Jump to content

Driving your speakers with more power than they "need"


Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, John Chi-town said:

You will notice a fuller sound, deeper bass, superior clarity, and dynamics you have never heard before. Out goes thin, bright sound when you have a good, solid, high-end amplifier that delivers high current and high power. It has nothing to do with loudness; it has to do with superior control and power reserve, like cruising at 80 miles on a highway with a V12 engine versus a 4-cylinder car.
 


I agree with “good, solid, high end” part. But we part ways with the high power part. My 300B amp sounds bigger and bolder than amps with 10 x the power. Of course it would fall square on its face with the wrong speakers.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, Woofers and Tweeters said:

Bose 901 was unlimited, until they weren't lol.

The 2x  the speaker rating is from a Klipsch brochure. I will try to find it, later lol

 


 

 

 

 

Headroom baby, woofers love watts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2488.jpeg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

43 minutes ago, Woofers and Tweeters said:

Bose 901 was unlimited, until they weren't lol.

The 2x  the speaker rating is from a Klipsch brochure. I will try to find it, later lol

 

I’ve wanted to blow up a pair of 901 just to see. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, The Dude said:

Does it drive all frequencies at equal SPL for a whole duration or just in spurts.  I think duty cycle on a welder or air compressor? 

That is a good question. I would think it should be equal as a function of the speaker crossover network design, but that is just an assumption.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, John Chi-town said:

You will notice a fuller sound, deeper bass, superior clarity, and dynamics you have never heard before. Out goes thin, bright sound when you have a good, solid, high-end amplifier that delivers high current and high power. It has nothing to do with loudness; it has to do with superior control and power reserve, like cruising at 80 miles on a highway with a V12 engine versus a 4-cylinder car.
 

If I follow your argument correctly, does this suggest that a good, solid, high-end amplifier with high current producing 8 watts should sound the same as a good, solid, high-end amplifier with high current producing 28 or 280 watts into an efficient Klipsch speaker at the same SPL? It makes sense to me that it would but, again, just my assumption.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks @geoff. and @Woofers and Tweeters for bringing up the maximum volume issue. I've been thinking about power needs at reasonable listening levels, but this does add another wrinkle, doesn't it? My Forte IIIs are rated at 99 dB/2.83V/1m (just looked this up so I'm correcting my earlier mistake), and have a MAXIMUM of 116 dB continuous. To achieve that maximum requires something a little shy of 64 watts. The specs also show maximum power ratings of 100/400 watts. I assume that means 100 continuous or 400 peak, so we're pretty much in that 2X range.

 

Personally, I have no interest in pushing my speakers to 116 dB, but I suppose in a huge room with a listening position pretty removed from the speakers, that might be somewhat reasonable. I take my measurements from my listening position and consider anything above 90 dB to be really, really loud, but it isn't painful and it sounds quite good. That is still probably below 1 watt of amplifier output.

 

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm enjoying this discussion. I appreciate the participation.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, 82 Cornwalls said:

"MAXIMUM of 116 dB continuous"

 

Me: "I use these when listening to music."

Someone smarter than me: "Why don't you just turn it down?......a lot"

Me: "I never thought of that."

 

image.png.5f4e758ab4ab755596e4eb5817b42e65.png

LMAO!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Estes said:

This conversation is inspiring me to do some critical Heresy IV listening between my Decware and Sansui 5000x. Great discussion!

COOL! I want to hear your thoughts!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, CWelsh said:

If this is correct, the question is, what is(are) the benefit(s) of the additional output power of higher output amp?

The benefit is called "headroom".

 

Any piece of music will vary in amplitude. Those intermittent, briefly louder instances are called "peaks", and require more power from the amplifier. So if your amp is playing at level "X" one of those peaks will come along and demand more of the amp's power to reproduce the louder signal. If the amp maxes out trying to faithfully reproduce that brief peak it will "clip", which means if you looked at the waveform on an oscilloscope it would look like an undulating wave but the tops and the bottoms of the wave will be flat. These flat portions indicate the amp is operating beyond its limits, which can damage the amp.

 

If an amp has headroom, it has more power than is needed to reproduce those peaks. Some people consider headroom the ability to briefly generate considerably more power than its continuous output rating. Fair enough. Whether your amp has plenty of reserve power to drive your speakers or merely has the headroom to briefly reproduce those peaks the result is the same.

 

Conversely, most speakers are rated in "Continuous" watts. Which means they can tolerate some peaks beyond that continuous rating as long as the amp has enough headroom to reproduce the wave faithfully. If the amp clips even if its output rating is below the continuous wattage rating of your speakers, when the amp generates that flat section described above, it is sending a DC voltage to your speakers. This is bad and if long enough in time can damage your speakers.

 

The solution is to keep the volume down to a point where you don't hear distortion, even on those intermittent peaks. As long as you don't hear anything bad, you're not pushing your amp or speakers beyond their limits and don't risk damage to one or both.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Am I to infer the twice the rated power handling comes into play at high volumes when demanding everything from the speaker/amp? So would it be safe at lower volumes to use a lower powered amp?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eight watts is not much power , it’s a level of power that will leave many systems prone to clipping, especially at any appreciable distance. Certain music and special effects can  be enhanced to an exhilarating level of pleasure and intensity when  played  loud  . We may not want to listen at the higher levels for long , but sometimes shear unclipped power is the secret recipe for delivering  a  moving and memorable experience . All things being equal ,power is a good thing ,as is the high efficiency that our speakers deliver .

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Peter P. said:

The benefit is called "headroom".

 

Any piece of music will vary in amplitude. Those intermittent, briefly louder instances are called "peaks", and require more power from the amplifier. So if your amp is playing at level "X" one of those peaks will come along and demand more of the amp's power to reproduce the louder signal. If the amp maxes out trying to faithfully reproduce that brief peak it will "clip", which means if you looked at the waveform on an oscilloscope it would look like an undulating wave but the tops and the bottoms of the wave will be flat. These flat portions indicate the amp is operating beyond its limits, which can damage the amp.

 

If an amp has headroom, it has more power than is needed to reproduce those peaks. Some people consider headroom the ability to briefly generate considerably more power than its continuous output rating. Fair enough. Whether your amp has plenty of reserve power to drive your speakers or merely has the headroom to briefly reproduce those peaks the result is the same.

 

Conversely, most speakers are rated in "Continuous" watts. Which means they can tolerate some peaks beyond that continuous rating as long as the amp has enough headroom to reproduce the wave faithfully. If the amp clips even if its output rating is below the continuous wattage rating of your speakers, when the amp generates that flat section described above, it is sending a DC voltage to your speakers. This is bad and if long enough in time can damage your speakers.

 

The solution is to keep the volume down to a point where you don't hear distortion, even on those intermittent peaks. As long as you don't, you're not pushing your amp or speakers beyond their limits and risking damage to one or both.

Exactly!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...