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Fun with Dyn's


Well-Known Member
Well, yesterday my daughter and I had the house to ourselves so we had some fun and tested out the Dyns in their new room. Many songs were played, but the one that made her laugh was the 1812 Overture (Telarc) SACD. We had it fairly high, and when the cannons go off at the end...for the first time, the clipping lights were triggered on the ATI 1802 amp. I had never seen them activated before.

I was a little concerned afterwards, being I hadn't seen the clip lights go off previously, but I don't think any damage was done. My main concern was the surrounds as the cannons go off on those and they are powered only by the Rotel receiver.

Anyway, First time I listened to that song at that level and the cannons, definitely, get your attention.
The opto-coupler clipping circuit on some ATI amps sometimes over reacts and shows "clipping" where there actually is none. These circuits are pretty simple and do not measure distortion (clipping) directly, but instead trigger when a certain voltage is exceeded in parts of the circuit which is not the output stage. The clipping lights on some amps do in fact measure distortion from errors in the feedback loop, but ATI does not use this method.

Also, keep in mind that just because a "clipped" wave may reach one of your speaker drivers, that is not an automatic death sentence. It is the sustained application of clipped signals which does damage through heating of the tweeter's voice coil; the clipped waveform itself doesn't do the damage, but long exposure is what does.

A lot of music signals, especially synthesizer music, contains "clipped" waveforms in the form of square waves (or modified square waves). The clarinet is an instrument which creates a square wave like signal naturally. In fact when trying to create a clarinet type sound, the first thing reached for is a square wave which is then modified.

I wouldn't worry.