Amp hook up to speakers

Dynamic Power is essentially a measure of an amp's maximum power output when pushed beyond its Continuous Power rating—we're talking peaks of power for milliseconds during a dynamic song or soundtrack here. As for speakers, every manufacturer seems to rate power a little bit differently. Many high-end speaker manufacturers are swaying away from offering Continuous Power and Peak Power ratings, favoring "recommended amplification" ratings instead.

Take KEF, who simply lists "Amplifier requirements: Don't ask us, we just work here. A speaker-specific stat, sensitivity is essentially a measure of how loud a speaker will be in decibels from one meter away when driven by one watt of power yes, just one watt.

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How To Match Speakers And Amps | The Master Switch

We've already mentioned the KEF LS50, so let's take a second set of speakers - the Audioengine HDP6 full review here , which we just happen to have lying around our testing room. With one watt of power, the HDP6s will produce a sound pressure level SPL of 88dB at a one meter distance—just about perfect for not going deaf during long listening sessions.

The human voice is about 60dB during normal conversation. Why does sensitivity matter? It directly relates to how loud a speaker gets. When distance and power are the same, a lower sensitivity speaker say, 85dB would sound quieter than a higher sensitivity speaker say, 88dB in the same room and setup. Sensitivity doesn't make or break a good speaker, but a higher-sensitivity speaker could save you from having to buy a larger amplifier to reach your favorite listening levels but we'll get to that later.

Here's another fun fact about sensitivity: Amplifier power must double to increase a speaker's SPL by 3dB. So, our HDP6s would need one watt to produce 88dB of sound, two watts to produce 91dB, four watts to produce 94dB, and so on. Conversely, sound falls off fast. Expect a 6dB falloff every time you double your distance from your speakers. And this is why we can't just pick an amp and speakers with a couple of matching specs and hope for the best.

We know you came here looking for a simple cheat sheet on how to match your speakers and amp. Sadly, there's nothing simple about getting system synergy right.

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Too often people don't account for the impact their room will have on their setup, and we don't want you to do that. So, let's put these factors into practice. It all starts with thinking about your listening room. A large room could require larger speakers or more powerful amps than you anticipated getting. Where the speakers will be located, as well as where you'll be seated, are big considerations.

Keep in mind that you'll sacrifice sound quality if your speakers and listening position aren't planned correctly.

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We generally recommend spacing speakers one-and-a-half times as far away from you as from each other, angled slightly inward, at the same height, and with the tweeters as even with your ears as possible. And always avoid obstructing your speakers with furniture and placing them in corners or too close to walls unless the speaker manufacturer advises otherwise. First, figure out how far you plan to sit from your speakers. Second, get an idea for how loud you want them to sound.

These two figures are essential in determining the speaker sensitivity and amp power ranges you need to work within. If you happen to already have a speaker in mind, Crown Audio has a really handy calculator that you can plug distance, desired SPL, and speaker sensitivity figures into to calculate just how much Continuous Power you need out of an amp.

Then all you need to check on is if that power rating is within your speaker's safe operating range. Obviously, speaker sensitivity plays a bigger role than a lot of people think it might, and you can use this calculator to see how big of an impact it makes. Point being, if you need watts of power to get your 85dB speakers singing at the volume you want from your listening chair that's three meters away from your speakers, but your speakers are only rated to handle watts of Continuous Power, well, you're outta luck and you've got no synergy.

Start looking for a different speaker—or sit a whole lot closer to it. Also, don't forget impedance matching. A speaker with a nominal impedance of eight ohms can easily dip or jump into other ranges during dynamic frequency changes, so just make sure your speaker impedance and power handling is compatible with the impedance range of your amp and the output power it can safely deliver. We've probably made this all sound infinitely more difficult than it is, but with some careful calculations and research into the components you're eyeing, you can quickly figure out if your system will have good synergy or not.

This amount of power is safely within the 25 to watt recommended amplification range of the 8-ohm LS And since the LS50 carries a sensitivity rating of 85dB, we know it will play plenty loud in a small room.

Wiring a 2 or 4 channel amp to your stock speaker harness without cutting the factory wiring

Sounds like we have some synergy here. Ask a dozen audio experts about how much amplification a speaker needs given its power handling rating and you'll get a dozen different opinions.

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We've seen recommendations for ten percent more Continuous Power over a speaker's comparable power handling capabilities. We've also seen recommendations for doubling a speaker's Continuous Power rating. These recommendations likely spawn out of the belief that too little power is what damages speakers rather than too much. It actually goes both ways.

There are two very common and unfortunate causes of blown speakers and amps that we want you to avoid at all costs. First is connecting speakers to an amp with a Continuous Power rating that's way too much for your speakers to handle. What often happens here is that the speaker can't efficiently dissipate the heat energy from the amp, which then burns up the speaker's voice coil and suspension, meaning you may as well have lit your hard-earned money on fire instead.

Second is running an amp that is far too weak for the speakers connected to it. It's not that the lower power is bad, but it gets bad when you keep cranking up the volume knob in search of a suitable listening level that likely doesn't exist; instead your amp will start burning itself up because you're demanding more power than it can create. This causes the amp to overheat and start clipping the signal being sent to the speakers, creating excessive distortion and high frequency energy that can, and likely will, waste your speakers away. Then you'll have a burnt-up amp and speakers.

So, let's not do that. Our recommendation for the ultimate safeguard against smoking your system is to carefully look at the maximum power handling capabilities of your speakers and amp, and, based on the listening room specs we talked about, choose an amp that outputs the correct Continuous Power for the volume level you seek , and a speaker that can gobble up twice that amount of power. So, if you need watts out of your amp at 8 ohms, pump it into an 8-ohm speaker that can handle watts of Continuous Power. This should give you plenty of headroom for when the impedance drops, causing those Dynamic Power peaks, and a little more room to spread those gooey peanut butter vibes.

We have a pair of these in for review right now, and we've already fallen in love with them. Not only do they look fantastic, with the distinctive black-and-yellow color scheme and protruding driver horn, but they sound equally as good. Since the mixer and power amplifier which require a power supply are integrated into the PA system, only one power supply connection is required, and there are less connections to make than with stand-alone amplifiers.

This type of speaker includes a built-in power amplifier. Since the built-in power amplifier is designed specifically for the speaker, the speaker and power amplifier combination feature superior compatibility, allowing the speaker to perform to the fullest. The mixer output can connect directly to the powered speaker, so there are less cables required.

To build a PA system as easily and simply as possible, use either a powered mixer or powered speakers, which require fewer connections. However, stand-alone amplifiers offer a higher level of freedom, for expanding a system and for planning where to position the equipment. In this section, advice is given about choosing a power amplifier used in combination with passive speakers.

The output required by the power amplifier is determined by the number of speakers connected and their impedance. If the output from the amplifier exceeds the power rating of the speakers, the speakers could be damaged, so consider the amplifier-speaker combination before choosing the power amplifier. Using a Yamaha PS stand-alone power amplifier with Yamaha CBR10 passive speakers is a good example to see how an amplifier should match a speaker. Listed on the PS spec sheet are several numbers according to the amplifier's output measurement conditions.

What are power amplifiers?

When choosing a Yamaha amplifier, use the 20 Hz—20 kHz output as a reference for ordinary use. Next, when looking at a speaker's spec sheet, use the power rating PGM value and impedance value as a reference. Since the PS power amplifier produces a W output with an 8-ohm impedance speaker, and the CBR10 speaker has a power rating PGM of W with an 8-ohm impedance, the power amplifier and speaker can be successfully used together.


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It's not necessary for the PGM input value for the speaker and the power amplifier output value to be exactly the same. It's good to select a power amplifier output value of around 0. There are various ways of connecting the speakers and setting up the amplifiers, which can have an impact on impedance and available power. Continue reading for further advice.


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The greater the resistance, the harder it is for electricity to flow. Conversely, the less the resistance, the greater the flow of electricity. Even with the same power amplifier, the lower the impedance ohms of the speaker that is connected, the greater the number of watts output by the power amplifier. A maximum of W output from each speaker L-R can be achieved when connecting 8-ohm speakers to the PS power amplifier, and a maximum of W output from each speaker L-R when connecting 4-ohm speakers.

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