Amp Too Much for Speakers? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-22-2013, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
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So, I have some questions about safely integrating an amp with my new b &w m-1 speakers. I have an SVS pb-1000 sub (19hz-270hz +-3db) and just bought M1's (64hz-23khz +-3db) to go with a pioneer 1222k. It's a 5.1 setup with the mains and surrounds wall mounted and the center sitting in front of my plasma on top of a fireplace. I needed a speaker that could give me more lower midrange without taking up space. Anyway, I am running the speakers at a 100hz crossover in a rather large room (over 4000 cubic feet). My question involves the wattages of the speakers and the amp. The 1222 is capable of 120 WPC at 8 ohms and higher at 6 or 4 ohms. The speakers are rated for 20-100 watts with a nominal impedance of 8 ohms and a minimum of 4 ohms. They also have a sensitivity rating of 85db. I currently set the pioneer receiver to stop at a volume max of -10db, so it can't go any lower than that. I haven't noticed any distortion or anything at -20db (that's the loudest I've gone), but my question is do you guys think that I have this system set up okay to avoid speaker distortion or damage? I don't really think I would even go down to -10db, but should I set the limit to -20db to be safe? The problem is weaker sources may need more, and -20db might not be enough.
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-22-2013, 10:05 PM
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Most people don't realize this but most of the time they use single digits of wattage. Having said that you need to calibrate your rig before you worry about damaging anything.

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post #3 of 13 Old 07-22-2013, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I ran the auto calibration on the receiver already. It wanted me to run the speakers as large, which as far as I know, would not be a good idea if wanting to avoid distortion or damage at louder listening levels.
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-22-2013, 10:53 PM
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First off your AVR is not going to put out anywhere near 120wpc except to a single channel at one time. Certainly not to all channels at the same time. Top of the line AVRs seldom put out more than 100wpc into 5 or 7 speakers at one time. Your speakers are the limiting factor here. They are very low efficiency speakers combined with low power constrictions and you want them to play loud in a very large room. They will play only so loud before you've maxed out their power requirements. If I were you I'd just play it as loud as you want and keep an ear out for distortion. There is no magic number on the volume scale that will prevent distortion. Use your ears.

Make sure your sub has had the gain knob turned up all the way or the room correction may not be able to set it up correctly and sets the mains to large to compensate.

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post #5 of 13 Old 07-23-2013, 12:34 AM
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I have an Pioneer SC 35 with a 250 watt amp and I run all speakers as small. This increase headroom for the system. XO your speaker at 100 Hz will also increase your headroom. Do these things and you should be fine. Rarely are all five speakers working at any one time and like the one poster said, most of the time you are in the single digits as far as watts. I do this for good bass management even though I have a large Klipsch RF 7 system.

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post #6 of 13 Old 07-23-2013, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Yea, I figured the higher crossover would help the speakers perform better. I haven't heard any distortion at -20db and above, and I am pretty happy with that volume. So, I may just set the volume limiter at that point. More so, for anyone else using the system since I know not to set it too high. I have also heard that more damage occurs from underpowered amps at high volume than high powered amps, so I think I should be okay. The reviewer of these speakers on sound and vision said that an amp of at least 75 WPC was recommended, so having more power is probably a good thing due to the low sensitivity 85db.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-23-2013, 07:48 AM
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You are correct - under powered amps/receivers blow more speakers than over powered amps/receivers.

THX specs for home theater specify 80hz as the crossover point for speakers and subs to blend in. I'd try that setting initially. If you hear some distortion then try 100hz. As you up the frequency the sub plays at you increase the chance that the sub becomes localized. There are few things worse than hearing sounds and voices coming from your sub and being able to pinpoint the direction perfectly. By 120hz the localization becomes apparent.

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post #8 of 13 Old 07-23-2013, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. Ideally, I would like to cross them over at 80hz (Audioholics said that is what B & W recommends for these speakers). However, the reviewer also switched to a 100hz crossover because he said it gave more fullness to the midrange. My previous speakers (orb audio mod4/mod2's) had to be crossed at 150hz, and the sub/sat blend was awful due to my large room with hardwood floors. The surround effects sounded so thin that it felt like two different systems were running. I always thought of localization as just hearing the sub's location, but it is also noticing a complete lack of body from the satellites, especially the rears. Anyway, since I have been using a 100hz crossover with these speakers, it has been like a whole new world. The sub and sats blend very well to my ears. Surround effects have body and impact. Anyway, since I really like the sound at 100hz and haven't noticed any distortion, I think I am going to stick with that crossover. I could try 80hz, but I would rather reap the benefits of added headroom since I like the sound as is. I may switch to 80hz if I put the system in a smaller room at some point.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-23-2013, 10:22 AM
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Even crossing over at 80 Hz will give you plenty of headroom and it will decrease the locaclization (detection) of the sub. But if you are happy with the sound then that's all that matters. cool.gif Sometimes you can get room nodes that cause re-inforcement or cancellation of certain frequencies. Speaker and sub placement can enhance or decrease sound quality too. If you feel that you can't get the volume you need from your set up though, then more power would be required and therefore an external amp. an extra 3 to 5 dB of headroom can really improve those quick and loud passages. The lower powered receivers can run out of steam pretty fast. The speakers sensitivity indicates how much power it requires to produce sound at a certain volume, and can suck your power reserves pretty quickly due to inefficiency.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-23-2013, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. For blu-rays, I am very happy with the volume at -20db to -25db, so I think my amp has plenty of power to spare with these speakers (even though they are inefficient at 85db). I may eventually try 80hz too after more critical listening. From the replies I have been getting though, it seems like the extra power is a good thing and probably won't hurt the speakers, even if I went a little lower. It seems like extra wattage can improve control over speakers at high volumes, whereas under-powered amps (in this case less than 75wpc) could cause clipping and distortion at high volumes.
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post #11 of 13 Old 07-23-2013, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmanyon View Post

Thanks for the info. For blu-rays, I am very happy with the volume at -20db to -25db, so I think my amp has plenty of power to spare with these speakers (even though they are inefficient at 85db). I may eventually try 80hz too after more critical listening. From the replies I have been getting though, it seems like the extra power is a good thing and probably won't hurt the speakers, even if I went a little lower. It seems like extra wattage can improve control over speakers at high volumes, whereas under-powered amps (in this case less than 75wpc) could cause clipping and distortion at high volumes.

Yeah, at that volume, with a subwoofer handling the low end, you are in good shape. That receiver is a good one IMO.
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post #12 of 13 Old 07-23-2013, 09:46 PM
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For a long time I ran my system with a xo at 100 Hz and no problem with localization. I had a dual 12 in. sub and a 15 in. sub at the time that could play and blend well at 100 Hz. Now I have 18 in. sub and use 80 Hz. Remember the THX recommendations are for THX system and are not an absolute must do. The sound was just as good with the 100 Hz XO as it is with the 80 Hz. Part of the sub localization thing is also depending on where the subs are located in the room. Subwoofers close to the main speakers can have a higher XO.

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post #13 of 13 Old 07-24-2013, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Here are pics of my setup if that helps:



As you can see, I have the sub corner- loaded right under the right side speaker.
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