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Does iTunes have peak protection? And QuickTime?
post Feb 14 2013, 13:54
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Something I was just wondering about... I learnt to never put the volume to the maximum, because the signal may be capped which sounds bad and may potentially damage your speakers. However, I discovered that VLC has a setting that says "enable peak protection", meaning that you can safely put the volume to 100% without fear of capping.

Now that I know about it it makes a lot of sense to me that a decent audio player would offer such a feature. That makes me think that iTunes and QuickTime probably do it too, but without telling the user about it. Could anyone confirm that? Sofar I've been unable to find any conclusive answer on the internet. If I knew for sure that I can safely max out the volume in iTunes I'd find that very convenient.

As an aside, is there any disadvantage to peak protection?
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post Feb 14 2013, 20:28
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If you are not "processing" the signal (boosting the bass with a software equalizer or a software "preamp", etc.) most applications won't clip, because at full volume, they are basically sending the unaltered raw audio data to the DAC. So the signal coming out of your soundcard or iPod is probably clean, even at full volume.

If you have a headphone amplifier, or a power amplifier driving speakers, you can clip (distort) the amp.

...because the signal may be capped which sounds bad and may potentially damage your speakers.
That would depend more on the power rating of your power amp and the power rating of the speakers. Speaker power ratings are confusing (and sometimes they are just made-up), but a 100W speaker is supposed to work with a 100W amp playing undistorted music... You can probably blow the tweeter in a 100W speaker with a 20W test-tone.

JBL recommends a power amp with twice the speaker rating with normal undistorted music or voice. For electric guitar or other applications there there is commonly distortion, they recommend the opposite... A speaker with twice the power rating of the amp. But, that's related to average power more than clipping... A 100W amp that's constantly clipping is putting-out more average power (and generating more heat in the speaker voice coil) than a 100W amp that's never clipping (or occasionally cipping).

But, the idea that clipping will burn-out your tweeter is mostlya myth. You are more likely to fry you tweeter with a high-power amp playing at full volume than with a low-power amp pushed into severe clipping.

With headphones, you are more likely to damage your ears than the headphones.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Feb 14 2013, 20:32
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