Clipping symptoms - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-10-2019, 12:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Clipping symptoms

Just a question to those more informed - I'm trying to determine whether my speakers are being overdriven or whether my amp is clipping.

When I listen to music at very loud levels I notice voices and higher frequencies start to distort. Is that a function of the amp clipping or is that a function of the speaker not handling the volumes sufficiently?

How would a newbie determine the cause? I'm thinking of perhaps buying a power amp but if the amp isn't clipping and my speakers are being overdriven then adding a more powerful amp won't help my situation.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-10-2019, 05:26 AM
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What speakers?
What amp?


Details will help to provide a guess.



If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-10-2019, 08:53 AM
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Other questions might be:

What are you driving the amp with?
Is the distortion consistent across all inputs?

I am currently testing a "pre-amp" between one of my devices and one of the amp's input ports. If I set the pre-amp gain too high, I get crackling (which I believe to be caused by clipping) even at low speaker volumes. With other inputs I can drive the speakers at very high volumes and not get any crackling, so I know it's not my speakers.

Are you getting the distortion with all input sources? If yes, then you won't have determined anything, but if some inputs are fine and another is distorted (at the same volume level) then you can at least rule out the speakers. It's either your amp (at that port) or the device that's driving that port.
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-10-2019, 09:49 AM
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Unless the amp is clipping in a really gross manner, it's usually very difficult to hear on well recorded program. Providing the amp is sufficient to generally drive the speakers at a decent SPL, I would target the speakers first, especially as speakers have far, far higher distortion in general than a decent SS amp. That, or borrow a much higher powered amp and test at the same SPL. Distortion gone? Amp was the issue. Distortion remains? Speakers are the issue.
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-10-2019, 05:07 PM
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You can have clipping from an amp not being able to drive the speakers to the volumes required. There is also clipping of the pre-amp signal, which can be overdriven if the gain is set too high. There can also be distortion in the source signal itself. You just need to identify where the problem is located.

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Last edited by RayGuy; 12-11-2019 at 10:34 AM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-12-2019, 01:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
What speakers?
What amp?


Details will help to provide a guess.
Marantz SR-5012 and B&W 683 speakers.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-12-2019, 04:58 AM
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They seem to be quite adequate. Specs appear okay for speakers. 100 WPC (2-ch) @8 Ohms should play loud. Although.... if you're listening at ear bleeding levels, you may want to try adding a higher powered amp for 2 channel listening.


EDIT:
Also, a possible solution would be to add a powered subwoofer to the system. That would potentially offload some of the power strain on the receiver for the low(er) frequencies.



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Last edited by Ratman; 12-12-2019 at 06:32 AM.
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-16-2019, 08:01 PM
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voices and higher frequencies start to distort........
Not saying this is your problem but what is your source?
voice and higher freq distortion is the first sign of compressed and lossy formats, so lets rule that out first.

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post #9 of 10 Old 12-17-2019, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan Mire View Post
Marantz SR-5012 and B&W 683 speakers.
Add an external amp (ie: Monolith), your speakers will thank you.

MAKE AUDIO GREAT AGAIN | Dedicated Sonus faber HT 7.2.4 | FRONTS: Sonus Faber Venere 2.0 CENTER: Sonus Faber Venere Centre FRONT WIDES: Sonus Faber Venere 1.5 SURROUNDS: Sonus Faber Venere 1.5 TF/TR - ATMOS-DTS:X: Sonus Faber Venere Wall (4) | RECEIVER: Marantz SR7010 AMPLIFICATION: Monolith 7x200 | SUBWOOFERS: Dual 18" Dayton RSS460 Custom Build | Behringer iNuke 6000DSP | Velodyne SMS-1 DISPLAY: JVC D-ILA RS-46 w/ 128" 16:9 1.4 TREATMENT: Custom Bass Traps and Acoustic Panels (11)
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-17-2019, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan Mire View Post
When I listen to music at very loud levels I notice voices and higher frequencies start to distort. Is that a function of the amp clipping or is that a function of the speaker not handling the volumes sufficiently?

How would a newbie determine the cause? I'm thinking of perhaps buying a power amp but if the amp isn't clipping and my speakers are being overdriven then adding a more powerful amp won't help my situation.
You said you hear distortion (noise?) with voices and higher frequencies, only at very loud levels, and later, you said your speakers are B&W 683s. Because of that, I believe you are not over-driving your amp into clipping, your speakers can't handle the high volumes.

B&W 600 series speakers that have a yellow Kevlar mid range or mid woofer, are notorious for high frequency break-up noise caused by those drivers. Your 683s have 6" Kevlar mid range drivers, and the crossover frequency between it and the tweeter is at 4,000 Hz. This frequency is high enough to include the noise from the mid driver's break-up at about 4,000 Hz.

Over the years, B&W has tried various methods to suppress or filter this break up noise. But they always avoided using a lower crossover frequency. Their efforts, usually notch filters of various configurations, seem to work only at lower volumes. At higher volumes, and with the right type of music, this noise becomes hard to ignore. The large number of B&W 600 series owners who complain of "listener's fatigue" attests to this.

This frequency response curve from a Stereophile review of the 683 s2 clearly shows a ragged looking response across the upper mid range (blue trace below). Look closely at the 4000 Hz range where the mid range crosses to the tweeter. If this nearly 10 dB variation is caused by break up noise, as I suspect, you might notice it best at louder volumes. If the review had shown separate mid range responses from the tweeter's, it might reveal this better.

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Last edited by R Swerdlow; 12-17-2019 at 10:01 AM.
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