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Old 02-07-2014   #151
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Originally Posted by WinWiz View Post
130w is a lot for tweeter, take care of your ears man
Can the rest of your system keep up with the tweeters output at 130w ?

I drive with my dog in the car 99,5% of the time so I don't play very loud.
My ears are already a little damaged at high freq's because I worked for years selling ice cream, so I don't wanna damage it any more.
I wasn't aware that selling ice cream was bad for your hearing. Lots of screaming kids eh? xD

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Old 02-07-2014   #152
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

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Originally Posted by WinWiz View Post
130w is a lot for tweeter, take care of your ears man
Can the rest of your system keep up with the tweeters output at 130w ?

I drive with my dog in the car 99,5% of the time so I don't play very loud.
My ears are already a little damaged at high freq's because I worked for years selling ice cream, so I don't wanna damage it any more.
The rest of the system keeps up perfectly because I use a dsp to set the levels of all the speakers. On the Pioneer hu in that car I rarely turn it up past 15 and that's when I'm alone. It's the family car so usually it's closer to 10-12 on the volume.

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Old 02-07-2014   #153
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

But someone here on DIY told me that to maximize S/N I should adjust my gains so that my headunit is almost at max (about 60) when I play really loud. But you say your system plays loud with the volume at only 15? The Voltage on your rcas must be really low.

Selling ice cream is bad for the ears because you have to constantly ring a very noisy bell!
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Old 02-07-2014   #154
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

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Originally Posted by WinWiz View Post
But someone here on DIY told me that to maximize S/N I should adjust my gains so that my headunit is almost at max (about 60) when I play really loud. But you say your system plays loud with the volume at only 15? The Voltage on your rcas must be really low.

Selling ice cream is bad for the ears because you have to constantly ring a very noisy bell!
maximizing S/N ratios, is really only important if you're getting equipment noise, or hiss from the install.

if you've got quiet equipment, you can have your amp maxed out at 250mV, which on a 5V deck, might be 30% of the way to the stops, and not hear noise.

that's the key, is if you encounter noise, you have enough available voltage to set the floor above it. You may never need more than 250mV of voltage, if your amp can max out at that level.

In the old days, 250mV was an actual max level on some equipment, Alpine wasn't much higher at 500mV. That means that their tape decks used to put out 500mV on their pre-amp outputs, that's it! Amps used to adjust from 100mV upwards to 1V, that was a common range on the gain controls.


and they didn't all have noise!


So when you feel like you need to drive your S/N into the ground by pushing 5V of line-level into the amps, it's possibly not necessary. But if you have it, some say go ahead and use it.

Myself, I choose convenience before noise floor concerns, but if I had hiss, I'd probably think differently about it.
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Old 02-07-2014   #155
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Thanks for the info!
I was getting the feeling I was losing sq but not running my headunit rca near 5V, But I really like to have my max usable volume around 30 instead instead of near 60. I was also wondering if the high s/n was required in a somewhat noisy car environment...
So your info has convinced me that since I can't hear any noise at high volume when the music is silent, even with my ear against the tweeter, windows up and engine off I don't need the higher voltage from my headunit.
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Old 02-07-2014   #156
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Quote:
Originally Posted by I800C0LLECT View Post
WinWiz...

I think what needs to be remembered is that music is dynamic. There's dips and peaks that may require a burst of energy in order to play. Due to differences in recordings, sometimes those peaks can be clipped with your current gain setting.

https://documentation.apple.com/en/f...5%26tasks=true

I am aware that music is dynamic. I like pink floyd and some of their recordings are very dynamic.
I also like trente m°ller, the track chameleon from the last resort is a challenge to almost all amps and speakers. Seems to use a lot of power even at low volume. I once had a fan cooled class A technics amp and the chameleon track would make the fan spin like nothing else
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Old 02-07-2014   #157
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden Ear View Post
The rest of the system keeps up perfectly because I use a dsp to set the levels of all the speakers. On the Pioneer hu in that car I rarely turn it up past 15 and that's when I'm alone. It's the family car so usually it's closer to 10-12 on the volume.
I dont think you understand my question about the rest of your system being able to keep up...
What I meant was that the sound pressure from a tweeter feed a 130w signal, I assume we are not talking 130 walmart peak watt but true sustained watts, would require insane mid and bass power. If your dsp lower your tweets to match the output of your mids you are actually wasting unused power by feeding your highs 130w !!
Personally my tweets gets about 2x14W, my mids gets about 2x80w and my sub about 2x150 but I still has to lower the tweets to match the rest of my system.
So basicly if you don't have like 600-800w on your mids, I don't think you can use 130w tweeting power to anything but brag.
But of course this gives your tweeters a very big overhead
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Old 07-08-2014   #158
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

First up - I'm firmly in the 'less power will blow speakers' camp, partly because of all the technical reasons here - the net RMS power to the speaker being basically full rail voltage in the case of extreme clipping, the start-stop motion being implied on the speaker cone (momentum notwithstanding).
But mostly it's because of simple human nature - we're going to want it 'xx' loud, and will turn it up until we perceive loudness - either in the form of some distortion as others have said (an underpowered system), or until there's sufficient real SPL that we call it loud enough (a well-powered system).

From my real-world experience: In pro audio we usually put the same amplifiers for the entire set of drivers, with possible exception of subs. Take your typical line-array that you'll see at any amphitheatre or arena. Each box I'm most familiar with has 2x 15" drivers (rated about 600 watts each), 4x 8" drivers (around 150 each), and 2x compression horns rated 75 watts each. Remember these values are real power per driver - most tweeters that we're all buying for car audio are rated something like 90W @ 2.5kHz 12db/oct. I'm not going to do the math, but given the power/spectrum above 2/5kHz, that tweeter is probably getting 10W or less of real power. Anyhow - back on track, for a box like this we would want an amp with minimum 1500W at 4 ohms, preferably 2000.
Why? Transients! As long as the mix is clean, and even with modern techno, etc., the bulk of the power is still around 15-30% of the peaks.
But here's the reason why we also want that much power AVAILABLE to the horns (tweets) - Slew Rate, and an 'easy' load. Slew rate is the rate at which an amp can get from 0V to full output power. So, a 10 watt amp, powering a 4 ohm load, needs only be able to ramp up 6.3 volts in .1ms to produce a 10kHz transient. But, a 1000 watt amp needs to be able to ramp up to 63 volts in the same time. The upward curve of that sine wave is steeper - ie. the higher powered amplifier is essentially capable of higher frequency response at lower output levels.
When properly tech'ed, systems will allow the occasional blink of a clip light, but nothing prolonged, and I have never seen a driver powered as such get blown. This includes sending near-clip levels to those horns (transients!). If nothing else, consider that a pro-touring company just can't have drivers getting blown on a regular basis - the system has to work every night, flawlessly, and this is how they do it.
The other reason for such power is something I haven't seen yet on the speaker-wire discussions here (and please don't berate me if so - I'm still getting around)...damping factor. This is the ability of the amplifier to induce and fight momentum. Basically, at a given voltage, given the impedance curves, you would expect there to be a given current as based on ohms law. But since the coil is moving, there is always 'back voltage' (there are those who can go into the engineering of this). Bottom line is that the output stage /transistors/mosfets/whatever in a better amp can push and/or absorb more of that current in order to better move the driver exactly the way it should be. Bigger amp = more capability to do that.
All that said, it does come down to how the rig is tech'ed, and whether the person driving the rig is using the power intelligently, or pushing it into ear-bleed.
I have seen a few 18's lit on fire because of excessive clipping on rigs that I was not responsible for!
Last nut not least - several people have referred to Post #37, referring to compression being equal to clipping. Wrong, except for in the first few milliseconds or less, or with absolutely stupid settings. Compressors work like very fast monkeys with little volume controls in their hands. When they see a wave come through that exceeds the threshold (not clip, just a predetermined threshold), they turn down the volume. So yes - a tiny bit of 'over' signal may get through (remember I said we let rigs run with the occasional blink). The following bunch of waves will then have had their volume reduced below the threshold. When the monkey no longer sees full-scale waves for a certain amount of time (the release setting), he will start to turn the volume back up to nominal. Getting these settings right is one of the arts of audio. But - if someone sets stupid short attack and decay times, then said monkey will be working fast enough to trim each and every wave, thus making it into a squared off wave. Ok it's a cheesy analogy but factually correct.
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Old 08-10-2014   #159
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Mapletech, I have some pro audio experience, sound crew for a couole of popular 80's metal bands, and agree with how PA's should be setup and run. Doing that, I also have never cooked a cabinet. I wish that 12v audio would more easily allow these kinds of " over powered" setups. The main problem that I run into is the actual amperage requirements are tough to meet in the vehicle. I know the SPL crowd can get into some very complex charging systems, but they are just not practical in SQ cars. Jusy MHO though. This thread is a good one and I like the debate. For me this is year 30 around audio and I am still learning something new every day.
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Old 08-11-2014   #160
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Fair point about the amperage, and as is almost always true, the real solution lies somewhere in the middle. I wouldn't expect that any sane person would set up their rig with all 1200 watt or whatever amps.

To literally put my money where my mouth is, I've just finished purchasing, and am about to start my own build, which is based on a JL 600/6, so 100W will be going to each of - Rear Coax, Front 6.5's, and yes - Front Tweets.
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Old 08-11-2014   #161
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

I realize whatvI posted may have come off a bit dickish and don't want it to. I really agree with what you have said and try to put that to practice as closely as possible in my home and mobile audio systems. Have to to hear after all the heavy listening done in my younger years.
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Old 10-28-2014   #162
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Great posting,thanks for these infos !!!
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Old 12-07-2014   #163
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Ok dumb question. Now that I have my JL Audio amp installed, what happens to the power that is IN the head unit? Where does it go once you hook up an aftermarket amp? You know the 22Wx4 that's built into the HU. Does it supplement the after market power amp? Get turned off/bypassed?
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Old 12-07-2014   #164
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

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Originally Posted by rxonmymind View Post
Ok dumb question. Now that I have my JL Audio amp installed, what happens to the power that is IN the head unit? Where does it go once you hook up an aftermarket amp? You know the 22Wx4 that's built into the HU. Does it supplement the after market power amp? Get turned off/bypassed?
If you've added an amp and no longer using the amp inside the source then it's just less the power supply in the source has to work. That power is turned into a cleaner signal for your jl amp.

Some equipment in some cars...
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Old 12-07-2014   #165
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

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Originally Posted by turbo5upra View Post
If you've added an amp and no longer using the amp inside the source then it's just less the power supply in the source has to work. That power is turned into a cleaner signal for your jl amp.
Ah thanks. So it becomes dead weight then.
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Old 12-07-2014   #166
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Quote:
Originally Posted by rxonmymind View Post
Ah thanks. So it becomes dead weight then.
I wouldn't call it dead weight- it's more like tossing a few hundred pounds of weight in your car- car being the power supply in the headunit- the weight being the internal amp- then removing the weight. The car or power supply is less taxed and has an easier time which should in theory equat to better cleaner output to the rca's

Some equipment in some cars...
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Old 12-07-2014   #167
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Quote:
Originally Posted by rxonmymind View Post
Ok dumb question. Now that I have my JL Audio amp installed, what happens to the power that is IN the head unit? Where does it go once you hook up an aftermarket amp? You know the 22Wx4 that's built into the HU. Does it supplement the after market power amp? Get turned off/bypassed?
What the others have said is essentially true, but I'll take another stab at explaining it, and the answer depends slightly on whether or not you have RCA outputs on your HU.

Within your HU, you have the 'source' section, which is the radio/CD player/MP3 decoders, etc., that produce a Line Level signal. You could think of all of these as separate components in a stereo system, each with RCA outputs. Selecting any one of them is akin to using a selector switch with a bunch of inputs and a single set of RCA outputs (and a volume control on that output).
The next stage in your HU is the amplifier stage - where that switched/volume controlled signal gets a voltage and current boost in order to drive the speakers. Remember that's all an amplifier really is - a voltage and current booster.

If you have and are using RCA outputs to the new amplifier, you're just replacing the internal amplifier with bigger, better amplification. But as for what you asked, the internal amplifier will continue to produce that higher voltage output, but it has NO LOAD since the speakers are disconnected. A good analogy to this is a portable generator. If it has no load, it still produces pretty much the same voltage, but it is delivering no current (therefore no Power - Power equals voltage times current). And just as the generator will still suck back 'some' gas to keep running, your internal amplifier will still use a miniscule amount of electrical power to run, but it's simply working with no load.

If you are running speaker level to the inputs of your new amps, the same generator analogy holds true. The input impedance of the new amps will be much higher than a speaker. This means that the new amps 'draw' much less current from the HU amplifier. Thus as others have said, your HU now has it easy - the amplifiers are still working, and delivering much the same voltage, but much less current, and will likely sound a bit better.
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Old 03-27-2015   #168
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

After the long, in-depth debate on this subject which took place here ( https://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/...and-power.html) over the past few days, I feel like this sticky really needs to be edited. Despite most of it being true, the following section is patently WRONG, and needs to stop being repeated. Need clarification? See the thread I posted.

"The lesson in all this is that you can never have too much power, and that big amplifiers rarely damage speakers. Little amplifiers driven into clipping burn out speakers. In the scheme of high fidelity, that last barrier to realism is having enough power and being able to approximate real-life loudness levels. The lesson in all this is that you can never have too much power, and that big amplifiers rarely damage speakers. Little amplifiers driven into clipping burn out speakers."

Perhaps a better statement is that "Your sound system can never be too powerful. Despite not intending to listen to music cranked to 11, you really need more power than you might think to actually imitate the dynamics of a live performance."

I say "system" to imply both powerful amplifiers ALONG WITH speakers that can actually handle that power.

Because you can never have too powerful of a sound system, but you can certainly have too powerful of an amplifier.

Engineer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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Old 03-27-2015   #169
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsmcs View Post
After the long, in-depth debate on this subject which took place here ( https://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/...and-power.html) over the past few days, I feel like this sticky really needs to be edited. Despite most of it being true, the following section is patently WRONG, and needs to stop being repeated. Need clarification? See the thread I posted.

"The lesson in all this is that you can never have too much power, and that big amplifiers rarely damage speakers. Little amplifiers driven into clipping burn out speakers. In the scheme of high fidelity, that last barrier to realism is having enough power and being able to approximate real-life loudness levels. The lesson in all this is that you can never have too much power, and that big amplifiers rarely damage speakers. Little amplifiers driven into clipping burn out speakers."

Perhaps a better statement is that "Your sound system can never be too powerful. Despite not intending to listen to music cranked to 11, you really need more power than you might think to actually imitate the dynamics of a live performance."

I say "system" to imply both powerful amplifiers ALONG WITH speakers that can actually handle that power.

Because you can never have too powerful of a sound system, but you can certainly have too powerful of an amplifier.
Even this is a bit inaccurate. While it's true that you can ruin speakers by giving them too much power, it's also very easy to limit an amplifiers output. Just because you have 1k watt of power available to each midbass, doesn't mean that the speaker gets that power. I would argue that you really can't have too powerful of an amplifier, because of how the gain structure works you can easily make the 1k watt amplifier provide an appropriate amount of power.

So yes, you can overpower speakers, but you can also have incredibly powerful amplifiers that will never harm a speaker. This is why people say buy as much power as you can. Running a robust amp at a minimal level can increase the longevity of the equipment vs. running an amp at it's limit.
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Old 03-27-2015   #170
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Oh yeah, I totally agree on that. But I was more refuting the bit about "big amps rarely damage speakers."

I suppose I could have worded it better.

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Old 05-17-2016   #171
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

Just read this thru for the second time.
A ton of very good information.

the "turn up the gain until it clips" reminds me of a good 'ole engineer I used to work with, he was from Alabama:
"Tighten it down till it turns easy and then back off half a turn."

Are you out there Capt. Tibbits?????
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Old 09-02-2018   #172
 
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Default Re: Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed

I agree that if gains are set correctly I don't understand why an amplifier would hurt any speaker that's setup appropriately. But I usually only see people turn the gain up too much when using smaller amps.
Doesn't a coil need to shed heat? If it's busy playing distortion or getting stressed out due to clipping, when will it get a chance to breathe? But I failed to mention my assumption of a poorly set gain.
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