Every commercial subwoofer I have tested thus far is amplifier limited above 30hz. At some point the subwoofer simply will not go any louder with the bursts. You can continue to increase the level of the signal but all that happens is that the distortion rises. The fundamental does not gain any more appreciable strength. The CEA2010 program reports the strength of the fundamental of the center burst frequency. In many units increasing the input signal another 3 to 6db might result in an increase of 0.1db or sometimes even a slight loss in output and a dramatic increase in distortion. This is a common occurence. There is no reason to continue clipping the amplifier harder and harder if all it results in is more distortion but no notable output gain.
Also I have done a lot of testing with raw drivers and DIY subwoofers using very high power professional amplifiers. At the upper bass frequencies that are not excursion limited, the results trend the same. There is no compressor involved in those tests. The amplifier eventually hits clipping and further increases in the signal strength mostly just increases distortion due to the amplifier being over driven. This does not result in higher CEA2010 results.
I remember you having a lot of questions about compression circuits in another thread and questioning how the results might be affected one way or the other. I am using both a severe duty long term sine signal that will 100% for sure engage the compressor in a sub if it employs one. CEA2010 is at the other end of the spectrum with very short duration burst signals, which should allow any subwoofer to produce it's full dynamic output potential. In between the 2 test signal types there is plenty of area for a whole range of attack and release setting scenario's. However the tests here are to identify the performance with an absolute worst case signal and a best case (more representative of real world) signal. CEA2010 is pretty easy on the systems it allows us to gauge the maximum dynamic capabilities in various 1/3rd octave frequency bands easily. Again most subwoofers will not come anywhere near the distortion thresholds at the top of the bass range with these very short duration signals before the amplifier runs into clipping.
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