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Matching speakers to my amplifier...

Apr 17, 2016
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I'm currently in the process of finding a pair of speakers to go with an old amplifier I fixed up, but I'm not sure how to match them up.

My amp is 40W per channel, and I read somewhere that it's best to have an amp with roughly double the wattage of your speakers. But that would mean 20W speakers which seems too low for it to be worth it. I also spoke to a member of staff in a hi-fi shop who told me that it doesn't matter what the respective wattages are, as long as the impedance matches up.

My amp is an Arcam Alpha 7R which says on the back that it can handle 4Ω, 8Ω, or 16Ω... although it's listed here as '40 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)'.

So I'm a bit confused. Can anyone recommend the sort of range of speaker I should be looking for?
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
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The conventional wisdom was that the speakers' handling should be at least as much as the amplifier's maximum output. So anything capable of handling 40 watts or more in your case.

Few speaker models made in the last twenty or so years will have a lower rating than 40w, so you won't be limited in your hunt. Speakers don't have a fixed impedance either: a rating like 6ohm or 8 ohm is nominal, and often drops to 2 or 3 at certain frequencies ( which in turn drains the amplifier, momentarily).

Also bear in mind that over-driving any amplifier is more likely to damage a speaker than using a more powerful one within its capability. So you can blow 60w speakers with an overdriven 40w amp., so be sensible! Choosing a more sensitive, I.e. Louder speaker is helpful, if you like loud music or have a larger than average room, as this will stress the amplifier less.

Good luck!
 

Al ears

Moderator
nopiano said:
The conventional wisdom was that the speakers' handling should be at least as much as the amplifier's maximum output. So anything capable of handling 40 watts or more in your case.

Few speaker models made in the last twenty or so years will have a lower rating than 40w, so you won't be limited in your hunt. Speakers don't have a fixed impedance either: a rating like 6ohm or 8 ohm is nominal, and often drops to 2 or 3 at certain frequencies ( which in turn drains the amplifier, momentarily).

Also bear in mind that over-driving any amplifier is more likely to damage a speaker than using a more powerful one within its capability. So you can blow 60w speakers with an overdriven 40w amp., so be sensible! Choosing a more sensitive, I.e. Louder speaker is helpful, if you like loud music or have a larger than average room, as this will stress the amplifier less.

Good luck!
+1

I would be looking at speakers that are nominally 8 or 6 ohm and have a higher than average efficiency say 87dB and up. This almost invariably means floorstanders if you're looking to do it cheaply.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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Geoff Wright said:
I'm currently in the process of finding a pair of speakers to go with an old amplifier I fixed up, but I'm not sure how to match them up.

My amp is 40W per channel, and I read somewhere that it's best to have an amp with roughly double the wattage of your speakers. But that would mean 20W speakers which seems too low for it to be worth it. I also spoke to a member of staff in a hi-fi shop who told me that it doesn't matter what the respective wattages are, as long as the impedance matches up.

My amp is an Arcam Alpha 7R which says on the back that it can handle 4Ω, 8Ω, or 16Ω... although it's listed here as '40 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)'.

So I'm a bit confused. Can anyone recommend the sort of range of speaker I should be looking for?
I've owned the Alpha 7R (still in the attic as a spare) and they are wonderful amps - speaker matching is crucial though.

This'll depend on how loud you like play music, and whether you'll add the power amp.

Having owned 40watt Arcam amps for around 14 years (Alpha 7 and A65+) they need a speaker that's easy to drive, so depending on budget and your choice I'd look at the following:

Focal 'V' range, Monitor Audio Bronze or Silver range, PMC 'i' series, Dali. As long as you don't dip below 87db on the speakers and you don't want to blow the walls down, these will be more than adequate.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
174
53
18,670
Geoff Wright said:
Many thanks for the advice folks, it's very much appreciated.

I also have a pair of these: http://www.ohm.co.uk/archive/br-5/

I was concerned that my 40W amp would be under powered, but it seems from what has been said here that perhaps I can get away with it. Sounds like the sensitivity is fine at 92dB, but the impedance is 16Ω, is that too high?
They look like PA speakers, and certainly won't harm your amp. Don't expect them to be very subtle, however!
 

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