How loud can my speakers play?
First of all, speakers can play no louder than your amplifier's ability to deliver undistorted power. When overdriven, most amplifiers distort the sound in a way that can damage any speaker.
Within the power limitations of your amplifier, the safe volume level depends on the length of lime that the speakers play at a given level. Heat is an unavoidable by-product of the process by which dynamic drivers (the part of a speaker that produces the vibration) produce sound. Modern speakers use drivers designed to dissipate most of this heat using ferrofluid (a cooling liquid) and other techniques. How quickly the temperature of a driver increases depends on the amount of power passing through its voice coil. This means that the safe volume level decrease the longer the speakers will be played at a given level.
During parties and other occasions normally associated with long term loud levels, it is very important that you keep the power levels within the safe area of the de-rating curve. A good indication of a safe long term level is that normal conversation with a person next to you is possible in the same room as the speakers.
Can I play the speakers as loud as the sales person did?
The dealer may have shown the speakers' maximum short term loudness capability for a few minutes. If you have the same equipment as the dealer, you can play the system as loud as you heard it at the dealer's shop; but like the dealer, you must turn the volume down after a few minutes to allow the drivers to cool.
What if my speakers have built-in protection?
Some speakers contain protection devices designed to protect the drivers against overheating. These devices reduce the signal to one or more of the drivers if they detect excessive temperatures, but this may be detrimental to the sound quality.
Won't the protection devices built into my speaker help?
The protection device reduces the likelihood of damage but do not eliminate it. Protection that would eliminate all possibility of driver damage would seriously impair the sound of the speakers. Because no protection devices are perfect, proper use and operation of the system is still very important. You should never assume that the protection device would always protect the speakers.
Is the safe level for the volume control the same for all inputs?
As you use your system, you will notice that some sources are louder than others for a given volume control setting. You also will notice that some records or CD's are recorded at a higher level than others. The volume control cannot be turned up as far on these loud sources or recordings
What if I want to play real loud at a party?
Then you need a pair of party speakers. Just as a dump truck is designed to haul gravel and sports car is designed to handle well around corners, speakers cannot be all things for all occasions. Your speakers are intended to deliver clean, accurate reproduction at normal listening levels. It is not intended for sound reinforcement or long term party levels.
For sound reinforcement or long term party levels you may want to gel a second set of speakers better matched to the high volume requirements. Party' speakers should be a horn loaded or multi-driver design with an efficiency of at least 95db for one watt input and a tone term power handling ability of at least one hundred watts.
Can I use any speakers in a theatre system?
The same precautions that apply to music apply to using the speakers in a theatre system. Stay within the limits of the amplifier and the speakers' power de-rating curve. Don't overdrive the system on spectacular sound effects.
Can I play CD's with test tones on the speakers?
As long as you keep in mind that many test tones are recorded at levels much higher than would ever occur in music. When you play any type of test tone through the speakers, always keep the volume low.
Can I play the system loud enough to listen to it outside the house?
To listen to the speakers while you are outside, the system would have to be very loud and would likely be left that way for a long time. Not being in the room with the system, you would not be able to hear any warning signs of distress. Rather get a pair of speakers that can play music outside when you are there. These are less expensive than you might think and can be positioned in direct sunlight and even rain!
Won't I be able to hear when the system is past its limits?
If the system is distorted you are way past its limit and should immediately reduce the volume level.
How can I tell if a speaker is damaged?
If a speaker has been damaged from overdriving, one or more of the drivers will not be functioning or will be buzzing, There will be no doubt that the speaker is damaged.
Should I be paranoid about damaging my speakers?
Modem hi-fl speakers are not fragile, But by being open about handling limitations that apply to all speakers, we hope to ensure that you will not ever have a problem with your speakers.