Distortion after playing music at loud volumes for a while - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews

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post #1 of 41 Old 04-06-2013, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I have the Polk RTI12s and Onkyo NR609 and I hear distortion after playing music at loud volumes for a while. It has been like this since I bought them. After resting them for 5-10 minutes they start to sound normal again. What could be causing that?
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post #2 of 41 Old 04-06-2013, 06:21 PM
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Are you sure it's not your ears?

Check to see if your AVR is getting very hot when you start to hear this.
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post #3 of 41 Old 04-06-2013, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brutal0101 View Post

What could be causing that?
Thermal power compression, which occurs when voice coils get hot. It's a sure sign that your speakers aren't up to what you're trying to get out of them. I suspect it's mainly the tweeters, which probably struggle to keep up with the rest of the drivers.

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post #4 of 41 Old 04-06-2013, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ousooner2 View Post

Are you sure it's not your ears?

Check to see if your AVR is getting very hot when you start to hear this.

I am 100% sure it's not my ears. AVR does get hot but all AVRs do get hot after a while I believe.
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post #5 of 41 Old 04-06-2013, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Thermal power compression, which occurs when voice coils get hot. It's a sure sign that your speakers aren't up to what you're trying to get out of them. I suspect it's mainly the tweeters, which probably struggle to keep up with the rest of the drivers.

What do you mean by what I am trying to get out of them? I never play them at 80 plus and I only have them biamped to my AVR so no extra power. I thought the RTI12s are top of the line so why are they having this issue?
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post #6 of 41 Old 04-06-2013, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by brutal0101 View Post

What do you mean by what I am trying to get out of them? I never play them at 80 plus and I only have them biamped to my AVR so no extra power. I thought the RTI12s are top of the line so why are they having this issue?

Could be because you are running the Onkyo nears its limits, causing it to clip, which puts a lot of stress on the tweeters.

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post #7 of 41 Old 04-07-2013, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brutal0101 View Post

I thought the RTI12s are top of the line so why are they having this issue?
You can only get so much out of a single tweeter, and you can only get so much out of a 100w/ch amp. Whatever the reason distortion means you're playing the system louder than it's capable of. Turn it down, because that distortion is a warning that you're exceeding system capabilities. Ignore it and you run the risk of damaging your speakers.
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post #8 of 41 Old 04-07-2013, 09:43 AM
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Try not bi-amping them and see if something changes.

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post #9 of 41 Old 04-07-2013, 10:00 AM
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Here is an outstanding short thread that discusses various compression aspects, focusing a lot on peak compression. You're experiencing normal compression, long term compression from encountering the thermal limits. They just can't dissipate the heat you're giving them.

Like Bill said, you're just trying to get more out of your speakers than they can take.

A by product of the current flow in the voice coil is heat. Thermally, your drivers (and crossover network) can only handle so much before the speaker's parameters change. The crossover points can change, etc. When one component in say a three way, enters compression first, then spectrally the output changes.

Simplified, compression is when a driver's output level ceases being proportional to it's input level. This causes audible changes. The prudent enthusiast, upon first hearing such changes, stops increasing drive level, and backs off 'til the output is clean.
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post #10 of 41 Old 04-07-2013, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ousooner2 View Post

Try not bi-amping them and see if something changes.
Nothing will unless he goes to the trouble of removing the internal passive crossover and installing an active crossover in his AVR, because if you don't do that it's not bi-amping, irrespective of what some marketeer labels it in their sales literature.
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post #11 of 41 Old 04-07-2013, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

You can only get so much out of a single tweeter, and you can only get so much out of a 100w/ch amp. Whatever the reason distortion means you're playing the system louder than it's capable of. Turn it down, because that distortion is a warning that you're exceeding system capabilities. Ignore it and you run the risk of damaging your speakers.

But it's barely loud enough even at THX Ref 82 volume to me. What would be a simple solution to this issue? Will changing the AVR help? Or will adding an external amp help? The speaker specs say upto 500W but you guys wrote I am already over driving them.
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post #12 of 41 Old 04-07-2013, 04:05 PM
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That was a horrible attempt at sarcasm lol....I guess it didn't come off that way. smile.gif
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post #13 of 41 Old 04-08-2013, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone with any suggestions please??
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post #14 of 41 Old 04-08-2013, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brutal0101 View Post

But it's barely loud enough even at THX Ref 82 volume to me. What would be a simple solution to this issue? Will changing the AVR help? Or will adding an external amp help? The speaker specs say upto 500W but you guys wrote I am already over driving them.

If you are clipping the amp, then based on what Bill's told me before (and my explanation is not nearly as good), that can cause way more power to be sent to the tweeters than normal. Even though your speakers are rated up to 500 watts, the tweeters can't handle anywhere near that.

So external amp might help. How about this one: http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/amplifiers/products/xpa2
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post #15 of 41 Old 04-08-2013, 09:16 PM
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What other equipment is in the chain? How are you playing music, what format, etc?

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post #16 of 41 Old 04-08-2013, 09:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ousooner2 View Post

What other equipment is in the chain? How are you playing music, what format, etc?

Through my PC HDMI connection and sometimes directly through the Onkyo App from my phone. When I have the music optimizer it starts distorting even sooner may be because of the extra bass. I think I hear more distortion from the Mids than the tweeters. I normally play in stereo mode.
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post #17 of 41 Old 04-08-2013, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

If you are clipping the amp, then based on what Bill's told me before (and my explanation is not nearly as good), that can cause way more power to be sent to the tweeters than normal. Even though your speakers are rated up to 500 watts, the tweeters can't handle anywhere near that.

So external amp might help. How about this one: http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/amplifiers/products/xpa2

Just wondering how would adding an external amp limit the extra power sent to the tweeters, wouldn't it increase it?
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post #18 of 41 Old 04-08-2013, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by brutal0101 View Post

Just wondering how would adding an external amp limit the extra power sent to the tweeters, wouldn't it increase it?

You missed the point. When an amp clips, an excessive amount of power can be sent to the tweeters. I'm not the one to explain it to you beyond that (lol). Need one of the audio tech gurus here for that.

So if the amps not clipping, the tweeters should be getting the right amount of power that they can handle.

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post #19 of 41 Old 04-08-2013, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
But it's barely loud enough even at THX Ref 82 volume to me. What would be a simple solution to this issue? Will changing the AVR help? Or will adding an external amp help? The speaker specs say upto 500W but you guys wrote I am already over driving them.

You cannot connect an external amp to the Onkyo NR609. so that point is moot. you're gonna need a different receiver if you plan to add an external amp.

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post #20 of 41 Old 04-09-2013, 01:00 AM - Thread Starter
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How to make sure my NR609 Amp doesn't clip?
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post #21 of 41 Old 04-09-2013, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brutal0101 View Post

How to make sure my NR609 Amp doesn't clip?

Don't play it as loud. That might sound facetious, but sorry. It's the truth.

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post #22 of 41 Old 04-11-2013, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I think my sound quality has deteriorated now, speakers don't sound as good as they used to.
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post #23 of 41 Old 06-08-2016, 11:31 AM
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Old thread, but I have the exact same problem, and virtually the same equipment. I run an Onkyo TX-SR705, bought it used a couple years back to replace my Yamaha that died after many years. I've run it through a pair of JBL studio reference speakers (can't remember the model offhand right now). I would have to keep turning the volume down lower and lower to avoid distortion. I have my drum kit in the same room and like to play along while I learn, so I like to turn it up, yeah I'm beating the system pretty hard at times.

The JBLs are very nice speakers, but they were kind of small and needed more bottom end. I finally got a pair of Polk RTi A9 towers that I bi-amp with the Onkyo. It is running into the same issue. Sounds phenomenal at high volume, then an album or so in, I find I have to back off. The amp has always gotten damn hot, I'm suspecting the issue is there. The Polks can handle up to 500W, so the 200 I'm throwing at it shouldn't be a problem should it?

Should I try rigging an additional fan in the Onkyo?
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post #24 of 41 Old 06-08-2016, 11:44 AM
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If you don't want to add an amp (or can't because your receiver doesn't have pre-outs), add a powered subwoofer or two and cross the speakers over higher. That will take an enormous load off the receiver and should help. The sub will also play cleaner and lower than the polk towers.

Edit: also try not bi-amping and see if it makes a difference, you're not getting any extra power to the speakers the receivers bi-amp mode does nothing unless you have external crossovers.

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post #25 of 41 Old 06-08-2016, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elZaphod View Post
Old thread, but I have the exact same problem, and virtually the same equipment. I run an Onkyo TX-SR705, bought it used a couple years back to replace my Yamaha that died after many years. I've run it through a pair of JBL studio reference speakers (can't remember the model offhand right now). I would have to keep turning the volume down lower and lower to avoid distortion. I have my drum kit in the same room and like to play along while I learn, so I like to turn it up, yeah I'm beating the system pretty hard at times.

The JBLs are very nice speakers, but they were kind of small and needed more bottom end. I finally got a pair of Polk RTi A9 towers that I bi-amp with the Onkyo. It is running into the same issue. Sounds phenomenal at high volume, then an album or so in, I find I have to back off. The amp has always gotten damn hot, I'm suspecting the issue is there. The Polks can handle up to 500W, so the 200 I'm throwing at it shouldn't be a problem should it?

Should I try rigging an additional fan in the Onkyo?

Hi,

I don't know if you read all of the posts on the thread, but the ones from Bill F. are particularly pertinent. Many amps run hot, and an external fan may help to protect the amp components if the amp is in a closet, or on a narrow shelf. But the amp producing heat is not the same thing as the speakers producing distortion. And as with the OP, it sounds as if you are simply over-driving your speakers. In the OP's last post it appeared that he had damaged his speakers by continuing to play them at volumes that the particular combination of speakers and amp couldn't support.

I will defer to others on the causes of thermal compression. But speakers audibly distorting at loud volumes is a pretty obvious problem with a pretty obvious solution. You need to stop playing those speakers, at those volumes, with that music, until you can upgrade something. What you to choose to upgrade first is a tougher question, but I like the suggestion to start by adding a subwoofer and off-loading the power-consuming low bass to the external sub amp.

Whether that will be sufficient to solve the problem by itself is hard to say. But I would back off the MV until I could add a decent sub and bass manage my speakers. And then I would go up in volume cautiously listening for distortion. If there is still a problem getting to the volumes you want without distortion, you will have to upgrade either the amp, or the speakers, or both. But anytime you hear distortion with loud volumes, you should simply back off the volume to protect your audio components.

Regards,
Mike
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post #26 of 41 Old 06-08-2016, 02:25 PM
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Had an Onkyo 705, and always ran hot. I helped a friend set up his Polk RTi A9 towers, which he liked but thought the sound was harsh at louder volumes. Not really hearing the issues myself, I turned him on to a http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/amplifiers/products/xpa2. He installed it with his receiver, and has loved it ever since. I am not an expert, but the amp seemed to help him with the issues with his RTI A9s.
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post #27 of 41 Old 06-08-2016, 04:35 PM
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Thanks Brian. I've been wondering if I should have just bought a sub and crossover and stuck with my JBLs. I dug through my electronics bin and found an old 12V PC fan, along with a matching 1 amp transformer (it's a 700mA fan but close enough). On a whim, and because I had nothing to lose, I wired the fan to the transformer and tried it out. It's pretty powerful and thus fairly loud, but I'd only be using it when I wanted high volume.

I thought about opening the receiver and mounting the fan inside, but instead just placed the thing face down on top of the unit, blowing through the top vents directly onto the heat sink. You couldn't hear it at all over the volume of the music, and there was an AMAZING difference in the heat level. Previously you could practically fry an egg on the thing but now it's quite cool.

Unless it was my imagination, the sound wasn't distorting nearly as much after a number of songs at high volume. I'll retry again for a longer time to confirm this was really helping and I wasn't just going crazy.
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post #28 of 41 Old 06-09-2016, 05:37 AM
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Onkyo receivers are notorious for producing a lot of heat. A number of models had big problems with HDMI board failures because the design wasn't adequate for the temperature inside the case. I have 2 out of warranty Onkyos (5007 and 3009) that have had their HDMI boards replaced with a new design free of charge under a special Onkyo program created for this problem.

Here is an explanation of what happens to a bipolar junction transistor's (BJT) power dissipation with changes in temperature. BJTs are typically used in power amplifier output stages.

http://www.learnabout-electronics.or...plifiers51.php

I would look at getting an external power amp for your fronts and center.

Cheers,
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post #29 of 41 Old 06-09-2016, 06:08 AM
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Wow.....




Its compression... plain and simple....
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post #30 of 41 Old 06-09-2016, 02:21 PM
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Simple solution: Turn it down.

But seriously, you need better equipment. Your current equipment cannot handle the stress you are putting on it with that volume control. Especially given your earlier comments about the speakers not sounding as good as they used to .. that is a clear indication that they are now damaged and will need to be replaced. Seems you have been driving the amplification into clipping, and that is what has damaged your speakers.

Sell the Onkyo and trash the speakers (or get the parts necessary to fix them, if you can figure out what is wrong), or save up and get some more efficient speakers and the amplification necessary to serve the speakers and your need for higher volume.

This is example 1 of why the folks who are always recommending spending all the money on speakers and cheaping out on the receiver need to re-examine that belief.

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