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Dsmash
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Will using an Amp with a dynamic power per channel greater than what a speaker is rated for damage the speaker?

I just received my Elac Uni-Fi UB5 speakers, which are 4ohm speakers. My understanding is that they are compatible with an amp that has between 40-140 watts per channel at 4 ohms.

I've ordered an amp that meets the wattage requirement, but it won't be arriving for another week. Since my speakers are already here, I'm pretty excited to try them. My friend has a Yamaha RX-V379 receiver and offered to let me try my new speakers with it, but I'm concerned that it might damage my speakers. The specs for the Yamaha amp says that they have Dynamic Power per channel of 160W at 4 ohms. This is 20 above the top end of the 40-140 watt range for the Uni-Fi UB5 speakers

Will the Yamaha amp damage the speakers, even if I don't go to full volume? Or is it safe to try it out?

Also, what do I need to do to properly break in the speakers?

Edit: I just read the amp manual and it says that it has settings for 8 ohms and 6 ohms. Didn't see 4 ohms. Does that mean I can't use it?

Bodhi
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Yammy

Dsmash, your Elacs are rated at 85db @4 ohms with a 3.4 ohm floor which means they have low efficiency and sensitivity, meaning they're a fairly tough load. I know a guy who was running a 200 watt amp with his Kef LS50's with no issues whatsoever, and the LS50's are much more efficient.

Dynamic (or peak) power specs describe the maximum power which can be delivered momentarily, such as on a complex Orchestral crescendo. When speaker manufacturers quote recommended amplifier power specs, they're using RMS power, not peak power specs as a reference. And that Yammy receiver is probably only putting out 100 watts rms @4 ohms. Hence based on your Elac's load, you wont have any issues with over-powering your speakers. However there is a danger if you under power loudspeakers they can go into clipping which can damage the speaker. Generally, it is far more likely you will damage your speakers by under-powering them rather than over-powering them. These articles offer more insight on the subject -

https://www.galaxyaudio.com/education/amps-impeadance-and-speakers
https://www.galaxyaudio.com/education/efficiency-vs-sensitivity

Re: your question about speaker break in, the actual break in period can vary from speaker to speaker. I own Magico S5 Mk2's which perhaps due to their 10" long-throw bass drivers & big x-over caps need 400-500hrs to be mostly run in, and up to 700hrs to be fully run in. Though they're more of an exception. Bookshelf speakers like your Elacs should be fully run in by 300hrs.

To run in your speakers, all you need to do is play music or watch dvd's at normal listening levels. That said, whilst manufacturers like Magico recommend against using burn in cd's, I used the PAD Luminist System Enhancer cd to accelerate the burn in process. In addition, PAD also claim their cd improves the burn in process beyond what can be achieved by playing a normal signal from cd's/lp's alone.

Re: the Yammy's settings for 8 and 6 ohms, they may just be quoting specs for 8 and 6 ohms where the amp is happiest. That's not to say it can't drive a 4 ohm load however (as shown by the specs for Dynamic power). If you're in doubt, maybe ask a Yamaha dealer or email Yahama directly. Hope that helps!

Dsmash
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Bodhi, thank you for the

Bodhi, thank you for the detailed reply. As an audio noob, I really appreciate it.

So just to be clear, as you mention the greater risk is clipping from under powering the speakers. Does that mean that I should make sure the volume is never turned down too low when I'm using the Yamaha?

Thanks for bearing with all my basic questions!

Bodhi
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To clarify

You're welcome. In regard to amps which could cause your Elacs to go into clipping, I was thinking more of low powered tube and solid state amps. Ideally you'd want a high current solid state amp with atleast 100 watts @8 ohms which doubles down to 2 ohms.

With the Yammy, there would be no issue listening at low volume levels. If anything, I would maybe avoid trying to push for 100db SPL's (which you can check with one of these - https://www.jaycar.com.au/pro-sound-level-meter-with-calibrator/p/QM1592). The Yammy will be working and not absolutely ideal, but should tide you over fine until you get your new amp.

Also fyi, clipping is a form of waveform distortion that occurs when an amplifier is overdriven and attempts to deliver an output voltage or current beyond its maximum capability. This produces a wild wave form and can produce high frequency harmonics which can fry the drivers and x-overs due to overheating. Hope that helps!

mtymous1
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Cleanliness

An additional comment to Bodhi's insightfulness: low, dirty power is more harmful to speakers than high, clean power.

Dsmash
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Thank you all. This has been

Thank you all. This has been very helpful!

Bodhi
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Dsmash wrote:
Dsmash wrote:

Thank you all. This has been very helpful!

No worries! I'm curious to ask which amp you're pairing with your Elacs?

Dsmash
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I'm getting the ELAC Element

I'm getting the ELAC Element Series Integrated Amplifier, Silver (EA101EQ-G).

Bodhi
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Dsmash wrote:
Dsmash wrote:

I'm getting the ELAC Element Series Integrated Amplifier, Silver (EA101EQ-G).

Certainly on paper that amp doesn't put out a lot of power, though the Sound & Vision review mentioned it remained stable into a more challenging 4 ohm load. And i'd expect Elac would have designed that amp to be able to adequately drive all their passive bookshelf speakers, so it should get the job done. Enjoy your new toys in good health!

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