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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I'm shopping for new speakers, one thing I do not understand is power handling.


I'm looking into Paradigm's Atom or Mini Monitor...they say 50 and 80 watts max power

I'm looking at Ascends...they say max is 400 and continuous is 200

I have Yamaha NS-333's...they say max 175 watts

I'm looking at HSUs...they say max is 175

I'm looking at Axiom M3's...they say max is 175

Looking at Aperion 5B's...they say recommended is 25-200 watts


So as an uneducated speaker shopper, seems to me that the higher the power handling, the louder I'd be able to play a speaker without worrying about distortion...logic being that if they are made to handle gobs of power, the power that my Denon 888 is putting out should be no problem.


But then alot of folks recommend speakers for music/HT use that have a max rating of 100 watts, so I have to figure I'm wrong somewhere in my thinking. I've read people on here say that even though a receiver says it can put out 100 watts the receiver puts out more like 50...so maybe it doesn't even matter unless you've got something other than a receiver powering the speaker?


Can anybody provide any insight? Does the max wattage of a speaker even matter? Should it not even enter into my consideration of one speaker vs another?
 

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There are no standards for power ratings of speakers, and that's the problem. Some companies list a recommended amplifier wattage, some list a range of amplifier "recommended power," some list the wattage level where the speaker starts to compress badly, some list a wattage rating at which the speaker can be damaged, some list continuous power capability, some state peak power, etc.


A speaker that can handle 50 watts continuous pink noise across the entire audio band may very well handle short 400 watt unclipped peaks. So, it's hard to say what these specs mean. I would go for a receiver (or amp) that outputs more power into 4 ohms than into 8 ohms, with at least 200 watts into 4 ohms, if possible.


The other big variable is speaker sensitivity. With a test tone, an 86 dB sensitivity speaker (theoretically) would take 128 watts to produce 107 dB of output. An 95 dB sensitive speaker will hit 107 dB with 16 watts input. If you're concerned about output because you have a large room, you sit far back, or you are a headbanger, look at speaker sensitivity. Doubling the power into a speaker increases output 3 dB, so sensitivity is important.


Also, sensitivity should be rated "anechoically," and not in a conventional room, or it will falsely measure considerably higher.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpa5oh /forum/post/15570119


As I'm shopping for new speakers, one thing I do not understand is power handling.


I'm looking into Paradigm's Atom or Mini Monitor...they say 50 and 80 watts max power

I'm looking at Ascends...they say max is 400 and continuous is 200

I have Yamaha NS-333's...they say max 175 watts

I'm looking at HSUs...they say max is 175

I'm looking at Axiom M3's...they say max is 175

Looking at Aperion 5B's...they say recommended is 25-200 watts


So as an uneducated speaker shopper, seems to me that the higher the power handling, the louder I'd be able to play a speaker without worrying about distortion...logic being that if they are made to handle gobs of power, the power that my Denon 888 is putting out should be no problem.


But then alot of folks recommend speakers for music/HT use that have a max rating of 100 watts, so I have to figure I'm wrong somewhere in my thinking. I've read people on here say that even though a receiver says it can put out 100 watts the receiver puts out more like 50...so maybe it doesn't even matter unless you've got something other than a receiver powering the speaker?


Can anybody provide any insight? Does the max wattage of a speaker even matter? Should it not even enter into my consideration of one speaker vs another?

You have to figure out a way to get to know the limits of your equipment........your receiver/amp and the speakers, so that you don't have an accident.


"If you were driving out on the expressway and you "needed" to pass, and you were already going seventy five miles per hour, what would you like to be driving, a Geo Metro 3 cylinder or a beefy eight cylinder Vette?"


If you are not going to be doing any passing, most of the specs/numbers will not mean anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey I appreciate the time both of you put into those responses. I learned alot.


Speaker shopping is fun, but it ain't a real clear thing. What I've been trying to do is decide, based on the speakers that I have, whether I like brighter, more mellow, care about bass from other than the subwoofer, etc. and then go on here and read reviews and try and find consensus about which speakers have the qualities that I like. I did not know how max wattage ratings worked nor did I know that sensitivity has alot of interplay with max wattage. Now I know.


Thanks again
 
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