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Protecting NS10s and other monitos

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Protecting NS10s and other monitos

Postby delite1 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:04 pm

Hi Forum,

I have recently replaced my NS10 tweeters again. I have blown the bass drivers and the tweeters many times. The flat original tweeters are almost impossible to find. I have heard about people using in-line fuses to protect their monitors.

Do you know,

1) If this is sensible?

and if it is

2) What rating of fuses are used?
3) Where in-line the fuses should be placed?
4) Can this solution be used for other brands too?


As always any help is greatly appreciated.
Many Thanks,

Billy
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Re: Protecting NS10s and other monitos

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:25 pm

delite1 wrote:1) If this is sensible?


Not really.

The NS10 is not designed to generate massive SPLs. The NS10 is a useful auditioning and mixing tool, but not if you like to rock loudly with your music.

The much better approach would be to acquire some self-discipline and only use the NS10s at sensible levels. If you can't or wont, sell the NS10s and buy something more appropriate.

There is another possible factor beside sheer volume that is causing the demise of your tweeters, and that's the amp you're using them with. Small, underpowered amps will destroy NS10s much more readily than big beefy amps with plenty of clean headroom. I know of several people driving NS10s with Bryston 4Bs, for example, without any issues at all. Others, who have used weedy 50W jobs in the mistaken belief that they are protecting their speakers by only having a limited power on tap, go through tweeters quite regularly. The reason is that power amplifier clipping destroys tweeters faster than you can blink!

Besides the amp power rating and self-discipline issues, installing fuses will change the sound character slightly because of thermal resistance change effects, and still won't guarantee the safety of your tweeters. So I really wouldn't recommend this as a solution. You need to address the cause of the problem.

2) What rating of fuses are used?


It's a case of suck it and see, but fast acting 0.5A or 0.75A fuse ratings for the tweeter seem to be the most commonly used by others who have travelled this road. Some go as high as 1A. I don't give any warranties on whether or not those values are appropriate.

3) Where in-line the fuses should be placed?


In general, tweeter protection fuses are placed between the internal passive crossover HF output and the tweeter's +ve terminal. Some also put a protective fuse on the woofer feed too -- between 1.5A and 2A ratings, typically.

I've also seen a fuse wired into the +ve speaker line between amp and NS10 rear terminal. However, this is a daft idea, as it can't possibly protect the tweeter adequately without starving the woofer... and it will reduce the amplifier damping to boot. So don't do that!

4) Can this solution be used for other brands too?


Yes, in theory, but I still wouldn't recommend it.

Lots of leading engineers and producers, as well as countless enthusiastic amateurs use NS10s routinely. Very few destroy tweeters regularly. Perhaps you should ponder the reasons why you are so unlucky... especially given the increasing cost and rarity of replacement drivers. ;)

H
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Re: Protecting NS10s and other monitos

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:31 pm

Yeah just to add my 10p, I used NS10's daily and I've never blown a tweeter. I use a nice amp and I don't drive them that hard. That's not to say that they can't be loud when you're right in front of them. But if you're tracking with a band and you're cranking them at the guys on the sofa at the back, or doing overdubs with a bassist up loud or whatever, it's going to be tough on them. They're bookshelf speakers and they can't cope. That said, people do wind them up, and they do blow them up. For some the the sound of NS10's at breaking point is a reference that they've grown to clearly understand. To answer why, you could look into sealed box designs and time domain response etc, but the unfortunate truth is that the bigger speakers that provide the same sort of performance in that respect are quite expensive.

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Re: Protecting NS10s and other monitos

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:24 pm

I've had my NS10Ms from new (they were my only speakers for a few years) and never once had to repair them. I dread to think what they would sound like at a level to take out a tweeter! :crazy: :headbang:
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Re: Protecting NS10s and other monitos

Postby vinyl_junkie » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:47 pm

The Elf wrote:I dread to think what they would sound like at a level to take out a tweeter! :crazy: :headbang:

Although I've used NS-10's my main speakers are KEF-104aB's which have that T27 tweeter as used on the LS3/5A among others. On the 104 the tweeter is fuse protected.

I don't monitor that loud or anything but mistakes sometimes happen...
One day I was testing a mic pre-amp I got with headphones.. Left that channel up by mistake so when I switched the speakers back on I got a load of feedback.
Luckily instead of a tweeter blowing a fuse went on one of them which was much cheaper and easier to replace than a old tweeter.
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Re: Protecting NS10s and other monitos

Postby Mixedup » Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:19 pm

vinyl_junkie wrote:
Although I've used NS-10's my main speakers are KEF-104aB's which have that T27 tweeter as used on the LS3/5A among others. On the 104 the tweeter is fuse protected.

Pedantry alert... the fuse is on the 104AB model only, not the standard 104.

The former's fuse has saved me a couple of times. (The thing about mixing with lots of headroom is that any digital gremlins and crashes can result in horrible noise that is effing loud!)
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Re: Protecting NS10s and other monitos

Postby vinyl_junkie » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:00 pm

Mixedup wrote:The former's fuse has saved me a couple of times. (The thing about mixing with lots of headroom is that any digital gremlins and crashes can result in horrible noise that is effing loud!)


Do you too own Waldorf synthesizers? I'm surprised I haven't broken any speakers yet with their early operating systems hahah :beamup:
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Re: Protecting NS10s and other monitos

Postby James Perrett » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:18 am

I'm not sure what sort of protection B&W used to use on their old LM10 car speakers but it certainly seemed to work when I used them for parties with a 200W per channel amp. Unfortunately, it failed to protect the tweeters when I used them with an under-powered amp driven into clipping so they're now just sitting on a shelf waiting to be fixed.
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Re: Protecting NS10s and other monitos

Postby Mixedup » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:55 am

vinyl_junkie wrote:Do you too own Waldorf synthesizers? I'm surprised I haven't broken any speakers yet with their early operating systems hahah :beamup:

Actually, I used to. Quite liked the sound of the Micro Q and Pulse rackmount jobbies. Shame about the awful, fiddly one-knob interfaces, though ;)

But I actually meant the sort of full-scale digital noise that results from Pro Tools or whatever crapping out. When monitoring with loads of headroom, such sounds get bloody loud. It doesn't happen often but when it does, it's a risk and consumer gear isn't usually designed to cope with such things.
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