How to choose the right speakers for your amplifier or AV receiver

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august four, 2008 of all the equipment we use in our hello-fi and domestic theater systems, the aspect that’s modified the least during the last two decades is the speaker. in the end, there’s best so many methods you may circulate air to supply sound. with that in thoughts, matching audio system to an amplifier should be smooth, right?’s now not rocket technological know-how, however there are some key specs that have an effect on their ordinary performance. our av professional tim lefevre explains.


impedance: measured in ohms (ω), generally 4, 6 or 8. the lower the impedance, the greater demand the audio system place at the amplifier, which is why matching the impedance of your speakers to your amplifier is crucial. most home theatre audio system could be 6 or 8ω, as are most home theatre amplifiers. hello-fi (2 channel) amplifiers are regularly able to managing impedances of everywhere from 8ω, all of the way down to 2ω. therefore, speakers designed for two channel systems come in a wider range of impedances.


if, as an instance, you connected 6ω audio system to an 8ω amplifier, they might placed more of a load on the amp than it’s designed to handle, and convey less than dynamic (smooth, effortless) sound. then you run the threat of the amplifier overheating and shutting down, or worse, burning out altogether. this may best show up after you observe distortion in increasing amounts although. fortunately, most contemporary amps and av receivers have protection circuits, thermal fuses etc, to close them down in the occasion of overload.


a not unusual complaint of people with mismatched speaker/amp combinations is they shut down in the course of loud action scenes in movies, or after 2-3 mins of song at a mild stage. the amplifier/av receiver regularly gets unfairly blamed on this situation.


electricity handling: an often misunderstood specification. measured in watts, it is pleasant represented by means of rms (root way rectangular.) this parent tells us how an awful lot strength the speaker can effortlessly take care of for a sustained time period. also referred to as non-stop, or nominal energy.


a few audio system best list a top energy score. this can be measured in lots of one-of-a-kind ways. it’s essentially a score for the mechanical obstacles of the speaker, and often represents how a whole lot electricity a speaker can take before it produces audible distortion. depending on the form of signal being performed again, the speaker may additionally attain its mechanical limits at well under its rated power - as an example, bass-heavy movie soundtracks and extremely excessive frequencies will undertaking a speakers mechanical ability. for that reason, strength coping with doesn’t always translate as a audio system potential to produce sound as many would have you agree with.


pmpo (peak tune energy output) is essentially the measure of the speaker running at or near its absolute limits at the verge of great harm. it isn't always a beneficial score, and smooth for producers to inflate - so keep away from it absolutely.


often speakers will in reality say "electricity handling" and quite a number measured in watts - this will mean peak or continuous. if you’re ever uncertain, ask the producer/sales man or woman the question.


when electricity matching speakers to an amp, a very good rule of thumb is to power them with a bit greater juice than they’re designed to address - round 10% ought to do it. that manner the amp doesn’t should paintings as hard to force the audio system to their complete capability, ensuing in cleaner, extra dynamic sound. speakers are designed to handle fluctuations in power degrees, so this greater bit of juice won’t cause any troubles.


sensitivity: sensitivity is a rating frequently listed for audio system but no longer terribly properly understood. measured in decibels (db), it refers to the audio system ability to turn the strength from the amplifier into sound. the higher the rating, the greater green the audio system are. anywhere from 87-93 db is normal of most speakers, however some thing ninety db or above is a superb score.


with excessive-definition audio codecs accomplishing the house on blu-ray and hd dvd, needs on audio system are extra than ever earlier than. the dynamic degrees and savage transients that formats like dts-hd grasp audio and dolby true hd supply are great treated and enjoyed via audio system that are matched well to the amplifier or av receiver that is driving them.