Wife keeps blowing Speakers please help! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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First let me apologize for the length of this post. However I believe its length is necessary to provide enough information for you to be able to respond.

My situation is this;

For X-mas this year the wife and I decided to treat ourselves to a new home theater system. This system would be used primarily for watching digital satellite broadcast TV with minimal HDTV content (90%), an occasional rented movie on DVD (2%), and some 2 channel stereo listening (8%). The source for the 2 channel content would primarily be our personal MP3 library served by a PC via a sound card with optical digital output.

Not knowing anything about these things I did little shopping and came home with a HTB (home theater in a box) system made by Onkyo. It included a decent DVD changer (6 disc) an AVR and some (5 plus a sub) speakers. When I got home I immediately connected it and the wife played one of her favorite selections (Metallica "Sad But True"). As you might guess we were both unimpressed. This small system just did not have the power we were hoping for. The amp section overheated and shut down after only a few moments (not even the full song). So I loaded it all back up and returned it and shopped for something a little more. When I explained to the salesman the problem we had with the Onkyo he suggested a Harman Kardon AVR (the AVR 235 I believe) with 50 watts per channel and a set of Polk Audio speakers. Needless to say this was quite a leap in money but I had decided that I wanted good quality audio. So I took this system home and for a few days was completely satisfied. Well then when the weekend came the wife again tried to "test it out" and again tried playing the Metallica piece. The results this time were much different. After playing a couple of songs one of the Polks (Monitor 60 was the model) blew the tweeter (I mean blew the front clear off). Thinking I simply got a bad speaker I returned the set aand got a replacement set which she promptly blew. Going back to the salesman I ask want I was doing wrong. He ask how I was playing the music and I informed him that my wife simply turned up the volume until it would go no further. He informed me that I was over driving the amp and that I should never run it beyond it's 0db reading on the volume knob. He further stated that this overdriving of the amp caused it to clip and the resulting square waves were what blew the speaker. Only partially understanding this I asked what he suggested I do. He replied that I needed more power but unfortunately (for him) his shop did not carry anything more powerful. So I did a little shopping and found the Harman Kardon AVR 7300 (their flagship offering @ 110 wpc into 7 channels and 125 wpc into 2)) online and bought one. After hooking this monster up (with a fresh pair of Polk Monitor 60's for the front left and right) we again were pleased with the sound but just did not believe that 0db was enough volume. In fact with this amp at 0db you could carry on a conversation without yelling. At any rate we continued to listen to this system for a few days until, X-mas, we played a song by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Once again we blew the speakers (although not the tweeters this time). Now this is the third set of Monitor 60's we had blown is less than two weeks and this last set was never subjected to volume beyond the 0db point. At this point I was at my wits end and contacted Polk Audio. They told me I needed more power and different speakers (more efficient). So I looked around and found an Adcom GFA-555 power amp on Ebay and bought it. I went to the Polk Audio Monitor 70's (I really liked the sound of the Polks). The Adcom is rated at 200 wpc and these new speakers were rated for an amp in the 20-275 wpc range. Additionally the Adcom has a set of LEDs to indicate when it starts to clip (so the wife would know when she has gone to far and needs to turn it down). Now this setup sounds very nice and gets very loud (near concert level). But alas once again after several minutes (30 - 40) of my wife "testing it out" (clipping indicators on the Adcom were blinking but dim and never stayed on) she blew the new Monitor 70's (tweeters just quit, no sound from them at all). I have decided to buy a new set of speakers and go with a more efficient brand (possibly Klipsch or Paradigm).

In my life I have owned several different amps and speakers and never (prior to this) blown the first speaker. I have decided that that is because all of my previous (lesser expensive) amp/speaker combos let me know when I was driving them to hard...they sounded like **** so I turned it down. With this new more expensive equipment that loss of musical quality is either not there or at least is not perceptible to my wife or me. Since I can not hear the distortion/clipping and I do not want to blow any more speakers I started looking for a device which would protect my speakers. Now after that long explanation of why, here are the questions.

Is there a device I could put in the speaker line which would sense impending doom (clipping, distortion or whatever) and simply break the connection to the speaker. Also any advice on speakers for this type of usage would be greatly appreciated.

Again I apologize for the length of this poast and thank you for any help you may offer.

Steve
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post #2 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 05:09 PM
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I'm afraid the salesman was right- your wife is over driving the speakers. The adcom is a decent unit and will produce its rated power. Driving an amp to clipping especially with electronic/rock sounds is very hard on the tweeters. Tweeters usually have small and light voice coils and spiders and are more sensitive to being over heated or over driven.

Human hearing and sound output are log functions. Double the power from 50 to 100watts gets an audible increase not a two fold increase in sound level. It takes 10 times the power to double the sound level.

Purists will argue that you should not put fuses in speakers, but you need one. You will want a fast acting fuse of only say two or three amps and if that blows at way to low a volumn go up a bit. You could call Polk, explain your need and see if they can recommend one. But the best bet is turn down the gain. If she is looking for live concert levels think thousands of watts driving commercial units that are not designed for musical purity.

Alternatively many headphones (because the driver is in or near the ear) can produce sound at levels high enough to damage hearing.

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post #3 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 05:12 PM
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I saw the title of this thread and had a Beavis and Butthead moment! ;)
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post #4 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 05:22 PM
 
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Here's a suggestion. Why don't you go to your electronics store and listen to receiver/speaker combos at the listening levels you want until you find a set of speakers that can take the volume that you are trying to acheive. If I had "blown" several sets of a certain brand speaker, I would switch to another brand. I personally use Triangle bookshelf speakers both the Comete and Titus line and with my receiver, a Denon 3806, and a sub, I can guarantee you that your ears would bleed before you acheived a listening level that would blow these speakers. But there's nothing special about them there are many brands and models that can acheive similar listening levels. Go back and test the speakers at your electronic stores until you find a set that you both like the sound of and that can acheive your listening level.
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post #5 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 05:27 PM
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I would say it's time to go with a pro amp and pro studio monitors(or a good ear doctor). If your wife really wants to push it that loud get 2 1000w monoblock amps and a pair of JBL stage monitors. Then get ready when you turn it down because your neigbors will most likely have a swat team waiting at your front door.

Nuzzy don't feel bad I had the same thought.........lol

Lasher
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post #6 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 05:28 PM
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I have to agree with the implied comment above. The problem does not seem to be with your equipment as much as with your wife's preference for dangerously loud music that has to be damaging her hearing. More powerful speakers, or a good pair of headphones, will only cause her to cause even more damage to her ears, and those of anyone else in the vicinity . . .

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post #7 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 05:30 PM
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I have a question. Have you used an SPL meter to determine just how loud you are actually playing this? To drive all of these amps to the point that they are phyically blowing the tweeters out of the speaker sugests to me that you are attempting to play them way too loud.

Also how big is your room? How is it set up (open plan)? Do you have a sub, getting one will take pressure off of the amp. Also, you may want to try to add an external pro amp to the set up. Something like the Crown XLS 402 should have much more head room than most consumer receivers and be less likely to clip.
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post #8 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuzzy
I saw the title of this thread and had a Beavis and Butthead moment! ;)

Ha, me too


I guess there are worse things she could be blowing :D :p




Sorry
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post #9 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 06:01 PM
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If you are clipping a 555 driving a set of Polks, with a sensitivity of 90db, you are listening WAY too loud. Seriously, your wife's hearing is at risk. In 20 years she is going to seriously regret all this.
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post #10 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 06:01 PM
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Well heres my take.

First the Onkyo only cost 5-700 for an entire system. You get what you pay for and that ain't much. If you look closely the Onkyo HTIB power is rated differently than there A/V receivers. The HTIB has the cheap FTC 1k rating. It is a dummed down version of power rating that is basically pointless. So pointless the F.C.C. has passed a law stating all power needs to be rated by the more accurate method of 20-20k.

Now on to the next setup. You used an HK. All HK's have decent power. The speakers were not up to the task. Just to prove my point you traded in your HK for proven Adcom power, same result.

Basically the polk monitor line is affordable and has it's limits.

You need to keep your current power and spend some real money on some real speakers that can handle some power.

How big is your room? You might be trying to use much too small of speakers in general. Also make sure your speaker wire is up to task. The longer the run the bigger the wire.

It's sad my friend, but to crank Metallica loud these days you have to shell out some serious coin for speakers or go with some really big cheap speakers. And they say inflation is flat. Whatever.

Let me guess, your profound advice is " Go listen for your self."
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post #11 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 06:12 PM
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Also, are you making any adjustments to any settings, ie., the bass/treble adjustments? Do you have a full 5.1 set of Polks? Are you running 2-channel stereo? You can get slightly more volume by running in 5-channel stereo with the sub handling the bass (so receiver doesn't have to work as hard).

I agree that you need to get some better speakers that can handle the higher volumes.

And I agree that either you have a warehouse/hanger for a living room, or your wife likes to turn it up way too loud (is she turning it on in the living room to hear it on the other end of the house?). In my room, I don't go over -30 on my HK 330 when listening to CDs. I can't imagine what '0' is like with CDs (and I have a medium-sized open room)... If it's a doubling 'volume' for every 10db, '0' is 8x as loud -30.

For speakers, you might try something bigger like these:
http://www.harmanaudio.com/images/pr...K2.S9800WG.jpg

Haha, just kidding.

But some larger Klipsch floor-standing speakers (like this, high sensitivity, horn tweeters, etc.) might work pretty good.
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post #12 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 06:21 PM
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Those K2's are freaking awesome! If I win the lottery I know what I am buying. A guy really needs 5 of those for his 5.1 channel listening in a nice big sound treated room. Now that would be titts.

Let me guess, your profound advice is " Go listen for your self."
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post #13 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 06:26 PM
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Buy her some headphones and let her go for it.

Russ
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post #14 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 06:31 PM
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Get some Klipsch floor standers with high efficiency and crank away. :eek:


My subs play all the way down to 0 Hz!!! It's so low you can't hear or feel anything.

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post #15 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 06:36 PM
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sredmyer, First off, I congratulate on a wife that appreciates "high-volume" music. I grew up with the 70's bands that in concert played at levels that I'm surprised that I still can hear :p plus playing playing my Les Pauls at volumes that only blues players could understand. These days I prefer music that I can effectively raise volumes and still have the clarity that good music deserves to be heard at. And that required me to buy a set-up speakers/amp that could provide the volume and more importantly the clarity to hear all the subtle nuances needed to discern the sweet differences between a Fender and/or Gibson vintage PAF's in perpetual sustain/overdrive that stimulate the deep soul..Ahh Ahem, back to the thread, anyway, I just put out the bucks to attain a set-up speaker/amp wise that would let me listen at volume but, would also give clarity and a cleanliness to the music to appreciate the recording as it was originally intended. Get more power ie amps (separate) and a pre/pro and good speakers that can handle the load. It seems to me that you have a great understanding wife that appreciates good (loud) music, but you need to tell her that in order to get that sound that satisfies, it's going to cost. Not substantial, but appreciably. Take her with you to demo the music. Take your favorites on CD to your dealer, demo the music on various systems at volumes that satisfy her, and adjust the price accordingly if she agrees...These days I find to satisfy me, I just have to have good music, clarity (in simplistic terms) and a volume that gives me that for the constraints of the room that is given ;) Good Luck, and appreciate that "special woman"
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post #16 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 06:39 PM
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MY first thought was Toastmasters.
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post #17 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 06:46 PM
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Your thinking iss correct in looking at more efficient speakers. Klipsch will certainly satisfy!

My Home Theater of the Month- Le Petit Trianon

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #18 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 07:22 PM
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The guy said he had it cranked and could carry on a conversation...I don't buy any of this :D

I don't lurk as much as I used to and I NEVER listen. Comes from being old and cynical.

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post #19 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 07:28 PM
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Polks Monitor series speakers are its entry level speakers. Combine cheap, entry level speakers with the kind of music you are listening to and the kind of power you are sending them, you are bound to have a problem. I have had many of polks RT (and RTi) series speakers, never with any problem. I don't listen at ear bleading levels on a regular basis, but I have turned them up before! If you like the way polks sound, but want higher quality, look at the LSi series. They are fabulous speakers.
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post #20 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 07:28 PM
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You could also look at Axiom M80s,They will play as loud as a person can stand while staying nice and clear.

Rick
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post #21 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Temple
The guy said he had it cranked and could carry on a conversation...I don't buy any of this :D
limed for truth
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post #22 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davdev
I have a question. Have you used an SPL meter to determine just how loud you are actually playing this? To drive all of these amps to the point that they are phyically blowing the tweeters out of the speaker sugests to me that you are attempting to play them way too loud.
Yes I have used an SPL. The sound level (C weighting) when the tweeter went was 105 to 107 db. Yes this is loud but not (as some have said) loud enough to cause bleeding from the ears or even pain. In fact when music from a clean source is played at this level through a good system it can sound quite nice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davdev
Also how big is your room? How is it set up (open plan)? Do you have a sub, getting one will take pressure off of the amp. Also, you may want to try to add an external pro amp to the set up. Something like the Crown XLS 402 should have much more head room than most consumer receivers and be less likely to clip.
The room is a den about 18ft by 12 ft. It has the usual den fair as far as furnationgs go.

Steve
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post #23 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fst96se
Polks Monitor series speakers are its entry level speakers. Combine cheap, entry level speakers with the kind of music you are listening to and the kind of power you are sending them, you are bound to have a problem. I have had many of polks RT (and RTi) series speakers, never with any problem. I don't listen at ear bleading levels on a regular basis, but I have turned them up before! If you like the way polks sound, but want higher quality, look at the LSi series. They are fabulous speakers.
I realize that the Monitor's are Polks entry level speaker but I read many a review saying that the Monitors sounded as good as the RTi8s and were considerably cheaper. Since the specs of these speakers are also very similar (power handling, sensitivity, etc.) and their sound is comparable I could not justify the extra cost. I am by no means one of the golden eared audiophiles that can decern the subtlest of differences between speakers, amps, cables what have you and therefore the extra cost for what, for me anyway, was likely to be the same speaker simply makes no sense.

Steve
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post #24 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Temple
The guy said he had it cranked and could carry on a conversation...I don't buy any of this :D
No what I said was that with the amp showing 0db one could carry on a conversation without yelling. This statement is absolutely true. The conversation would not be a normal speaking level conversation but it also would not require yelling. See my reply mentioning the use of a SPL meter. That reading (105 db to 107 db) was taken with the amp's volume showing +9db. Which for this amp (with its current tone and balance settings) was maxed out.

Steve
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post #25 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbri
Also, are you making any adjustments to any settings, ie., the bass/treble adjustments? Do you have a full 5.1 set of Polks? Are you running 2-channel stereo? You can get slightly more volume by running in 5-channel stereo with the sub handling the bass (so receiver doesn't have to work as hard).
The tone was flat (0 gain on both treble and bass). I have a full set of speakers for a 7.1 setup. The Polk Monitor 70's for front left/right, Polk CS1 for the center, Polk Monitor 30's for the 4 surrounds and a Polk PSW10 sub. The individual speaker levels are adjusted in the AVR according to their placement. I do not like the sound of stereo through 5 (or seven) speakers so when we are listening to standard two channel audio (CDs, MP3s) the amp is set to two channel output (with help from the sub).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbri
And I agree that either you have a warehouse/hanger for a living room, or your wife likes to turn it up way too loud (is she turning it on in the living room to hear it on the other end of the house?). In my room, I don't go over -30 on my HK 330 when listening to CDs. I can't imagine what '0' is like with CDs (and I have a medium-sized open room)... If it's a doubling 'volume' for every 10db, '0' is 8x as loud -30.
The room is not large (appx. 18ft X 12ft) and the wife was sitting no more than 10 feet (probably close to 8) from the speakers. Are you sure about your statement about doubling 'volume' requiring 10db? I know this is correct for SPL measured in db, but I do not think that is what the volume knob is measuring. I believe the knob is showing the ratio of the amps output to it's input. So 0db simply means the output and input are equal (I think).

Steve
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post #26 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 08:37 PM
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I think you need a sub. It would take some of the strain off of the 2 speakers. In most systems that I've built, using just 2 speakers was never enough. Going with a sub to firm up the bottom end made things much better.
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post #27 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 09:13 PM
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FYI

NOISE EXPOSURE TIME LIMITATIONS
Noise Level Exposure Limits
90 dB 8 hrs
95 dB 4 hrs
100 dB 2 hours
105 dB 1 hour
110 dB 30 minutes
115 dB 15 minutes
GUNFIRE NOISE LEVELS
156 dB .38 Special, 12 gauge 26" barrel
164 dB .44 Mag
170 dB .338 Rifle with muzzel brake
ENVIRONMENTAL NOISE LEVELS
140 dB Space rocket at blastoff
130 dB Jackhammer
120 dB Ambulance siren, Amplified rock band, Thunder clap
115 dB Sandblasting
110 dB Woodworking shop
100 dB Pneumatic drill, Chainsaw
90 dB Lawn mower, Disco dance music, Shop tools, Truck traffic, Noisy restaurant
80 dB City traffic, Loud music from radio
75 dB Kitchen appliances
70 dB Crowded restaurant
65 dB Conversation speech

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
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post #28 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 09:48 PM
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HMMMMMM....... I wonder what decibel speaker blowing is?

K ........H
..L.... C..
...I...S....
.... P......
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post #29 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sredmyer
Yes I have used an SPL. The sound level (C weighting) when the tweeter went was 105 to 107 db. Yes this is loud but not (as some have said) loud enough to cause bleeding from the ears or even pain. In fact when music from a clean source is played at this level through a good system it can sound quite nice.



The room is a den about 18ft by 12 ft. It has the usual den fair as far as furnationgs go.

JESUS christ. you may as well buy the hearing aids now, you will need them in a week. This is obsurd. of course you are going to blow those entry level speakers at those volumes. it may sound quite nice if you are already half deaf, but you are only causing more damage to your ears...
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post #30 of 101 Old 01-13-2006, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hyperlite
JESUS christ. you may as well buy the hearing aids now, you will need them in a week. This is obsurd. of course you are going to blow those entry level speakers at those volumes. it may sound quite nice if you are already half deaf, but you are only causing more damage to your ears...
As noted in the OP the system was being "tested out" by my wife. I do not expect that the system will see that kind of use on a regular basis. However as I think we all know (regaurdless of how absurd it may be) when a party gets going the music just keeps getting louder. What I was (and still am) looking for is something that will prevent such an unusual occurance from costing me a set of speakers.

Steve
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