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Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies

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Author Topic: What causes speaker distortion?  (Read 29244 times)
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« on: September 27, 2006, 08:46:03 am »

I hesitated in asking this...I usually ask such silly questions...but I couldn't really find an answer online and figured you all would know.  What causes speaker distortion?  Is it because of low quality speakers, or low output/wattage and too loud sounds for that particular speaker or system?  Is it typical to try to find the balance (ie fiddle with the controls) where you can hear dialogue/quiet sounds clearly and loud sounds without any distortion?  My husband has Bose speakers attached to our sound system, tv, etc in the house, and I have never heard distortion there....Just wondering...
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2006, 09:20:20 am »

Normally if you turn the volume up too far is when they start to get really distorted.  But the stronger speakesr you have, the higher they can go before that starts.  That's one reason to get good speakers.  And also don't have a mix like a weak center and really good main speakers or you'll have to crank up the center more which might distort it more to try to make them similar.

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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2006, 10:00:45 am »

Rt -

what lelemvor says is true. But I think you are using an RCA HTib? Those speakers are all matched and should work fine for you. I use mine outside all the time and they are fine. I can turn up the volume to max and they do not distort (or blow) becasue they are mtached to the rating of the amp. I DID have to fiddle around with the individual settings. And I did have one HUGE embarassement.

Last summer I took my setup to my inlaws (in Wisconsin) and when I went to set up the sound it was getting dark. When I started the movie, you could hardly hear anything and it was all static-y and a just plain mess. I was really upset because it worked GREAT at home and I had 25 people sitting there while I tried to fix it. Turns out I had missed wired really bad. I had the "-" from one speaker plugged into a different speaker's  "-". I had a front and rear backwards, it was just a total mess. The next day I took about an hour and labled all the wires, hooked it up again that night and it worked GREAT!

So, make sure you are not mis-wired! In my RCA HtiB, all off the speakers are color-coded. I think that if you bought a new one, it should have color coded wire too. I bought mine at CC from the "as is" table and it didn't have the wires, or remote so I had to label mine. I think you said your wires were attached to the speaker buit thath you wanted to add wire. Just label the new wire ends and you should be fine.  Since then, I have created a garden hose "snake" for the wiring (two actually) and I burned a setup disk that contains an audio setup (from AVIA, I think - available SOMEWHERE in one of the threads here) and all of the Dolby trailers I could find. After I set up everything, I run the setup disk to make sure all the speakers are working and then the trailers start playing and I can get a true sense of the sound and be sure that the projector is working too!

Good luck!
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2006, 10:06:10 am »

Few answers to you question.

What causes speaker distortion?  Is it because of low quality speakers

Not necsarily.  You can have cheap speakers and not distort if every thing else is right.  They may not sound clear or strong or maybe not last long but just becuase they are cheap does not mena they will distort.

low output/wattage

yes it could be this too.  If you amp is not sending enough of a signal then it could sound distorted

too loud sounds for that particular speaker or system?

This is usually the case. especially if they are new speakers and you tend to blast them.  Check how much power your speaker can handle usually on the back side of the speaker and then check how much power your amp is putting out  per channel. 

One other cause,:

Broken speakers.  If both are distorting then it MAY not be this but I would rule it out before trying every thing else.  ( a quick way i test speakers -passive speakers or without a built in amp- is to unplug the speaker from the receiver/amp and touch each wire to a 9v battery one wire per pole.  if you have a 2 way speaker -tweeter/horn and bass then you should hear two sounds a high tone click and a low tone click or thumping.  if you do not hear either of these then one is broken and causing distortion)  If they are broken and good speakers then you can probaly get them re-coned or just purchase a new speaker (the broken part) and replace.  Most speakers can be easly replaced just by using a screwdriver.

Just read the post that was posted as i was typing and I echo the CHECK all your wiring first.  and if you bought the whole set up together then disregard the the amp might be putting out more that the speakers can handle.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2006, 10:09:55 am by aleuni » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2006, 02:16:03 pm »

Also, if you've spliced anything double check your connection as it may be loose or touching.  I ran into this about a week ago, traced the wires, and found where I had missed taping up a splice and the wires were touching causing great distirtion.


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