Looking for a working definition/understanding of speaker dynamics.



Audioholic Warlord
5,099 22 9
I read a post recently where a person was talking about the improved dynamics of a speaker (in association with it being more efficient).
I understand what "dynamic range" is, and think of dynamics as playing softly when appropriate and loudly when appropriate.
Obviously, if an input signal is topping out the capability of the drivers or the amp, that will limit dynamics.
However, is there a case where one speaker is more dynamic than another without pushing the max SPL limits of the system?

I have seen an association between high efficiency and more dynamic crop up from time to time. But it seems like, to truly be more dynamic, speaker "A" would have to provide a greater increase in SPL (or driver amplitude/excursion) than speaker "B" given the same input signal. Is this a thing?

I am somewhat inclined to think of Klipsch speakers as "more dynamic" than many speakers, but I believe it is an emphasis on the high midrange frequencies where our perception of "percussive attack" is focused that provides that perception.

So I would appreciate any thoughts or explanation that would help me refine my understanding of dynamics in this context!

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Audioholic Overlord
5,379 8 1
Let's say you are comparing speaker A and B side by side. Speaker A has sensitivity of 95dB and speaker B 85 dB/2.83V, if both have the same in room frequency response from 20 to 20000 Hz, on and off axis, same distortions spectrum, same maximum spl output at rated input voltage, and both driven by two Mc 1000 W amp. At 1,2, 3,4 meters they should sound equally dynamic. That's not reality, so I think in general, some speakers will sound more dynamic than others.
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Audioholics Five-0
3,001 18 1
Seems like what you're looking for is dynamic compression, which can happen before you're tickling the absolute limits of a loudspeaker. Under Soundstage's speaker measurements, you'll find it under the "Deviation from linearity" chart which is usually taken at 90dB/2m and occasionally 95dB/2m (or more) for systems that breeze through the 90dB distortion & linearity tests. Josh also plots this over at DB for subwoofers. A more sensitive speaker will tend to have an advantage in this respect, as a big culprit is voice coil heating.


Audioholic Jedi
7,847 22 6
When I hear someone say Speaker A is more "dynamic" than Speaker B, I assume Speaker A can play louder with great accuracy and less distortion and without blowing any drivers.


Speaker of the House
4,744 34 17
When I hear someone say Speaker A is more "dynamic" than Speaker B, I assume Speaker A can play louder with great accuracy and less distortion and without blowing any drivers.
This is basically it. How loud a speaker can get before it hits something that changes its performance, whether that be harmonic distortion or compression. Sensitivity isn't always an indicator of dynamic range. You can have insensitive speakers with very wide dynamic range (so long as they can handle lots of wattage) and you can have high sensitivity speakers with a mediocre dynamic range if they can only handle a few watts. However, if two speakers have the same power handling and one is more sensitive than the other, then of course the higher sensitivity speaker will have a greater dynamic range.

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