Watts - Speakers and Amps - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-13-2008, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello -

A quick question I hope someone can answer for me.

If I were to hook up speakers that could handle 300W to a AMP that put out 100W / Channel. How would this sound (volume-wise) compare to if I hooked up speakers that handled only 100W to the same AMP?

Also, in basic terms for me - what is the diff between Watts and Watt RMS?

Thanks in advance

Seth
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-13-2008, 07:58 PM
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Assuming they had the same sensitivity and frequency response (of course, they won't, but that is irrelevant), it would sound the same. Really, sensitivity nad amplifier power control how loud a speaker plays, not power handling. Power handling really just sets the upper limit, and not much else.

Don't bother matching speaker and amp RMS power. It's meaningless. In fact, some people intentionally overdrive their speakers (ie, using a 500w amp for 300w rated speakers), since amp clipping sounds bad, and heats the speaker up more than if it was unclipped (if the voice coils in the speaker get too hot....poof. That driver is history)

-Jason
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-13-2008, 08:04 PM
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try to find speakers that have a sensitivity of better than 90db for amps 100w and
lower easier to drive at louder levels.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-13-2008, 08:06 PM
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The WATTS speaker mfg's put on speakers is just a recommendation. Not many have 300 watt/ch amps and hardly any speakers require that much power (excluding subs). The quality of the speakers make much more a difference than the quantity of watts. Obviously more power can produce louder results and some speakers may sound good at low volumes whereas others sound really weak until you crank them up a bit.
Volume wise, the only difference is going to be when the speakers are cranked up extremely loud. The speaker sensitivity indicator is going to tell you how loud they are with 1 watt of power. So if those 300 watt speakers have a sensitivity of 91 and the 100 watt speakers are 89, the 300 watt speakers will sound louder with any amp. RMS is only a way to compare amps, peak power where they begin to distort is more useful I think.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-13-2008, 09:30 PM
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Howdy !

Going back to Seth's original proposition:

"If I were to hook up speakers that could handle 300W to a AMP that put out 100W / Channel. "

I have a follow up question..... Would the 300W speakers overtax the smaller 100W / Channel amp??? I can not find the wattage on my old stereo speakers, but I suspect they are 75 to 100 watts. What if I hook them up to an amp that has only 35 or 65 watts per channel? Will this ruin the speakers or the amp?

Thanks for any help anyone can give !!
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-13-2008, 09:34 PM
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one rule of thumb the mfg states a minimum and maximum wattage something
in the middle usually works fine.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-13-2008, 09:41 PM
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I just retired an old receiver that was 100 watts per channel RMS. It died. Speakers came with the old receiver as a package from the manufacturer originally. I can find no specs on the speakers themselves. Therefore, I have no idea what they are rated. Should I be assuming that they are rated at around 100 watts themselves? If I go with this, then can I use a new amp that is rated lower that the 100 watts, and if so, how low?
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-13-2008, 09:43 PM
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i would at least try to find something with 100rms for headroom if nothing else.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-13-2008, 09:44 PM
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thank you oztech
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-13-2008, 09:52 PM
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the only reason i say this most listen at 5w but dynamics come into play bass chord
kick drum you get the point say 15db increase now you need 80w or slightly more
to keep from clipping.
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post #11 of 12 Old 01-13-2008, 10:43 PM
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The watts a speaker can handle is a reflection of the quality of construction and durability of the cone.

Very good speakers can handle lots of watts and volume, and in fact sound GREAT doing it.

Medium speakers you can still crank up pretty good, without them distorting or sounding bad.

Poor quality speakers will start distorting every time you apply serious volume from a HQ amp.

In fact, its sometimes good to just focus on the quality of the drivers, can they handle the watts,or not?

People who buy amps way too powerful for their speakers DO risk blowing their speakers, and often with no fail safe! Just spinning the volume up on your 300w amp, with 100 w speakers attached, and you may well blow it ... and tweeters can blow over the course of a session by heating up. Even a moderate quality speaker can have an overheated tweeter at reference level listening.

Not that I wouldn't love to have a 500 watt per channel amp hooked up to my 200 RMS speakers, I'll take the risk
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post #12 of 12 Old 01-13-2008, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hangontight View Post

I have a follow up question..... Would the 300W speakers overtax the smaller 100W / Channel amp??? I can not find the wattage on my old stereo speakers, but I suspect they are 75 to 100 watts. What if I hook them up to an amp that has only 35 or 65 watts per channel? Will this ruin the speakers or the amp?

The answer is, it probably wont ruin anything, especially if the receiver has a working overload shutoff (almost all receivers do).

It may well sound poor though.... if these are serious Hi-Fi speakers they may sound "starved" if they dont have enough watts. They can lose their dynamics and start to sound lifeless.

On the other hand, they may sound fine ... it depends how much current the speakers require to operate at full dynamics.
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