W4S ST-1000, How Loud Should It Play?

Using a W4S DAC-2 as a pre-amp and Dynaudio S1.4 speakers I recently turned up the volume to almost maximum (65 on a scale of 70 on the DAC-2. Granted, the sound was loud but this is a 570W at 8 Ohm amplifier driving 6 Ohm speakers. I would think that my ears should have been bleeding at this level. Am I missing something?
Hearing.... ?

Seriously though, a good preamp could change your game, and provide more gain, resulting in more loudness (and music too)
You should email Wyred. The ST 1000 has a low (or high depending on how you look at it) sensitivity of 2.9V which basically means it needs 2.9V to get to full power. The DAC-2 has a max output of greater than 5V. So there is something going on there. I own the STP SE and a pair of SX 500 powering some large floor standers and I don't go past 35 on my dial.
I note here that the speakers are 4 ohms, not 6, and have a rated sensitivity of 85db/2.83V/1m. That is only 82db/1W/1m, which is quite low.

Also, the manual indicates that the long-term power handling capability of the speakers is 170W. I wouldn't run them at close to the maximum volume control setting for very long, if at all.

According to my calculations, with a 170 watt input and at a 10 foot listening distance the two speakers would produce a sound pressure level of about 97.6db, neglecting room effects. Loud, but not probably not ear-bleeding, depending on the music.

-- Al
IF Wyred is like similar Icepower amps I am familiar with, you could be going louder than it seems by listening due to the highly transparent and non fatiguing nature of the amp.

Ear bleeding is not a good thing. I find it hard to make my ears bleed with my Icepower amps but they do go quite loud, louder than is immediately apparent, and anything I had prior that could reach seemingly ear bleeding levels.

It could be a case of more favorable harmonics to go loud without fatigue with the Icepower amps.

Try talking at a normal level while playing and see if you are able to hear your voice as well as you might expect.
I feel something similar.....I have an STI 500, sometimes I find myself listening to music at about 30 on the dial (which I notice is very loud when my S.O. comes to speak to me and can hear a thing....), on the other hand the amp will go to about 50 on the dial without distortion and the sound is "club" like, so I dont know....this one is rated at 250 @ 8 ohms so yours should really rock at high volume.....FYI, I am using the balanced inputs on my amp, and the RCA inputs give lower sound in my case (I have a CD player which has both outputs) but I cant say for certain if the output have more voltage or if the inputs have different gain.
I'm thinking you are not able to drive them to full power. It's a common problem with ICE amps. Call W4S and see what they say.
ICE amps......virtually all the ASP module amps are strictly time limited at full power.
The Wyred amps are near-clones of the PSAudio offerings of a few years ago.


NOTE: the 15 seconds at max power and the fairly low FTC power rating, which is 'continuous' per FTC testing procedure.

If you require, as average power, more than the amp is capable of, you may simply need to upgrade to something with more......real power....
Perhaps Bryston or Pass?
I own a 'd' amp, so I'm user. At 90db output to my listening position about 11' from the speakers, I measure about 20v to my Magnepans. The peaks must be much higher, but I don't have a scope or peak capture meter.
Interesting points, Magfan. I note, though, that the FTC power rating shown at the link you provided for the Icepower module is based on the assumption of no external heat-sinking. I'd imagine the rating would be significantly higher if the module were in a well-designed amplifier housing. And anyway, if he were exceeding whatever the amplifier's limit is I would think he would be hearing obvious clipping distortion.

In this case, along the lines of my earlier comment I think the OP may simply be expecting too much of the speaker, in terms of maximum volume. I suspect that the root cause of the problem is simply that it is a small speaker having low sensitivity. And adding more power and/or more gain would just add to the risk that it will be damaged, especially given that it is a 2-way speaker having a first order crossover.

I should add that the calculation I presented earlier for maximum continuously attainable volume is overly optimistic, because it doesn't take into account a phenomenon called "dynamic compression," which (among other things) causes sensitivity to decrease when voicecoils reach high temperatures, as a result of having to handle excessively high power levels.

-- Al
Right you are. And from a personal standpoint, I simply NEVER play my panels loud enough to get 'slap', what panels do when they bottom out.

You also bring up one of the really big differences between commerial sound gear and home audio. Professional sound reinforcment speakers can take the kind of pounding which reduces home speakers to junk.

My ICE amp never gets more than warm to the touch. More a tribute to my moderate habits than any inherent high efficiency. A couple kilos of heat sink would probably really help the FTC power.
Perhaps the DAC has some sort of safety volume limiting feature enabled.

I'm sure the 5V output rating for the DAC-2 is the sum of the balanced legs. I suspect the 2.9V sensitivity for the amp is per leg as well when using the balanced connections. (Kudos to W4S for the sensible sensitivity rating.) Still, I'd expect 2.6V/leg into that amp to drive those speakers way beyond their power handling capability.
when i first acquired my ice power amps, and listened for the first time, i was totally disoriented compared to my prior well reviewed amp, a mf a3cr. i turned up the volume and little seemed to happen other than the music seemed to expand but only seemed slightly louder, similar to what is often described with better tube amps. icepower seems similar to tube amps in regards to how they go louder. its a very good thing actually. i doubt i could find many amps out there capable of driving my ohm 5s to the max like ymy 500w/ch icepower amps do. granted the bc's have a beefed up power supply compared to wyred but most reviews i have read leave me to believe the 2 sound more alike than not.
Are you running balanced or single ended cables?
Almarg- Thanks for correcting the impedance. I'm looking at this a little differently. I'm thinking a 170W speaker should be at maximum power at well less than half volume level.
Ciphercomplete- Thanks for that info. And I think you hit the nail on the head. The 5V output should be driving the amp to full output well before maximum volume.
Mapman-I tried talking at normal volume levels and had no problem hearing.
Demianm- I agree. My amp should be playing louder.
Mafgan- I'm not looking for more volume, I'm just wondering why it's not there.
Daverz- I don't think there's a limiting feature anywhere. When I talked to W4S they didn't mention any.
Mapman- That might be part of it but I don't think it explains all of the discrepancy.
Face- I have balanced cables from W4S.

I took Russ69's advice and called W4S. I got kind of a conflicting answer. On the one hand the guy I talked to has the exact same set-up with speakers of similar sensitivity and he also has to turn his pre-amp up quite a bit to play loud. But on the other hand, he agrees that the 5V pre-amp output should easily overdrive the amp. So I am back at square one. Well, almost. Thanks to all of your help I have a better handle on what's going on. So thanks to everyone who took the time to respond.
is there a high/low gain setting on the preamp? How about the amps, do they have a high or low power setting?

When I tried some Crown amps as an experiment on my system, they were rated at 300watts per channel and 600 watts bridged. They did not seem that much louder than the tube amps I was using previously.

Steve, thanks for the update. Some basic questions: What is your source component? If it is a computer-based source, are you sure that there isn't a software volume control in the path? And have you tried a variety of material at the 65 setting, to be sure that the issue isn't simply due to the particular recordings having been mastered with peaks that are significantly below maximum, and/or to the particular recordings having a high ratio of peak volume to average volume?

-- Al
When I ran a DAC-2 into a ST-500, my volume was usually in the 50+ range if I wanted to listen loud. The speakers used at the time are about 83dB. I fixed it by adding a STP-SE, and it improved the SQ too. ;)
Here's what I found in a review at 6 moonts:

"When the minimum level for the corresponding input is set to 5, the maximum level will be 65. Basically the min level is the amount of steps skipped in the first position. When used, the min level is subtracted from the 70 possible steps total. With an inefficient system requiring a volume level of 12 to hear anything, a min level of 10 removes steps 1-10 and max equals 60. The volume table offers from 3db to 1dB steps as follows: 0 = mute; steps 1-9 = 3dB; steps 10-24 = 2dB; steps 25-70 = 1dB. In terms of output voltage on RCA when min is set to 0, 62 = 1V, 68 = 2V. For XLR, the 1, 2, 3 and 4V out equivalents are 56, 62, 65 and 68. These will be the values to use in fixed output mode when 70 max at 2.6/5.2V on RCA/XLR is too high for either the following preamp's input stage or a system's overall gain structure."

Ice amp's may show good numbers when it comes to watts but they are very low current , many speakers require current to bring them to life .
I tried a friends Bel Canto Ref1000m's with a power rating of 500w at 8ohm and 1kw at 4 ohm , they produced much lower volume levels than my 200w at 8 ohm A/B designed Levinson amp . The lack of control was also very apparent on my mid efficient ( 87db ) Salon's .
That being said I would still try a friends preamp in your system before giving up on your present power amp .
"I tried a friends Bel Canto Ref1000m's with a power rating of 500w at 8ohm and 1kw at 4 ohm , they produced much lower volume levels than my 200w at 8 ohm A/B designed Levinson amp ."

Was volume level determined just by listening?

Try it again with a sound level meter and see what that says.

I thought the same of the BC ref100ms when I first heard them in contrast to teh more conventional 120w/ch Musical Fidelity A3CR I had prior. It was totally disorienting compared to what I hard prior in taht the sound is totally different, more dimensional and fewer loudness cues it seems, more like how a well designed tube amp would go loud than any Class A/B amps I could compare with.

Also, damping factor is very high and the control and detail was and remains absolute and vice like with my fairly large, power and current hungry OHM 5s, which these were acquired specifically for again once you get used the expanded and radically different 3-dimensional soundstage presented that this occurs within.

I suspect Class D amps have lower current delivery requirements to produce results similar to higher current class A or Class A/B amps due to their switching nature that is the basis of their efficiency in comparison to Class A/B. ANother benefit of this in addition to efficient usageof availble power is the amazingly small size possible with Class D switching technology compared to other less efficient designs.

In regards to sound quality alone (as opposed to energy efficiency and associated total cost of ownership), I probably would not recommend the BC or similar Icepower amps as strongly for speakers that do not benefit from high damping factors like the OHM Walshes do.

FWIW the BCs do work very well with my small Dynaudio Contour 1.3mkII monitors as well, although these are also known I think to like power, current and damping though to a lesser degree than my large OHM Walshes.

A funny story on this topic. The other morn, I had the big OHMS cranking off the BC amps in my larger basement listening room with the sliding glass door behind them paritally open. I was listening in teh room comfortably with no signs of sonic stress or fatigue. MY wife came down and reported that she could hear the music over a block away and from the direction opposite the open door when she was returning from walking the dog ( I had to mute the sound to be able to hear her talk next to me however). I don't think I would have ever been able to handle the volumes I like to listen at when the music calls for it these days for long with any of my prior amps that were also capable of going quite loud. The BCs go as loud as I suspect most anyone would ever need with most any speakers in most any room and have yet to EVER show any indications of breaking a sweat. Most impressive, especially when you soak in how tiny those boxes are!