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Potential Damage to Monitors/Speakers from Impulses Boosting Below 50Hz? Dynamics Plugins
Old 29th August 2007
Deleted #29233
Potential Damage to Monitors/Speakers from Impulses Boosting Below 50Hz?

Hi guys,
I heard if you boost anything below 50Hz you can potentially damage your speakers/monitors. Well I tried an impulse from the Tritone Colortone IR Forum - the Revox Tape Machine Impulse "B77 15ips Ampex1_44.wav" I was using Voxengo Pristine Space. I had this plug as the first slot on the Master Channel and noticed a HUGE low end boost coming thru the speakers. Looked like it might have been a big boost below 50hz. Well I had Waves' SSL G Compressor and Waves L2 on the master Bus/Channel AFTER pristine space. The G comp preset was "master" and the L2 preset was on "high resolution CD master" Maybe this was a good thing and was preventing any damaging spikes? Though I still definately noticed a HUGE surge in low end. Could this potentially be damaging my monitors?
Thanks in advance

p.s. I could post the impulse if you guys want to take a look at it?
Old 29th August 2007
Of course. How could it not be potentially dangerous?

A speaker's voice coil can only travel so far in either direction. Either extreme can add incremental damage.

Additionally, though a lot of today's "recording engineers" [cue maniacal laugher] don't seem to have the fundamental understanding to comprehend, you don't even need to exceed your loudspeaker's rated power handling to damage it.

Square waves (such as those that come from clipping an amplifier, compressor, etc -- or generated by a synthesizer) produce heat in loudspeakers during those periods when the amplitude is "flat." Why? Because the energy that would, in a normal wave form be translated into motion, is, instead turned into heat, as the permanent magnet and electromagnetic coil remain in static "equilibrium." (Energy has to go somewhere. First law of thermodynamics.) [This is, of course, a superficial pop science explanation.]

In fact, because a synth can generate "impossible ballistics" (near-instant acceleration) it can do even more damage to a speaker.
Old 29th August 2007
Deleted #29233
Damon over at Tritone's Colortone IR Forum told me this:

[[[[[[ " If your speakers are properly built and of decent quality and you don't have them blasting, everything should be fine. This is pretty much a myth under normal circumstances.
TriTone Digital
For the Love of Tone! " ]]]]]]

To add some more info I'm using passive boss monitors with a 60 watt amp. I had the levels at a comfortable listening level.
My speakers still sound the same... Or am I not listening critically enough?
I also had the SSL G compressor and Waves L2 plugs AFTER the IR plugin in the master channel.
Old 29th August 2007
The key to reconciling these two positions is in proper qualification -- note the careful use of the word potentially in the first position and the less precise but reasonable qualifications in the second.

That said, it's certainly no myth that "too-loud" levels can and do damage speakers and that LF square wave content in loud program material can, indeed, contribute to conditions likely to cause or aggravate damage.

I wouldn't obsess on this -- but they wouldn't make replacement drivers if people didn't blow them out, now, would they?
Old 30th August 2007
Deleted #29233

I'm pretty sure I understand your position and Damon's position. Either way you've stated the concrete facts, while the other was more on the rational side. Thanks very much for your detailed information. However, for future reference, one thing that I myself and I'm sure at least a few other people would like to know, is how to diagnose a speaker that's been damaged by excessive low frequency (below 50hz) boost. What are the common "symptoms"?

Thanks in advance guys
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