Amp Won't Drive Speakers - Meaning?

Witterings

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Sep 17, 2020
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I so often see the comment that an Amp's "Not Big Enough" to drive cetrian speakers.

What does this really mean, will it work but either the amp or the speakers get damaged in some way or just not sound good?

I ask as I'm using a Denon RCD M39 with some Elac B 5.2's, they sound great together and will give a very healthy volume at mid level for the amp but I don't want to unknowingly damage one or the other.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
If you want to play at night club levels, the Denon isn't the right amp. Damage will only occur if you hear distortion. That will, with continuous levels, cause damage to the speakers.

The other reason why most of us recommend a amp with good power source is purely for control. If the amp can't grip the speakers sufficiently, the lower frequencies tend to sound flabby.

Your little Denon was never designed to play at wall-shaking levels. It's best suited for bedrooms or an office.

This is very important: More power doesn't necessarily mean better control -- it's how that current is produced.
 

AJM1981

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If you are satisfied with the way your amp performs on the volume levels you consider pleasant, don't change it. There is a difference between potential and practical situations. In reality I have never needed any amp able to entertain the people sitting blocks away with my music.
 
What does this really mean, will it work but either the amp or the speakers get damaged in some way or just not sound good?
Amps with insufficient power can't control the drive units as well, so at high volumes will start to lose the battle with the physical world - the drivers' momentum can't be controlled sufficiently well. When that happens, damage can be done. I managed to burn the coils of tweeters on more than one occasion as a youngster.
 

AJM1981

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Amps with insufficient power can't control the drive units as well, so at high volumes will start to lose the battle with the physical world - the drivers' momentum can't be controlled sufficiently well. When that happens, damage can be done. I managed to burn the coils of tweeters on more than one occasion as a youngster.
which music did you use in an attempt to tear down a building? :p
 
Wish I could remember - though in fairness neither the speakers nor amp would have been up to much. It was one of those cheap combi-separates that catalogues in the UK used to carry. Repaired for free on both occasions - something I now view as being rather generous.
 
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Witterings

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Brilliant ... cheers for all the replies, will keep an eye on what volumes I'm playing at and if ever in the future feel I'm cranking it up a lot may look to change then.
 
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plastic penguin

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Brilliant ... cheers for all the replies, will keep an eye on what volumes I'm playing at and if ever in the future feel I'm cranking it up a lot may look to change then.
When I owned the 40 watt Arcam, it was powering 6 ohm RS6s, which suffered quite a large dip in ohms. The Arcam was fine until you reached around 11 o'clock on the volume dial, then it began to struggle.

Oddly, with the more expensive 8 ohm PMC DB1is the Arcam sounded more comfortable
 

AJM1981

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My current Yamaha WXA50 and previous Harman Kardon amp are both quite powerful. The only way I practically "use" it rarely is informing people about it. ;)
 

Gray

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Oddly, with the more expensive 8 ohm PMC DB1is the Arcam sounded more comfortable
What's odd about it PP?
Surely, as you pointed out, it was just because the DB1 impedance never dipped anywhere near as low as it did with the RS6.

Or are you suggesting you thought a more expensive speaker might, necessarily be harder to drive? (I doubt you would think that).
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
What's odd about it PP?
Surely, as you pointed out, it was just because the DB1 impedance never dipped anywhere near as low as it did with the RS6.

Or are you suggesting you thought a more expensive speaker might, necessarily be harder to drive? (I doubt you would think that).
It was purely in the context of the A65+ being sub-£400 category, Arcams of that ilk, even though I loved the presentation, wasn't the ballsiest of amps. And many of the DB1i reviews suggested they needed high quality amplification.

As the OPs Denon has only a stated power rating of 30 watts, it's worth mentioning, as I believe his Elacs are 6 ohms.
 
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nopiano

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I so often see the comment that an Amp's "Not Big Enough" to drive cetrian speakers.

What does this really mean, will it work but either the amp or the speakers get damaged in some way or just not sound good?
In simple terms it may simply be the amplifier isn’t powerful enough for an insensitive speaker. But the more probable answer relates to its current (amps) which is a guide to its capability with the varying load (impedance) that all speakers represent.

This contemporary thread covers this point. https://forums.whathifi.com/threads/dumb-question-amp-wattage.124883/
 
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