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Has anyone else experienced this?

Digby

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Has anybody else experienced the phenomenon whereby the level at which you can listen to a pair of speakers is not so much limited by its abilities (according to distortion charts), but more a feeling of the speaker "losing control".

This experience is all sighted, so take it for what it is worth, but my general feeling is smaller speakers often (but not always) sound strained/as if they are losing control beyond a certain SPL, irrespective of what distortion measurements might say. The other extreme is that PA speakers can sound more "relaxed" at higher volumes, even if they have (and they almost always do) a noticeably more ragged frequency response and, perhaps, other deficiencies.

So, what is going on here...? Perhaps it is just an overactive imagination on my part, but has anyone experienced similar, in that a speaker (or perhaps one's ears) will object to one speaker (within limits) at a certain volume and another, typically larger speaker, at a different (louder) volume.

Is there something to this, anybody feel similarly, anyone want to try flesh this out?
 
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Philbo King

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Any speaker will distort if driven to the limits of its abilities. Small ones will do it at lower levels than large ones..
 

Mart68

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I think we'd need an example of a speaker that 'loses control' before its distortion reaches unacceptable levels, otherwise it could just be distortion reaching unacceptable levels.
 

MaxwellsEq

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Sometimes when you look at the frequency amplitude response at different SPLs you can see a loudspeaker which is flattish at 85dB begin to have significant frequency changes at 95dB, especially in the bass, and yet distortion is OK. I wonder if these changes sound "strained".
 
D

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Compression (limitation of SPL change) and THD are the things I think are the culprits for a speaker sounding strained at high SPL. Compression is the lack of increase in volume in a given range of frequencies. It has reached it limits and that's typical in the bass region. When that happens you get relatively more mid and high frequencies. At the same time the distortion characteristics at that level can boost certain frequencies and change the sound.

The combination of these two things is what I hear as a "strained speaker".

Links of interest-->

Kef%20Q150_Compression.png
 

MaxwellsEq

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When that happens you get relatively more mid and high frequencies. At the same time the distortion characteristics at that level can boost certain frequencies and change the sound.
That's my feeling as well. In contrast some loudspeakers can be described as "effortless", and I think they can handle high SPLs without the compression effect.
 
D

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That's my feeling as well. In contrast some loudspeakers can be described as "effortless", and I think they can handle high SPLs without the compression effect.
I find that distortionless speakers can be listened to at much higher SPL without it being uncomfortable. So you actually need to be more careful with your hearing.
 

coonmanx

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I started listening to these nice Scott 166 speakers with the Philips tweeter. I usually listen to speakers with 8" woofers but these only have 6.5" woofers. So it's not going to be mind numbing bass. But it still sounds good. No way is it going to reproduce a whole lot of 32 Hz so I don't even try. My other two systems have ten band EQ's and I give the lower end just a slight bump. But on these the amp only has a 5 band EQ so I just give it a nice downward curve and that works. No way am I going to absolutely push that system. I don't really do that anymore these days. So I realize the limitations and deal with it. Manage the system for what it is and what it can do.

On a side note... The MCS 3872 is a very nice amp. I have seen them for a long time on the Bay. Never gave them a whole lot of attention because I have always been a Technics fan boy and this is an NEC unit. But damn it sounds so nice that the Technics may have just been given the boot. The Technics needs work anyway.
 

coonmanx

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These days I tend to find loud indoor music just not satisfying. I don't feel the need for it. May turn it up a bit once in while but my habits have changed. Now it would be fine outdoors.
 

JPA

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I used to have a pair of B&W Matrix 803 speakers. Overall they were good speakers, but when I turned the volume up the bass would become "bloaty" and "farty" (very technical terms). At first I thought it was port noise, but plugging the ports didn't help much. I don't think it was harmonic distortion.
 
D

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I used to have a pair of B&W Matrix 803 speakers. Overall they were good speakers, but when I turned the volume up the bass would become "bloaty" and "farty" (very technical terms). At first I thought it was port noise, but plugging the ports didn't help much. I don't think it was harmonic distortion.
Might be a result of room mode.
 

Sokel

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The THD vs freq chart shows distortion in a sweep.
Listening to music is more like the multitone chart (the usual one who we measure DACs and stuff or even the speaker one) which it's level is several db down to avoid clipping.

See how different is the multitone distortion chart in the new LS60 thread for example.
And THD is not the only thing at play,speakers just like amps silently suffer peaks (the later clip,either silently or loudly if they lack power) so the level must be adjusted according to peaks,not max or average.

REW has a great logger,one can start low to see the actual peaks and going higher to see the actual compression.
 

JPA

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Might be a result of room mode.
No, room modes are audible at any volume, but this flaw was only audible at high volumes. And it went away completely when I replaced the B&Ws with my DIY speakers.
 
D

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No, room modes are audible at any volume, but this flaw was only audible at high volumes. And it went away completely when I replaced the B&Ws with my DIY speakers.
But they do get higher with volume so yes, it could very well be a room mode you described. But it seems it was your speaker. It was a pair of B&W after all..;)
 
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