Still confused about clipping after reading all the articles.


From what I read, I understand what’s happening when the amp is clipping and the subsequent square wave form that could cause heat issues for voice coils. What I don’t understand is why would an amp allow itself to consume more power than it could handle in the first place.

1. More specifically, in the integrated amp scenario (amp with a volume control), let’s say you’re using a max power 80w integrated amp to drive a 87db@1w@1m speaker, if you turn up the volume on that amp, would it just max out at roughly the speaker playing 105db and it would not go louder - how could clipping happen then? Meaning the integrated amp should not throw a signal at itself stronger than it could handle?

2. For stand alone amp, I get that the input signal is not really under control of the amp and is more or less fed by the preamp so clipping could happen when the pre-amp is throwing big signals, but why wouldn’t the amp try to reject the signal the moment it senses clipping to protect the speaker?

3. Another related confusion is, how is it possible that sometimes I see powered active speakers blown because it’s trying to play too loud? Would it be true that the amp in those active speaker should always be designed to operate within the limit of its power handling? Could active speakers (say your Macbook speaker or iPhone speaker) enter clipping? I’ve never seen blown MacBook speakers even though people play at max volume all the time.

4. Could the source material itself be encoded to cause clipping? Let’s say a malicious sound mixer create a song with super quite music to force listener to turn the volume all the way up, but then there is a sudden loud noise encoded, would this push the amp into clipping?

5. Lastly, let’s say a speaker can handle 150w of power, and the speaker amp can output a maximum of 150w of power, even if the amp clips, does it mean it won’t damage the speaker? Could amp that’s rated at 150w per channel deliver much more than 150w in transient?

I might completely misunderstand some concepts here. But want to get some clarity.

bwang29
+3 what millercarbon said
The above referenced commentary by DeVore is not about a " lie " but about how manufacturers juggle terms (intentional misdirection ???) that could be misleading for important Sensitivity / Efficiency figures, otherwise useful information for easy evaluation of a product.
DeVore relates to a period before " Watts is Cheap " became a driving theme.
This is little more than a natural evolution / development of play back gear.
@cd318, I think the video that you want is: How Speakers Work-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fFFys-vv8g


 
First off Guys I am hesitant to get into this discussion because I won't be p/o of a back and forth argument.  However, in the interest of clarity, I refer you to this link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipping_(audio) .   
It provides a pretty good definition of audio clipping.  I don't agree with it entirely, as it over simplifies for non engineers, but it is essentially correct.  I would only add that  my professors would say something like this:  now a good engineering design will prevent this from happening, or at least prevent damage to the equipment.  Hope this helps ALCON.
Even if amplifier can deliver to speaker peak voltage equivalent to rated peak power only (no headroom) overdriving amplifier still delivers more power to speaker. It is because signal that resembled sinewave (Pavg = 0.5Ppeak) is changing to square wave (Pavg=Ppeak). Heat dissipated in speaker coil is equal to this average power (Pavg). In addition tweeters are not designed to handle huge power (small size), because there is no need for that, since high frequencies carry very little energy. Square wave of overdriven output has big high frequency energy (harmonic content) and is likely to overheat tweeter. Tweeter is the one that usually fails first. Many amps provide "Soft clipping". NAD was the one that I remember. Also some, if not all Icepower class D amps do that.
Yes, it is possible to created malicious recording, but you should be watching your gain settings (volume knob position) - otherwise you can play unknown music that appears to be very quiet, but then you get full symphony orchestra blast over the limit. It is also technically possible to create recording containing very high levels of 20kHz that might overheat any tweeter silently, but I wouldn’t expect the worst everywhere.
Clipping happens when you drive a transistor to a point where it wants to swing to a voltage higher than what your power supply can provide. It happens when you drive the amp with too much input signal.

It has NOTHING to do with how many watts your speaker can handle. You can literally instantly DESTROY a 500 watt speaker with a 10 watt badly designed amplifier with no clip protection, if it clips. That is because you are sending DC to the speaker and they absolutely hate that.

It is ALWAYS safer to use a higher power amplifier on a speaker but ALWAYS MUCH MORE dangerous to use an amplifier which is under powered for a speaker, especially if the amplifier has no anti clip circuitry.