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Speakers

ZFGeek

1 month ago

I just found some nice speakers in my grandfathers attic. Assuming they work, they each can pull 120 watts max. Power and audio signal go through the same cable, so what kind of device would I have to get to deliver 240 watts of power to these beasts?

Comments

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

Power and audio signal go through the same cable

I think what you mean to say, is that these are traditional passive speakers, that require external amplification.

they each can pull 120 watts max

The power rating of most speakers is primarily a thermal rating of the capability of the voice coils to dissipate heat. This is not a good specification to use to drive your amplification purchase decision unless you understand what this really means. Musical program's have transients that often reach 6-10dB above "average" sound intensity. A good plan for selecting an amplifier, is to figure out how loud you want to listen, calculate that against the speaker sensitivity and listening position, then multiply 4-10 to have headroom for clean, un-distorted transients. (This is a good rule of thumb for modern phased switching amps. Older, full analog amplification technology tends to have softer transient clipping, so doesn't need as much power headroom for similar sounding results, especially class A tube amps).

so what kind of device would I have to get to deliver 240 watts of power to these beasts?

Ignore the wattage rating. Just because it's the only specification on the box, doesn't mean it is useful.


You need a pre-amp + amp to drive the speakers. You can find this combination of capabilities in the form of an integrated amplifier, or an amplified receiver.

Keep in mind that you're better off with too big an amplifier than too small an amplifier. A small amp driven hard is more apt to blow speakers with distortion, and is typically going to be much harder on your ears. A big amp driven light, will have enormous dynamic headroom, delivering clean transients that are non-fatiguing to listen to. I would much rather have a 1000WPC amp than a 10WPC amp (all other things being equal) to drive speakers rated "120W" each.

PartsExpress has a Topping TP32EX+, and a SMSL SA-98E TDA7498E, for ~$120. Either way would make a pretty good compact desktop amp to drive speakers to low/moderate levels.

If you are in the market for LOUD... consider a pro sound touring amp and a pre-amp solution. If this is for your computer, consider an external USB Mixer as a pre-amp solution. Something like a Behringer NX1000, Crown XLi 1500, or QSC GX3.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, I don't plan on playing extremely loud music, just enough to fill the room with good sound and bass.(maybe the adjourning rooms) Not for my computer, strictly for music. I'll have to look into those amps and pre amps, thanks!

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

I suppose "Filling a room" with music has lots of room for interpretation. I got a set of Logitech X-530 5.1 speakers with my PC now and even at half volume they are loud enough you can't have a conversation in the same room without yelling at each other. I would consider that "filling a room". Those speakers are only a max of 70w. If you can get 200w+ of power (not saying it is practical with those speakers you have) that would be ridiculously loud. The room I am referring to is the first floor of my townhouse. Mostly open floor from the livingroom to kitchen. I also don't like turning it up too much as I am in a townhouse and I try to be considerate to neighbours.

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

As part of a traditional audio "system" you may be best served here to look for an amplified receiver. This would give you multiple selectable inputs, often a built in radio tuner, and built in pre-amplification and amplification.

If cost is a factor, used from a garage sale or craigslist or other local listings may be the way to go here. Most recievers built in the last 20 years are 5-7 channels with a .1 line level output. These are designed for home theater use, but they can be configured for stereo only using 2 channels of amplification as well. When new, powered receivers typically sell for $300-3000 each.

Best value for a used receiver like this is to look for Recievers that pre-date certain major important interface changes for home theater use. For example.... When HDMI became the new standard video path that people wanted to pass through their receivers, older receivers with composite/component video became obsolete. Those can be found really cheap or even free these days. If you don't need this for video, music only, then that's a pretty good option.

The recent movement towards HDMI 2.0, also means there's likely to be a flood of HDMI 1.1-1.4 spec receivers out there that people have no use for with their HDMI 2.0 4K TV's. These will be newer, people may expect to get a few bucks for these, but worth a look.

Some newer receivers and integrated amps may have bluetooth already built in, which might be nice for playback from devices like a phone. Though a bluetooth input can be "created" with a bluetooth audio receiver device as well.


If I were in the market for a newer option, and willing to spend $100+, those little class D chip-amps I pointed out in my previous response would be nice. If I were looking at integrated amps and receivers of larger size, I would be looking for a modern switching amp design for better efficiency. Most older receivers you'll find for cheap/free will be class AB amplification, which means the amp will sit there dissipating a lot of heat all the time whether you're using it or not. (In a many-channel HT receiver, it may consume 200W at idle). The newer, phased switching amplification can "idle" at very low power usage and achieves 80-90% amplification efficiency. The device will sit "cool" when left on, rather than hot.


Out of curiosity, what model/make speakers did you find in the attic?

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Well, I don't know what they are, I know the drivers themselves are relatively new, as they were apparently my dad's. The casing for the speaker is from a company called Ohm, but the speakers aren't the original.

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