Does it matter if speakers all have different watts?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by erew99, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. erew99

    erew99 Second Unit

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    Hi All,
    I'm still looking to make a purchase on some speakers. My receiver, currently, is a Sony STR-DH520. The tech specs show it's 135w per channel (7.1).
    I'm looking at the following speakers, but they all have different wattage. I'm not sure what exactly it means in terms of them working together.
    Polk Monitor Series:
    Fronts - Monitor 50 - 150w
    Center - CS1 - 125w
    Rears - Monitor 30 - 100w
    Sub - Monitor PSW 10 - 50w
    Considering they're all different wattage, they'll all output volume at different levels. To correct this problem, will I have to use a sound meter and use the built in EQ to +/- the speaker volume?
    Any help is appreciated!
     
  2. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Speakers don't have "watts".

    Wattage numbers on speakers are for all intents and purposes useless.

    Wattage numbers on a receiver are for all intents and purposes useless.

    Wattage numbers on speakers are measured in a completely different way than the wattage numbers on receivers, so trying to "match" the speakers to the receivers based on wattage is like trying to pair a kiwi and banana based on color.

    The important numbers to look at with speakers are impedance (ohms) and sensitivity (dB). The impedance of the speakers must match the impedance that the receiver is rated to support. 8 ohm speakers are safe with any receiver. 6 ohm speakers should be OK with any receiver. 4 ohm speakers will NOT work with just any receiver - you usually have to spring for a high-end model to ensure it can drive the speakers to high levels.

    Sensitivity is a measure of speaker efficiency. Speakers with sensitivity in the 89-95dB range will be PLENTY loud with modest power.

    On the receiver side of things, NO receiver actually outputs continuous wattage corresponding to the "watts per channel" sticker on the box. Better to look at the current draw from the wall (usually need the manual to find this out). Subtract 50-70 watts or so for "non-audio" usage and divide the remainder by the number of channels used. You'll wind up with about 35-50 watts per channel. Really, this is more than enough for any decent speaker to make your ears bleed.

    Edit: According to the manual, your receiver pulls 240 watts from the wall. Subtract 50 for non-audio stuff, leaves 190 - split 7 ways actually results in less than 30 wpc...



    ALL receivers/speaker setups benefit from proper calibration - that's why auto-setup utilities like Audyssey, MCAAC, YPAO, etc. are becoming standard. They all do a good job setting not only volume differences (which are not related to wattage differences) but speaker distances and crossovers.

    Those Polks are nice speakers, but I would suggest considering a different subwoofer. Polk makes average at best subwoofers. There are much better values out there. Subs don't need to "match" the rest of your speakers. Give us a budget for subwoofer only and we can offer some better recommendations.
     
  3. erew99

    erew99 Second Unit

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    I see. So just ignore those #s. I wasn't sure how accurate those numbers would be anyway, considering all the marketing behind it.
    I've been given a recommendation of a BIC sub. I'm not a fan of the warranty, but for the price, it makes sense.
    As for the speakers, I've read a ton of reviews which sound great. I don't want to have bookshelf speakers up front simply for the look, however at the price of the Monitor30s + stands... I might consider that.
    Right now I'm going with that sub so that I can upgrade later. Probably something in the $250 range. T
    he room isn't too large. I am not going for volume, but more clarity with the speakers. I have an old Sony HTiB and really wasn't happy with it.
    A friend of mine has the same receiver, and handles what I actually need.
     
  4. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    BIC F-12 is the best value sub in the $250 price range. To get something better you will be spending $500 or more. I've seen reviews of this sub on multiple forums and no one has mentioned the warranty as being a problem. Probably because they haven't needed it.
    To add to Jason's auto calibration talk. I use Pioneer receivers with MCACC auto calibration. It gets the distance, level and EQ settings on the mark but fails to set the high pass filter. Yes, my mains play down to 35hz but I like my sub to handle those frequencies so I make a manual change to add the HPF to all of my speakers by setting them to "small". Finally, I boost the sub level by 3db because I like a little extra boom.
     
  5. BrennanOSD

    BrennanOSD Agent

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    As long as the speakers have the same impedance, you should be fine.
    - Brennan, OSD Audio
     
  6. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    That doesn't matter. I run a 4 ohm center, 8 ohm mains and 6 ohm surrounds.
     
  7. BrennanOSD

    BrennanOSD Agent

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    Wouldn't it depend on the receiver and whether it can handle 2-6ohm loads rather than just 8ohm?
    - Brennan, OSD Audio
     
  8. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    That is besides the point. If you buy an AVR capable of 4ohm(which in reality...most of them are...regardless of what specs say)...
    You could put 16ohm Zu Audio on your main channel and 4 ohm "whatever" on the center and surrounds. And everything is fine.
     
  9. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    If you check out these guys. Their ohm loads are all over the map.
    http://www.zuaudio.com/
    4ohm.
    8ohm.
    12ohm.
    16ohm.
     
  10. BrennanOSD

    BrennanOSD Agent

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    Gotcha. Thanks for the info.
    - Brennan, OSD Audio
     

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