blu-Tack is like poster putty. I has a degree of adhesive, but doesn't glue tight. Sort of like Post-It in putty form.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  12. hiko

    hiko
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    Awesome Blue Wizard, thanks! Will have to give them a go tomorrow.
     
  13. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    The question is not whether you want loud bass - your choice of a 5.0 system implies you don't - but whether your Denon AVR thinks you do. It is furthermore making the assumption that your speakers can achieve this, as that's its basic design.

    So the AVR raises the level of the low frequency signals to achieve the sound itis convinced your speakers can readily achieve, as part of the Audyssey setup (that's why simonblue suggested that you disable Audyssey). All of this only furthers the bottoming out that is destroying (or should that be past tense?) your speakers.

    The magnetic fixation should be strong enough to withstand normal usage, but not to withstand abuse. Try the Blu tack I and Steve suggested.

    ---

    Steve: all of this assistance in tuning the bass is only making things much much worse for the OP's setup. He's already overdriving his 2-way BX2's with their 165mm woofer, by not having a subwoofer but asking his system to reproduce the subwoofer channel's content. Your suggestions, if followed, will merely continue the process of destruction that the symptoms illustrate as already having set in, as it continues the ill-advised attempts to get something out of a speaker that it just can't deliver.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  14. hiko

    hiko
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    So are you saying that the Audyssey set up can basically calibrate itself in a way that is destructive to your speakers if you have a 5.0 set up? Surely the auto calibration process would be able to detect what frequencies my speaker can operate at and adjust the sound accordingly?

    I've not actually adjusted any of my parameters after the auto calibration, so I've been assuming that the only factor that has been open to "abuse" by me is the volume level, but like I say I've not exactly been blasting things out.

    Also Mark, don't you feel you might be jumping the gun a little with all this talk of me "abusing" my speakers and the "destruction" that has already set in when I've already pointed out in an earlier post that it looks like the speaker grills were the source of the rattle and not the speakers themselves?

    I was going to run the tests Blue Wizard provided today but Mark's post now has me wondering if it's not best to play it safe and wait until I can hook a subwoofer up to the system?
     
  15. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Mark, might be overstating himself, but he is not wrong. The Audyssey SETUP, where it sets standard Reference Levels and balances the speakers relative to the prime listening location is very different that Audyssey EQ. The EQ is trying to balance the frequency range across the spectrum. If it senses the bass is a bit weak, it will try to boost the bass.

    Now MARK talking about abusing and destruction represents the extreme cases, extreme but real.

    Any speaker driver, even a Subwoofer, has a limit to how far it can travel, and it is not a large as you might think. Take this basic 6.5" Bass driver for example -

    Dayton Audio DC160-8 6-1/2" Classic Woofer 295-305

    Note the Maximum Linear Excursion (Xmax) is 3.15mm or about 1/8th inch, though likely it is ±3.15mm for a total of 1/4 inch excursion (6.3mm).

    However, if you were overdriving the speaker in one particular narrow frequency range, you would probably hear it, assuming the EQ is not correcting for some major acoustical flaw in the room.

    Is there some way you can check the EQ and find out what it is set at now. I know with may EQ there is a way to manually adjust each frequency band. Perhaps, you can also find the current frequency band setting. If any of the bass frequencies are boosted excessively, you can dial them back.

    Now, since we aren't there, we can't see the room or the equipment placement, nor hear the problem, we can only speculate as to possible causes.

    It could be something as simply as hitting the resonance frequency of the room. Or perhaps the resonance frequency of the stand or cabinet the speakers are placed on. It could be any number of things, we are simply speculating on what some of those things could be.

    Be careful with the tests, both sweeps and test tones, use them wisely and at reasonable volume levels.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  16. hiko

    hiko
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    Cool Steve thanks, sounds like it's best for me to fully explore the audyssey settings again and compare once more between the audyssey on & off settings before attempting to test the bass first. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of detailed equalizer settings in the amp's menu system, but I'll have to really give it an investigation tomorrow (been out all day today).

    I don't think I'm hitting the resonance frequency of anything in the room as one of the first things I did do was sweep my room and try to find anything that might be vibrating. Only the floorboards exhibited any vibrations as the cinema room is in an upstairs bedroom with very flimsy floorboards, but it can't hurt to double check all that.
     
  17. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    Steve: in general, yes, you'd be right. But if f you read the OP's posts, you'll see that he is severely abusing his subwoofer-less satellite-only system, and my comments represent his normal case, not some theoretical extreme case. You'll also note that he is in fact reporting his speaker's bottoming out.
     
  18. hiko

    hiko
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    Yeah, but they're all very subjective terms aren't they Mark? What I consider to be loud might not be what you consider to be loud, I was just trying to differentiate between normal listening levels and when I turn the volume up a little bit to confirm that the rattle I heard at the lower volume level was the speaker, IE: "when I have the volume loud enough". I live in a semi-detached house, the cinema room is in an upstairs bedroom that has relatively old and flimsy floorboards, I'd like to think that if I was abusing the volume level of my system, my neighbours and the people I live with would have complained by now, but when you factor in the bass settings of the amp, who knows?

    It's possible I'm doing a lousy job of describing the problem by saying it's a rattle, you or steve might listen to it and describe the sound as more of a slight vibrational distortion. I guess the best way I could describe the sound is if you placed a small plastic plate on a wooden surface then vibrated the surface, the sound the plate would make against the wood is kinda like the sound I'm hearing, only on a much smaller and less harsh scale. It's just a hint of distortion in the bass.

    Anyway, I've had a closer look at things and can confirm that there is still a trace of distortion even with the grills removed/secured (but it's nowhere near as obvious). I can also confirm that the distortion is there regardless of whether the Audyssey EQ is activated or not (pure direct gave the same sound).

    I also found out where the Audyssey equalizer graphs were in my amp's menu. Here's the reading (forgive the crude photos):

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    Here's Wikipedia's explanation:
    What you're describing is that bottoming out. Other descriptions of the sound are thudding, cracking, metal hitting metal, or even tk tk tk. Remember, it's not about volume per se, it's about pushing the speaker beyond its limits.

    Your problem is neatly stated by this quote from the QSC forum:
    Your initial problem was bottoming out. Your continuation of that behaviour has by now taken its toll - you have almost certainly knackered the speakers. Needless to say, deliberate abuse is not normally covered by the manufacturer's warranty.:suicide:
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  20. hiko

    hiko
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    Interesting, thanks. I'm not hearing that bottoming out in 99.9% of the stuff I'm watching, only close encounters really, so if I were to get a subwoofer do you think there's a chance that the BX2s will not be pushed to the point that they start bottoming out at?
     
  21. PEPPY52

    PEPPY52
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    I recently had a problem with my Kef Q300s. I purchased an open box Onkyo TX NR808 and ran audyssey. After a while, my right speakers voice coil blew. Later on I realized that it was due to an extra configuration of treble and bass throught a submenu that i did not realize was there.

    I found this on Focals website: Excessive use of the bass and treble correctors: although reasonable correction can improve listening, setting the correctors to maximum or thereabouts will increase the power emitted in the registers concerned approximately three times or more. Example: without a corrector, at an average level of approximately 30 Watts (which is already loud), for a 2-speaker kit, the sound repartition will be approximately 7 Watts for the tweeter (treble) and 23 Watts for the loudspeaker. If the bass are turned up as high as they will go, they will receive (for the same volume setting), approximately 80 Watts instead of 23! In this case, it would be necessary for the amplifier used to be capable of delivering this power without distortion.

    Check if your receiver has these settings, this might be causing your problem, distorting the LF signal and forcing the speaker, making your voice coil bang and give the rattling sound (plus, risking the burning of your coil). If this is not the issue, go into your setup and select SUBWOOFER: YES. Roll your speakers off at 80hz. This will probably get rid of the problem but you will not get any frequencies below 80hz. As soon as you get a subwoofer your problem will be gone. Hope this helps.
     
  22. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    A subwoofer and reconfiguration of all speakers to small (crossover >= 80 Hz) will prevent future problems
    ... but of course won't do anything for any damage that has already been inflicted on the speakers, which the above statement indicates has happened, apparently contradicted by the heading statement.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  23. hiko

    hiko
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    I think I know where these settings are, there's a separate TONE option in my audio set up where you can boost the Treble/Bass but they are both turned OFF in my case so hopefully this isn't an issue.

    My LPF for LFE is 80Hz, does that mean I'm already not getting frequences below 80Hz, or is it the crossover frequency that should be 80Hz?

    My crossover settings are FullBand for my BX2s and 60Hz for the centre/surrounds. Could this setting be the cause of the speaker damage at high enough volumes?

    You live you learn, one things for sure: I'll stick to the full 5.1 setups from now on! :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  24. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    Your speakers are emphatically not fullband, they are satellites. They cannot handle the fullband and telling the amp to treat them as if they were can only damage them. Set them to small (or 60Hz, or whatever term your amp uses).

    If you've been extremely lucky, the problem will go away; if you've already damaged the speakers as I rather fear, the problem will remain as it's now the damage itself that causes it to continue.

    As soon as feasible, add a suboofer and reconfigure all of the speakers to 80Hz.

    The LFE channel, to which the Low Pass Filter applies, is for the non-existent subwoofer. The LPF indicates an upper bound (actually the -3dB roll-off point of its -24dB / octave roll-off). Since it's a setting for a subwoofer and you have none, it has no audible effect. As for whether you're getting frequencies below 80Hz:
    1) Your BX2s are configured as full band, hence they always receive the full band - all frequencies - in their specific channels (front left and right), regardless of whether you have a subwoofer configured or not.
    2) If you have also configured Subwoofer to None, the "full-band" BX2's will additionally receive all of the redirected bass from the centre and surrounds (bass below your configured 60Hz), plus all of the bass from the Low Frequency Effects channel. The LFE channel is the BX2 destroyer, with Audyssey exacerbating the massacre to make it more bloody.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  25. hiko

    hiko
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    Looks like the subwoofer was set to "on" in the speaker settings menu, but I can't set my front speakers to SMALL without having the subwoofer set to on, so I've just set the crossover frequency to 60Hz for all speakers. Hopefully that should pacify things until I get that subwoofer.

    This is going to seem like another stupid question from me, but now that I've made these changes, will they apply to my Audyssey settings? Or will having Audyssey MultiEQ on counteract these changes (basically do I need to turn Audyssey off?)


    I feel I must point out that despite my extreme ignorance when it comes to sound systems, when I first got the BX 5.0 system I did set all the speakers to SMALL where applicable because that was the setting I used with my previous 5.0 speaker set up (which were clearly smaller than the BX range). I genuinely haven't consciously set any speakers to LARGE or fullband, these are changes made by the Audyssey setup as far as I'm aware. I'm stupid, not reckless! :D
     
  26. PEPPY52

    PEPPY52
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    Audyssey will always calibrate to reference. If you dont have the necesary equipment (subwoofer) it will push what you do have (satelites) to achieve this. Set your subwoofer to "on" even though you dont have one and roll your satelites off at 80hz to be safe. If you run audyssey again it will set your speakers to full band once more. I would recomend turning the audyssey equalizer off all togther and setting the satelite to 80hz if possible. Hopefully there is no damage to your speakers. Play some music at a moderate-high volume and try to pay attention for distortion, if there is none, you might be lucky. Try to get a subwoofer as soon as possible, even if you can get an unexpensive entry level one. If your speaker is damaged you will probably have to change the whole speaker. I havnt gotten back my Kef Q300 but they told me the price would be around $150. I hope youre lucky and dont have to repair them, I know the feeling. Good luck! :smashin:
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  27. hiko

    hiko
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    Done & Done, I'll probably get hold of a new sub before the end of the month tbh so until then I'll just have to stick to the old classics in my collection and music at low volumes (mind you, my taste in music is old-timey bluegrass/americana/folk and the likes, so not exactly bass heavy!)

    I've never detected the distortion in music at loud volume levels with these speakers and still don't, so fingers crossed I can live with any permanent damage that has occurred for a while yet (have no qualms about replacing the speakers later down the line if need be).

    Well I guess that's answered all the questions I have left with regards to my set up! I just want to thank you chaps once more for taking the time to help me out: Especially Mark/Steve/Peppy, I really appreciate the help! :thumbsup:
     
  28. PEPPY52

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  29. Shenoizy

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    Some interesting comments on here. I've recently got some Monitor Audio Silver RX speakers and noted that on some low frequency movie scenes there was a rattle coming from one of the RX6 front speakers. When I remove the grill it disappears. I don't hear it any other time so will do some further tests with the grills on and off. It's not ideal but at least it's not the speaker itself.
     
  30. hiko

    hiko
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    I just eventually figured it was a natural drawback of having front bass ports, try securing the top and bottom of the grill individually and see if only securing the bottom where the ports are fixes the problem. Do you have a subwoofer-less set up like me?
     

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