Loudspeaker manufacturers sometimes exaggerate the specifications of their products to make them look better than they really are. Some are more honest than others in this regard. The focus of this article is on loudspeaker sensitivity and what to look for in this rating so the consumer can make a more educated purchasing decision when comparing products. We propose an ideal solution every speaker company every loudspeaker company can easily follow, giving all of us one very specific, agreed-upon, universally-recognized way of measuring and stating sensitivity. If all speaker companies did this, then consumers would have a reliable, transparent way to compare sensitivity ratings from different manufacturers, and reviewers would have a concrete benchmark against which to verify their test result findings against the manufacturer's claims. But, alas, not everyone does, so caveat emptor!
Discuss "Understanding Loudspeaker Sensitivity Specifications & Measurements" here. Read the article.
Last edited by gene; 01-30-2013 at 11:32 PM.
I really don't understand this view:
We can't just assume an amp is muscular enough to drive low impedances, rendering the speaker's impedance unimportant. I would say that if one has such an amp, he won't be all that concerned about speaker sensitivity to begin with. If one is concerned with his amp's ability to drive low impedance loads, and is only going to be purchasing speakers, he will have to "penalize" the 4-ohm speaker. Unless, of course, the 4-ohm speaker's sensitivity is high enough to compensate. Is there something I'm missing here, that makes the viewpoint valid?The other viewpoint is that in the real world, a speaker’s impedance is what it is, and the amplifier puts out its voltage as it does. Assuming the amp is muscular enough to drive low impedances, then if a speaker has a lower impedance, it will play louder for the same voltage input from the amp and this is information the consumer should have. In other words, the speaker’s sensitivity rating should not be “penalized” because it’s a 4-ohm instead of an 8-ohm speaker.
Living Room System:
Amp: NAD C372
AM/FM Tuner: NAD C425
CD: 2 x Sony CDP-CX355
Mains: Paradigm Studio 20V5
Subwoofers: 2 x Dayton RSS265HF In-ceiling w/EP2000
Rec Room HT:
Projector: Panasonic PTAE4000
Screen: 104" DIY Seymour XD
Receiver: Yamaha RX-V1800
BDP: Panasonic DMP-BD85
Front - Paradigm Monitor 9 V5
Centre - Paradigm Monitor CC-290
Surround - Energy RCR
Surround Back - HiFi by Sonance
Subwoofers - Velodyne DPS-12/RA RSW 1215
I agree with you. Both my 801's taught me that, while sufficient amps sound the same, I cannot determine sufficiency just by looking at sensitivity of the speaker.
Sound First! *
(* Women first, sound second, food third)
Looks that way to me.Assuming the amp is muscular enough to drive low impedances...
I'm not even going to pretend to understand that.You'd still need to be concerned; an amplifier can run out of voltage before it runs out of current, especially at higher impedance levels (ie 8 ohms and up).
I'm just looking at a scenario where someone may be in the market to upgrade and can only budget for speakers. If he can't pony up for a powerful new amp, then he has to keep that in mind when he is shopping for those new speakers. You may not think in those terms, but someone else might. And there's nothing wrong with that.This would be an odd way to go about things in my book. I buy speakers based on their sound, and correspondingly will buy amplification based on what speakers I end up with. Limiting yourself to what speakers can be driven by some weak kneed amp seems a bit counterproductive, especially considering how many relatively low priced amplifiers are available that are competent into difficult loads.
Of course, if we're talking about lower end gear, yeah someone whose got $200 to spend on speakers and not a dime more with a lower end receiver should probably avoid a 4 ohm rated model with dips down to 2 ohms.
This is a great read and most of it over my head , but if you copy an image from xkcd at-least a mention of source is needed I imagine.
xkcd: Spinal Tap Amps
Thank you for writing this up!! Could we PLEASE add a statement about speaker "wattage" ratings to this article?
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, 3X GR Research A/V-2s, GR A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-83SE, URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100, PS3 Slim120G(500G) Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G), My HT
Are you sure which side of the glass you are on?
This is the kind of person I had in mind. We should keep such people in mind when we discuss these topics.Of course, if we're talking about lower end gear, yeah someone whose got $200 to spend on speakers and not a dime more with a lower end receiver should probably avoid a 4 ohm rated model with dips down to 2 ohms.