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Help please! Is it possible to partially damage a driver/crossover?


Is it possible to partially damage a tweeter/crossover?  

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Hey guys,

 

So I was listening to David Garrett's Caprice 24 (David Garrett vs Paganini) when I noticed an overall lack of treble and air. I imported the file into Audacity and thought I would try my hand at EQ. I boosted the frequencies in the range of 200-4000hz (frequency range of the violin). It sounded slightly better, but still not what I was looking for. Then just for fun, I raised the EQ to +20db for the 3000-4000hz range and that's when the crap hit the fan.

 

It took me around 6-7 seconds to realize the output level was clipping and bouncing in the red. I immediately stopped playing the track. But what hit me afterwards was weird. The highs seemed quieter overall (across both speakers).. it's almost as if I've partially damaged the driver/crossover. I ran a frequency sweep and confirmed it with my iphone that the output was similar to the frequency charts from the factory (suggesting no damage was done). I also did the female vocals and FM background noise test and there was no back ground noise.

 

So far, all the empirical proofs point to a functional speaker. So I ask you this, is it possible to "partially damage" a driver/crossover? In another words, is it possible to damage a component but still be functional enough to replicate a signal? Reply and cast your votes. Thanks!

Computer >> Pioneer VSX 520 >> PSB Imagine B

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It sort of reassures me that I am not the only one to freak out and test my speakers with sweep tones and an iPhone after doing experiments that turn wrong. However, frequency sweeps provide a very good test: the tweeter works, or it doesn't. So you can feel good: in your case, your test concluded that it works.

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I don't actually know, but I remember my speakers not sounding the same after a blast of accidental noise. I loosely theorize that it is possible to overextend a speaker driver to some point below that at which failure occurs, and for it to require some time for the driver to back to it's normal shape. Whether or not that is true or just idle speculation, I don't know. :)

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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It shouldn't be damaged from ordinary music, even if EQ'd, as long as the EQ is listenable. But run a test tone at a good volume for an extended time, and you can overheat the driver and damage it.

 

+20db for 3-4000hz is definitely not listenable LOL

Computer >> Pioneer VSX 520 >> PSB Imagine B

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It seems to me that speakers can take quite some energy at such frequency. My understanding is that, on the other hand, above 8-10kHz, it takes just a little energy to blow up a tweeter.

 

Hmm... I'll keep that in mind.

 

I think your conclusion is at least partly right, I ran some white and pink noise through it and the output looks to be fairly linear/close to its reference frequency response.

Computer >> Pioneer VSX 520 >> PSB Imagine B

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It seems to me that speakers can take quite some energy at such frequency. My understanding is that, on the other hand, above 8-10kHz, it takes just a little energy to blow up a tweeter.

 

Could be. Speakers are supposed to be able to handle full orchestral climaxes at a near-realistic volume, which have quite a bit of brightness in some cases. Then that brightness - the energy above 9-10 khz would be harmonics only, yes? Low power. But then what about electronic music? Are there record/CD label warnings about powerful high-freq. sounds?

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You can blow your tweeter for sure. Even with music if you boosted the treble by 20db; it's possible. That's a shit load of a boost! You need to test the output and I hate to say it but an iPhone can't give you the answer you want. You will probably need a calibrated mic and REW or fuzzmeasure to get a reliable answer. However, IME you will be able to hear the damage to the tweeter when running a log sweep. I've blown two tweeters and it was easy to tell pretty fast. The good news is that even if you did blow it, tweeters are usually easy to replace.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

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quite a bit of brightness in some cases.

 

Brightness maybe.. but given the context of orchestral work, I would assume the recordings are at least decently done and what brightness there is, is not excessive. (20db might just be a bit more than "quite a bit" hahah)

 

A sort of extension of my original question:

 

Is is possible for the (damaged) driver/crossover to produce an altered signal/waveform than what was put in? The easiest way I think of describing it is, is it possible for a damaged driver/crossover to take a smooth sine input and output a sawtooth?

Computer >> Pioneer VSX 520 >> PSB Imagine B

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You can blow your tweeter for sure. Even with music if you boosted the treble by 20db; it's possible. That's a shit load of a boost! You need to test the output and I hate to say it but an iPhone can't give you the answer you want. You will probably need a calibrated mic and REW or fuzzmeasure to get a reliable answer. However, IME you will be able to hear the damage to the tweeter when running a log sweep. I've blown two tweeters and it was easy to tell pretty fast. The good news is that even if you did blow it, tweeters are usually easy to replace.

 

Yeah, dumb me playing with fire. I'm using faberacoustical's signalscope 3.6.2 (r847). I assume the software is calibrated for the iphone's mic since it is developed specifically for this platform. So far, from what i can see, the output is fairly linear and the tweeter range (1800hz+) seems to be in working order..

 

Maybe I got lucky, maybe i was just paranoid in the first few days, maybe my ears were "blinded" by that strong 20db for the first 2 days, maybe my ears are now adjusted to the new (perhaps damaged) sound.. haha i dont know

 

But let me ask you this, can a damaged driver/crossover modify an inputted signal? Saw change its waveform (ex. sine to sawtooth)?

Computer >> Pioneer VSX 520 >> PSB Imagine B

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Yeah, dumb me playing with fire. I'm using faberacoustical's signalscope 3.6.2 (r847). I assume the software is calibrated for the iphone's mic since it is developed specifically for this platform. So far, from what i can see, the output is fairly linear and the tweeter range (1800hz+) seems to be in working order..

 

There were times in the past when I got really scared for my speakers; therefore, I checked them with a calibrated mic and Fuzzmeasure. Then, I also checked them with an iPhone. My conclusion is that, while you sure can't do system or room optimisation with an iPhone, test sweeps and an iPhone are all you need to check whether drivers work. The results are pretty obvious.

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