Originally Posted by nflguy
What does "clipping" mean?
How can I know if the speakers reccomended by installers have high sensitivity?
Clipping is when an amplifier runs out of clean power to send to the speakers. trying to drive them any further at that point will damage your speakes. these days most amps (and avrs) will go into protection mode and shut down to avoid damage, but your speakers still risk damage when that happens.
Speaker sensitivity is the sound output, in decibels, at 1 foot away from the speaker with 1 watt of power driving the speaker. thus a speaker with a higher sensitivity number is easier to drive and will sound louder than a lower sensitivity speaker with the same power going in.
For general home theater use in the living room, most people are good with speakers above 85db. i have speakers in the 88db range and they get plenty loud, but its not quite theater quality sound. for people with larger rooms, or who like to listen at higher volumes continously, or for those building a dedicated theater room to mimic the full theatrical experience, high sensitivity speakers are often recommended for their ability to play louder, requirng less power to do so.
Whenever you look at speakers online, see if you can hunt down their specifications. that will list their sensitivity as well as their power handling (listed in watts with two number. the lower number is for continuous power, the higher number is for peak power for quick blasts of sound that arent continuous) so make sure as you are hunting for speakers that yhou pay attention to their specs.