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  1. #1
    SKMexiFry's Avatar
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    Underpowering

    Does underpowering a sub hurt it?

    (ex: A 400 watt peak sub only recieving 150 peak)







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    Sspider's Avatar
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    Try not to look at the peak, look at the rms, the peak is the amount it can delivery at n e given point, but not consistanly( not worded g0od, but u can understandmy point) but yea, 150 is g0od for a 400 peak, the rms is around 200 i believe. Wut sub u talking bout, and wut amp??




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    SKMexiFry's Avatar
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    power

    It is an MTX thunder 4000 4 ohm, and a profile Baja amp(150 peak). The sub is 200 RMS, 400 peak. It sounds wierd, but earlier this week the sub blew, and I have no idea why.




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    m83x's Avatar
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    it's not good man! ( my opinion) you see.... the RMS of the MTX 4000 is 200 watts RMS, your amplifier's peak power is 150watts...

    therefore youare not feeding the sub the "MINIMUM" power it has to have resulting into a "sucking till nothing left" manner..which (i think) will damage your amplifier or even the woofer..
    the peak power of the amplifier should be at least higher than the RMS watts of the sub.

    hope this helps,



    Nobody screams more treble..

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    SKMexiFry's Avatar
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    Thanks

    Yea, It was my friend's sub that I sold to him (I got a 12W0, Hehehe ), but thank god I sent in the warranty and saved the reciept (new CD player, here I come!!!)




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    zane's Avatar
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    Underpowering a sub WILL NOT damage it.

    Not under any circumstance. This is one of the common mis-informations of the car audio world.

    Driving your amplifier into clipping (full gain-IE) can have the posability of damaging any speaker however.

    Infinity rates thier Perfect 12.1 at 350W RMS- I used my 2 perfects for near a month with only 50W into each of them.

    No problems whatsoever. SQ was impeccable.

    Underpowering is a myth. Likely there was another cause for your woofers failure.

    take it easy,

    -zane





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    zane's Avatar
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    Originally posted by m83x
    it's not good man! ( my opinion) you see.... the RMS of the MTX 4000 is 200 watts RMS, your amplifier's peak power is 150watts...

    therefore youare not feeding the sub the "MINIMUM" power it has to have resulting into a "sucking till nothing left" manner..which (i think) will damage your amplifier or even the woofer..
    the peak power of the amplifier should be at least higher than the RMS watts of the sub.

    hope this helps,
    As I have allready indicated previously- underpowering doesnt damage speakers- so I wont go on with that anymore.

    With actual output power- the RMS rating means a whole lot more than the peak ratings. RMS is the continuous power that the speaker recieves at all times, where as Peak power is only maximum power supplied at brief musical peaks. Fact is, many woofers out there that claim 2000 watts peak power handling can not handle that same 2000 watts for very long before they fail. If I had my way I would eliminate the Peak power rating from use all together, as it is so mis-informing, and only creates problems.


    take it easy,

    -zane





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    my point of view...

    alright zane, i believe you... but here's my dilema...
    if underpowering doesnt concern anything... here's my question.. just for comparison if it doesnt really matter,

    try putting a 8" speaker or lets say a 6x9 splits on a discman( <---this is a good example of underpowering) , will it not damage any equipment you have used?? i think one of the two is gonna get busted.. just similar to SKMexiFry problem regarding his system..

    correct me if im wrong, i dont anything yet about sounds..

    also, i got this idea from this site and i think they have a point...

    http://www.car-audio-info.com/rms_power.htm
    Last edited by m83x; 02-14-2002 at 04:10 AM.



    Nobody screams more treble..

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    There would be no problems whatsoever.

    If the gain control is properly set to match the HU and the volume control is not used as compensation for input power.

    The only way to hurt a speaker by underpowering is by user error.

    That link basically is correct, save for a few minor things, however is very misleading. They make it sound as if underpowering is bad all together, and do not put enough emphisis on how it is user error and stupidity that cause the problems. (no offense anyone) When equipment is installed and adjusted correctly- there is no possible way that underpowering will cause damage.

    Check out this one as it is far more informative:

    http://www.eatel.net/~amptech/elecdisc/2ltlpwr.htm





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    m83x's Avatar
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    both sides have made their point clearly...and now im a bit confused.. hehe

    but zane, i just want to clarify what he said, this -->

    "If driving a speaker with low power would cause them to fail, speakers would fail every time you lower the volume on the head unit"

    you see, when you play a music on low volume on a stock car audio system, there's no "stress" on the HU coz its not delivering everything its got, even if its on full blast, still there will be no much stress coz they are matched properly by car manufacturers... (but still there is distortion on the speakers)

    unlike a low power amp and a high power sub, when u play it low.. its in the wont do damage, i know that.... but when the time comes you crank it, there will be no stress on the HU but there is on the amps... as well as the subs, and i think there's a big difference in stock car audio and a car audio system upgrade...

    above the stock RMS wattage (which i think is 45x4 or at least 60w) or full blasting the volume for stereos is a whole new story coz more wattage means more heat, more complicated and needs to be really accurate than the stock ones regarding watts and power handlings.

    zane, can u give your comment bout what HE (i dunno the name, hehe) said regarding that matter about "low volume head unit?"

    thanks..



    Nobody screams more treble..

  11. #11
    Unregistered's Avatar
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    I will tell it as I understand it. I have blow subs that should be able to handle 400 watts RMS with 200 peak amps by not tweaking them right. That of course was many years ago and my HU and amp were both cheap quality with the sensitivity probably all the way up as if I had 8 volts out of my 200 mv deck. User error like has been stated. Having all your controls set up correctly and wiring correct will make almost any sub compatible with any amp. On another note some subs desire and will work much better with high power amps. Some speakers rated at 1000 rms really need the 1000 watts to perform well (I don't like these subs) and then there are truly marvels of technology that are rated at 1000 rms and can perform wonderfully at 100 watts. So you could say that the power hungry subs require more watts rms, but thats just where they will perform the best. SPL winners generally put 2 or 3 times the MAX rating for wattage of the speaker, but they only need a second or two out of them and have funds to replace them after every competition. Not smart for Tom, ****, and Harry. My two cents.




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    zane's Avatar
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    Originally posted by m83x
    both sides have made their point clearly...and now im a bit confused.. hehe

    but zane, i just want to clarify what he said, this -->

    "If driving a speaker with low power would cause them to fail, speakers would fail every time you lower the volume on the head unit"

    you see, when you play a music on low volume on a stock car audio system, there's no "stress" on the HU coz its not delivering everything its got, even if its on full blast, still there will be no much stress coz they are matched properly by car manufacturers... (but still there is distortion on the speakers)
    I can see how this would be a little confusing. Basically what he is saying here is that- when used properly (within the HU's safe operating capability) the volume control will not cause any problems. It is when the volume control of the HU is turned past this point, clipping/ distortion appear. This is contingent upon the HU's Bass and Treble settings. Thus the example used as hearing people drive arround with thier systems cranked- with obvious distortion and interference in the music.

    When the volume on a HU is reduced- its output power is also reduced as the voltage drops. - What he means here is that- effectively, every time the volume control is lowered- you are basically decreasing or underpowering your speakers.

    unlike a low power amp and a high power sub, when u play it low.. its in the wont do damage, i know that.... but when the time comes you crank it, there will be no stress on the HU but there is on the amps... as well as the subs, and i think there's a big difference in stock car audio and a car audio system upgrade...
    A little contradictive from your previous statement, but here goes:

    "Cranking the HU volume above the safe operating zone (usually at 75% of its total ouput causes the signal to your amplifiers to begin to clip. This will produce distortion, and cause speaker damage. Cranking the gain at the amplifier also can do this- as the signal from the HU to the amp becomes unbalanced, thus a higher gain setting will cause the amplifier to get louder faster when the HU's volume is increased-(which may be louder than the amplifiers capable clean output) which also causes clipping and speaker damage.

    Basically in laymans terms- Overdriving an amp- weather it be lower or higher in output wattage causes speaker damage. This is what commonly happens to amplifiers with lower output power- people often try to over work these amps and compensate for power by increasing either the HU's volume or the amplifiers gain- or both. That is what causes speaker damage- the user- not the equipment.

    above the stock RMS wattage (which i think is 45x4 or at least 60w) or full blasting the volume for stereos is a whole new story coz more wattage means more heat, more complicated and needs to be really accurate than the stock ones regarding watts and power handlings.

    zane, can u give your comment bout what HE (i dunno the name, hehe) said regarding that matter about "low volume head unit?"

    thanks..
    The useable RMS wattage on most HU's is actually between 12.5 and 18.5 watts. Peak power can be anywhere between 35-60 watts. This would mean that ultimately the speakers will be under powered to start with. So long as the volume treble, and bass controls are not abused beyond intended operation purpose, the speakers will be ok.

    Perry Babin is the sites Author/Administrator, he has been in this industry quite a few years and is considered by many serious audiophiles, an expert on car audio measurements, calculations, and parameters.

    His statement about lower volume HU's basically is correct- as long as the volume is not abused and set over 75% (typical level where clipping/distortion begins) of the HU's total output.

    The user damages speakers by overdriving amplifiers, the equipment is not the problem.

    take it easy,

    -zane





    Webslave - www.SoundwavesCS.net


    "The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready."

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    I am going to answer your first question. YES, underpowering a sub does hurt it. I know this because I have been told this by many professionals and they know what they are talking about. So yes underpowering a sub does hurt it.




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    m83x's Avatar
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    thanks zane, now i understand it more though still a bit confused... hehe



    Nobody screams more treble..

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    SKMexiFry's Avatar
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    Thanks all of you!

    ****, I've never recieved this many replies before!!! Yea, actually he had the gain about 1/3 of the way up, but the bass boost all the way up on the amp, and the bass maxed out on the HU. Basically what zane has explained about weak amp and strong sub is true. In my case though, I have a 400 Watt RMS amp (MTX) hooked up to a JL 12W0, which is way more than the 12W0's specs say to give it RMS, but it has worked for a while and hits good. I think it is just a case of a low budget for an amp (sorry shawn!), but I took it back to circuit city and they gave me a new sub, so all is good once again!




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