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Low powered tube amp, potential damage?


chn68b
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I've just purchased a little tube amp, a Musical Paradise MP-301, 6w power output. Cheap and cheerful, it sounds good to me with my Heresy 3s.

 

When I first started looking for Hi-Fi gear, reading about amp matching etc, I recall reading that it's far better to have an amp with more power than your speakers are designed for as lower powered amps are likely to go into clipping at louder volumes and cause speaker damage. 

 

Is this a real concern with these amps and our speakers? 

 

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Forget it. Sound is awful and not listenable with heavy clipping so naturally you will cut the volume down especially with SS.   Six watts is just right for Klipsch when talking tubes. At least for me with amplifiers that are 2 watts up to 250 watts. Sweet spot 5 or 6 watts.

 

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I used this exact Musical Paradise amp for years to power my La Scalas.  Sounded great to me.  Plenty of power for Klipsch speakers.

 

This amp responds well to tube rolling as well.  The sound changes more with tube swaps than most amps do.  I really liked Gold Lion KT-66s in mine.

 

Also, the comment about clipping damaging your speakers mostly pertains to SS amplifiers, not tubes.  SS amps clip hard, producing a very harsh sounding "clip" or "pop" sound,  This sends all kinds of high frequency energy into your speakers, which can blow tweeters.  Tube amps tend to clip much more softly, rolling off the top of the waveform instead of cutting it off sharply.  They are much less likely to damage speakers, even if over-driven. So you have nothing to worry about, even if you want to try to rock out with 6 watts.

 

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Cheers guys, that's put my mind at rest. 

 

Good to hear positive thoughts on the amp Tarheel. I ordered some Gold Lion KT88s ahead of delivery so popped those straight in yesterday. 

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3 hours ago, henry4841 said:

Ready now to listen to some magic of tubes. 

 

Thanks, I'm now listening to Herbie Hancock's "Head Hunters", the evening sun is shining through the window and all is good.

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On 4/21/2021 at 2:38 AM, chn68b said:

I've just purchased a little tube amp, a Musical Paradise MP-301, 6w power output. Cheap and cheerful, it sounds good to me with my Heresy 3s.

 

When I first started looking for Hi-Fi gear, reading about amp matching etc, I recall reading that it's far better to have an amp with more power than your speakers are designed for as lower powered amps are likely to go into clipping at louder volumes and cause speaker damage. 

 

Is this a real concern with these amps and our speakers? 

 

 

I listen to 1/2 to 1 wpc on several amplifiers and have not caused any damage to Belles, Khorns, and Jubilees. That being said the power supplies are huge and DIY if that matters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think that talk started in the world of P.A. systems and low-efficiency HiFi. If you're smacking speakers with high power for long periods, distortion frequencies up into the ultrasonic range might cook your tweeters.

Really isn't a concern with high efficiency horns, and low power amplifiers. Distortion products tend to be lower order, and likely lower frequency in the low power world.

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Posted (edited)

The issue is clipping the amp...IF you ask more from the amp than it wants to give, the outputs will go from a sine wave to a square wave. In audio / AC, the wave is rising or falling most of the time. IN a square wave, it rises until clipping, then it is flat...or in electrical terms, DC. Speakers don't like DC. Tweeters see it as too much current and act like a fuse. With many amps/receivers, the number for power they give is not the number for clean power...may times it is 1/5 th of rated.  With a 6 W amp, I would expect 2-3 W clean. ( I am NOT a glass amp guy! All odd harmonics only...not my thing, but to each his own.)  So, can you hurt  your speakers with too little power in your amp, YES. But only if  you push it toward max out.

 

Edited by Trey Cannon
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On 4/21/2021 at 3:38 AM, chn68b said:

 

Is this a real concern with these amps and our speakers? 

 

--YES --as far as  distortion ---------you can buy SS   D  Class amps today with 25 -50- wpc stereo for 50---100$ , and any of these amps will outshine the 3 watts Musical Paradise MP-301 ( 6 watts tube amp is great for headphones )  ,since they will have much  less distortion at 1 or 3 wpc --and you 'll hear  the difference right away and your speakers will last longer .

 

the enemy of speakers is distortion - the less the better , the more watts the amp produces = less distortion versus a less powerful amp = better sound quality

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2 hours ago, Trey Cannon said:

The issue is clipping the amp...IF you ask more from the amp than it wants to give, the outputs will go from a sine wave to a square wave. In audio / AC, the wave is rising or falling most of the time. IN a square wave, it rises until clipping, then it is flat...or in electrical terms, DC. Speakers don't like DC. Tweeters see it as too much current and act like a fuse. With many amps/receivers, the number for power they give is not the number for clean power...may times it is 1/5 th of rated.  With a 6 W amp, I would expect 2-3 W clean. ( I am NOT a glass amp guy! All odd harmonics only...not my thing, but to each his own.)  So, can you hurt  your speakers with too little power in your amp, YES. But only if  you push it toward max out.

 

 

True!!!!

 

If your sitting in the music room  average levels around 85-95db on 104-107db 1w1m speakers you be coasting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

So now I'm back to square one. Some say yes, some no? 

 

Is there an easy way to accurately measure the wattage I'm using at the volume I like? 

 

Edit: no by the look of it. 

Edited by chn68b
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20 minutes ago, chn68b said:

So now I'm back to square one. Some say yes, some no? 

 

Is there an easy way to accurately measure the wattage I'm using at the volume I like? 

 

Edit: no by the look of it. 


Yes, there is:   https://community.klipsch.com/index.php?/topic/170414-who-wants-to-measure-how-much-power-voltage-is-really-needed/

 

If that doesn’t work for you I can give you a simpler, but less accurate, method.

 

Maynard

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On 4/23/2021 at 10:45 AM, RandyH000 said:

--YES --as far as  distortion ---------you can buy SS   D  Class amps today with 25 -50- wpc stereo for 50---100$ , and any of these amps will outshine the 3 watts Musical Paradise MP-301 ( 6 watts tube amp is great for headphones )  ,since they will have much  less distortion at 1 or 3 wpc --and you 'll hear  the difference right away and your speakers will last longer .

 

the enemy of speakers is distortion - the less the better , the more watts the amp produces = less distortion versus a less powerful amp = better sound quality

 

Here to tell you that low-watt tubes produce less distortion than hi-watt SS.  The Sony stereo receiver (100wpc) I used to power my Belles gets scattered, distorted, and generally unlistenable in the 5-10% range.  Swapping out for a pair of Quicksilver 25wpc monoblocks changed everything.  Even at ultra-low-power, the output was laser-focused, like the volume level was really just how far away I was from the place where the actual live music was happening. 

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