How loud can I go (speakers)

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deeplink
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Post 05 Nov 2021

Hi RT

I think this might a be noob question, but I can't seem to find any answer or calculation that I understand..

I have a volume control on my soundcard, a MOTU M2
I have a volume control on my speakers, VM-50's

Without bringing in mixing and "good listening levels", I just want to know how loud I can push my speakers, without hurting them.

How do I work out how far can I push the relative volume levels on my soundcard and speakers?

Or is it simply a matter waiting for my speakers to start distorting and then pull it back a little?
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DaveyG
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Post 05 Nov 2021

If you turn everything up full you are not going to damage your speakers but you are going to damage your hearing.
The speakers are active so they are designed to run on full without taking any damage.

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jam-s
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Post 05 Nov 2021

If things start to distort your levels are usually too hot. so if you hear distortion: Dial back the volume.
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bitley
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Post 05 Nov 2021

DaveyG wrote:
05 Nov 2021
If you turn everything up full you are not going to damage your speakers but you are going to damage your hearing.
The speakers are active so they are designed to run on full without taking any damage.
:puf_bigsmile: No no that's not the point. My HS80s would probably break if I'd run them on full volume, that'd be extremely loud, enough to play for a village... until they started smoking or something ;) 50% on the speakers and maximum 50% of that is how loud I dare to go when I really want to pump it out. That's loud enough to be evicted for sure.

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deeplink
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Post 05 Nov 2021

Is there not a way to say like,
My speakers can handle X amount of power at max, and my soundcard can output Y amount. So I need to ensure I don't exceed Z volume on my soundcard so my speakers don't get hurt.
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guitfnky
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Post 05 Nov 2021

I’m curious as to why this is a question. are you trying your setup as a PA?
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deeplink
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Post 05 Nov 2021

guitfnky wrote:
05 Nov 2021
I’m curious as to why this is a question. are you trying your setup as a PA?
It's ³/4 because I want to ensure longevity of my monitors, the other bit is because I'm throwing a house party next weekend :)
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Billy+
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Post 05 Nov 2021

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guitfnky
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Post 05 Nov 2021

deeplink wrote:
05 Nov 2021
guitfnky wrote:
05 Nov 2021
I’m curious as to why this is a question. are you trying your setup as a PA?
It's ³/4 because I want to ensure longevity of my monitors, the other bit is because I'm throwing a house party next weekend :)
I’d say rent a PA if you can afford it, and save yourself the worry. right tools for the job and all that. if you can’t, you’ll probably still be fine, as others have suggested.
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bxbrkrz
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Post 05 Nov 2021

Create a spotify playlist. Share it with your friends. All wearing headphones, they can control their own volume on their phone :puf_smile: :thumbs_up:
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joeyluck
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Post 05 Nov 2021

When I was younger I bought a set of used passive PA speakers. I always thought it was so cool that they would light up inside when things got pretty loud. The store I bought them from showed me this fun feature. I still didn't push them to where they sounded bad or distorted.

I later found out that those lights I was seeing were the fuses 😂

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pushedbutton
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Post 05 Nov 2021

I just read that the bass response on those speakers aren't great and they can distort on the high end at higher volumes. So don't run them at 100%.
The only thing better than louder speakers is more speakers. *If I was hosting a house party I'd probably just use my numerous amazon echo's to sync the audio through the rooms.
*Disclaimer: I'm old and loud music vexes me.
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Billy+
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Post 05 Nov 2021

I definitely wouldn't be using monitor speakers for a party.

I brought a cheap 800w PA setup (speakers & amp) and slapped a MDX2600 in the chain I drive the amp via line level set to maximum with the amp volume at maximum and the limiter enabled on the mdx using the output controls on the mdx as level controls and I can happily hit over 100db on my spl meter without worrying about anything other than noise complaints

When I'm in the mood for a party the whole street knows even with the windows closed ;)
VST 2.4 MIDI It's definitely on the list of todos
Using Reason since version 1 is R11 going to be my final version :shock:

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Benedict
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Post 05 Nov 2021

Totally bypassing using studio monitors for parties and how much I hate parties... (except for the free cheese in the bowls)

The rule used to be that you never ran an amp above 50%. The other 50% was headroom. Now this was when amps and speakers were separate things (as I still prefer it myself) but I doubt that (quality) powered speakers are much different seeing the physics hasn't changed. So I would not run any amp above 50% lest it becomes unable to handle a full dynamic range without clipping - clipping hurts speakers as square waves are hard work with the instant pushing and pulling.

The computer driver I would hope was running 100% all the time to get full quality.
A knob on an Audio Interface I would hope was a VCA (he says this knowing his evo 4 is likely not - Balance was) in which case it is attenuating that 100% audio. Just as the volume knob on an amp is attenuating the 88,000 Gigawatts on the packet the amp came in.

If you hear your speakers distorting (and it is only the speakers causing that distortion) you need to pull it back a LOT or they are still distorting. Fine if you have a Marshall Stack as your PA (seeing they are designed for the rough stuff hence why they sound so bad for a whole mix) but not if you have standard consumer, or anything approaching audiophile, speakers as they need to be delicate to do their job.

As for specs: many are enthusiastic. As in:
- a cheap Kenwood 5.1 Home Theater Amp will claim 2,000 Watts on the sticker on the front to seem impressive but in reality sound less full than a 22 Watt high-current Rotel amp. Especially if that 2,000 Watts is a technical Peak or PMPO figure seeing its RMS or average output before unacceptable distortion occurs (which may be way before you hear it) may be 20 Watts per channel. The high-current amp has a heavy transformer that delivers power to the amp more solidly so even running at 50% it will sound more solid (tough, reassuring) than the 2,000 Watts PMPO.
- a speaker can claim max rated 300 Watts before distortion becomes unacceptable but that does not take into account distortion brought from the amp which can double the mess it is making. Again, look at the RMS figures and assume that is from a quality amp that is not distorting more than it should.

My Rotel A10 amp is rated 40 Watts (20+20), that is a high-current amp. My Jamo C 803 speakers rate at 125 W peak. That is plenty for my studio with the amp at approx 1-2 and my evo 4 knob showing 25% (50% throw of the knob). I might use these if I had people over (ha!) and I could stop anyone from finding the volume knob/s.

Really tho have another system (and still keep people away from the volume). Go on Gumtree and find an old Sony system like one of these as they are tough and make a good TV experience whilst being great for mix checking. I have just the Amp, Towers, and 1 Sub in play and it is great for its purpose.

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motuscott
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Post 05 Nov 2021

Push them til they burst into flames, then dial it back 20%
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