Speakers for my Receiver - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-15-2006, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I have recently bought the Pioneer 7.1 Channel A/V Receiver (VSX-816-K). It can handle 110 watts per channel. What I need to know is what speakers and subwoofer can I use with this receiver. Do I HAVE to use 110 watt speakers? Something less than 110 watts? Something more than 110 watts? I am so very lost. Please help. :confused:
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-15-2006, 09:02 PM
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Pretty much any speaker on the market will be fine. When you look at speaker specifications, you'll see a couple things. First, you'll see something like "power handling", or something that's a number range followed by watts/channel. This is essentially the minimum to maximum amount of power required to drive the speakers. For example, my Definitive Technology BP10b handles 20-300 watts/channel. Your receiver with 110 watts/channel would drive these speakers (and pretty much all others) just fine. The second thing you need to pay attention to is the ohms rating. Your Pioneer drives 8 ohm speakers (and possibly 6 ohm, there may be a switch on the back). The lower the ohm number, basically the more power it takes to drive the speaker. However, again, pretty much all speakers are handled by 6-8 ohms. I'm sure others here will provide more technical details, and correct anything I may have wrong. The simplest answer to your question is pretty much any mainstream speaker can easily be handled by your receiver, without any problems to the speaker or to the receiver. Just spend some time looking around the speaker forum and you'll see there are many brands of speakers with many, many devoted fans of each (except Bose; stay away from Bose).

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post #3 of 11 Old 11-15-2006, 09:19 PM
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Also, seeing as you're relatively new to this, don't go nuts with the speaker wire, either. If you go shopping, salespeople will try to talk you into Monster cables and other expensive stuff that they insist is superior. The important thing with speaker wire is gauge. You'll be fine just getting a larger diameter (lower gauge) wire, like 12-gauge (AWG) or 14-gauge (AWG) wire. If you're really nervous about doing wiring, you can just strip the ends and insert the wires into your speaker connections. But ideally you can add your own banana plugs or spades to the wires, which allow for a more secure connection. You can even get screw-on banana plugs, where you basically insert the speaker wire into the plug and screw on the end to secure. Then it just plugs into your receiver like a headphone plug. You can get good deals from places like monoprice.com, where you can get 5 pairs of banana plugs for $12 total, and then get a 100 ft. spool of 12 AWG speaker wire for $25 (and you'll need a wire cutter/stripper, too). Total of $37, vs paying 10x more (minimum) to get Monster cables that do the exact same thing.

Search both "bose" and "monster cable" in these forums, and you'll find that the general consensus is that they're vastly overpriced for what they give you, and you can do as good for a lot less money if you do your homework. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions, or just keep asking questions.

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post #4 of 11 Old 11-16-2006, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your response schroedk. I know that buying cables are a rip off. I am able to wire the speakers myself, and I know not to buy Monster or any other stupid brand. But I was under the impression it's best to just connect bare wire directly to the channel, as oppose to banana plugs. ???

As for speakers, I read in an article that it would be ideal to get speakers about 10-20 watts less than what your receiver can handle. So, in my case, I would get 90-100 watt speakers (my receiver is 110 watts/channel). Something about if you get something that is too high (i.e. 150-200 watts), the receiver can't power the speaker, and it would sound bad/not clean. Is this true?

I have also been told (by a sales person) not to get ANYTHING below 110 watts, cause the receiver would blow the speaker...? Is this correct??? They said if anything, get 110 watts(ideally), or something more.... any thoughts?
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-16-2006, 10:14 AM
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I would say that receiver is fine for most 8 ohm speakers. You don't really have to pay to much attention to those ratings. More power is usually always better to a point. Even though many people say it is much better to have more power then a speaker is rated for, I still try to keep within the limits of it's recommended power.
Bare wire connection is fine, I would say the only drawback is the ease of connecting and disconnecting cables, and also oxidation. I find Spade connectors work the best, although banana plugs are good, but some of them tend to be either to loose or tight.
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-16-2006, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsted
Thank you so much for your response schroedk. I know that buying cables are a rip off. I am able to wire the speakers myself, and I know not to buy Monster or any other stupid brand. But I was under the impression it's best to just connect bare wire directly to the channel, as oppose to banana plugs. ???

As for speakers, I read in an article that it would be ideal to get speakers about 10-20 watts less than what your receiver can handle. So, in my case, I would get 90-100 watt speakers (my receiver is 110 watts/channel). Something about if you get something that is too high (i.e. 150-200 watts), the receiver can't power the speaker, and it would sound bad/not clean. Is this true?

I have also been told (by a sales person) not to get ANYTHING below 110 watts, cause the receiver would blow the speaker...? Is this correct??? They said if anything, get 110 watts(ideally), or something more.... any thoughts?
Again, most speakers will have a wide range of power that they can safely handle. You do run the risk of blowing a driver if you provide more power than a speaker can handle. But even the crappiest satellite speakers can handle 120 watts, so don't fret too much about it. A good way to think about it is this: most speakers have a minimum handling of 15-20 watts. This means that a powered amplifier that only provides 20 watts/channel can drive the speaker. Conversely, if you have a speaker with a maximum power handling of 120 watts, and try to drive it with a 300 watt/channel pre-amp, you will blow the drivers pretty quickly at normal/high volumes. With receivers providing 60-140 watts/channel, ANY speaker on the market will be fine. Listen to some different speakers at dealer showrooms or even Best Buy/Circuit City and see what sounds good to you.

Some speakers can provide cleaner sound when they have more power feeding them; my Def Techs are a good example. However, my receiver provides 100 watts/channel, and drives my Def Techs without any problems, even at very high volumes. The article you read is either plain wrong, or you misinterpreted it. You'll have more problems if you provide more power than your speakers can handle. This often causes the speakers to "clip" when they play at higher volumes. Power handling is an average; you could get spikes above 110 watts/channel depending on the source, and this is what could blow your speakers.

As far as wiring speakers goes, it more connection preference than anything. There's nothing wrong with using bare wire. However, you need to make sure that there are no stray wires from a cable touching the other polarity, because this can cause problems. I prefer banana plugs because they're very easy to switch in and out, look cleaner, and provide a nice secure connection. There are many debates about the audible quality of more expensive cables and interconnects, but I think it's mostly academic. Blind tests show that human ears can't really detect much difference.

Let me know if you need anything else. And seriously, don't worry too much about speaker specs and numbers until you get more comfortable with what they mean. Just listen to some speakers and see what sounds good to you, and I can virtually guarantee you that they'll work just fine.

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the universe. -- Albert Einstein
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-16-2006, 10:34 AM
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Less power causes clipping!
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-16-2006, 10:38 AM
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I stand corrected. I've never experienced it myself, so never was sure if it was too much power or too little. Thanks!

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the universe. -- Albert Einstein
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-17-2006, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Soooooooooooo, if I were to get 150 watt speakers, I should be good to go??? AND, is it IDEAL that all my speakers are the same wattage? Including the subwoofer? Or can I get different watts. Lets say I want two front (150watts), two rear(120 watts), centre (130 watts) and 200 watt subwoofer. Is this a bad idea? This is JUST an example. Would it be best I keep all powers the same?
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-17-2006, 10:37 PM
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Really, you don't need to worry so much about wattage. Some important things to remember when shopping for HT speakers:

1) Try to "timbre match" at least your front speakers and your center channel speaker. This simply means to stick with the same brand of speaker, and preferably the same model line. This generally ensures that the tweeter and woofers in the speakers are all made of the same material and oftentimes sizes. This will give you a smoother pan when you have sound moving across from one front speaker, across the center, to the other front speaker. Sometimes when the fronts and center are mismatched, the sound will change as the sound goes from one speaker to the next. It's not quite as important to timbre match your surrounds (but it never hurts), and the subwoofer is non-directional, so any brand will do. Do a search of AVS of subwoofer preferences and see what people like.

2) Make sure the subwoofer you get is a "powered" subwoofer. This just means that the sub has its own onboard amp, and simply gets the LFE (low frequency effect) signal from the receiver. The sub amp actually powers it, not the receiver. Most subs are powered nowadays.

3) The wattage of the speakers will most likely be all over the map, even if you stick with the same brand and/or model of speakers. That's really okay. Trust me. You're worrying WAY too much about the wattage.

My setup, for comparison, consists of an Onkyo TX-SR703 A/V receiver (100 x 7 watts/channel), Definitive Technology BP10b front speakers (20-300 watts/channel handling), a Definitive Technology CLR 2300 center channel speaker (20-250 watts/channel, with a built-in 8" sub with its own 150 watt amp), Definitive Technology BPX dipole surround speakers (15-350 watts/channel handling), and a Definitive Technology SuperCube II sub (powered by an onboard 1250 watt Class-D amp with an 8" long-throw driver coupled with two 8" pressure-driven radiators). As you can see, wattage is pretty much all over the map, but it sounds fantastic.

When you hook up your speakers, your receiver may have a built in equalizing system using a microphone that you plug into the receiver. This will pretty much balance out your speaker levels. If the receiver doesn't have this, learn how to use an SPL meter (Radio Shack has them) with test tones from the DVE or Avia calibration disc to set up the levels.

Even though I have Definitive Tech speakers (some people absolutely love them, including me, and some people hate them; that's why you need to go out and listen to different speakers to get an idea of how differently they sound), I really wouldn't recommend them for you. They're extremely sensitive to how they're placed in a room due to their bipolar configuration (identical drivers facing forward and backward), and take a lot more know-how to properly set them up. You could go with the Mythos line from Def Tech, which are your basic direct radiating speakers. Anyway, you could check out speakers from Def Tech, Klipsch, Polk, Magnepan, B&W, Paradigm, Martin Logan, NHT, JBL. etc (the list goes on and on and on). Browse through the speaker forum on this site to see what people have to say. Speakers can be very daunting to buy, because there are so many makes and models, people who love and hate certain models (and aren't afraid to say it), and price ranges. Best bet, settle on a price range, decide if you want a 5.1 system NOW vs. starting with 2 good front speakers and adding as you can afford to, etc. Really, worrying about wattage ratings is the absolute least of your worries.

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the universe. -- Albert Einstein
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post #11 of 11 Old 11-21-2006, 06:09 AM - Thread Starter
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So, now that I know more about watts, and not to worry about them so much, what would you guys recommend? I am willing to spend up to $1200 for a 5.1 set. Also keep in mind, I live in a basement. I would LOVE floor standing speakers, but not too sure I would need so much power.
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