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Thread: Wattage Rating

  1. #1

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    Default Wattage Rating

    Quick Question.

    My speaker are rated at 150W each. If I purchase an Outlaw Mono 200W Amplifier, will it be too much for the speaker if I don't crank it?

    My HK AVR 230 receiver only puts out 50W per channel, with all channels going. I want to get more out of my system.

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    It shouldn't be too much for the speakers, depending on what speakers they are. you'd damage speakers faster by trying to play them at high levels with underpowered gear than you will by playing them at high levels on overpowered gear.

    What speakers are they?
    Ludicrous gibs!

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    You'll be fine, really. The extra power in the amps will simply let it handle audio passages of varying intensity with more clarity and less distortion, especially in the bass. Depending on the sensitivity of your speakers, pumping even 90 continuous watts into your speakers would likely be louder than you'd ever want to listen to.

    Lower wattage amps can cause distortion in the actual signal, which can damage speakers physically.
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    I agree with the others. More clean power is better for most speakers. My B&W's are rated to handle 150 watts. I used to have an Outlaw M200 to each of them with no problem. I now have a 250 watt Krell, which is conservatly rated and is probably closer to 400 watts. The speakers are fine and never sounded so good. Go for it.
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    I posted on FatWallet a few weeks ago in some HTiB thread saying it's safer to drive a 100w speaker with 200w than 30w and I got flamed for spreading "misinformation". I'm locking myself in this forum and never going outside again.
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    I wonder why you got flamed? what you say is also what i have heard in past all the time.
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    Default Monitor 50's

    The speakers are Polk Monitor 50's. Thanks for the feedback. I'll go for it when I can afford the amps.

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    Iomic - Go back and tell them to go F themselves. Burn that bridge quick as it's apparently useless for audio information.

    Give me a link, I'd love to go crazy on that thread.

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    Talking LOL

    Can I watch Mark? Sounds like it might be fun.
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    dorokusai-san with samurai sword a-swinging!

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    I'd love to see it too, its one thing to disagree with correct information, its another thing to rag someone about it if their dead on right
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    Default Amplifier

    Originally posted by Whadyasay
    You'll be fine, really. The extra power in the amps will simply let it handle audio passages of varying intensity with more clarity and less distortion, especially in the bass. Depending on the sensitivity of your speakers, pumping even 90 continuous watts into your speakers would likely be louder than you'd ever want to listen to.

    Lower wattage amps can cause distortion in the actual signal, which can damage speakers physically.
    Does this mean that the 200W amplifier won't be noticably louder than the 50W per channel that my receiver puts out, but only have more dynamic range?

    I'd go with it if I can get a noticable increase in volume as well. Currently, DVD's are not that loud.

    I would like the Monitor 50's to perform to their best, which I believe can happen with more power.

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    In a sense, you would be correct.

    Loudness is measured in decibels, so if you play your speakers a level that procuces sound at 85 db, then it will play at that level no matter what wattage is behind it.

    However, and this is a big however, an amplifier that is designed to deliver 50watts/channel will begin to distort much sooner(at the same loudness) than the 200watt/channel amp.

    Essentially, you will be able to play your at "louder" levels without the distortion.
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    Originally posted by okiepolkie
    In a sense, you would be correct.

    Loudness is measured in decibels, so if you play your speakers a level that procuces sound at 85 db, then it will play at that level no matter what wattage is behind it.

    However, and this is a big however, an amplifier that is designed to deliver 50watts/channel will begin to distort much sooner(at the same loudness) than the 200watt/channel amp.

    Essentially, you will be able to play your at "louder" levels without the distortion.
    Even now it doesn't distort. It's just that on a DVD, I have turned it to -5dB, much of the time it is not as loud as I'd expect.

    Thanks for the feedback. I wouldn't need an amp because of distortion, but because of the headroom. Maybe I can find a way for the DVD player to output more volume.

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    Do you know the sensitivity rating of the speakers? For a speaker with a sensitivity of 90db, here is a handy little chart to see the relationship between watts and decibels.
    Attached Images  

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    An 85db speaker, requires more power.
    Attached Images  

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    Originally posted by dorokusai
    Iomic - Go back and tell them to go F themselves. Burn that bridge quick as it's apparently useless for audio information.

    Give me a link, I'd love to go crazy on that thread.
    It *IS* safer to drive 30 clean watts into a 100W rated speaker than drive it with 200 clean watts. What happens is people go ahead and drive the crap out of the amp, clip the signal so much that its a square wave, and destroy the speakers.

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    Clean watts, yes. The 200w rating is usually there for the peaks, like explosions and such, that can be presented clearly. 200W continuous output power into ANY speaker would be very dangerous to your hearing, much less the speaker. At most comfortable listening levels, you r really not putting much more than 20-30 watts average continuous through your speakers. But for loud hits, or high level bass notes/drum hits, more power on tap is needed at an instant to keep them clean and clear. So at 30w into your speakers for normal listening (pretty loud, actually), a certain peak may need 80w...that's where a 50w amp will struggle and produce more distortion at that level than a 150w amp, and it's that distortion that could damage a 100w rated speaker, whereas with the 150w amp, that distortion wouldn't even be there.

    Also, larger speakers with multiple drivers benefit from more power, as each driver is basically an electric motor, requiring electricity to move the speaker cone. More power is needed to move those multiple motors quickly and efficiently in order to faithfully reproduce the audio material. Look at it as horsepower in a car. the more horsepower on tap, the better the car will accelerate at various speeds, especially when you're already cruising along on the highway. A lower horsepower car can still travel at 70mph, but the car with more horsepower will be able to pick up speed and pass other cars more easily.

    Most DVD's are recorded at a lower reference level than say CD's, radio, and even Television programming because there is a greater dynamic range on DVD movie soundtracks...ranging from whisper quiet to loud explosions...so a lower reference levels leaves more headroom for the loudest passages. This is normal. How do you have your DVD player hooked up? Digital or 5.1 analog? For example, a CD will normally be in the -27 to -22 volume range on my system, whereas a DVD is normally between -19 and -15 for the same perceived volume level. You should be able to hear the reference volume differences when you play a DVD on the player compared to a recent music CD. HK's internal amps are quite good, as far as receivers go, and they are rather conservatively rated. Your speakers may be a bit low in their sensitivity rating (84-87dB 1W @ 1M range)...which is no indication of bad quality, just the way they are designed. If that's the case, then they would need more amplifier power to play at the same levels as more sensitive speakers, like some Klipsch models. This is where an eternal separate amplifier really helps. Don't worry about having to crank the volume level reading up on the receiver if used as a preamp into the Outlaw monoblocks...they can take it, and so should your speakers.
    Last edited by Whadyasay; 04-05-2005 at 05:20 PM.
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    Originally posted by bknauss
    It *IS* safer to drive 30 clean watts into a 100W rated speaker than drive it with 200 clean watts. What happens is people go ahead and drive the crap out of the amp, clip the signal so much that its a square wave, and destroy the speakers.
    No kidding, thanks for the information.

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    Originally posted by bknauss
    It *IS* safer to drive 30 clean watts into a 100W rated speaker than drive it with 200 clean watts.
    Load of crap in my opinion. (Not that my opinion is more valid than yours, I just don't happen to agree with you.)

    Unless you are running test tones, most music and movies have some level of dynamic range to them. If you are running your 30 clean watts into a speaker and drums hit, a car explodes, whatever - you have no power to reproduce the sound with. Playing the same volume - you would be much safer with a 200 watt amp.

    As far as sound quality goes, in most cases, you would again be better off with the 200 channel amp. Not only would you not worry as much about distortion, but you would also have better control over your drivers.

    I have a pair of SDA-1b's that, at the same volume, sounds like absolute crap when run from my Onkyo AVR but never fails to impress when run from my external amplifier. I am sure in both cases I am running less than 10 watts into the speakers. Given your conclusion - if we all listen well below reference (witch many of us do) there is no reason to ever get more than a 50 watt receiver.

    I would much rather purchase used pair of LSi's or SDA's from someone who ran them with a large external amp than to know they were driven with a low to mid-line AVR the entire time they were in the previous owners hands.

    All just in my opinion of course......

    Michael
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    Originally posted by Whadyasay
    Clean watts, yes.
    I agree. Thanks for your time... Capiche?(chspl)

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    Speaker ratings are continuous power ratings.

    Speakers can handle transients as much as four times their "rating"... some even more.

    I have never worried about using too powerful of an amp (unless kids or drunks were present).

    The 30th W out of my old Carver M-1.5t (considered by many to be a "dirty" amp, i.e., high THD at it's rated ouput of 375 wpc), will be the match of the 30th W out of any "clean" 30 wpc amp... and still have 10 times the power to go... 20 times if you dip into it's headroom.

    I'd like a piece of that fatwallet thread too... maybe you can cuss over there...
    More later,
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    Here is a link to Elliott Sound Products that has articles related to the topic at hand, and others of general interest.

    Another Rane article on the subject.

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    I found a decent article as well. Basically on how much power do you really need for audio.

    While I don't agree with everything in the article, it is an easy read and makes many valid points that I had not thought of. (and have not been mentioned so far in this thread)

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    Originally posted by dorokusai
    No kidding, thanks for the information.
    Nowhere was it explained before in the thread that its safer to drive a speaker with less clean power than rated instead of more clean power than rated. A huge misconception around the internet is that if you aren't feeding a 100W speaker 100W, you're going to destroy it. Not true as long as its not clipped to all heck.

    Just trying to help out the people who don't have a lot of technical knowledge...

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    "Load of crap in my opinion. (Not that my opinion is more valid than yours, I just don't happen to agree with you.)

    Unless you are running test tones, most music and movies have some level of dynamic range to them."

    Sounds like you don't listen to most CDs recently released... good! :)

    "If you are running your 30 clean watts into a speaker and drums hit, a car explodes, whatever - you have no power to reproduce the sound with. Playing the same volume - you would be much safer with a 200 watt amp."

    Definitely true. When I was giving power examples, the important part is the clean signal. As long as the material going through the amp and loudspeaker is clean when you're playing under the RMS rating of the speaker, you're good to go... well, good to go in the respect of safety. As mentioned, you'll have no dynamics and the material will definitely sound flat.

    "As far as sound quality goes, in most cases, you would again be better off with the 200 channel amp. Not only would you not worry as much about distortion, but you would also have better control over your drivers."

    Agreed.

    "I have a pair of SDA-1b's that, at the same volume, sounds like absolute crap when run from my Onkyo AVR but never fails to impress when run from my external amplifier. I am sure in both cases I am running less than 10 watts into the speakers. Given your conclusion - if we all listen well below reference (witch many of us do) there is no reason to ever get more than a 50 watt receiver. "

    I never said you shouldn't get a high powered receiver. I personally have a lot of power running through my system. I love the dynamics. And I also know I probably have a ton of head room during most of my listening levels (like you noted with many members here). I am simply saying if you want to be ultimately safe with drivers, going below rated power with a clean signal is safer than going greater than rated power with a clean signal. Unfortunately, the only way to compare power levels is to have either the same music playing or play a test tone. I'm a dork, so I play test tones a lot. I feel safer not sending a ton of power to my speakers during test tones :)

    "I would much rather purchase used pair of LSi's or SDA's from someone who ran them with a large external amp than to know they were driven with a low to mid-line AVR the entire time they were in the previous owners hands.



    All just in my opinion of course......

    Michael "

    Was that person 16 years old? They seem to like overdriving speakers!

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    Originally posted by bknauss
    Was that person 16 years old?
    Actually 38 - Not that it matters for this discussion.
    They seem to like overdriving speakers!
    Not at all. I do enjoy audio and sharing what I have learned with others. (to be fair, I also enjoy a good argument on occasion)

    When I purchased my Cinepro amp I called polk customer service to ask if it would be a problem running a pair of speakers rated at 150 watts per channel on a 500 watt per channel amp. Their responce was that they get calls every day for blown speakers from people trying to run a speaker on a low to mid-grade reciever and pushing it to far. The customer service rep that I had talked to stated that he had only heard of two or three calls in the years he has worked for polk where a speaker was blown from running to large an amp on it.

    You can infer what you want from that conversation, but many companies have thermal protection for their speakers to protect from over driving them. I do not know of any that have protection from clipping. (at the speaker level)

    the following quote is from a review of my amplifier:
    Below is a sample of about 5 seconds of the Dolby Digital Soundtrack of the hit movie INDEPENDENCE DAY. It shows that, even with moderate dialogue and background levels of 10-20 watts, peaks on the special effects can require reproduction of levels 18 dB louder. This translates into peak power requirements of over 700 watts! We know of no amplifier, other than the Cinepro 3k6 that can produce this type of short term energy into your speakers. Please note that most quality home theater speakers can reproduce short term peak power in excess of 1,000 watts, without damage.
    I will grant that no one in their right minds would consider 10-20 watts "moderate dialog" but it does indicate that most mid-line and lower AVR's will not be able to play action movies without some level of clipping. Whether this level of clipping will cause damage to your speakers is open for debate, but your 30 watt reciever will clip trying to play most movies.

    _____________________________

    There you go, I have stated my case and my sources. Your turn.

    What sources have you read (or who told you) that they recommend running speakers with a 30 watt reciever rather than a high quality amplifier. Not can do, but recommend saving your money on amplification and putting it to other uses in your audio/video system.

    Michael
    Last edited by McLoki; 04-07-2005 at 10:37 AM.
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
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    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
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    Agree, McLoki.... Will say that speaker thermal protection (or fuses) are a safeguard against clipping.

    Originally posted by bknauss
    Nowhere was it explained before in the thread that its safer to drive a speaker with less clean power than rated instead of more clean power than rated.
    There's a reason it was not mentioned... It's that we don't agree... at least I don't.

    You're throwing out the term "clean power" as a qualifying condition. In the real world it is not a quaifier, it's a result... Clipping is "unclean". And it's a simple fact that a 30 W amp is going to clip before a 100 W, which will clip before a 200 W, which will... etc.

    Originally posted by bknauss
    A huge misconception around the internet is that if you aren't feeding a 100W speaker 100W, you're going to destroy it. Not true as long as its not clipped to all heck.
    Again with the qualiifer... Not on the thread's point.... The question was will I hurt "150 W" speakers with a "200 W" amp.

    "Safety" is in the ears (and sensibilities) of the owner.
    More later,
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    Originally posted by Tour2ma
    Agree, McLoki.... Will say that speaker thermal protection (or fuses) are a safeguard against clipping.
    I was unaware of that. I thought the thermal protection was to keep the voice coil from overheating. - I also thought the voice coil would overheat from to much sustained power going into the speaker.

    Was I incorrect on both counts or just one? How does it protect from clipping? (Not arguing the fact, just trying to understand it...)

    Michael
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
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    Surrounds.......Polk LSi7 (Gloss Black - wood sides removed and crossovers upgraded)
    Subwoofers.....SVS 25-31 CS+ and PC+ (both 20hz tune)
    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
    Amplifier.........Cinepro 3k6 (6-channel, 500wpc@4ohms)

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    You're correct about tweeter heating. Due to the limited surface area of their VC, they are very limited in their ability to dissipate heat.

    The more power/ current applied, be it in a music signal or as a result of clipping, the more heat generated.

    Polyswitches and fuses also heat up as they pass current. Thus the protection factor.
    Last edited by Tour2ma; 04-07-2005 at 11:45 AM.
    More later,
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    "Death doesn't come with a Uhaul." - Dennis Gardner

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