Amp Power and Clipping - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I am new to pro amps so excuse my ignorance or miss use of terminology.

If you are driving a sub hard is it safer to have an amp that won't overdrive the sub but can clip? So in that case you set the gain so only in the most extreme portions of the program you get a blinking clip light.

The alternative is to get an amp that exceeds what the speaker can handle. You might not ever get it to clip but could over power the speaker?

Restraint must be used of course if the speaker starts getting sloppy or making bad noises it must be turned down.

Any help is appreciated. I realize my explanation/question is vague.

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post #2 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 09:17 AM
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Underpowering a system, causing it to do significant clipping, is far more damaging to your speakers than "over" powering the speaker with the odd, non-clipped transient!!

Clipping generates high-order, odd harmonics which can toast a tweeter pretty quickly. Not "so" serious in a sub only but, nonetheless, clipping will generate heat in the voice coils.

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post #3 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 09:27 AM
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For subs I prefer the first option. Yes I can show restraint but I've got young kids running around that may decide to crank that knob on the stereo just for run. Also I can't be accountable for what "drunk Jake" does, maybe I get trashed and go to show off one night and fry the thing
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post #4 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lennon_68 View Post

Also I can't be accountable for what "drunk Jake" does, maybe I get trashed and go to show off one night and fry the thing


That is hilarious.

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post #5 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t6902wf View Post

That is hilarious.

It's only funny until it actually happens
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post #6 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lennon_68 View Post

It's only funny until it actually happens

Unfortunately sober Bill has a heavy hand.

It is interesting to me that no matter the ability of my sub or subs I always think I need a little bit more....

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post #7 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavu View Post

Underpowering a system, causing it to do significant clipping, is far more damaging to your speakers than "over" powering the speaker with the odd, non-clipped transient!!

Clipping generates high-order, odd harmonics which can toast a tweeter pretty quickly. Not "so" serious in a sub only but, nonetheless, clipping will generate heat in the voice coils.

That's half right. Clipping will hurt tweeters and the occasional midrange. It has absolutely no effect on a sub, because there's no such thing as a square wave in the sub woofer frequencies. A square wave is a sine wave overlayed with all its harmonics all at the same voltage swing. Remove the harmonics and you're left with: a sine wave.
OP, it's best to have an amp that can deliver enough power to reach your desired output levels with at least 3dB additional headroom. So there's no simple answer, you have to decide on what levels you want to reach, calculate how much power your sub needs to get there, then double it. Depending on your speakers, your room and your taste that might be 1kW. In my case it's less than 100W.

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post #8 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

That's half right. Clipping will hurt tweeters and the occasional midrange. It has absolutely no effect on a sub, because there's no such thing as a square wave in the sub woofer frequencies. A square wave is a sine wave overlayed with all its harmonics all at the same voltage swing. Remove the harmonics and you're left with: a sine wave.
OP, it's best to have an amp that can deliver enough power to reach your desired output levels with at least 3dB additional headroom. So there's no simple answer, you have to decide on what levels you want to reach, calculate how much power your sub needs to get there, then double it. Depending on your speakers, your room and your taste that might be 1kW. In my case it's less than 100W.

I have 1 DTS-10. I want to be able to hit 115+db at my seat which is 14 feet from the mouth of the sub. The sub can do it now and sound in control but my Amp (EP4000) seems to be running out of gas. The room has lots of gain and is 16 x 14 x 8 sealed. I have one channel of the amp wired to each speaker in the Danley. I have the bridged switch thrown which inverts the polarity of the channels and controls the volume from A channels gain pot.

Danley recommends 1,000 watts at 4 ohms. The Behringer specs say it can do 950 watts at 4 ohms both channels driven.

What am I missing here?

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post #9 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Remove the harmonics and you're left with: a sine wave.

And you are removing the harmonics from a clipped sine wave HOW??

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post #10 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavu View Post

And you are removing the harmonics from a clipped sine wave HOW??

The lowpass filter in the sub along with the driver itself (its inductance) do that. But when the amp clips, some harmonics are still generated because the filter is before the amp not before the woofer.

I'd still go for more clean power, as i've had woofers fail thermally due to clipping. A failure is still a failure, and a mechanical speaker failure sounds so funny.

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post #11 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t6902wf View Post

I have 1 DTS-10. I want to be able to hit 115+db at my seat which is 14 feet from the mouth of the sub. The sub can do it now and sound in control but my Amp (EP4000) seems to be running out of gas. The room has lots of gain and is 16 x 14 x 8 sealed. I have one channel of the amp wired to each speaker in the Danley. I have the bridged switch thrown which inverts the polarity of the channels and controls the volume from A channels gain pot.

Danley recommends 1,000 watts at 4 ohms. The Behringer specs say it can do 950 watts at 4 ohms both channels driven.

What am I missing here?


Time for more sub...
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post #12 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Th3_uN1Qu3 View Post

The lowpass filter in the sub

The lowpass filter precedes the (clipping) amplifier and has no effect on the harmonics generated.
Quote:


along with the driver itself (its inductance) do that.

That would be the voice coil which is absorbing the harmonics and generating heat.
Quote:


But when the amp clips, some harmonics are still generated because the filter is before the amp not before the woofer.

My point exactly!

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post #13 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricci View Post

Time for more sub...

I am happy now with what the sub is doing I am concerned that the Amp is clipping. My question is will a bigger or better amp do the trick or am I at the limit. Based on the subs performance I think there is more if the power was there.

After reading a bit I see that an EP2500 does 640 watts at 4 ohms. I also read that the EP4000 is a re-badged EP2500.
I am questioning if I am getting 950 watts Behringer says I am getting.

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post #14 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 01:29 PM
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If you are running both channels of the Behringer into the DTS10 and it is clipping then you are looking for more than one DTS10 can put out I'd wager. You could strap another entire EP4000 to it so that you'd have one amp on each driver and you'd be lucky if the drivers survived and you gained a whole 3 extra db. What I'm saying is that you are going to have to make a major step up in power to make the next 3db and I'm not so sure that the DTS10 drives can handle that much power. It's supposed to be efficient not super high power handling. Everything has limits. If you think it's the amp then borrow or buy another and try it.
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post #15 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricci View Post

If you are running both channels of the Behringer into the DTS10 and it is clipping then you are looking for more than one DTS10 can put out I'd wager. You could strap another entire EP4000 to it so that you'd have one amp on each driver and you'd be lucky if the drivers survived and you gained a whole 3 extra db. What I'm saying is that you are going to have to make a major step up in power to make the next 3db and I'm not so sure that the DTS10 drives can handle that much power. It's supposed to be efficient not super high power handling. Everything has limits. If you think it's the amp then borrow or buy another and try it.

Thanks for the tip. The big question to me is does what does the ep4000 actually put out at 4 ohms.

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post #16 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavu View Post

The lowpass filter precedes the (clipping) amplifier and has no effect on the harmonics generated.That would be the voice coil which is absorbing the harmonics and generating heat.My point exactly!

As noted the voice coil inductance will filter out the higher harmonics, but even if they didn't no matter. The coil will still take whatever you throw at it so long as Pe isn't exceeded. I've reprinted a more thorough explanation here:
http://billfitzmaurice.info/forum/vi...hp?f=10&t=1886

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post #17 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t6902wf View Post

I have 1 DTS-10. I want to be able to hit 115+db at my seat which is 14 feet from the mouth of the sub. The sub can do it now and sound in control but my Amp (EP4000) seems to be running out of gas. The room has lots of gain and is 16 x 14 x 8 sealed. I have one channel of the amp wired to each speaker in the Danley. I have the bridged switch thrown which inverts the polarity of the channels and controls the volume from A channels gain pot.

Excursion at some freq or another is the limitation of a TH, not necessarily power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by t6902wf View Post

Danley recommends 1,000 watts at 4 ohms. The Behringer specs say it can do 950 watts at 4 ohms both channels driven.

What am I missing here?

The difference between 950 and 1000W is 0.22dB
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post #18 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t6902wf View Post

Thanks for the tip. The big question to me is does what does the ep4000 actually put out at 4 ohms.

See the measuring amplifiers thread. Look at the EP2500 test. Same amp. Chuck's testing would be way more strenuous than any late night movie session. It should be good for somewhere between 650-950w per channel depending.
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post #19 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t6902wf View Post

I have 1 DTS-10. I want to be able to hit 115+db at my seat which is 14 feet from the mouth of the sub. The sub can do it now and sound in control but my Amp (EP4000) seems to be running out of gas. The room has lots of gain and is 16 x 14 x 8 sealed. I have one channel of the amp wired to each speaker in the Danley. I have the bridged switch thrown which inverts the polarity of the channels and controls the volume from A channels gain pot.

Danley recommends 1,000 watts at 4 ohms. The Behringer specs say it can do 950 watts at 4 ohms both channels driven.

What am I missing here?

My situation is almost identical. I'm 13 feet to the sub mouth and only have 1 DTS. With Transformers 2 I was easily hitting 117dB at the LP with one channel of my QSC4050 (at 1/3-1/2 gain). Dialouge was roughly 87 dB, so I wasn't really "stepping" on it. My room is highly (D. Erskine) treated. Granted, this amp puts out a real 1300 wpch @ 4 ohms. You might be right!

Oh, BTW Bill, I'm from Northville!
Get a 4050 and you'll be happy!
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post #20 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 05:07 PM
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I have the EP knob at about 85% up and the one on the right all the way down. I run in the bridged mode also (using the middle two output plugs). The gain on my sub out on my receiver goes from -10 to +10. Mine is typically set around -5. I have tried setting the receiver at a lower number and the gain on the amp at 100% - with this I have clipping too. Trial and error on this. If you want some more spl, maybe port your subs and increase enclosure volume. The unsafe way to stop the clipping is to turn the protection off on the EP.
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post #21 of 51 Old 02-05-2010, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t6902wf View Post

Thanks for the tip. The big question to me is does what does the ep4000 actually put out at 4 ohms.

An amplifier only 'puts out' a multiplier of what you put in. Simply put, if you don't have proper gain structure and are not putting enough voltage from your pre-amp into the input of the amplifier, you won't get 'full' power out.

Most newer AVR's will be able to drive a pro-amp without issues. Do you get the red 'CLIP' lights to light up in the amp? If so, then you are clipping the amplifier. If he clip lights don't light up, then you could be clipping the source. ( AVR )

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post #22 of 51 Old 02-06-2010, 01:37 AM
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More audio myths manifesting on AVS. Clipping is a waveform, waveforms
don't damage speakers. Thermal or mechanical overload does.

I connected my 1 watt amplifier and ran it heavily clipped producing
2 watts of heating effect on a voice coil rated for 100 watts of heat
dissipation, dang, I can't get the speaker to blow up, how come ?



The storm was gone, but dark clouds still hung around
The perfect setting for things to come......

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post #23 of 51 Old 02-06-2010, 02:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_c View Post

The unsafe way to stop the clipping is to turn the protection off on the EP.

That will not stop clipping. Clipping is due to the limits of the voltage rails in the amp, it has nothing to do with protection circuitry. Turning that switch off will only prevent the amp from turning itself off due to thermal overload.
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post #24 of 51 Old 02-06-2010, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by thylantyr View Post

More audio myths manifesting on AVS. Clipping is a waveform, waveforms
don't damage speakers. Thermal or mechanical overload does.

I connected my 1 watt amplifier and ran it heavily clipped producing
2 watts of heating effect on a voice coil rated for 100 watts of heat
dissipation, dang, I can't get the speaker to blow up, how come ?

Good point...but certain waveforms caused by clipping can cause thermal overload (at a high enough amplitude of course), thus damaging a speaker.
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post #25 of 51 Old 02-06-2010, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by XanderMoser View Post

Good point...but certain waveforms caused by clipping can cause thermal overload (at a high enough amplitude of course), thus damaging a speaker.

What damaged the speaker?

Thermal overload

or

The "waveform"

A non clipped signal can cause thermal overload, but we don't go telling
people my clean audio signal caused thermal overload and burn't my
speaker, hahaha...

You see what I mean ?

"I turned up my 1000w amplifier playing clean signals into my 1 watt speaker and blew it up ! Beware people,
clean signals blows speakers" :wink:



The storm was gone, but dark clouds still hung around
The perfect setting for things to come......

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thylantyr View Post

What damaged the speaker?

Thermal overload

or

The "waveform"

A non clipped signal can cause thermal overload, but we don't go telling
people my clean audio signal caused thermal overload and burn't my
speaker, hahaha...

You see what I mean ?

"I turned up my 1000w amplifier playing clean signals into my 1 watt speaker and blew it up ! Beware people,
clean signals blows speakers" :wink:

True, but let's say you have two identical speakers and are running signals to each speaker, getting the same average SPL from each speaker. Each speaker is running within its mechanical limits. One speaker is receiving a heavily clipped signal, while the other is receiving a clean signal. Which voice coil with heat up faster and is more likely to fail?
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post #27 of 51 Old 02-06-2010, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Excursion at some freq or another is the limitation of a TH, not necessarily power.


The difference between 950 and 1000W is 0.22dB

The EP2500 measured at around 650 watts at 20hz 4 ohms.
Would 350 watts only get me 1.54db?

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post #28 of 51 Old 02-06-2010, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XanderMoser View Post

True, but let's say you have two identical speakers and are running signals to each speaker, getting the same average SPL from each speaker. Each speaker is running within its mechanical limits. One speaker is receiving a heavily clipped signal, while the other is receiving a clean signal. Which voice coil with heat up faster and is more likely to fail?

Exactly.

@ thylantyr, clipping at sufficient power does damage speakers. Even though you do not exceed thermal power rating, a sine wave with flat tops produces less excursion than if the amp would be able to reproduce it entirely, even though the average power is the same. Thus the speaker does not get proper ventilation and it fails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivan Beaver
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post #29 of 51 Old 02-06-2010, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by XanderMoser View Post

One speaker is receiving a heavily clipped signal, while the other is receiving a clean signal. Which voice coil with heat up faster and is more likely to fail?

Neither. If clipping posed a problem with woofers guitar players would be changing their speakers every set break.

Quote:


a sine wave with flat tops

They don't exist, other than on oscilloscopes. Musical waveforms simply don't look like that, even before being altered by the low-pass function of a voice coil's series inductance and parallel capacitance.

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post #30 of 51 Old 02-06-2010, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Neither. If clipping posed a problem with woofers guitar players would be changing their speakers every set break.

Point is, guitar speakers are actually meant to distort, so they don't change them all that often because they don't need to. Even if it would sound like crap on regular music it is very good for the guitar.

Anyway i don't care what anyone else believes, but i did fry speakers rated for 180W with a 2*25W amp driven into heavy clipping. Since then i always put amp power ratings first, then worry about speakers.

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