Hiigher volume listening

Hi

I'm new to this forum and would welcome advice please.....

My system comprises NDX,CDX,NAC 202,NAC 200, Flatcap , NAPSC and Allaes.

My system is great for me however when I require higher sound levels for parties a speaker makes a "popping" sound once the volume is turned to 12 o'clock.

My amp is rated 70w and my speakers 6 ohms 100 w so I was thinking about either upgrading the amp to NAC 250 (80 W) or upgrading my speakers to say 150w.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thanks

 

 

 

Original Post

Clipping can be a common problem with a NAP200 and Allae speakers. It has something to do with the impedance. 

My friend had this combi and had the same problem, but it only occurs at silly levels. With the SuperUniti no such problems at high levels.  

Or the Supernait2, no such problems at high play back levels. Those are not the first Naim speakers I have heard break up at higher listening levels.

Could be the amp starting to clip, or the drivers are reaching their maximum extension, or bottoming out

 

A NAP 250 will give you greater control at higher levels, and sound better than a NAP 200. A more efficient speaker will also give you higher sound pressure levels. Getting 3db greater efficiency in the speakers is like doubling your amplifier power. Of course this discussion hasn't addressed sound quality. Upgrading your amplifier means you get your current sound, only better.

Your speakers are reasonable efficiency already, around 89dB/W. So upping the amp is probably the easiest option. As a curve ball, if you like Allae's you might be interested in Ovator S400's. They work well with a NAP 200, (I speak from experience), and I play my music at as close to live level sd I can. Should be a pair ex demo or very close to new somewhere.

Musky posted:

 

My system is great for me however when I require higher sound levels for parties a speaker makes a "popping" sound once the volume is turned to 12 o'clock.

My amp is rated 70w and my speakers 6 ohms 100 w so I was thinking about either upgrading the amp to NAC 250 (80 W) or upgrading my speakers to say 150w.

badlands posted:

Could be the amp starting to clip, or the drivers are reaching their maximum extension, or bottoming out

Amp clipping due to overload is a common cause of speaker failure, especially with prolonged use. The solution is a more powerful amp that will give the same output level without clipping.

Speaker bottoming out due to excessive power can also cause speaker failure, for which if the same output is desired the only solution is different speakers.

it is imortant tondiagnose which of these it is.  From the description, 'popping' sounds (!) to me like the speakers unless the amp has overload protection circuitry operating a relay that is briefly interrupting the sound (someone more familiar with your amp may be able to advise) - pure amp overload usually simply sounds like distortion not popping (and often not even noticeable at the onset).

 

Musky posted:

Hi

I'm new to this forum and would welcome advice please.....

My system comprises NDX,CDX,NAC 202,NAC 200, Flatcap , NAPSC and Allaes.

My system is great for me however when I require higher sound levels for parties a speaker makes a "popping" sound once the volume is turned to 12 o'clock.

My amp is rated 70w and my speakers 6 ohms 100 w so I was thinking about either upgrading the amp to NAC 250 (80 W) or upgrading my speakers to say 150w.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thanks

 

 

 

Hi I have BW 1800 rated 30 to 200w ...I use a nac 122x / somtimes nac 202 ' Flatcap 2x and nap 150x with them.  I thought that the amp rated at 50w would struggle to drive them ' but the output is lovely..I would be looking at speakers that can handle 200w with your amp ' if you want party sound levels...Naim amps will drive most speakers...I have tried naim speakers SBL etc ' but find B W better to my ear..It is all experimentation..

Maybe not disco levels - but they should go pretty loud without straining. Isn't that part of the raison d'etre of a quality hi-fi?

To get as close to the live event without falling apart (distortion, glare, boom etc.), as well as giving a flavour of the power and nuance at lower (normal) listening levels.

2 sides of the same coin and very difficult to get both right. I suspect this is where active shines. 

 

Musky & others,  can you please state what the in room dB level is,  loud without a dB number is meaningless.   Most tablets & smart phone have free apps to measure volume.     

That said running a Naim amp at 12 o'clock is madness,  my Supernait with its 83dB/W/m speakers its well over the 100dB mark at that position & is unbearable.  I value my hearing & rarely go over 90dB/

Leaving aside what others feel about loud playing, and whether or not madness is involved, the OP has a problem doing what he wants to do.

How loud a system will go for a given volume control setting depend on other factors as well as speaker sensitivity, including the size of room, its furnishing, and the listening position, and, when a party is taking place, the number of bodies crammed in. Meanwhile measuring levels In the room (subject to up to 5dB tolerance with an uncalibrated app) that just tells how loud at the position measured, not what is limiting the loudness.

If the speaker is the limiting factor as I hypothesised, the only sulution is replacement ones that  either have greater sensitivity, enabling the same amp power go louder, or have significantly greater power handling capacity, when the limiting factor may become the amp.

That is assuming the present speakers aren't simply faulty: listening carefully, does the effect happen on both channels when music with similar content on each channel is played? If so it would seem less likely to be an actual speaker fault, but simply overloading. If it is just one speaker, swap the amp output so the soeakers are connected the wrong way round: if the same speaker then it points to a fault with the speaker, but if it then changes it could be simply that that piece of music has more of the content that is triggering than the other channel, in which case also swap the power amp input - so the speakers go back to the normal channels, just the power amp channels swapped around. If the noise doesn't then revert, it would suggest an amp fault after all.

Huge posted:

Naim speakers are designed for out and out quality at normal listening levels, and (most of them) aren't really designed to go anywhere close to disco sound levels.

 

DBL's and NBL's (great speakers) aside, which could play at ridiculous levels without strain.

You do state (most of them), so technically, I guess there would be some truth to your statement, but it still doesn't make it OK. I have compared other very high quality speakers that have no trouble playing at elevated levels and absolutely do not break up or bottom out when paired with the proper ancillaries.

If you do not believe what I'm saying, audition ATC, Dynaudio, Focal, Sonus Faber's, Magico,  Wilson, Triangle, B&W, and the new Spendor D series speakers, to name a few, and crank them!!!!

These speakers are all what I would consider, at the very least, equal in quality, or designed for out and out quality, as you put it.  The difference between those speakers and Naim, if what your saying is true, were meant to be played at ANY listening level.

 Kind of a moot point I know, since Naim doesn't manufacturer speakers anymore. Could be one of the reasons they were never great selling speakers.

Badlands,I have to disagree with you regarding Dynaudio,I have owned the Focus 160's,the C1 Mk 11's,and currently own the excite 12's and Focus xd 600's.The first three I mention are passive models,the xd's are active,and all three passive models,I had them "pop"on me when turned up too loud or bottom out.Mind you,I do like to listen at quite loud volumes,but it was one of the reasons I moved on from the C1's to the xd 600's,which have never "popped" or bottomed out.I had it happen while using a Supernait 2,and /or a Cary Audio SA 200.2,so there was lots of power,but Dyn's are known to be power hungry.Great sounding speakers,that is why I still use them,but they sound SO good at high volume,you don't realize you are about to hit their limit,and that popping sound sure wakes you up.

 

 

 

Hmmm, I can't say I have ever heard Dyn's break up or bottom out, on the contrary, I have heard them at ridiculous levels and never heard them pop. But I surly don't doubt your experience, it's just I personally have never experienced it.

It's funny you mention the C1's. At this years Axpona show, they were playing with Mark Levinson 100 watt mono blocks at extremely high levels and never did they break up.

All of the Dyns you mention are stand mount speakers except the XD 600's, so maybe the amps used did not have enough current, but the Excite X38 speakers (floor standing) I have driven by a SN2, have never come close to being overdriven or break up. My ears give up long before the speakers or amp do.

Surely its about handling dynamics and being able to differentiate different dynamic intensities. A speaker/amp playing loud that compresses on transients is hugely distorting the audio, and of course the ear distorts internally as well. Therefore the optimum sound for minimum anatomical distortion as well as replay compression is for minimum  compression in our hearing and differentiation of peaks and transients. If the average level is so loud as to not make this possible or become limited  it's either too loud for our hearing or equipment, unless we want a compressed transient effect. To my mind it's not dissimilar to biasing on a class a amplifier other than the load line is non linear.... I found a fascinating document in the AES library describing these considerations. But simply making a loud noise from an amp/speaker is not too difficult 

to the OP, popping sounds like some sort of amp/speaker instability.. are you using at least 3.5m of NACA5? I would contact Naim support.. this does not sound right.

Hi Simon,I am not sure if you are talking to me or Musky about the "popping",but for me,I had the same issue with 2 different amps,and several members at AVS Dynaudio forum have had similar experiences.Dynaudio are aware of it and have completely re-designed their drivers for the new Contour line that is just now being released.I am not saying this is why they redisigned them,but apparently the new design can achieve much higher spl's...I have not heard a pair yet,they are not even in too many stores yet.Myself,I use 7 meter Naca5 wires.

Yes, poppong is certainly bad, and a warning of impending damage.

Re compression distortion at high levels, playing loud might be more prevalent for rock music listening, mimicking a live performance, in which case the recording may very well be quite compressed and so compression distortion in the speakers may be less evident. And of course some speakers, e.g.  ATC and PMC, have drivers engineered to maintain linearity far more than others by judicious sizing of voice coil and magnet gap lengths, so might be expected to sound better than others when played loud. 

The one time I have experienced said popping was on my old IMFs. There have been occasions when I played at high levels, approaching that of being at a rock gig, without speaker distress (and for limited periods, to minimise distress on me), but one piece of music, Telarc's 24bit recording of Tchaikowsky's 1812, I always had to play at a much lower level than I liked because otherwise the canons would push the speaker cones into their end stops and risk serious damage. The PMCs I have now are fine with the level I want to listen to the piece, coping with the cannons when they come (but in terms of realism of levels, the canons of course are still only as if they are ourside the concert hall - I don't want shattered windows, let alone eardrums!)

Badlands,

The HF 'headroom' on older Naim speakers is 5dB (limited by the ScanSpeak tweeters).

For the DBLs and NBLs the maximum mechanical output at HF is 5dB louder than earlier / smaller models (ScanSpeak 2010 vs ScanSpeak 2008).

Please also note that I said designed "for out and out quality at normal listening levels".
I didn't exclude use of some models at higher volumes with commensurate reduction of sound quality and potential for damage, just that this wasn't the design criterion, so such use shouldn't necessarily be expected of the product (especially not under all circumstances).

Huge posted:

Badlands,

The HF 'headroom' on older Naim speakers is 5dB (limited by the ScanSpeak tweeters).

For the DBLs and NBLs the maximum mechanical output at HF is 5dB louder than earlier / smaller models (ScanSpeak 2010 vs ScanSpeak 2008).

 

Huge, re first para, what do you mean by headroom in this context? Headroom relative to what? (Second para is clear)

When I had a chrome bumper Nap250 it would frequently shut down at high listening levels. After cooling down it was fine again but it was bloody annoying so I got a pair of 135s which solved it. I would assume that modern Naim power amps would have equivalent thermal protection so the popping sound is more likely to be the speakers than the amp and thus a sign of possible imminent damage. In my experience Naim amps go silent when they are in trouble rather than make popping noises. It may be worth ringing Naim to confirm this.

I did audition Allaes some years ago but rejected them because they weren't  very good  with dub reggae and heavy rock, although very nice with plinky plonky jazz. I now have a Superuniti which seems to have plenty of oomph. I also have N-Sats and I needed to be a bit careful with them until I added a sub woofer. Now they can really rock out without nasty noises intruding so if you like the Allae sound, a sub may be worth considering.

The general consensus on the Dynaudio Forum is that the "popping" sound is the speaker hitting its physical limits,not the amp breaking down,or clipping.One member ran into this issue,even with (i think) 500 watt monoblocks, there is only so much excursion a smaller driver can take.Even the Dyn rep who frequents the forum,confirmed this,and assured us that this is not an issue with their new design drivers...they are now going with a smaller diameter magnet and the driver has more travel.

Hi some good advice by others on this thread, my view is ..... if your Nap200 is struggling a bit ............... the issue will be the psu running out of puff....irrespective of rated wattage - I recon a Nap250 would sound much more dynamic and appear louder... its psu is fully regulated and pretty stout.  You must remember - a few really good watts sounds really loud .... you are probably asking the Nap200 to deliver 25w - but the transients will be far higher  .... giving the clipping. Demo a 250dr with your speakers... I think you will be surprised!!! Also note there are some fine sh Nap250's coming up for sale. 

Richieroo posted:

Hi some good advice by others on this thread, my view is ..... if your Nap200 is struggling a bit ............... the issue will be the psu running out of puff....irrespective of rated wattage - I recon a Nap250 would sound much more dynamic and appear louder... its psu is fully regulated and pretty stout.  You must remember - a few really good watts sounds really loud .... you are probably asking the Nap200 to deliver 25w - but the transients will be far higher  .... giving the clipping. Demo a 250dr with your speakers... I think you will be surprised!!! Also note there are some fine sh Nap250's coming up for sale. 

But if it is a speaker overload problem, which available information tends to suggest, rather than an amp clipping problem, then upping the power amp's power capability risks making  it worse with an increased risk of damage if more transients get through at a level sufficient to drive the cones onto the end stops...  

As Mike pointed out earlier one person's 'too loud' is another person's 'normal listening' level; if the latter turn's it up to their 'loud', then...

Without the SPL we can't be sure.

The OP was quoting '12:00' on the volume control with a NDX / 202 / 200 system, and with some modern excessively hot CD transfers that may well be an overload.

With some modern albums I find anything over '08:45' to be significantly too loud (roughly equivalent to 25 on the 272 volume).
I can only play a very few classical pieces with low transfer levels above '10:30' (roughly equivalent to 45 on the 272 volume).
My Spendor SP2s are 88dB / 2.83V / 1m sensitivity; I believe the Allaes are 89dB / 2.83V / 1m sensitivity, so not a significant difference.

Huge,my hearing must be shot then...I also have a 272 with a 250dr,my speakers are 92 DB at  1 meter and 8 ohm.My normal listening level is 45 or 50 on the dial,when I have Internet radio playing as background music it is usually at 30 on the dial.When I am critical listening and a good song comes on that I want to "crank up"...I hit 60 on the dial,am i alone in this?

100% Huge re different albums,  so without an SPL number .................   

I play an DSD of Carmen Gomes Inc. "Thousand Shades of Blue" at 12 o'clock.  Its a live jazz recording & at that position I hear the room detail & atmosphere,  but even at 12 o'clock its not "too" loud.   

Whereas when I play Roger Walters 24/192kHz at 9 o'clock,  the loud & extremely dynamic bits have me running for the door, its truly scary & has me feeling sorry for the speakers.      (you need the 24-bit 2015 remaster  to hear this,  its not on vinyl or the old/original release) 

My Allaes started to make funny noises after a long loud session (volume at about 11oclock) whilst driven by my old Nap 250,it turned out that the phase plug on the right channel had started to come out.The sound was unaffected at low listening levels even though the phase plug was nearly completely out. after a search on here I found out that this is not uncommon after a prolonged loud listening session, it was easy enough to fix after i contacted Phil Harris he sent me a repair pack.

Karl 

No quarter posted:

Huge,my hearing must be shot then...I also have a 272 with a 250dr,my speakers are 92 DB at  1 meter and 8 ohm.My normal listening level is 45 or 50 on the dial,when I have Internet radio playing as background music it is usually at 30 on the dial.When I am critical listening and a good song comes on that I want to "crank up"...I hit 60 on the dial,am i alone in this?

Actually it's more likely to be age related hearing loss on my part that makes me more sensitive to loudness!

I prefer to listen at 73-76dBA(slow) with occasional brief excursions to about 80dBA(slow).
These levels are quite low by most people's standards, but they suit my ears.  However, many recent CDs with the volume at '12:00' would give well over 95dBA(slow) with peaks well in excess of 103dBA(fast).

No quarter posted:

Huge,my hearing must be shot then...I also have a 272 with a 250dr,my speakers are 92 DB at  1 meter and 8 ohm.My normal listening level is 45 or 50 on the dial,when I have Internet radio playing as background music it is usually at 30 on the dial.When I am critical listening and a good song comes on that I want to "crank up"...I hit 60 on the dial,am i alone in this?

I usually play mine at about 32, very rarely at about 45 if someone wants to listen at that volume. I'm not sure how efficient my speakers are but I think they are quite easy to drive. I've played it at 60 a couple of times but it was too loud for more than a few minutes: I worried about my ears and my neighbours, despite having a detached house and the windows shut. 

My room is quite small - 5.5m long and 3.6m wide, and I can imagine needing to turn it up in a larger space. 

Having temporary total hearing loss in my right ear following my head injury in August demonstrated in awful clarity how important hearing is, and listening to really loud music for long periods seems sort of reckless. My hearing is already quite addled from too many loud concerts in the past, and I have a steep decline above 2kHz. 

What levels different people like, and what levels the OP is achieving, are actually irrelevant to the question of the popping sound, other than whether anyone else can or can't replicate with the same speakers in a similar room. What he needs is a solution - which to me seems to be a need for different speakers, with higher acoustic output capability, e.g. through higher sensitivity and/or greater power handling capacity.

As an aside Mike-B mentioned Roger Waters - what album? I actually found the 24/192 version of Amused to Death far inferior in sound quality to the ripped CD, and only play the latter  - and yes, there are places where the music makes you jump if listened to at a moderate average level - effective isn't it? I don't run for the door, though, and I have no fear for the speakers as I know they can handle it, and more (which they get to do occasionally!) The uncanny thing with that album is the spoken voice as if someone is sitting on the sofa just left of you, even though you know the speakers are in front!

HH, very similar to the levels I use, and my room is a similar size.

Typically 28-32 for recent non-classical 35 for older recordings (I also have two excessively compressed albums that need to be set at 25).
I typically use 40 - 48 for early / baroque / classical / orchestral music.
I have the volume limit set at 50.

Huge posted:
No quarter posted:

Huge,my hearing must be shot then...I also have a 272 with a 250dr,my speakers are 92 DB at  1 meter and 8 ohm.My normal listening level is 45 or 50 on the dial,when I have Internet radio playing as background music it is usually at 30 on the dial.When I am critical listening and a good song comes on that I want to "crank up"...I hit 60 on the dial,am i alone in this?

Actually it's more likely to be age related hearing loss on my part that makes me more sensitive to loudness!

I prefer to listen at 73-76dBA(slow) with occasional brief excursions to about 80dBA(slow).
These levels are quite low by most people's standards, but they suit my ears.  However, many recent CDs with the volume at '12:00' would give well over 95dBA(slow) with peaks well in excess of 103dBA(fast).

These are the kind of listening levels I prefer also as measured with an SPL app from my listening position.

As others have noted though different CDs/WAV files produce differing levels of loudness. Also some types of music encourages the wick to be turned up, while others the opposite is true. So listening levels are rather subjective and personal.

I would say that popping, as others have said, is a sign of hardware distress. Whether that is due to a mismatch in amp and speakers, or expecting too high a spl from what is domestic HiFi (as opposed to professional PA gear), is a moot point.

I attended a dealer demo about a year ago. Playing was a Naim system with a 300DR feeding a pair of Sopra 2s. The host gave the iPad to the audience to select some music on Tidal, forgetting of course there is a volume control on the app. One member of the audience wanted to hear how the system sounded with the wick turned up. It was too loud for my taste but not unbearable. Anyway, the 300DR had had enough of this abuse and promptly shut down. Thankfully a few minutes later after of cooling off it was up and running again with the iPad safely in the hands of our host. And this from a robust 300DR feeding reasonably efficient speakers. The listening room was rather large though which might be the explanation for the thermal overload.

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