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l p

do i really need tweeters in my home speakers?

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my ears don't like high's too much. and the tweeters blow out every few years because with some of the music that i listen to, i have to turn the bass up very high on the equalizer. plus, my ears are getting old.

will i really be missing out on a lot if i do without tweeters.

thanks

 

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Doesn't sound like it. :-)

 

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Do your speakers have midrange cones?

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19 hours ago, l p said:

my ears don't like high's too much. and the tweeters blow out every few years because with some of the music that i listen to, i have to turn the bass up very high on the equalizer. plus, my ears are getting old.

will i really be missing out on a lot if i do without tweeters.

thanks

Wow. I have never blown a tweeter in my life. Typically, tweeters fry if you send a bunch of "audio mud" through them. If you're blowing your tweeters, chances are that you're asking your amplifier for way more power than it is capable of delivering cleanly. Tweeters generally present a higher impedance than the woofer, so they usually handle more power. What they don't handle well is clipping.

Do you need tweeters? Well, since you've blown them out a few times, how does the subsequent music sound to you without tweeters? If you like what it sounds like, leave the blown tweeters in there and keep enjoying what you have. If you don't like the sound, get new speakers (or tweeters).

Either way, what it sounds like you really need is a new amp. One that can deliver a lot of power into whatever load your speaker is presenting.

The other option is that your speaker's crossover circuit is damaged or failing. If the speaker is older, you may need to re-cap the crossover. Old caps fail.

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i don't have midrange cones. whenever the tweeters blow, they make crackling sound when i listen to recordings that are less than perfect sound quality. i have 2 large speakers on the floor, and 2 bookshelf speakers sitting on top of those. the bookshelf speakers are brighter sound than the floor speakers. the floor speakers haven't had tweeters for years because i got tired of replacing them. i took out the blown tweeters from the bookshelf speakers yesterday. listened to various quality recordings to test, and the overall sound seems fine to me. i don't turn up the amp very loud. up to 3 of 10 at the most on a rare occasion. i'm sure that the tweeters blow because of this -   some of the music that i listen to, i have to turn the bass up very high on the equalizer.

 

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This is one of the most bizarre stories I've read in a while.

Your bookshelf speakers are essentially midrange and tweeters, so you essentially do have mirage cones as the crossover would be set much higher on a two-way bookshelf speaker. I can't imagine not having tweeters as so much of the human voice and things like cymbals rely on them, but if you say it sounds alright, that's all that is important. 

Either way, I'm with Kevin. I think you've got a serious problem with your amp. Unless you don't have your speakers wired correctly. And if you have to crank up the EQ, then your amp may simply be underpowered as it isn't able to sufficiently replicate bass at lower volume levels. If you replace the tweeters, you may consider cutting everything above 140Hz on your EQ by 2-4dB and increasing the volume on your amp. 

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4 hours ago, l p said:

i don't have midrange cones. whenever the tweeters blow, they make crackling sound when i listen to recordings that are less than perfect sound quality. i have 2 large speakers on the floor, and 2 bookshelf speakers sitting on top of those. the bookshelf speakers are brighter sound than the floor speakers. the floor speakers haven't had tweeters for years because i got tired of replacing them. i took out the blown tweeters from the bookshelf speakers yesterday. listened to various quality recordings to test, and the overall sound seems fine to me. i don't turn up the amp very loud. up to 3 of 10 at the most on a rare occasion. i'm sure that the tweeters blow because of this -   some of the music that i listen to, i have to turn the bass up very high on the equalizer.

Thanks for the additional information but this information does add more questions...

1) How are the speakers wired? One pair to Speaker Out A and the other to Speaker Out B or did you wire them out of one output? If they are wired out of one output, are they in parallel or series?

2) Which tweeters crackled to indicate that they were blown? The little speakers on top, the big ones on the bottom or both?

3) How old are the speakers? If you have to crank up the bass so you can hear it, the woofers may need to be re-foamed or they may be blown too. As I mentioned above, the crossover circuit may need to be re-built. My buddy re-built an old pair of B&W tower speakers and after he was done, he was amazed at the change in sound.

4) What is the impedance of these speakers? 4 Ohm or 8 Ohm? If any of them are 4 Ohm and they're hooked up in parallel, either out of one output or two, the combination could be stressing your amp. Worse case (all speakers 4 Ohm hooked up in parallel) puts a 2 Ohm load across your amp output. Not many amps can drive a 2 Ohm load continuously without problems.

5) What "music" or sound do you believe is blowing your tweeters? Every piece of audio equipment is designed to reproduce any signal in the audible range. No audible signal played back at a reasonable power level should be able to blow your tweeters. If there is such a signal, I would have loved to have known this in my younger days. There were some neighbors stereo systems that I would have liked to have been able to silence with the simple gift of a certain piece of music. :)

For what it's worth, before I put anything new into this set up, I would look at the wiring. Check that your speaker wires are connected well. There have been several times I was told by someone that their system distorts at low volumes, usually clicking sounds, only to find that at the speaker wire terminals (either end) there was a single strand of speaker wire that didn't quite get into the hole and that single strand bridged across the two terminals. That one strand isn't a dead short, but it seriously messes with the whole relationship between the amp & speakers. It often results in blown speakers.

I've also seen a broken i.e. almost shorted RCA interconnect cables cause big problems during playback. Does the speaker always blow using the same music source? Consider swapping the RCA interconnect.

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the speakers are wired One pair to Speaker Out A and the other to Speaker Out B. the wiring is fine.

only the top speakers have tweeters. these actually lasted for quite a while. more than 5 years. in the bottom speakers, the tweeters were getting blown out all the time, so i stopped replacing them a long time ago. at that time, didn't have the top bookshelf speakers yet. so, as the only speakers, these were getting more strain put on them.

top speakers are about 8 years, bottom are about 15 years old.

both sets are  8 Ohm.

thanks for the input. i ordered tweeters for both sets of speakers today. 

>>>What "music" or sound do you believe is blowing your tweeters?

as an example, starting a 3:40 into the video. on my tape, for this type of recording, i would normally turn the left 1/3 of the equalizer up quite a bit to bring out the bass guitar. sometimes in conjunction with turning up the bass on the amplifier if needed.

 

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Kevin, do you still think it's a bad crossover if he's blowing tweeters in all of his speakers? I can see it in one, but all four? That doesn't make any sense as it would have to be damn near conspiratorial in nature to have four bad crossovers. 

I would have to think it's the amp. I mean, I've had stereos since the 70's. Boatloads of receivers and amps. Speakers ranging from $50 garbage Fishers, up to my current Dynaudios. Never blown a tweeter once. Ever. 

I'm guessing he can put all new crossovers in all four speakers, yet still end up with blown tweeters.

Am I missing something? 

BTW, I got kick out of your Ohm question. I had an old pair of Optimus 1's that I got from my father in-law. The tweeters had essentially disentegrated with age. So i removed them to find a suitable replacement at a local stereo shop. They were 12 Ohm! You read that right. I showed them to the cat at the shop and he said, "wow! I'm not sure I've ever seen a 12 Ohm speaker before!" 

He found me a 10 Ohm solid dome tweeter and told me to give them a try. Worked beautifully, but my amp ran a little warmer than it had before. Still ended up getting many years out of it, though. 

Edited by Scott Dolan

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17 hours ago, Scott Dolan said:

Kevin, do you still think it's a bad crossover if he's blowing tweeters in all of his speakers? I can see it in one, but all four? That doesn't make any sense as it would have to be damn near conspiratorial in nature to have four bad crossovers. 

I would have to think it's the amp. I mean, I've had stereos since the 70's. Boatloads of receivers and amps. Speakers ranging from $50 garbage Fishers, up to my current Dynaudios. Never blown a tweeter once. Ever. 

I'm guessing he can put all new crossovers in all four speakers, yet still end up with blown tweeters.

Am I missing something? 

BTW, I got kick out of your Ohm question. I had an old pair of Optimus 1's that I got from my father in-law. The tweeters had essentially disentegrated with age. So i removed them to find a suitable replacement at a local stereo shop. They were 12 Ohm! You read that right. I showed them to the cat at the shop and he said, "wow! I'm not sure I've ever seen a 12 Ohm speaker before!" 

He found me a 10 Ohm solid dome tweeter and told me to give them a try. Worked beautifully, but my amp ran a little warmer than it had before. Still ended up getting many years out of it, though. 

I didn't mean to imply that a failing crossover is the culprit here. I agree that it is probably his amp. i was just pointing out a possible speaker problem that could be affecting his amp. His amp might be fine until he hooks up speakers with messed up crossovers.

I also agree that if he puts new tweeters into his existing setup, he's probably just going to blow them again if everything stays the same, which is why I listed some things to check before doing that. Something has to be causing those tweeters to fail. Personally, i would replace the amp and carefully check the speakers (both internally & externally) as well as the speaker wires and interconnects before cranking it up again.

About tweeter resistance... I think most speaker's impedance is measured ~400 Hz, well below the tweeter's operating frequency, so the tweeter's resistance is not usually anywhere near the speaker's rated impedance. I was under the impression that most tweeters run up around 12 Ohms of resistance. A tweeter's impedance can be as high as 40 Ohms at higher frequencies. The voice coil of a tweeter is several winds of very fine wire which will have more resistance than a low frequency driver.

Besides, the impedance a tweeter presents to the amp is not the tweeter by itself. It's the tweeter hanging off of the crossover. This circuit combines to present the load to the amp. FWIW, this is why I would never run my amps into a blown speaker or a speaker missing drivers (like tweeters). Without all of the drivers or damaged drivers, who knows what load that speaker is presenting to the amp? Believe me, I've seen more than one amp fried after a speaker blew. It's usually accompanied by horrible-smelling smoke. :)

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OK, because this is more in your wheelhouse than mine, I have to ask: how would a bad crossover in a speaker effect an amp? And I mean this respectfully, because I find this subject fascinating. 

If a crossover cuts off at such and such Hz, isn't that where it ends? Does that change the load value? In other words, it's not like it's sending anything back to the amp at that point, right?

Or wrong? 

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1 hour ago, Scott Dolan said:

OK, because this is more in your wheelhouse than mine, I have to ask: how would a bad crossover in a speaker effect an amp? And I mean this respectfully, because I find this subject fascinating. 

If a crossover cuts off at such and such Hz, isn't that where it ends? Does that change the load value? In other words, it's not like it's sending anything back to the amp at that point, right?

Or wrong? 

Usually what fails in a crossover is the caps. When they fail, not only does the capacitance change, which changes the cut-off frequencies of the crossover, it usually adds DC resistance. No matter the use in the crossover (shunt or series), added resistance could affect the load being presented to the amp. Not always, but usually. In a bad cap failure, you could see a short in that cap, and that would likely wreak havoc with your amp, especially if it's a shunt element.

When my friend rebuilt the crossovers in his B&W speakers, he found that the old caps were very resistive and the capacitance was way off. When he swapped them out, he was amazed at how much better they sounded.

I don't think that's what's going on here, but it's easy to check by Ohm-ing out the speaker terminals to see if there's a high resistance or a short.

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Incredibly interesting! Thanks for taking the time to explain that, Kevin. I had no idea that a bad crossover could potentially raise resistance.

I agree with you that that isn't what's going on here, but what is is anyone's guess. It's definitely a very bizarre case. 

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i took Kevin's advice. i replaced the speakers with used cerwin vega RL-18P. they're in great shape. these are supposedly from when they were still making good speakers before being sold to japan. forums on the web say that cerwin vega speakers take extra care in protecting their tweeters from blowing. the forums also say that cerwin vega speakers are unnecessarily loud, and the sound is not as detailed as people prefer. i've been listening to them for a week, and for my type of listening they seem satisfactory. although i haven't yet played music for which i needed to crank up the bass. my amp is harman kardon. 

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I forgot about his thread... it started back when my mother-in-law died so I'm glad it was resurrected.

It's good to hear that you go new speakers rather than continue to play speakers with a blown tweeter. I hope this fixes your problem. As I said earlier, if you have another problem, it's definitely time for a new amp though. :)

Kevin

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