gasolin

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Underpowered amp


Some of us sometimes like it loud, there for we should get enough power or high sensitivity speakers

If having high sensitivity we don't need to be so concerned about watt , enough wattage, can the speaker handle it ?

Some can but, qoute from the Underpowered amp thread: The problem I'm having is that when I turn it up, the sound becomes a lot less nice and more harsh

Unless you have amps with alot of power,pa speaker or big floorstand speakers with 4-5 units as a minimum you often won't get a nice "loud" sound at high volume (expecially the bass), compared to small bookshelf speakers like i use

So what hifi speakers can do that ? High sensitivity,high power handling, that sounds good at high volume (lest say above 110db, for normal hifi speakers above 100db)

The mentioned Klipsch RP-280F in the underpowered amp thread is rated at 98 db and peak at 600 watt, up to 126db, so 110 db should be easy

Many smaller mission and wharfedale speakers are rated at midt 90's a max db, which i think is in the bass, since 10 watt is 10 db, 86db sensitivity and 10db of power is 96db, most of them can handle up to 20db peak = 106db, which is up there in this loud category, but nothing special, a pair of jbl 305pMKII active studio monitors for 300 or just above 300 euros for a pair, is rated at 108db

Despite that 10watt is 10 db and 86db sensitivity is 96db, i often feel many speakers need alot of power or the wolume high on the amp just to play mid 80's avarage or mid 90's peak

My own speakers playing in the mid 80's avarage or mid 90's peak is pretty loud but fare from what big,loud like floorstand speakers can deliver with 2x100 watt in 8 ohm (which is not considered overpowered in a big room, just enough for many people).
 

Dom

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The Dynaudio Emit M30 have a power handling of 200w and can be turned up quite loud without a problem. But beyond a point the mids and trebles can become excited.

This could be due to my particular setup and/or brightness coming from my computer.
 

DougK1

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Jan 4, 2024
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My speakers can get a little boisterous with too much juice, but it's not a level I'm physically comfortable with, somewhere around 75dB peak is good for me (y)
 
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Fandango Andy

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Underpowered amp


Some of us sometimes like it loud, there for we should get enough power or high sensitivity speakers

If having high sensitivity we don't need to be so concerned about watt , enough wattage, can the speaker handle it ?

Some can but, qoute from the Underpowered amp thread: The problem I'm having is that when I turn it up, the sound becomes a lot less nice and more harsh

Unless you have amps with alot of power,pa speaker or big floorstand speakers with 4-5 units as a minimum you often won't get a nice "loud" sound at high volume (expecially the bass), compared to small bookshelf speakers like i use

So what hifi speakers can do that ? High sensitivity,high power handling, that sounds good at high volume (lest say above 110db, for normal hifi speakers above 100db)

The mentioned Klipsch RP-280F in the underpowered amp thread is rated at 98 db and peak at 600 watt, up to 126db, so 110 db should be easy

Many smaller mission and wharfedale speakers are rated at midt 90's a max db, which i think is in the bass, since 10 watt is 10 db, 86db sensitivity and 10db of power is 96db, most of them can handle up to 20db peak = 106db, which is up there in this loud category, but nothing special, a pair of jbl 305pMKII active studio monitors for 300 or just above 300 euros for a pair, is rated at 108db

Despite that 10watt is 10 db and 86db sensitivity is 96db, i often feel many speakers need alot of power or the wolume high on the amp just to play mid 80's avarage or mid 90's peak

My own speakers playing in the mid 80's avarage or mid 90's peak is pretty loud but fare from what big,loud like floorstand speakers can deliver with 2x100 watt in 8 ohm (which is not considered overpowered in a big room, just enough for many people).
It's just a matter of balance between the amp, the speakers and the room. I have never had a problem with 35w pc and speakers that peak at 100db.
 
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Dom

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Thanks for the clarification Doug.

I will say the speakers at Glastonbury Festival were not only extremely loud but held amazing composure.

I remember at the Jazz World Stage hearing Morcheeba in 2000, thinking they must have put a CD in the machine.
 
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gasolin

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I think it's a combination of power and speakers playing loud with normal speakers and having to use most of the power the amp has can make it harsh

Speaker playing loud often get's harsher as well as the map close to it's limit

My self i want more power, higher sensitivity but im not shure if i should go for higher sensitivity or more details in the highs on a low budget when it also has to sound good when playing loud (more bass i easy to get if thats what you want)

Like a car most people what a fast car, fast acceleration and high top speed + it has to handle very good at high speed

High sensitivity, a high max spl + it has to sound good at high levels
 
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My2Cents

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Nov 10, 2023
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Probably worth reading this article:

Manufacturers don’t use the same measurement techniques to rate their speakers and amp designers don’t use a set standard for quoting power output.

An amplifier that has a well designed power supply (a toroidal transformer and large high quality power caps are a good sign) but a ‘published’ 50 watt per channel output may well produce much higher SPL’s from any given speaker than an amp that has a published figure of say 100 watts per channel to the same speaker. The amplifier’s voltage output and the speakers impedance change over frequency range is far more important than the amplifier’s rated wattage output or the speakers rated sensitivity.

So, comparing amp. and speaker specs is simply a very rough guide as what to expect from any given gear, but as the playing field is not level those specs. should be taken with a grain of salt.

The next big figure in the equation is your ears and the room.
Everyone’s ears perceive sound differently; age and how much time we have spent in noisy environments throughout our life makes a huge difference on how we perceive sound, especially as it gets louder.
As you turn up the volume the room begins to impact the sound quality greatly, standing waves and sound reflections begin to increase and this leads to environmental distortion.
 
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Stuart83

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Been through the maths of it all many times.
Sensitivity Vs theoretical output from lower powered amps being more than enough to the tiny amount of dB gain doubling watts brings.

All I know "factually" is I've had many amps of different outputs and always found watts is watts.

A decent 100W amp is almost always much much louder than 50W despite a supposedly tiny speaker power gain.

Sensitivity I've found the same but I also think manufacturers plainly over qoute.

Headroom, headroom, headroom is a massive factor to consider when playing loud.
Flogging lower power amps especially with large floorstanders always results in a tonal wince or two.

As per a prior post "Not unlike flogging a 1L car at 100mph.
It will do it but a 2L is just comfortably cruising at the same speed"

I would like to think it's common sense that higher power from the amp is higher power at the speakers.

Theoretical maths never convinced me once after experiencing many 50-60w amps even with high sensitivity speakers which most are now.

That said if lower volumes is your thing then that's not a problem but remember loud to some is low to others.

Personal preference should always dictate the power.
 
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Fandango Andy

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Been through the maths of it all many times.
Sensitivity Vs theoretical output from lower powered amps being more than enough to the tiny amount of dB gain doubling watts brings.

All I know "factually" is I've had many amps of different outputs and always found watts is watts.

A decent 100W amp is almost always much much louder than 50W despite a supposedly tiny speaker power gain.

Sensitivity I've found the same but I also think manufacturers plainly over qoute.

Headroom, headroom, headroom is a massive factor to consider when playing loud.
Flogging lower power amps especially with large floorstanders always results in a tonal wince or two.

As per a prior post "Not unlike flogging a 1L car at 100mph.
It will do it but a 2L is just comfortably cruising at the same speed"

I would like to think it's common sense that higher power from the amp is higher power at the speakers.

Theoretical maths never convinced me once after experiencing many 50-60w amps even with high sensitivity speakers which most are now.

That said if lower volumes is your thing then that's not a problem but remember loud to some is low to others.

Personal preference should always dictate the power.
As you allude to, loud is a relative term. I normally listen at normal volume (again a relative term) but sometimes go much loader. I'm not sure if I have ever reached half way on my volume control and I only have 35w per channel to play with.

Back as recently as the 90s and 00s 50 to 80w pc was considered powerful, but I have read a few comments in the last few days over a couple of threads were people are saying they would never consider a lower power amp suggesting 100w as the lower limit.

I am yet to be convinced the problems of the person who started this rabbit hole rest with his room or speaker positioning, and not the 50w of his Audiolab.
 

Revolutions

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I have read a few comments in the last few days over a couple of threads were people are saying they would never consider a lower power amp suggesting 100w as the lower limit.

I am yet to be convinced the problems of the person who started this rabbit hole rest with his room or speaker positioning, and not the 50w of his Audiolab.
100? Pfft, we’re all on the class D 300w bandwagon these days. Blowing up speakers left, right & centre.

And yes, hard agree that a 50w amp will have plenty of headroom & there’s more to this conundrum. Back in 2012 I had a Marantz 1030 with Magnat floorstanders. They lived in a mid-sized, double height living room with mezzanine kitchen/diner. It worked perfectly to fill the space & be loud enough over 30 people talking at parties. I always wished it was the 1060 for the MEGA JUICE 60W CRAZINESS!!!
 

Stuart83

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Jul 22, 2023
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I was making an hilarious joke… the simplest way to solve these problems is to audition…
That's the best advice but failing that and go d forbid buying blind remember one can always take volume away from a more powerful amp with the dial but one can't add volume to a lower power amp without that power available.
Always consider your listening habits when whittling down that list of choices.
 
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Fandango Andy

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That's the best advice but failing that and go d forbid buying blind remember one can always take volume away from a more powerful amp with the dial but one can't add volume to a lower power amp without that power available.
Always consider your listening habits when whittling down that list of choices.
The thing with this thread, the person who started it by wondering in their Audiolab was underpowered didn't say how big there room was and didn't say what was wrong with the sound. They just said it didn't actually say what was wrong witht the sound they said "when I turn it up, the sound becomes a lot less nice and more harsh".

It could be a correlation v causation issue. The problem appears when I turn the volume up, so the amp doesn't have the power for higher volume. It is just as likely that the issue is poor speaker positioning. There is no point in changing anything unless you are satisfied the speakers are in the best possible position within the limitations of your space.
 

twinkletoes

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The thing with this thread, the person who started it by wondering in their Audiolab was underpowered didn't say how big there room was and didn't say what was wrong with the sound. They just said it didn't actually say what was wrong witht the sound they said "when I turn it up, the sound becomes a lot less nice and more harsh".

It could be a correlation v causation issue. The problem appears when I turn the volume up, so the amp doesn't have the power for higher volume. It is just as likely that the issue is poor speaker positioning. There is no point in changing anything unless you are satisfied the speakers are in the best possible position within the limitations of your space.
small speakers hard up at volume doesn’t really have anything to do with power or even the room per say. And everything to do with internal volume (airspace) of the speaker. Believe the op owns little mission Mx1s could be wrong normal are.

You could put as much power up there backsides as much as you like but once you reach there max spl of that design they won’t go any harder and the closer you get to that hard stop the speakers will start to sound bad. Happen with every design they all have limits.

If you want to play loud, really loud, you mix everything together power, sensitivity and physicality (internal volume) you do that you have system that will literally shake your sole.

But it costs, I gave up long ago chasing power and just bought the most sensitive speakers I could afford. More cost effective.
 

Fandango Andy

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small speakers hard up at volume doesn’t really have anything to do with power or even the room per say. And everything to do with internal volume (airspace) of the speaker. Believe the op owns little mission Mx1s could be wrong normal are.

You could put as much power up there backsides as much as you like but once you reach there max spl of that design they won’t go any harder and the closer you get to that hard stop the speakers will start to sound bad. Happen with every design they all have limits.

If you want to play loud, really loud, you mix everything together power, sensitivity and physicality (internal volume) you do that you have system that will literally shake your sole.

But it costs, I gave up long ago chasing power and just bought the most sensitive speakers I could afford. More cost effective.
No, the confusion here is the thread doesn't start with the OP. He was quoting a different post.

To paraphrase the actual OP is someone with Klipsch RP-280F speakers. He was powering them with an old Denon (I think) AV amp. He upgraded to an Audiolab which he considered to sound better except at high volume where they sounded "less nice".
 
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Stuart83

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No, the confusion here is the thread doesn't start with the OP. He was quoting a different post.

To paraphrase the actual OP is someone with Klipsch RP-280F speakers. He was powering them with an old Denon (I think) AV amp. He upgraded to an Audiolab which he considered to sound better except at high volume where they sounded "less nice".
Thanks Andy......
It seems that the older thread has been carried over to here.

To add a little insight into my personal listening habits and why I go for 100W minimum as a general rule is because I used to djay part time as a job and was around and owned huge equipment (trust me big pa equipment sounds terrible in a house).
Also my father repairing mainly hifi in the early 90s ment he'd regularly pass various amps etc for me to try out of interest as it became a shared hobby in my teens.

All wattages sizes and makes would come through that little loft hatch of his.

There a few exceptions to the rule.
Sure I've had a 1975yr 12W sansui amp once that shook the windows with mission 763i's but it's rare that kind of power will power such large speakers successfully.

I went through "the theory" of it all only to find in practice watts is indeed watts where power is concerned.

My current system reflects my findings as I still on occasion djay only now as a hobby rather than work.

I have a 120W acram sa30 and q acoustics 3050i which only recently I swapped from the 140W roskan k3 after hearing the sa30 and much preferring it post software issues.

I had a 50W rotel tribune and a Marantz for awhile with the same anciliries only to be disappointed especially when moving over to mixing or heavy metal.
Always having to ride the dial to the highest degree and never actually reaching where I needed it without a loss of control.

Of course loud music in general seems to annoy people but I have the luxury of a detached bungalow with back bedroom and at 40 my hearing measures perfect.

I've found that mentioning watts as a main guide is a debate starter despite the very manufacturers of the amplifiers obviously thinking it's the best guide themselves.

A friend of mine will always go for a larger wattage guitar amp to leave headroom for the same reason and also the combined scope to gig.

My other setup is a two amp switching combo with a Yamaha rs 202d and one of my all time favourites the pioneer a400, the Yamaha is another 100W amp and the pioneer 60W going through another favourite of mine the mission mx3's.

There is another twist to add to the confusion as the pioneer is probably double the power despite 40W rated less.
(Ignore the candles that ride the top of the missions 😂 my partner makes them reappear everytime I move them or try and loose them)

I've known manufacturers to lie on occasion and vastly over qoute their amp wattage.
Especially in the wattage wars of the late 80s and 90s with 600W this and that, it's still prominent in car stereos of today and well covered on YouTube.

Some would just plain lie, others
would qoute the amp power usage holistically in watts rather than the speaker power.
I've had a class D with a supposedly high wattage that in practice just didn't do the word loud.

To broach the subject again of the prior post I know personally if I had the klipsch mentioned I go for the minimum 100W ballpark with a large room just to appease my listening habits.

Speaker poisoning is of course very important.
I have foam bungs in both sets of mine as the rooms dictate they have to be closer to the wall than I'd like.

And please don't think I've got anything against lower wattage amps as some of my favourites have been 60W

Suffice to say the car analogies people seem to use fits best to what I've found in practice many many times.

"A larger 2L ford fiesta engine will in most cases not even nearly double the output horse power of its half size 1L counterpart but will effortlessly handle heavy loads uphill without a struggle and cruise comfortably at what would be the smaller cars top speed"
 

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