Discussion in 'PC Audio' started by B4TM4N, Sep 22, 2009.
Yeah I have had the pc output level at 100% and still had overheating. (I still generally wouldnt run them past 50%)
I reduced the output from the pc because at very low levels on the speakers, the right speaker would be louder than the left. By reducing the output from the pc I could have the volume slightly up on the speakers so they appeared to have the same volume.
Everyone knows that running these speakers at high volumes for long periods of time cause them to overheat. After using them at a normal volume for a few days, i've noticed these things do indeed get hot, even without cranking it. However, i've found a way to keep them cool with a standard 92mm case fan without any additional power leads - writeup with pics will be coming shortly.
okay, forget z2300, looks like I have to start saving up
WTF.....a $400 speakers actually can't run for long periods when a 100+ logitech 2.1 does is np -_- And its winter now, how is it going to make it in summer!!?
Well he didnt say they cant run, he said they get pretty hot. Maybe its normal. Im not sure but it could be...They are quite powerful.
Audioengine A5 overheating
I think you're forgetting how f**king loud these go. They don't have the same bass as a logitech, but the mids and treble are seriously ear piercing (at least, indoors). I ran them at system volume 100%, speaker volume 65-70%, and I could'nt believe how loud these things went. Louder than my old logitechs I would say (per speaker, at least)
HOWEVER - since these are known to have a bit of a bass hump - heavy bass will make them distort at high volumes. I pair these with a sub and wasn't too impressed initially. After a little bit of fiddling, if I lower the bars on the equaliser from 20-120hz and turn up the sub a bit more, it fixes this problem. Sounds great.
Save up for a sub too, if you like bass.
It's normal for them to run hot, but a lot of people have said how these overheat at high volumes (75%+) and shut down after about an hour of use due to thermal overload (in other words - not great for parties). The good thing is that it protects the amp from blowing, but no-one wants to let it get that hot anyway.
As anything in the electronic world, we'd rather things stay cool to improve its life span and give peace of mind. And in this case, extend it's functionality.
With a few bits and a little time, you can keep these things cool and protect them from overheating (in other words - you can use them at parties at a good volume). This took me about half an hour, trying to get everything right the first time of course
This is what you'll need:
A 92mm fan that draws between 0.2a and 0.5a of power draw (update - 0.4a at least recommended for extended periods of max volume)
A screwdriver and a couple of screws
A decent USB cable that you wont need anymore (eg. Printer cable)
A 92mm fan grille (optional, but recommended to protect fan)
Something to strip wires with (I used scissiors)
Heatshrink tubing to prevent shorting
Some blu tack to stop vibration
Now, considering the amp is all built into the left speaker, we'll be working on that. The AudioEngine A5 has a feature that not many other speakers have - they have a USB port on top. What we will basically be doing is installing a USB fan to the back of this thing.
Now, on choosing a fan - firstly, it MUST be 92mm. Well, you can try using an 80mm or 120mm, but 92mm is really the ideal size with the screwholes on the back of the A5. You must also choose a fan which has a decent power rating. A 12v 0.2a fan is the minimum I'd want to use, any less and you will find it simply spins too slowly. If you will be using them at high volumes more regurally, a fan with a rating of 0.4-0.5a would be ideal. Keep in mind the maximum power draw for a USB port is 0.5a - do not exceed this.
I used an old Sunon 92mm fan. It was rated at 2.8 watts. If you have a fan laying around with a wattage rather than an amparage, simply get the wattage and divide it by the volts. So in this case, 2.8/12 = 0.24a. This is probably a good balance between cooling performance and noise. I don't hear it over my relatively quiet computer. You can always unplug it if you do hear it, anyway.
Before you start cutting things up, it's probably a good idea to check that your fan fits OK. These are the two screws and the holes where we will be mounting it. You will need to find longer versions of these screws. When mounting your fan, you must ensure that the overall length is not longer than the original screw (I don't know what's inside, but I don't want to risk damaging anything internal). Keep in mind - this fan will cover the AC port on the back (which was useless to me anyway - why do we have an american 110v port on here???). I put a little bit of blu tak on here to stop vibrations.
Now, what we need to do is cut and strip the wires of the case fan and USB cable. Be sure to measure everything up and make sure you have enough length for it to reach the top USB port. When you chop open the USB cable, you will find it has quite a bit of foil/wire/crap that you will need to remove. Strip about an inch or so of the plastic. You only want the red and black (positive and negative) wires - chop off the data wires.
Don't forget to put shrink wrap on BEFORE you twist the wires up. If you wanted to you could solder it for a better connection, but i felt it wasn't nessesary. Before mounting it however, I recommend plugging it into an active USB port to test. Good thing I did, my first USB cable was faulty. (then I remembered why I didn't use it anymore )
All done and ready to go!
I did a very very basic heat test yesterday for these. I played 30 mins of music with, and without the fan on high volumes. After 30 mins of no fan, a certain part of the back (the A of Audioengine written on the back seems to be the place where it gets hottest) was pretty much burning to the touch. Very very hot. With the fan, it was far cooler, i'd say around 10-15c cooler, not burning at all. Tomorrow I have a party - will update this post if they don't overheat. Fingers crossed, this should keep it going all night.
Hope this helped someone. Also, sorry for the massive post.
Firstly, awesome post.
Secondly, is this really necessary? Do the A5's actually overheat and isn't this a serious design flaw?
'Cause I'm a month out from buying some of these sexual speakers and if it means jerry-rigging a fan onto them I might find something else.
At normal/sane listening levels, there is no problem at all, just at party volumes they get quite hot and the thermal overload protection can cut in.
The back plate is used as a heatsink, and most all passive heatsinks have fins sticking out to improve their efficiency. If Audioengine made their heatsink with some fins on it, that would go a ways to keeping them cooler in party conditions, but I suspect they designed them for normal home use and not party use
They did use a heatsink with fins, it's just inside
I tested these speakers out at a party last night. I ran them at the highest volume I could before distortion (so around 70% on the speaker, 100% on the PC) for around 3-4 hours - then bam, they cut out. Even with the extra cooling (and it was a fairly cool night too), they still overheated. Pretty dissapointed. The crowd was most displeased. Saying that, without the cooling mod, I bet it wouldn't even last an hour.
I will need a more powerful fan I think - especially in summer. Otherwise, adding heatsinks might be an option, but I don't want to deface the back of the unit (warranty reasons). Saying that, this was in an outside environment - the acoustics of an open field are terrible. If you were running these inside - around 50% volume on the speaker would be all you need, at most. In this case, I doubt it would overheat with the fan mod.
In other words... if you have a lot of parties... don't buy the A5's. For me I don't use them that much but I was hoping to be able to use them for parties occasionally. On the other hand, sound quality was top notch as usual, even at those mad volumes.
Is the fan taking heat away from the back of the speaker, or is it blowing cool air on to it?
the positioning of the fan suggests blowing onto the surface of the speaker. As I've never seen a basic case fan that would exhaust hot air like that.
It's blowing onto the back of the speaker. The fact that there is no sticker facing out generally indicates this (typically, the sticker side is the way the air is being pushed). Should have mentioned this earlier though.
Ideally, you can point a desk fan to the back of it, but it's a pretty clumsy and noisy solution.
you could use some stick on vram sinks under the fan (zalman ones come to mind as they are low profile and cheap and easy to remove). I would expect they would make a significant difference
Is anyone using the S8 sub with these? Be good to hear your opinion on it, worth the money?
I just recieved mine yesterday actually. Good sub, haven't had a real play with it/them yet though (still sorting out volumes, phase, crossover etc.). Playing well with the A5's so far.
I just got me some A5s.
I want to hookup my old sub to it. It uses a regular 3.5mm stereo jack for input and has no volume control. I've got a 2 RCA to 1 stereo cord, so i can use the audio out from the A5s but i need some form of volume control. Was thinking maybe I could just cut off the RCA jacks and hook the wire up to the same point as the right speaker connection. Suggestions please?
Just use the input as the volume control. It's the only way unfortunately. Just be careful when you're using them not to accidently input volume at 100% all the time . Fiddle with the volume on the A5's so they match the sub, and then just control master volume from your PC/MP3 player or whatever.
My review and rant
Ive had some high end home audio over the yrs from Lynn Sondek turntables with MC coil cartridges, step up transformers ets, Naim amps, Dynaudio speakers..on it goes.
No longer have any of it, everything goes through the pc, a measly Logitech x530 with the two rear speakers removed, the surround sound was driving me batty.
I have 5 speakers running off this tiny amp all around the house which are switchable. Front patio, rear patio, kitchen etc etc, metres of cable. It doesn't complain!
Has worked flawlessly for over 3 yrs!
Anyway you get tired of sound sometimes and always want to improve.
So I researched for some good quality speakers and came here as there was a lot of talk about them here.
These a5's sounded good to me from what I read everywhere ...so I just bought a pair yesterday.
Within 30mins I had them back in the packaging!
Here's what didn't work for me.
Lack of bass.
The low volume unbalanced centre stage was terrible, my logitechs dont do that!
I didn't even wait for the annoying clicking noise I had read about to happen after 10mins idle.
Also maybe I dont like accurate sound but they really sounded clinical to me. Annoyingly so.
I was and still am so let down.
I was really excited about these.
I had made some stands to raise the speakers to ear height, had them ready to go. I changed my sound card to a SBLive! 24bit, not a fantastic card but I am happy with the improvement in sound.
I use winamp with MAD decoder which is the best sound improvement I have ever had!
Bottom line...I prefer the sound of the cheap 80 buck Logitechs and NO I don't work for them
Anyway I am not winging, I am just giving my point of view.
On the positives, Yep they were very clean sounding and loud. Volume I would never use.
I would be very interested to hear if anyone else was underwhelmed or am I a strange creature.
Thanks for listening.