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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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Driver damage from clipping is often carelessly explained. Bob's explanation and Rodd Eliott's explanation at sound.westhost.com agree perfectly.
But he's not saying that amplifiers rated for more power than a speaker's continuous rating are inherently bad. What he's saying is that power, in general, kills drivers, usually due to thermal overload.
Tweeters, in particular can't handle a lot of power. See Rod Elliott's explanation of why tweeters blow. But let's say you are pushing 80 watts of non clipped power into a speaker rated at 50 watts continuous. Based on what I have read, this may be dangerous than clipping, for exactly the reason Bob explains.
There are two causes of speaker damage
* Thermal overload ( By all accounts, something that can happen with clipping)
* Mechanical overload ( I can exceed the woofer excursion limits on my small ACI Sapphires, and only a deaf person would not hear that)
You don't want to exceed either limit no matter how weak or powerful your receiver/amp is.
The bottom line is to not operate your speakers when you can hear any obvious distress. Besides, if you run your speakers at too high of a volume they will sound bad. Turn it up until the sound quality drops, then back down a bit. This should work whether your amp has too little power, or too much power.
"But this one goes up to 11"