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Turning Your Amp Down Can Blow Your Speakers?


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#1 Liscio

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 09:54 AM

I discovered this revelation whilst talking to the owner of my local Disco shop yesterday and it confused myself and my brother that was with me!

One of my speakers blew at an open day I did due to a loud woman shouting down the Mic (lesson learnt) so I took it in and got him to change the driver.

I told him that on my newer amp (which is pretty powerful) I normally run it at half volume to make sure they dont blow again and he said that what I am doing could damage the speakers as much as overpowering them.

He said unless I turn the amp volume to full and the Mixer volume down then I may be coming back more with blown speakers...

Can anyone else give their opinion on this?
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#2 Llyr Roberts

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 01:10 PM

QUOTE(Liscio @ Dec 30 2008, 09:54 AM) View Post

I discovered this revelation whilst talking to the owner of my local Disco shop yesterday and it confused myself and my brother that was with me!

One of my speakers blew at an open day I did due to a loud woman shouting down the Mic (lesson learnt) so I took it in and got him to change the driver.

I told him that on my newer amp (which is pretty powerful) I normally run it at half volume to make sure they dont blow again and he said that what I am doing could damage the speakers as much as overpowering them.

He said unless I turn the amp volume to full and the Mixer volume down then I may be coming back more with blown speakers...

Can anyone else give their opinion on this?



It's the same as If you overpower a small amp, the speakers get a bad distorted signal and bloow. I thinks

#3 am.entertainment

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 01:53 PM

i was told that if you think of the amp volume as a gate.

So if the gate is only half open but your mixer is pushing alot of sound through(mixer volume up high) your amp will not be able to let all the sound pass but your mixer is pushing more and more sound trough the gate. so it comes through your amp to your speakers in drips and drabs.

open the gate fully and it will pass through nice and easy. so your using you mixer to control all the sound and your amp will be alot happier aswell.

but remember to match the amp with the speakers you dont want to blow them because you have to much power being pushed through them.

hope this sort of explains it?

#4 Bouncy Dancefloor

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 02:06 PM

theres no right or wrong way to have your amp volume

however with the amp volume lower, your mixer volume will be higher. Many "Disco" mixers will distort when turned up too loud. A Distorted signal at any volume can and will cause damage to your speakers

So basically, by turning down your amp, your mixer is higher, so when someone shouts down the mic, the headway has already been used up, so the shouting is just distortion and damage is done!
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#5 TonyB

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 04:07 PM

My opinion is the disco shop man is talking total rubbish. The gains on amps are there for a reason and it so you can set up a proper gain structure. It doesn't matter if you have the gains full up or not, you can still blow a speaker depending on how strong the signal is that is input into the amp.

Amps are not "happier" with the gains full up. Applying the gate principle, the mixer acts as a gate in the same way. If you have the gains full up on the amp, you will have the gains on the mixer lower which will restrict the strength of the signal reaching the amp. The amp will also have less headroom.

There are loads of articles about gain structure on the internet. http://www.thenoizew...o.uk/tech2.html is one example.

You should only use an amp with an output greater than what the speakers can handle if you use a limiter/compressor. If you don't use one then you should not use an amp capable of producing more power than the speakers can handle.

Irrespective of whether the amp is more powerful than the speakers can handle, clipping will damage the speakers. A higher powered amp will just damage them quicker so whilst with a lower power amp, you would probably get away with mild clipping without any damage, with a higher powered amp you won't.



#6 LEENEWSOME

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 04:13 PM

Yes thats correct, the amp should always be on full, this info was given to me last year at PRO DJ show at lancaster by a guy called CHRIS HINDS who is apparently a sound & speaker expert.
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#7 TonyB

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 04:16 PM

I have read several of Chris's articles and am very surprised that he would say such a thing.

#8 Dukesy

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 04:32 PM

I'm no expert on this sort of technical question! I've always been under the impression to turn the amp down before either plugging anything in, or switching on. With the gain settings at zero when you switch on, you're not risking amplifying any distortion or damaging your speakers.
I do the same with the Bose too.
After all thee years, have I been over cautious?!
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#9 TonyB

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 04:43 PM

Yu are correct that you should always turn the amp gains down to zero when switching them on. If the gains are not turned down, any "thump" or loud noise that happens could damage the speakers.

Most amps have a soft start that helps to prevent damage but if something in the chain wasn't set correctly, something went faulty or if you had an open mic plugged in that you didn't realise was next to a speaker for example, as soon as the amp powers up it could damage the speakers before you get a chance to hit the off button.

If the gain controls are set to zero, you would notice something wrong as you increased the gain before any damage happened.

#10 superstardeejay

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 05:51 PM

QUOTE
unless I turn the amp volume to full and the Mixer volume down then I may be coming back more with blown speakers


The matter is largely irrelevant. It doesnt matter whether you turn the amp down and the mixer up, or the mixer down and the amp up. The results are the same! The controls on the front of the amp are attenuators..they cant actually limit what comes out of the amplifier..only a limiter will do that. The 'master' on your mixer and the 'gains' on the amp are all pretty much in the same signal chain and have the same effect. The only ramification of having the amp gains down is that you'll have to push the mixer harder to get the same volume and might possibly clip the output of the mixer before the amp reaches full power, which is certainly less dangerous than clipping the amplifier output and will sound obvious.

PS Ive just read what Tony B has said and i agree with all that as well!!!!


Edited by superstardeejay, 30 December 2008 - 05:53 PM.

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#11 flash911

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 05:52 PM

I always turn mine on with the gain down the turn it up to full and knock it back a couple of clicks .
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#12 Andy Westcott

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 07:56 PM

My opinion?
The disco shop owner should perhaps get himself educated in such matters in order that he will stop giving hideously incorrect and ill-founded advice.

You can damage speakers by under-powering them, can you?
So unless I run my amps at full output all the time I may burn out my speakers...

It is as silly as it sounds, but still these obviously incorrect myths get repeated by those not in the know - I just wish they'd get on with selling stuff/playing music or whatever, rather than pretend to understand something they so obviously do not.

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#13 flash911

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 08:17 PM


SO can somebody clarify this one way or the other?

#14 Spear

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 09:00 PM

Look at it this way if an amp is supposed to be run on full why bother with controls, a simple on off would be all that's required, however they are not built that way for a reason............
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#15 D.X

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 10:35 PM

Never heard of this one, doesn't sound right though. When I sound check I set the levels on the amp to whatever sounds right for the venue. Then I set the channel level and the master level so they both illuminate the first Orange light. Everything on the mixer running at or near 0dB basically. Then at the beginning when I start I control the volume using the channel faders. As the night progresses I gently push the channel faders up until I've reached the level I set when sound checking. If that's not enough now the room's full I turn the amp up a bit.




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