How to NOT blow my speakers?

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by GuOD, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. GuOD

    GuOD mcflurry diet

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    I want to play my speakers loudly but I'm very worried about blowing them so I was wondering if anyone knows how to be sure? There's about 6 volumes I can ajdust that will affect the speaker output so it's confusing. Using an audigy 2 zs, winamp, and logitech z5500. Edit, thhe speakers are about 300 watts RMS I think? somewhere in that range.

    1. mp3 is rated with mp3 gain at 97db
    2. winamp has a volume adjust which I have at 100%
    3. computer wav volume is at 100%
    4. computer master volume is at 100%
    5. "volume" on the speakers is set to about 45%.

    I don't know how loud I can go while it's still safe because of all the different volume adjustments.. so could anyone give me some tips??

    Also, if I have this setup, which volumes should I increase/decrease to improve quality? Would lowering computer volume and increasing speaker volume improve quality?

    Thanks!
     
  2. veonake

    veonake OnT poster, OT lurker

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    Well, no oe is going to be able to tell you "well, don't adjust this knob past this level, and this other past that level." It doesn't work that way. First off, why do you want to play them so loudly? For parties? You don't want to be playing them super loudly for extended periods of time a lot, you'll really damage your ears. That out of the way...

    If you have access to an oscilloscope, checking how high you can set everything before damaging your speakers would be easy. But, if you had one, you probably would know about clipping and wouldn't be asking this question.

    Adjust all volumes levels (winamp, wave) besides the master and speaker volume knobs to 100%. On some sound cards, it is recommended to put the master volume to 100%, the audigy may be one of them, but (I'll let you know this now) you can buy better cards for less money. Go ahead and put it to like 95% just to be safe. Ok, now play a 0db sine wave, I think 500Hz is a good frequency if I remember correctly. Now things will get loud. Continue to increase the volume on your speakers until you hear clipping (distortion, sine wave sounds bad or has a fairly sudden change in sound). Immediately stop the sine wave. Your ears will now probably be ringing, but turn the volume knob back to slightly before where you heard distortion. Either memorize this spot or mark it somehow and never turn it past that point.

    Another note, you may want to repeat this test with something around a 60Hz tone to make sure your subwoofer can keep up with your speakers, as well as something above the crossover point, maybe around 3.5KHz to check the tweeters.

    There is always a way to do this with a voltmeter, but I forget how.
     
  3. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    the total sattelite RMS is 317 watts, that makes 63 watts RMS a channel with 188 watts or so on the sub.

    if i want to see how loud my speakers go i just pick a song and slowly increase volume until i can detect distortion.

    and yeah dont listen to music for extended periods of time, you ears will be ringing or perhaps even in pain. its happened to me before, just found a volume level thats clear but not explosive.
     
  4. GuOD

    GuOD mcflurry diet

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    Thanks. That's a little to complicated for me right now but I will definitley try it out in summer time.

    I just want to play them loudly because I like loud music.. I'm in an 8x13 room.

    I realise there are cheaper cards than the Audigy but I wanted one that works well with my speakers AND games. I tried an M-audio before which is supposedly much better but the drivers were horrible and it doesn't work with my speakers.

    Where would I be able to find these 50hz and 0db sine waves and stuff?

    I know what clipping is and I have tested it with my mp3s. I've listend as best I can and I don't notice any clipping in my high quality mp3s at all (they are all low 90s I believe). I've also never noticed any clipping by riasing my volume.
     
  5. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    it is possible to max out your speakers volume wise depending on the RMS of the drivers and how much the amp is pushing them.

    and yeah, for a computer unless someone is in a stuidio environment you'd have to be an idiot to get one of those "music" sound cards, if you use your computer for any game you are wasting your money on that trash.
     
  6. veonake

    veonake OnT poster, OT lurker

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    A low quality mp3 is not low quality as a result of clipping (no mp3 that is properly encoded should have clipping), it is a result of loss of audatory information, so I am not sure you do know what clipping is.

    It isn't complicated. You can make your own sine wave or download test sine waves. I'm not doing the google search for you.
     
  7. veonake

    veonake OnT poster, OT lurker

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    You are going a little bit overboard there, aren't you?

    First off, cards like the EMU0404 or Chaintech AV-710 are not "trash". They kick the Audigy's ass as well as most other gamer cards. You should be more careful with your wording. Actually, I really don't know what to say to this post, you must have been in a bad mood or something to make such a inaccurate post. Let's just say "music" sound cards are not "trash" and you aren't wasting your money, and leave it at that. (especially when a Chaintech costs $30 and will outperform a $200 audigy in sound quality).
     
  8. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

    sound quality in a game is kind of pointless without EAX. especially in any fps made in the last 5 years, it's nice to have clarity and all but without features of sorts a card like an emu or chaintech isnt going to do much for the average person or gamer.
     
  9. 04

    04 Guest

    That's true that the average person probably doesnt need or want an "audiophile" soundcard. But I also game, and hate EAX and other positional sound effects. I like my M-audio delta audiophile 2496 not because it sounds so much better than a av-710 (which I also have and they sound pretty much the same) but because of the advanced features it offers.

    That said, if you dont use EAX or the like, IMO I see no reason to get an audigy type of soundcard, there are better options out there.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2005
  10. 04

    04 Guest

    IMO, a reasonable way to determine if youve got the sound up too high is to crank up the music until you hear the sound start to sound bad. The amplifier clipping isnt typically bad on your speakers, and it typically takes quite a bit of overdrive past the onset point of clipping to even hear the distortion.

    And while its unlikely that any of your mp3s are encoded with such high levels that you can hear clipping, its very possible for you to crank your stereo up loud enough to the point you can hear the amplifier clipping.

    If you want to experiment with listening with sine waves, do a google search for "sweepgen" IMO its an excellent program that allows you to playback different sine waves, as well as white noise. If you played back a 500hz tone with all of the gain controls on your computer maxed out, and gradually turned the volume up on your speakers until the tone of the sine wave changes, you can use that as a rough estimate of where audible overdrive starts to begin.
     

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