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Knowing how many watts a speaker needs to sound it's best?

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  • #31
    Nielsen was a dramatic actor for most of his career. In 1980, after 30 years in the business, he was cast in the comedy Airplane!, in which, like most of his subsequent comedies, he played it straight.
    www.billfitzmaurice.com
    www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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    • #32
      You NEED to compare apples to oranges.

      If a vintage HK receiver sounds much WORSE than a vintage Realistic receiver, ....

      1. It is defective in ways unknown to you
      2. Tone controls or loudness contour switches may be on on one and not on the other etc
      3. One receiver or the other is modifying the frequency response in ways unknown to you.....

      I have a vintage 20 watt HK receiver, and it compares favorable to pretty much ANYTHING I have compared it to, Not equal in power of course, but in basic sound quality, up to fairly loud levels.

      If yours sounds bad, it is probably defective in some ways. Tone controls get bad with age, Tape monitor switches and so on.
      After cleaning every switch and Pot, making some bias adjustments and a few other things, it sounds as good as the day I bought it now.
      Last edited by kevintomb; 05-26-2019, 05:21 PM.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by philthien View Post
        Mastering engineers (typically) set their meters so 81db from a single monitor is 0db at their console. So basically the loudest passage on a track is going to play at 81db on a single one of their monitors. Up to 84db because they’re mostly mixing two channel.

        With many speakers, you can achieve this with about a watt.

        Twice as loud would take about 10 watts.

        Much louder than that and you’re really limiting listening time as hearing damage happens much faster.

        81-84db is fairly loud and you can listen all day without hurting your ears.
        I generally don't even listen to music *that* loud, but I believe this is an underestimation of power needs.

        It's not "average listening level" we need to consider. It's "average listening level, plus dynamic headroom." The THX consumer spec calls for 20dB of dynamic headroom, for exampler.

        Yes, your average listening level might be only 81-84dB. In my case it's more like 75dB or less since I listen for 40+ hours a week and I'm trying to save my hearing. Ideally, I'd have 20dB of dynamic headroom on top of that. So my system would need to hit around 95dB cleanly from the listening position. Not because I'm a maniac who likes to destroy his hearing by listening to music at an average of 95dB, but because I'm listening at 75dB and want those +20dB peaks.

        When we consider that, 10W might be lacking. Not that folks need *gobs* of power, mind you. 50 clean watts usually gets the job done with juice to spare in a small room.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by JohnBooty View Post

          I generally don't even listen to music *that* loud, but I believe this is an underestimation of power needs.

          It's not "average listening level" we need to consider. It's "average listening level, plus dynamic headroom." The THX consumer spec calls for 20dB of dynamic headroom, for exampler.

          Yes, your average listening level might be only 81-84dB. In my case it's more like 75dB or less since I listen for 40+ hours a week and I'm trying to save my hearing. Ideally, I'd have 20dB of dynamic headroom on top of that. So my system would need to hit around 95dB cleanly from the listening position. Not because I'm a maniac who likes to destroy his hearing by listening to music at an average of 95dB, but because I'm listening at 75dB and want those +20dB peaks.

          When we consider that, 10W might be lacking. Not that folks need *gobs* of power, mind you. 50 clean watts usually gets the job done with juice to spare in a small room.
          Well I guess it depends on your speakers. If your speakers can achieve 85-db w/ 1-watt, they should be able to achieve 95db with 10-watts?

          Less, actually, because we're listening in at least stereo in reverberate rooms.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by philthien View Post

            Well I guess it depends on your speakers. If your speakers can achieve 85-db w/ 1-watt, they should be able to achieve 95db with 10-watts?

            Less, actually, because we're listening in at least stereo in reverberate rooms.
            Theoretically yes, although this would mean running your amp at very close to max gain.

            Practically speaking, max gain is where amps start clipping and things start sounding ragged. To me it's like a car. If you want to drive 65mph you don't pick a car with 45HP and an absolute max speed of 65mph. You pick a car with 100+ HP that has no problem reaching 100mph even if you don't intend to drive that fast, because it's going to be nice and smooth and stable at 65mph.

            (On the other hand, car analogies usually suck)

            I will say, though... if you have a 10W setup that sounds great to you, that trumps anything I've just typed. I know a lot of high-efficiency speakers really shine with low-power amps, like tube amps or solid state amps that are able to stay within their Class A comfort zone!

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            • #36
              Who needs more than this?

              Trabant 1990 pov fast drive - YouTube

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              • #37
                Originally posted by JohnBooty View Post
                I will say, though... if you have a 10W setup that sounds great to you, that trumps anything I've just typed. I know a lot of high-efficiency speakers really shine with low-power amps, like tube amps or solid state amps that are able to stay within their Class A comfort zone!
                Oh I was just talking about watts used, not available. If I was routinely driving my amp to 10 watts I suppose I’d want a 100 watt amp. Which is exactly sort of what I have, two 100-wpc amps (biamped).

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by djg View Post
                  Don't call me Shirley.
                  And. . . .
                  Click image for larger version

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by AEIOU View Post

                    The planet Altair IV from my favorite Sci-Fi movie.
                    But monster's from their (collective) id got them in the end!

                    The only nightmare I had as a kid (about 8) was caused by this movie. I was sure those glowing monsters were coming after me, through the walls. My dad took me to see it because my brother was sick and he wanted to keep me away from him. Being a psychoanalyst, I suspect he also wanted to view these monsters from the id.

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                    • #40
                      The highest power car stereo I'm aware of currently is the Sony MEX-XB120BT. It puts out 45 watts RMS per channel and costs about $168. If that's not enough power, then go ahead and get a separate amplifier.

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