Originally Posted by AV Science Sales 5
I am a little lost. I don't know what high efficiency (sensitivity) has to do with not being able to listen at reference level. Clean reference level is clean reference level, does not matter if the speaker has high sensitivity, medium sensitivity or low sensitivity. Of course high sensitivity makes it easier to get to clean reference levels. If it sounds harsh as you approach reference, then that is the speaker, the response, the room, the material or some combination.
I thought my reply was pretty straight forward. Very few people listen at reference; in fact there was a poll floating around here a while back, and the majority listen at somewhere between -10 and -15. At this volume level I saw absolutely no difference in dynamics, volume level, etc; between using the onboard amps of my Onkyo and the Outlaws. I made no mention in regards to harshness at all.
For movies I have no problem listening to my system at reference level. The transients seem to be better running active and it sure was a lot easier to get a nice slightly downward tilt to my response and I am not having to use any room correction. Because of the slight downward tilt, is probably why I can listen at reference level. With movies, -5db below reference does not even seem loud at all.
As mentioned, you are in the minority. Maybe some of us value our hearing more than you.
My memory might be failing me, but I thought you had a room on the smallish side as well. Unless you are missing the roof or something, you should be able to hit ear bleeding levels with a lot less than 300 watts.
I have measured (when I had JTR T8's) and my room loses around 6db moving from 1 meter to 2 meters. I lose 9db for distance and I need to allow 3db for clean headroom. That means to reach reference, my speakers need to be able to put out 117db. Not going to do that using an AVR even with speakers that have pretty good sensitivity. Rather than argue about if you need the wattage, I will let Tom Danley's post speak for me: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1189404/danley-dts-10-super-spud-diy-kit/210#post_17409024
I am looking to put 300 watts to my woofers and 100 watts to my compression drivers. I will say, reference level sounds much better with my current speakers, compared to my old JTR's.
Once again, this can be argued both ways. Going from a 200 wpc amp to a 400 wpc amp is only gaining you 3db's. Unless you have a ginormous room, or very inefficient speakers, I think most would agree you are throwing money away. Now I know this is the DIY forum, and most on here prefer crazy overkill (or in some cases, have more money than sense), but for most of us, the money would better be spent elsewhere.
* Keep in mind this argument has nothing to do with actives benefits in regards to smoothing the frequency response, but merely the response to your power statement. That is the last reason IMO, why one should go active.