Sensitive speakers or attenuator needed?

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having finally gotten hold of a decent amp (Pioneer A400) i have noticed that, regardless of the amp im using, i never can turn them up beyond 10 o'clock before the music is to loud. the amps ive had in the past have varied from 30w to 150w into 8Ohms while my current amp is 50w into 8Ohms. so the question is do i have high sensitivity speakers (T+A Spectrum ADL III's) or do i need to use some attenuators? thanks in advance, Chris
 
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Anonymous

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Attenuators would solve the problem. I use some on my DVD player because the sound was so loud on some discs it was distorted. There's some reasonably priced ones on Ebay.
 
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Anonymous

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I read somewhere (unsure where) that most amps are working flat out at 11 o'clock (past this i guess they begin to clip?), if that is the case surely you don't want to be turning your amp up much past 10?? Or am I not getting something here?...
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peanutfrenzy

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I haven't been able to find any relevant information on the A400 so
I'll assume that you can't adjust the input sensitivity manually (which
would solve your problem without separate attenuators). And, as you
don't mention your source/s, I'll assume you can't adjust their output level
either. As Keith points out, attenuators will solve this but I'm not sure that you have a huge problem here - if turning your volume past 10-o-clock is too loud then don't do it
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and all you'll be doing is reducing the signal level so that you can add more gain later. However, if you have several sources and one is significantly louder than the others (usually CD or DVD players due to a typical 2V output) then you have a textbook application for a pair of attenuators. Or attenuated interconnects for that matter. Does your amp have a dedicated 'CD' input (assuming this is your source)? You might find it has a lower sensitivity than the other inputs. Failing that, check your manual for input sensitivity adjustment. Finally, if your volume control issue really bothers you, then go for some attenuators.

As for your speakers, I can't find this exact model online but I haven't seen anything to suggest that T+A make especially high sensitivity loudspeakers. Forgive me for being cheeky, but they're not active are they?

Ps, nice basses. What have you got?
 
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Anonymous

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Just to stick my oar in, as attenuation seems to be the new black this week, does attenuation have any adverse effect on sound quality? I thought that the point of getting decent interconnects was to give the signal as trouble-free a path from source to amp as possible. Doesn't sticking an attenuator in the way do exactly the opposite?
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="joeparnell"]
I read somewhere (unsure where) that most amps are working flat out at 11 o'clock (past this i guess they begin to clip?), if that is the case surely you don't want to be turning your amp up much past 10?? Or am I not getting something here?...
emotion-18.gif

[/quote]

joe, i recently read somewhere on this forum the opposite of what you describe? not saying your wrong but there certainly seems to be some confusion about this... in my view it seems odd to have a volume pot that goes from 7 o'clock to 5 o'clock if anything over 10 o'clock is unusable?
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="peanutfrenzy"]im not sure that you have a huge problem here - if turning your volume past 10-o-clock is too loud then don't do it
emotion-4.gif
and all you'll be doing is reducing the signal level so that you can add more gain later. However, if you have several sources and one is significantly louder than the others (usually CD or DVD players due to a typical 2V output) then you have a textbook application for a pair of attenuators. Or attenuated interconnects for that matter. Does your amp have a dedicated 'CD' input (assuming this is your source)? You might find it has a lower sensitivity than the other inputs. Failing that, check your manual for input sensitivity adjustment. Finally, if your volume control issue really bothers you, then go for some attenuators.
As for your speakers, I can't find this exact model online but I haven't seen anything to suggest that T+A make especially high sensitivity loudspeakers. Forgive me for being cheeky, but they're not active are they?

Ps, nice basses. What have you got?
[/quote]

peanut thanks for your reply. your right in that it may not be a problem but as i said to joe just seems odd to have all that unusable range of volume... my amp has a dedicated cd input and i use it. my source is a Arcam CD72 - no adjustable output on either that i can see. my speakers are not the active version. Thanks for the comment about the basses. the basses in the photo are a Yamaha TRB4II, Spector Legend 5 and a 1980 Vantage model unknown. of the 3 i now only have the Vantage which is currently undergoing restoration. I now also have a Status Series 1 5 string (which im in love with) and a Yamaha RBX700. Do you play bass as well?
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="ifitsoundsgoodlistentoit"][quote user="joeparnell"]

I read somewhere (unsure where) that most amps are working flat out at 11 o'clock (past this i guess they begin to clip?), if that is the case surely you don't want to be turning your amp up much past 10?? Or am I not getting something here?...
emotion-18.gif


[/quote] joe, i recently read somewhere on this forum the opposite of what you describe? not saying your wrong but there certainly seems to be some confusion about this... in my view it seems odd to have a volume pot that goes from 7 o'clock to 5 o'clock if anything over 10 o'clock is unusable?[/quote]

Yes I wouldn't be surprised if I was wrong! It was part of some guy's post on some american hifi forum but everyone seemed to accept it and nobody said that was wrong...somebody else on here must know surely??
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I very rarely go past 10 on my amp and 11 is intolarably(sp?) loud (probably due to my fairly small room) so I have no experience oof whether the quality starts to deteriate, and I'm not bave enough to try it!

When you say you've heard the opposite do you mean that they actually believed the quality should be better the further the knob is racked round?

It would be good to clear this up as if what I was led to believe is false I will probably experiment with a pair of attenuators...
 
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Anonymous

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bloody hell I should have proof read that last post before posting it sorry about the spelling! And your certainly right that it seems strange to have all that unusable travel on the volume knob if it is the case. Would just lead to the unnecessary risk of people damaging their kit.
 
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Anonymous

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hey joe looks like we are both waiting for an expert to wade in on this one and clarify the matter. as for what you read on the US forum - well the fact that it was a US forum says a lot doesnt it :p
 

peanutfrenzy

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It was always my impression that an amplifier is designed to deliver its maximum power at full volume. This is different to perceived loudness, which is a combination of amplifier power, loudspeaker sensitivity and the loudspeakers' distance from your ears. And this doesn't take into account the subjective opinion of how loud you like your music. If you simply prefer your music at a certain level then it doesn't really matter where the volume knob is pointing. If, however, you get the volume knob half-way around and the sound is compressed or distorted then you have reached the limit of your amplifier's output. In this case it is most likely the input signal is higher than the amplifier is strictly designed for. Not a big deal, just turn the volume knob down. If the sound is always compressed or distorted then the input stage is being over-driven and you'll need to adjust input sensitivity or use attenuators. Also consider that different sources typically have outputs at different levels. As mentioned previously, CD and DVD players (analogue outputs) are usually 2V rms, while most other devices stick to a standard 0.5V or 0.775V rms. You would hope manufacturers are aware of this and would design their amplifiers accordingly - i.e. design the 'CD' input with one quarter the voltage gain of all the other inputs - but you never know. And if your amplifier pre-dates the CD revolution then there's no chance it'll cope with a 2V input on its own.

Tractorboy raises a valid question - will attenuators affect sound quality? Yes. Probably. Inserting anything into the signal line will have an affect on the sound, but whether you notice it will depend upon your system and your ears. You will be adding one extra plug-to-socket joint, a few solder joints, and a resistor or two of unknown manufacture. It is also conceivable that an attenuator could introduce noise into the signal, but I'd hope to see it built into a shielded metal can (like the Russ Andrews ones). However, there shouldn't be any adverse effect just because of its resistance as line-level signal current is negligible.

As to what volume position should sound best... it's all starting to get a bit silly. And I don't think you can generalise - turning an amp up puts greater demands on its thermal efficiency and the efficiency of its power supply, while keeping it quiet puts greater demands on the design of the amplifying stages (immunity from noise, crossover distortion). Where did the manufacturer spend their money? If you know this then you might be able to find the perfect volume position. And then superglue it in place
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I'm trying not to write an essay here (and failing). On the one hand you have pure physics and, on the other, audiophile voodoo. The truth is probably somewhere between the two.

And yes, Chris, I play bass, but probably not well enough to have three nice basses! I have two obscure cheapos and a Warwick Corvette 4-string. I have it on good authority that it's the only Warwick that doesn't play like a pig!
 
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Anonymous

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This may be of interest - What Hi FI review of the Rothwells.

http://www.rothwellaudioproducts.co.uk/html/what-hi-fi_review.html
 
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Anonymous

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Let me divert a bit and say that I don't play bass, but I do play guitar. I have a VOX AD15VT which I would not take up past half power. It is seriously loud for something that outputs 15watts and is a valve amp! You never hear of guitarists not turning up their amps to full power though! I have never taken the JVC past 12 o'clock when the CD player is going through it. Now, I think maximum percievable volume should be around 3 o'clock, after that I shouldn't think it gets louder, it just starts clipping.

Now the biggy can sort of be answered rather simply in my opinion. You know the use by dates on food, the companies have to cover themselves so they can't get in trouble from off-food. Now I'm sure the same would apply from electrical companies! They wouldn't allow you to damage the amplifier or speakers for that matter by turning up the volume to near maximum! They must have to cover themselves! I regularly listen to my amplifier around 12 o'clock and I believe it is near the peak of its sound-quality. Yet, the peak-w meters only read 25watts! This amp will output 70watts peak power! It has so much in reserve that I cannot believe that it couldn't be turned up way more. Personally, I wouldn't turn it up past 3 o'clock on the basis that it is falling apart and so it could just go nahh and output some absolutly horrible sound that would damage my speakers.
 

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