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Fedor K.

Why do speakers sound unclear/distorted at high volume?

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I’m pretty new to HT audio. I recently purchased a denon 4500 and 280FAs as fronts. After playing music with the volume all the way up for a few minutes the audio begins sounding unclear or slightly distorted. Is this because of speakers or receiver? I’m also very interested in knowing if I could add 2 more 280s and an amp, and how to hook this all up together with the receiver. Thank you!!

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All the way up?  Maybe its your auditory cortex distorting:o. What do you mean by all the way up?. I can not imagine it NOT distorting if turned all the way up.

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Exactly! 

 

My first sentence was going to be, "All the way up????"

 

Hopefully, your AVR was not going into clipping, which can damage tweeters.

 

How many channels were you running at once?  If you have a powered subwoofer, you don't normally have to count it.  Your AVR is rated to do 125 watts per channel, without appreciable distortion with just 2 channels operating.  As you add channels, each channel will put out fewer watts, because it puts a strain on the power supply.  Too few watts for the desired loudness can produce horrendous distortion.  If you had just two or three channels operating, you are probably O.K., since at 64 watts per channel,  your system will put out  about 106 dB at about 10 feet away in a large room.  That is very loud.  THX specifies very, very brief peaks of 100 dB in an average living room, and 105 dB in a commercial sized cinema (110 to 115 dB through powered subwoofers, but since they have their own amplifier in them, they don't tax your Denon 4500).

 

Here are values Paul Klipsch and Don Keele, Jr came up with:

 

Medium level                       85 dB

Loud Level                           90 dB to 100 dB         

Very Loud Level                  105 dB  

Too Damn Loud Level        115 dB   

 

... And here is what federal OSHA says about protecting your ears:                     

Industrial Noise Control -- Occupational Health & Safety

 

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Just how loud do you like your music?  Is your listening room really really large?  Turning that volume all the way up should produce pretty extreme volume levels.  Is that what you’re getting?

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14 hours ago, Fedor K. said:

 After playing music with the volume all the way up for a few minutes the audio begins sounding unclear or slightly distorted. Is this because of speakers or receiver?

If its clear at first then becomes distorted I would guess you're running the Receiver out of gas-- they are designed to handle "bursts" of extreme loudness not sustained.

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It could be due to many factors:

 

Ear fatigue; Your ears are suffering from the high volume.

 

The equipment: Either the speakers are reaching the limits of their excursions and operating out of their linear range or, the electronics are beyond their limits and the amp is clipping as garyrc has suggested.

 

The room you're in: sound could be reflecting off the surfaces and such a level that it's mixing with the direct sound and muddying things up.

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23 minutes ago, Ceptorman said:

Someone's pulling our leg 😏

I agree, his name can easily be read as Feed Dork

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