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Discussion Starter #1
So I’ve heard a few times on here that running some waves or straight tones at high volumes is extremely taxing on speakers, and can damage them. I’m curious how that’s possible, and why sine waves or pure tones (say 1khz or 10khz) would be any more demanding or damaging to a speaker/voicecoil than any other sound. I have a DVE DVD that plays pure tones in a sweep from 10 Hz to 20kHz to help figure out the useful range of your speakers and identify sources of rattle and noise in the room, but if using it will damage my speakers or sub I don’t want to use it!


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Music is a dynamic signal. Sine wave tones are steady state. If you play at at a level that is too high, you can damage the speakers with either. Steady state single tones at high level stresses parts of the speaker. Over excursion of cones and heat build up in voice coils can damage the drivers.

Use your sweep tone carefully and control the volume to protect your ears and the speakers.

Because our hearing is non-linear in frequency response (Fletcher-Munson), the volume will sound very loud between 2-4 kHz.

You can adjust a volume level that is comfortable with a 1 kHz sine wave and then start the sweep. You'll find you need to boost the low frequency level to get it as loud as the 1 kHz tone. Be careful to not damage the speakers. 83 dB SPL at a distance of 6-10 feet is a good level to work at. It may be too loud for your ears with tones.

You need a lot of power to produce deep bass tones at high levels and some speakers don't have the ability to play low frequencies loud.

Sweep tones are more useful to capture and analyze than to use for anything but a quick check to find speaker distortion (resonance) problems with drivers or cabinets and things in the room that rattle.

Steady state single tones are somewhat useful to play and check level with an SPL meter. If you have 31 tones (1/3 octave) and a meter that reads C weighted SPL, you can get a rough idea of frequency response, i.e see where there are peaks and dips in level. Where you measure in the room will have an effect on the response due to how the speaker interacts with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Music is a dynamic signal. Sine wave tones are steady state. If you play at at a level that is too high, you can damage the speakers with either. Steady state single tones at high level stresses parts of the speaker. Over excursion of cones and heat build up in voice coils can damage the drivers.

Use your sweep tone carefully and control the volume to protect your ears and the speakers.

Because our hearing is non-linear in frequency response (Fletcher-Munson), the volume will sound very loud between 2-4 kHz.

You can adjust a volume level that is comfortable with a 1 kHz sine wave and then start the sweep. You'll find you need to boost the low frequency level to get it as loud as the 1 kHz tone. Be careful to not damage the speakers. 83 dB SPL at a distance of 6-10 feet is a good level to work at. It may be too loud for your ears with tones.

You need a lot of power to produce deep bass tones at high levels and some speakers don't have the ability to play low frequencies loud.

Sweep tones are more useful to capture and analyze than to use for anything but a quick check to find speaker distortion (resonance) problems with drivers or cabinets and things in the room that rattle.

Steady state single tones are somewhat useful to play and check level with an SPL meter. If you have 31 tones (1/3 octave) and a meter that reads C weighted SPL, you can get a rough idea of frequency response, i.e see where there are peaks and dips in level. Where you measure in the room will have an effect on the response due to how the speaker interacts with it.
Okay, that was more or less my understanding, that as long as they are not overly loud or sustained for long periods of time, that they won't do any real damage. I am familiar with the Fletcher-Munson loudness curves... kinda wild the way our ears are hyper-sensitive in certain frequency ranges and not others. Before I had a receiver that used Audyssey's MultiEQ app, I used an SPL app that had a histogram and the frequency sweep on DVE to measure/graph the frequency response of my speakers. I'm thinking about comparing that method to the MultiEQ results for my speakers, just as a point of reference. It seems like the Audyssey app is fairly accurate though, and I'm impressed at the usefulness and customization of the sound response even to the casual user!
 
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