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underpowering subs = damage?


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Steven Kephart 
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Posted: January 04, 2006 at 2:37 AM / IP Logged  

d43m05 wrote:
so basically
Underpower = no death
Clipping = Death

Not necessarily.

Clipping = increased power which could cause death

Too much power = death

bagedmazda 
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Posted: January 06, 2006 at 1:24 PM / IP Logged  
i think that underpowering my subs had alot to do with 1 of my 15's f-ing up. The rms is 600 and i had 250 going to it from a crunch powerzone amp. And the subs are dvc.
DYohn 
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Joined: April 22, 2003
Location: Arizona, United States
Posted: January 06, 2006 at 1:44 PM / IP Logged  
I can drive speakers with a 100% clipped square wave signal all day long with no problems as long as the thermal and mechanical limits of the speaker are not exceeded.  I can feed a speaker 100% distortion all day long with no damage as long as the thermal and mechanical limits of the speaker are not exceeded.  I can exceed the thermal and/or mechanical limits of a speaker and watch it fail in short order.  These are electrical and  physical truths and anything else is a myth.
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d43m05 
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Posted: January 07, 2006 at 1:01 AM / IP Logged  
I've done a bit of reading bout this.
When you apply a signal to a driver, the signal is a smooth curve, positive and negative. If viewed with an oscilloscope, the line would look like a smooth horizontal S, centered over a neutral line (no signal).
If the same signal is "clipped" the smooth sine wave turns square. Meaning the signal being produced by the amplifier is too much for the amp to handle and it clips the peaks off the sine wave.
What it seems to me is that when the signal is clipped fromt he amplifier, the square wave will cause the speaker to extend its coil, hold, then forcibly return itself to neutral again. That slight hold in between the extend and return cycles would allow heat from the voice coil to build up and drastically shorten the lifespan of the driver.
To use another engine based example.
Normal piston (or speaker cone) motion is smooth, up and down, made so by the rotation of the crankshaft (voice coil) .
Now if the piston were to get a "clipped" signal of some sort... say the crankshaft only moving 180 deg at a time, the piston will slam to the top of the cylinder, then slam back down to the bottom limit of the crank.
The possible failures that could occur would be, the connecting rod stretches or fails and the piston strikes the cylinder head. Or the crankshaft could fail and the whole assembly will stop functioning.
Steven Kephart 
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Posted: January 07, 2006 at 2:56 AM / IP Logged  

DYohn wrote:
I can drive speakers with a 100% clipped square wave signal all day long with no problems as long as the thermal and mechanical limits of the speaker are not exceeded.  I can feed a speaker 100% distortion all day long with no damage as long as the thermal and mechanical limits of the speaker are not exceeded.  I can exceed the thermal and/or mechanical limits of a speaker and watch it fail in short order.  These are electrical and  physical truths and anything else is a myth.

This is a good thing too because even if you did fine-tune your system to be sure the equipment wasn't causing any distortion or clipping; you would still have to worry about the source material.  Especially in many of the newer, popular musical releases out now.

DYohn 
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Joined: April 22, 2003
Location: Arizona, United States
Posted: January 07, 2006 at 11:22 AM / IP Logged  

Steven:

Yea, whenever people tell me "distortion kills speakers" I tell them they'd better never listen to any recordings then, especially not of electric guitar.  underpowering subs = damage? - Page 2 -- posted image.

d43m05:

While a loudspeaker is simply a linear motor, the analogy of an engine is not very apt.  Engines do not like to pause in their motion.  An electric motor may be paused at any point along it's travel or asked to move instantaneously from any point to any other point without danger or problems, as long as the thermal capacity of the voice coil is not exceeded.

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kirktcashalini 
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Posted: January 07, 2006 at 10:01 PM / IP Logged  
actually think about this? does this even make sence? a underpowered speaker will play like the volume is low, if the volume is low and you are playing a 2000RMS watt sub for example, obviously since volume is low it wont get anywhere near that 2000RMS watts. it will get little mini numbers, just like if you had a weak amp to that behemoth of a sub. it will just play lower. correct? underpowering subs = damage? - Page 2 -- posted image.
99 Blazer LT.   Yellow Top. Big 3. Infinity Kappa Speakers All Around. Jensen CD/DVD flip out. 2 Infinity Kappa Perfect 12DVQs powered by a Alpine PDX600.1 (in one custom box, building a FG box)
d43m05 
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Posted: January 08, 2006 at 7:58 AM / IP Logged  
kirk, you're right about the underpowering, but if you have the gain cranked so high on the amp that the signal is badly clipped, then the driver will eventually fail.
d43m05 
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Posted: January 08, 2006 at 8:13 AM / IP Logged  
gah, sorry bout the double post.
DYohn, you're right, the gas engine analogy wasnt the best. I was exhausted and thinking too quick for my own good XD Hopefully this explanation will suffice?
Correct me if i'm wrong.
A signal passed from the receiver to the amplifier, then amplified out to the speaker is (Ideally) a perfect sine wave, correct.
If clipping occurs, then that means the signal gain is beyond the amplifiers limits.
Say you look at an oscilloscope and compare the view on the screen of a normal, and a clipped signal. It would appear that the sine wave of a clipped signal passes outside the viewable area of the screen. Thats essentially whats happening to the signal inside the amplifier too.
Steven Kephart 
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Platinum spaceThis member has been recognized as an authority in Mobile Audio and Video. Click here for more info.spaceThis member consistently provides reliable informationspace
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Posted: January 08, 2006 at 1:01 PM / IP Logged  

Here's a great link that explains amplifier clipping thoroughly: http://www.bcae1.com/2ltlpwr.htm

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