Is there much danger of clipping with IEM’s?
Jun 16, 2010 at 3:19 AM Post #2 of 7
I thought clipping is property of the signal.  The signal's amplitude being cut off from lack of bias voltage.  If the amplifier doesn't have enough room(bias voltage) for swing of the signal, the output signal would clip, and thus the headphones would be effected by the signal being clipped.

Do you mean overpowering the phones?  IEMs are overly sensitive to current, so high powered source can easily blow the drivers.
Jun 24, 2010 at 4:24 PM Post #3 of 7
Clipping, and other forms of distortion, can be caused by many factors. It can be caused solely by the amplifier having too much gain; if the input is a 1 V peak-to-peak sinusoid, and the amp has a gain of 12 dB (or factor of 16), then the output should be a 16 Vpp sinusoid. But if the amp only has, say, +-12 V supply rails then the amp cannot possibly provide 16 V of output.
Another source of distortion and clipping is slew rate (amp spec). This is the amount of voltage change over time. Basically the derivative of voltage over time. This factor can be load dependant.
The speakers (or cans) could also be the criminal providing the distortion. Even if the amp is providing a perfect output wave, if the load can't keep up or can't handle that much power then yes, it will distort the signal.

I would worry about blowing your ear drums before blowing the iem if they're quality iem's.
Jun 24, 2010 at 5:07 PM Post #4 of 7

I would worry about blowing your ear drums before blowing the iem if they're quality iem's.

I dunno, I think you can damage a dynamic IEM driver pretty easily with a source.
Jun 25, 2010 at 6:01 AM Post #5 of 7
The Shure SE530 have a very nice sound straight out of my Ipod.  These IEMs are at it's best from low to moderate volumes - higher than that, the drivers do seem to fall apart and the sound starts to become indistinct and somewhat distorted. 
This is out of the Ipod - hooking the IEM to the Lehmann BCL - it starts to distort even sooner with a boost in current, given any volume setting, to fill in the midrange and bass further.
Jun 25, 2010 at 8:38 AM Post #6 of 7
It's hard to find specs on IEM max power handling, weird a lot of companies don't list it. I found that the Nuforce NE-6 can handle 25mw, Soundmagic PL11 15mw (12ohm). That's pretty low, some portable sources claim to be able to put at 25mw at 32ohm, I suppose those sources could blow these IEMs. 
Jun 25, 2010 at 8:16 PM Post #7 of 7
IEMs are blasting the music right down your ear canal and have a much higher chance of giving you ear damage since the sound doesn't have a chance to disperse. So, listening at high volume isn't healthy anyways. That's what I was saying.

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