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Author Topic: Protecting speakers from nutters  (Read 5206 times)

Sangram Rakshit

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Protecting speakers from nutters
« on: November 15, 2010, 07:31:41 am »

We do a few home setups and there is one particular setup I need help with. We had installed (as in not me, the company I'm working with now) four Waterfall speakers in a nice living room, powered by a Sunfire 300W/ch amplifier. Speakers are connected in a 4-channel stereo matrix and electrically in parallel, well within the amplifier's capabilities.

However, there is a consistent problem with the speakers blowing. So far the speakers have been recoiled a few times, and in my first visit to the site on Saturday I realised that all 4 speakers are measuring open circuit at the terminal, and none of the drivers are as much as emitting a single squeak. The wiring to the speakers is fine as is the amplifier, we placed a test speaker and it works without any issues.

The speakers are to be opened and repaired by my service tech over the next few days, we're getting the replacement drivers from Waterfall wherever applicable. However, the long-term problem of insane power being applied by irresponsible users remain.

I was thinking of applying a 100 watt lightbulb covered in black craft paper in series with the amplifier output, to protect the speakers from overcurrent. We also thought of resistors, but that would reduce the overall output volume even at low levels - which might be prominently noticed and spur even more energetic application of volume, endangering the resistors as well as the speakers.

Would welcome any more ideas and suggestions. Would like to stay away from adding any more visible equipment if possible.

TIA

Sangram
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Silas Pradetto

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Re: Protecting speakers from nutters
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2010, 08:06:01 am »

How about this revolutionary idea: Get speakers that are capable of handling the power, or more importantly, that satisfy the client's desire for volume?

Trying to band-aid the current setup is only asking for more trouble.
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Mac Kerr

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Live Audio forums
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2010, 11:10:26 am »

As this topic has nothing to do with live audio it is being moved to the more appropriate install forum.
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Charlotte Evans

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Re: Live Audio forums
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2010, 12:34:47 pm »

I've just had a look at the Waterfall website and I don't know which model you have installed but even the beefiest item in the Waterfall range recommends a top amplifier rating of 250w ....so I'd guess that the Sunfire is just cooking 'em when the "welly" is applied.  Confused
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Jason Lavoie

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Re: Protecting speakers from nutters
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2010, 09:55:46 pm »

is the customer paying the bill?
is he complaining, or is he one of those people who considers blown speakers to be a sign of a good party? maybe he goes to work and brags about how much he has to pay to fix is stereo..

have you asked him if he'd like some bigger speakers?

Jason
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Sangram Rakshit

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Re: Protecting speakers from nutters
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 11:30:46 pm »

Thanks for the replies. Sorry about posting in the wrong forum, won't happen again.

@silas - the setup is over two years old and it's highly unlikely the client will plump for a new purchase. To put it into perspective, we haven't been fully paid for the original contract and the client has not opted for a maintenance contract either. Not because they don't have the money, but because they're penny-pinching. Due to certain other influences we are unable to push them aggressively for payment or anything else.

@Charlotte -  that is exactly what is happening. The Waterfalls are not built to take an aggressive amount of power, they're architectural speakers. They are installed in a very formal living area so I guess the original installer had no idea that they would be trying to rock out. There is an actual dance floor with appropriate equipment installed, it's just that they party close to the bar where this setup is.

@Jason: The customer will 'pay' for a reasonable amount of work. They are whining incessantly about the setup, it's over two years old and obviously issues keep cropping up due to careless and aggressive handling. They are also extremely unpleasant to deal with - we really have no choice but to service their needs because a very large chunk of our corporate contracting is tied to the commercial area they own and rent out to large companies.

And, they don't 'go' to work. They don't need to Smile

I am pretty sure the client will want to retain the architectural look of the Waterfalls. The question is how to fix the consistent blowing issue, and I thought of the lightbulbs. I also thought of reducing the output level on the preamp (it's a NAD pre with a variable pad on one of the outputs, I can cut up to 6dB). Maybe both, but I don't want to have him crank it up even more. Or maybe a smaller amplifier for the room.
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Jordan Wolf

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Re: Protecting speakers from nutters
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2010, 12:18:25 am »

Have you considered putting one of these in the rack?
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Sangram Rakshit

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Re: Protecting speakers from nutters
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2010, 12:28:10 am »

Wow, thanks for that. I'll look at a way of slipping it in, seems exactly what we need Smile

I assume it will work with XLR/RCA dapaters? My system is unbalanced.
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Charlotte Evans

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Re: Protecting speakers from nutters
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2010, 06:46:56 am »

Sangram Rakshit wrote on Tue, 16 November 2010 05:28


I assume it will work with XLR/RCA dapaters? My system is unbalanced.

Yes it will but if pin 2 is hot you will need to link pin 3 to pin 1 on the XLR adaptor lead.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Protecting speakers from nutters-Payments?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2010, 08:47:24 pm »

Sangram Rakshit wrote on Mon, 15 November 2010 23:30

Thanks for the replies. Sorry about posting in the wrong forum, won't happen again.

@silas - the setup is over two years old and it's highly unlikely the client will plump for a new purchase. To put it into perspective, we haven't been fully paid for the original contract and the client has not opted for a maintenance contract either. Not because they don't have the money, but because they're penny-pinching. Due to certain other influences we are unable to push them aggressively for payment or anything else.

@Charlotte -  that is exactly what is happening. The Waterfalls are not built to take an aggressive amount of power, they're architectural speakers. They are installed in a very formal living area so I guess the original installer had no idea that they would be trying to rock out. There is an actual dance floor with appropriate equipment installed, it's just that they party close to the bar where this setup is.

@Jason: The customer will 'pay' for a reasonable amount of work. They are whining incessantly about the setup, it's over two years old and obviously issues keep cropping up due to careless and aggressive handling. They are also extremely unpleasant to deal with - we really have no choice but to service their needs because a very large chunk of our corporate contracting is tied to the commercial area they own and rent out to large companies.

And, they don't 'go' to work. They don't need to Smile

I am pretty sure the client will want to retain the architectural look of the Waterfalls. The question is how to fix the consistent blowing issue, and I thought of the lightbulbs. I also thought of reducing the output level on the preamp (it's a NAD pre with a variable pad on one of the outputs, I can cut up to 6dB). Maybe both, but I don't want to have him crank it up even more. Or maybe a smaller amplifier for the room.

If the customer hasn't paid for the work that has already been done-then why are you still working for them?

SO you say they won't pay past bills-but "will" pay future bills Rolling Eyes   How do you know?

If you simply reduce the gain of the system-then they will complain that it doesn't get as loud as it used to-and you damaged it during your repair-so they won't pay you-AGAIN.

Either they need a more powerfull system-and are willing to pay for it-or they have to learn to keep the level down-or else pay all their bills and then you glady keep repairing the speakers everytime they tear them up.

There is no simple "band aide" you can put on the system.

As has been said-you need more rig for the gig. Simple as that.  OR just keep spending money on repairs.
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