How does a speaker blow out?

I don't understand how a speaker "blows" if the wattage of the amplifier is less than the upper limit of the speaker's limit.  Then again, I guess I don't really understand what "clipping" is.  The amp is 22w, I was listening at a moderately high level, there was a bass heavy section in the music, and then I heard the most painful noise coming from one the of woofers.  Sad.

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xmikedc

Power and speaker quality are what you need

i have a Krell 700fpbcx puts out 700 watts crystal clear sound 👩‍⚕️ paired with a set of B&W 801 series 2 these were used in most recording studios until the nautilus

line came out I could rattle the windows in the house

but this is just a good example of a high quality power amp matched with speakers that can handle the power

@mikedc -

       When you heard that painful woofer sound, during the organ music, was your source vinyl?

        Asking because: subsonics, caused by stylus travel (ie: record warp, arm/cart resonance, etc) will often cause woofer over-travel and damage, in a vented system.

                                       How old is your amp?

       Asking because: power supply filter caps (if one has gone South/leaked electrolyte) can cause noises that simulate a woofer malfunction*, at anything above low volume.      

                            *Especially on heavy Bass notes.


Speakers are approximately 15 years old and this has happened before and I have replaced the woofers.

If in fact the woofer is the culprit, I would definitely call Bill at Millersound

Millersound Speaker Refoaming, Speaker Reconing and Repair Services

and have him repair it. They are top notch.


@mikedc -

                               A test* (if you haven't already):

      *IF your problem/distortion only arises in one channel/woofer: swap your speaker systems to see if it follows the driver.                                   

                                 If not: it's probably the amp.


"Speakers are approximately 15 years old and this has happened before and I have replaced the woofers."

It appears that you may not be getting what you want/need out of the current setup? Woofers typically last 30+ years, so they do not appear to be having a good time with what is being presented to them.

There are numerous remedies here. For one, you might consider a subwoofer to help with the low end. You can accomplish this with a compact unit that does not become an additional piece of furniture in your room to deal with. I wasn’t able to locate specs on your speakers (I tried), but remember the "3db down point" at the extremes translates into half the energy being produced at that frequency. So, say your speakers are -3db @ 45Hz that means at 45Hz you’re getting half the energy that you are getting from the "average" SPL leaving the speaker at other frequencies. So, dialing in a subwoofer @ 45Hz will flatten the response at that frequency and add atleast another octave to the usable bottom end. Also, it’s good to note that if your woofers are trying really hard to pump out the lowest pipe organ notes at, say, 22Hz the woofer is moving twice as far as it does at 45Hz (attempting) to produce the same volume of sound. This doubles the distortion at that frequency and also could "exercise" the woofer well beyond it’s comfort zone.

A little hifi trivia:

Back in the early days of the Bose 901s, they were rated at 270 watts, That’s 30 watt drivers x 9. The problem was that 10wpc receivers were blowing them up. So, Bose revised their minimum power rating to (if memory serves me correctly) 50 wpc.