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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Could someone please explain to me how huge of a difference there would be with a speaker that is rated at 83db and the other is 96db ? How big a difference is this in real world listening for movies.
 

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Depends on a lot of factors. The lower sensitivity speaker is going to take a ton more juice to power. Remember it takes double the wattage for every 3db gain in SPL.
 

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In a previous system, I had a set of av 123 Strata Mini's, which had a sensitivity of 86 dB. There was no "matching" CC, (although MLS told me and others on several occasions that there eventually would be
), so I used a Klipsch RC-7 with them, plus a set of RS-7's as surrounds. The Klipsch speakers were high sensitivity, (98 dB), so the difference was very close to what you are asking about. I used the speaker trims to set the relative levels, but I was very close to running out of range with the 12 dB variance of sensitivities.


In addition, it seemed that the sensitivities were not "linear". As the volume went up, the Klipsch's seemed to get louder than the Mini's. Also, I blew the tweeters in the Mini's twice because they just couldn't keep up with, (or possibly didn't have enough amplifier headroom for), the Klipsch's.


After that experience, I vowed I would never mix low sensitivity and high sensitivity speakers in a system again. I will try to keep the sensitivities of all the speakers in a system within 3 dB of each other.


My $0.02.



Craig


Edit: Just re-read your OP. If you were not talking about using the 83 and 96 dB sensitivity speaker *together*, then ignore the above. The difference between 83 and 96 dB sensitivity speakers is how much amplifier power you need to make them produce the same sound pressure level. The 83 dB speakers will require *huge* amounts of amplifier power, whereas the 96 dB speakers will have the amps just loafing along at the same SPL. Try this calculator to explore the differences:
http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply Craig, However I'm not wanting to mix the different speakers such as you described. I'm rather trying to decide which speaker to buy, one is rated at 83db for the fronts, 81db for the surrounds and the other is rated at 96db for the fronts, 90db for surrounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by afrogt /forum/post/18124066


The 96db and 90db speakers will play louder at the same volume than the other two.



But I wouldn't base my purchase on sensitivity, you should base it on sound quality!


Here's the deal, gave up my theater room awhile back and moved stuff to living room. I'm selling some of my gear now and am thinking of going with something like the Onkyo ht-s9100THX HTIB until we can move/build house and I have a dedicated theater room again. The 83 db speakers are the speakers in the Onkyo ht-s9100THX package while the 96db speakers are the Klipsch XF-48's. They are at a great price right now and like how they are also have their own built in amp to power them to leave more power for the other speakers. Thing is the XF-48 really doesn't have a matching center.


So that's my dilemma, just was wanting to see if the 83db vs 96db was any type of indication on how good the speaker is. As a side note, I used to have one of the Onkyo HTIB from 2004, had it for 4 years and was very happy with the sound of the speakers in it and no doubt the 9100THX speakers would be way better than those. I'm just afraid the low 83db rating for these could cause clipping or distortion on some of the blu-ray's with higher dynamic peaks in the soundtrack.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john /forum/post/18123953


In addition, it seemed that the sensitivities were not "linear". As the volume went up, the Klipsch's seemed to get louder than the Mini's.

Sounds like power compression.
 

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I've heard some 83 dB-sensitive speakers that sounded very nice (LS3-5As, for instance), but only on chamber music or gentle acoustical music and in a very, very intimate environment at no farther than five or six feet away.


A sensitivity rating on surrounds (dipoles) can be misleading, though, because measured on axis (in the null) they may be 80 dB-84 dB, but if the two arrays were in-phase, they would measure 87 dB-91 dB or more. 83 dB for a dipole that will handle some power is actually pretty high...if measured in the null.
 
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