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At its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition was to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless, independent of the observer and can be replicated. However, we live in new world in which objective facts have become flexible, personal and debatable. HUG operates in that real world, and that has now been reflected in the structure of HUG.

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Speaker excursion limiting

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  • Speaker excursion limiting

    Desr Harbethians,

    Since a own a pair of P3 ESR speakers I wonder if these speakers offer any protection against clipping? Or is this a non issue and are they capably of handling sudden outburst of high output voltage or current beyond its maximum capability?

  • #2
    Speakers and amps working flat-out

    Originally posted by fred40 View Post
    are they capably of handling sudden outburst of high output voltage or current beyond its maximum capability?
    There are actually 2 questions in your query imo. Clipping is a different issue from this, although it may be related.

    Most speakers do not offer any adequate protection against clipping. Some amplifiers claim to offer protection against clipping. Either way it is an issue, in fact a serious one. Clipping occurs when the voltage rails in your amp cannot meet the requirements of the output stages of your amp*. When this happens, on a waveform, itíll look like the peaks are clipped off on one portion of the signal meaning asymmetry. In short your amp has gone DC (it no longer has the pistonic pattern) causing extreme cone excursion + heat in certain parts. If this unwanted pattern occurs, it will destroy your P3ESRís. The first signs may be distortion from your speakers when your amp can no longer cope, so turn it down. buying a more suitable amp to suit your listening style may be worthwhile exploring if it always distorts (because its too loud).

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    • #3
      "Power handling? Adequate sir".

      Originally posted by kittykat View Post
      ...Most speakers do not offer any adequate protection against clipping. Some amplifiers claim to offer protection against clipping...The first signs may be distortion from your speakers when your amp can no longer cope, so turn it down. buying a more suitable amp to suit your listening style may be worthwhile exploring if it always distorts (because its too loud).
      In updating the Harbeth Spares Matrix today I enquired about the call for spare parts for the P3ESR, in production for twenty three months. We are not aware of even one part being required. So although the power handling capacity of a small speaker is inevitably limited (by physics) the reality is that the power handling is adequate. Adequate for our customers and the use that they put the speaker to.
      Alan A. Shaw
      Designer, owner
      Harbeth Audio UK

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      • #4
        A little gentle head-banging .... but be sensible!

        You need to be sensible with volume levels and turn down the amp a notch or two if audible distortion occurs. This can happen with all/any speakers whether large or small. If a little care is taken, you are unlikely to ever cause any damage.

        I have been demonstrating speakers for decades now and have never been responsible for any over-driven speakers or damaged speakers even though the matching amps are often many times more powerful than the speaker specification recommends. Indeed, it is often stated that a low powered amp is more likely to cause damage when over-driven than a powerful amp.

        I often drive the P3ESR's to quite high volume levels and they never show any signs of distress. I doubt there would ever be a problem under normal domestic conditions, even when going in for a little gentle 'head banging'.

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