Unshielded speakers near the HDD

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by trog69, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. trog69

    trog69 Honorable Member

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    I have a set of unshielded speakers near the PC case, and one is in front of it, near to the HDD. Is there any issues that might occur with a magnetic field possibly interfering with hard drive? I'm kinda liking the sound with the speakers set up just as they are, so I hope I don't have to move one or both. ( I have two different sets of speakers, and it's the right side crowded near the case.)
     
  2. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    The type and form of the magnetic field surrounding speakers is completely different from that used for recording on hdd and you should have no problem.
     
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  3. badrobot

    badrobot Senior Member

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    As far as I remember, problems involving data deletion with magnets exists only with "tape" recording media. But just like what patcooke said, it should be ok.
     
  4. trog69

    trog69 Honorable Member

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    Yay! Thanks for the help.
     
  5. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    I am afraid I have to disagree with the above. HDs use magnetic principles just like magnetic recording tape and floppy disks to orient the "magnetic" particles on the platters to represent 1s and 0s. Therefore a "strong" magnet placed in very close proximity to a hard drive can indeed destroy the data on the platters.

    BUT, it is not as simple as that. Unless really cheap speakers, it is not likely your speaker magnets are totally unshielded. And unless your speakers have a 10" or larger subwoofer, it is highly unlikely the magnets are strong enough to begin with, let alone able to create any stray magnetic fields strong enough to extend any significant distance beyond the speaker case to cause any problems.

    Also, all hard disks, even budget models, are shielded so it would take a very strong magnetic field to penetrate that deep to affect the data.

    For the record, there are still many CRT monitors in use with the computers (and thus HDs) and often speakers sitting right next to the CRT monitors. CRTs use very strong magnets to aim the "guns" and you can distort the image by holding (even a small) magnet to the screen. Yet it is rare to see a computer speaker affect a CRT's display.

    Also for the record, you can place a large, heavy duty magnet directly on top of a hard drive for a few days to "wipe" the drive of any readable data. By heavy duty, I mean strong magnets weighing 5 or 6 pounds, as from a large "quality" subwoofer capable of pushing some serious SPLs (sound pressure levels).

    So, yes, a magnet can destroy data on a hard drive, but it takes a large, powerful magnet in very close proximity and some considerable time to do it.
     
  6. trog69

    trog69 Honorable Member

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    These are small bookshelf speakers. B&W 601Se and while they do have massive magnets, I highly doubt they have the capabilities you warn against. I thought that I'd read that it could happen, so I'm glad you've set my mental field for the correct polarity. hehe.

    I already have two others, KEF C-40s, vintage speakers with not so massive magnets next to each side of the monitor, so I was assured that magnets are no longer a concern with the newer flat-screens.

    Thank you for a nice, clear explanation about this, Digerati.
     
  7. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    Well, as an electronics technician, I've been a computer enthusiast since the mid 70's. But I've been into high-end audio reproduction equipment since many years before that and both B&W and KEF are highly regarded manufacturers of quality audio gear.

    It should be noted that speakers designed for stereo and home theater applications are also designed to operated near turntables and phono pickup devices, which are typically magnetic and very susceptible to magnetic interference.

    My point being, now that you have stated the models of your speakers, I would worry even less about hard drive issues.
     
  8. trog69

    trog69 Honorable Member

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    I just recently purchased these B&Ws, from the same speaker repairman that sold me the KEFs. I was amazed at how the KEFs, having dual 8" drivers could still reproduce every note perfectly at the lowest of volumes.

    The B&Ws, with "only" a 6.5" kevlar woofer, easily go lower in bass than the KEFs, but demand that I turn that damned dial up, right now!

    Since my retirement, I've been obsessed with upgrading my PC for gaming. Now that I've achieved gaming nirvana, I turned to my first love, music. I've never actually sat down and listened to music before this, and my sound card was not getting it done, nor was I very impressed with the sound quality of the Klipsch 2.1 powered system, so when I found a digital receiver on clearance, I grabbed it and hooked it up to the Bose 301s that had sat in the garage, gathering dust for years. While the sound was a huge upgrade, it left me wanting real stereo sound, and the first day I tried Craigslist, I hit the jackpot, finding not only a good supplier of vintage and top-end newer speakers, but can repair them as well. Since we hit it off, he pulled the B&Ws off the shelf and put them away for me until the beginning of this month. He did have me test out some others he had, just to be sure I was leaving with a bit of knowledge about some things, like the fact that seeing the name Dynaco on some beat up speakers in a garage sale would be "grab them NOW" items. His were some ugly things, but man, they sure put out some great sound! He also has another set of vintage KEFs, with the massive 8"x 5" or so bass radiator combined with another 8" driver. Incredible, and with the massive magnets that my set do not have.

    I have these connected with a Polk Audio 12" 300w powered sub. That's my next upgrade, and I'm also looking for a good, used integrated amp, because I just don't need the tuner section at all, and I'd prefer 40 clean watts to the 100w of so-so power from this Sony receiver. It still sounds exquisite to these ears, though.

    EDIT: My choice for music is the internet radio station BellyUp4Blues. They have the best rocking blues and I've already got a huge collection of incredible blues performers I'd have never heard about except for that station. I can't say enough good things about them. The cured me of my head-banging addiction as well!
     
    #8 trog69, Sep 4, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  9. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    I am not a fan of Bose speakers for music, but I have a Bose VCS-10 for center and Bose 301s for my rears in my HT system and they work great for that. But for my fronts, I have Polks SDA 2Bs which are old but still great as fronts for movies and stereo music.

    I hear you about no need for a tuner. I used to run separates but of course they are much more expensive. Family obligations got in the way so I have "settled" on a nice Onkyo receiver and have no complaints.

    Sadly, after working around flightlines for so many years, my 61 year old ears aren't what they used to be. But it is still easy to determine if what I am hearing is high-end high fidelity, or tinny trash.

    Klipsch makes quality speakers. But no speaker system designed for computers (I don't care how much they cost) can be called high-fidelity in my opinion.
     
  10. trog69

    trog69 Honorable Member

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    Not too many people like the Bose sound once they've heard really good loudspeakers. I was already aware that the bi-direction of the 301s worked for surround, and not much else.

    I'm really loving these B&Ws. I feel like some kid that worked enough to afford that corvette for sale at the lot, and keeps looking in the garage and pinching himself to believe his dream is sitting there, all his! I've wanted a set of B&Ws for many years. It's only gravy to have the KEFs as well. Like having two different color corvettes!

    Those Polks are exceptional speakers! Really nice. I'd love to hear those.
     
    #10 trog69, Sep 4, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  11. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    I personally don't have a problem with Bose speakers. They are good speakers and for sure, when the 901s first came out, they made a good impression. And the 301s make excellent surrounds, and the center speaker handles voice well. But Bose started marketing their name, rather than their products and that was a big turn off for many.

    My first set of "real" speakers (which I still have) were a pair AR-3a speaker systems. While they didn't have the SPLs (loudness) of the 901s, the quality could not be beat. I had more than one friend dump his 901s for ARs after hearing mine.
     
  12. trog69

    trog69 Honorable Member

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    Yeah, I worded things incorrectly. I love my 301s, as they did what I purchased them for perfectly. But in today's market, for $320 ( The same price today as what I paid in the mid-90s for mine!) there are far better choices. One thing I'll say about mine, which was reiterated by another commenter, the older models like mine were built like tanks! My friend and I had been drinking, and listening to some Blue Oyster Cult. When Godzilla started, the volume knob went up louder than I'd ever had it, and while it sounded great, my friend happened to get up and right afterward I felt him poking my back. He pointed at one of the 301s, and his eyes said holy shnikey!

    Getting up to look, I saw what he did-the crossover was on fire! I turned the music off immediately and played with just the mains-NHT towers-and the next day I took the woofer off to check the damage. Other than the slight charring, there didn't seem to be any damage and I turned it on 5.1 again to see how damaged it was. It played, and still plays just fine. Unbelievable. They're some very tough customers. hehehe.

    I've heard great things about the ARs, especially some of the vintage models. They still sell for a pretty penny.
     
  13. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    I put a 16 lb magnet up to the back plate for a laptop and it didn't wipe the hard drive. Why this was even done is a long story. However, I believe you will be fine. The chassis will shield against electro-magnetic interference. I think you'd be more likely to loosen some cabling over time from the heavy lows coming out of your professional audio system. I would say enjoy it, yes, and unless you magnetize your entire case, I don't see how this could become a problem down the road.

    On another subject... Poor man's 4.1 Audio

    While I know you're on 5.1, if you find yourself with two pairs of speakers, relaying them through the secondary input port, headphone jack, or any audio input that can now pick up on headphones/speakers/or microphone and you can essentially have multiple speakers operating at once with the sub-woofer presumably connected to the spare set or the prime set. I consider this the "poor man's 4.1" method. While not perfect, this does add a layer of quality, especially if the two speaker systems are entirely different.
     
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  14. trog69

    trog69 Honorable Member

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    Thanks for the hints and reassurance, Mike. As to your alternate connections for speakers, I wonder if there's a way to bi-amp via the headphone jack output? I wouldn't do it, but someone really wanting to do that with only one set of speaker outputs might experiment.
     

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