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How much Wattage do I need??

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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   JohnGalt



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Posted December 15 2003 - 09:54 AM

Hi, I'm getting my very first home theatre system, and am on a *very* tight budget. I would just like to get one of the off-the-shelf HT packages. I know there are sets from a 100W total (probably 20-30 W per channel) to 750 W and beyond. My question is, how much per channel do I really need at a minimum to have a reasonably happy movie-watching experience without having to have my ears glued to the speakers? Will I be happy with a 105 or 150 W system? Thanks.

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   George Caronan

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Posted December 15 2003 - 12:00 PM

John, My opinion is that it depends on your room size and configuration [i.e 5.1, 6.1, 7.1]. Most people are happy with 100W per channel though in reality it is probably actually 75W to 80W ALL CHANNELS DRIVEN which really should suffice. Good luck.

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted December 15 2003 - 12:07 PM


Welcome to the forum!

When I started my audio hobby, years ago, 30 Watts was considered a big amplifier. Speaker boxes had to be more efficient then (now they have traded 'efficiency' for frequency response because we can afford that).

A proper answer cannot be given immediately: it will also depend on the sensitivity ('efficiency') of the speakers and, very important, the size and "filling" of your room. If your room is 30' x 30' (Posted Image ), 30 Watts channels may not be enough - but in spaces that are somewhat smaller it certainly can.

It will also depend on your use. My advice would be: start with a reasonable system your budget allows (20-50 W / channels could certainly be sufficient). Listen at the retailer's place and if you think you have found something you like ask to be able to listen to it at home. Or buy it with a right to return the set.

Set it up provisionally in your room first and judge the sound. You must be satisfied with the quality (and the sound level must be enough, say at a 3/4 position of the dial).

Other people may give some advice about good sets currently on the US market.

Good luck!


#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Rick_Brown


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Posted December 16 2003 - 01:05 AM

A consideration is the efficiency rating of your speakers. All speakers, even really cheap ones, uaually publish an efficiency rating in db, such as 88 db, 91 db, etc. A more efficient speaker will sound louder with the same power, so look for higher speaker ratings of 90 db or more. As every 3db requires 1/2 the power to sound as loud, this is very important. HTIB systems typically use very efficient speakers so they can save on power requirements.

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted December 16 2003 - 08:40 AM

Mr. Galt, perhaps you can do better than an HTIB. Got a rough budget and room size? Also do you presently have a DVD player? And here I thought only Ayn Rand knew about John Galt!

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   JohnGalt



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Posted December 17 2003 - 12:13 PM

Thanks for all the replies. What I was basically looking for was just a step-in arrangement for about a year and a half for a single bedroom apartment. I did look at some of the really cheap HT systems in Best Buy and they sounded pretty bad. Well, back to the old drawing board! John Galt The man who said he would stop the machine of the world - and did. :-)

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted December 17 2003 - 01:44 PM

Think of it this way: in the 2-channel world, power was important because they took 2 sound-sources and tried to fill a room with volume similar to a rock concert/concert hall. But a HT system surrounds a few chairs with an array of 5 speakers all pointing at a central location. You are NOT trying to fill a room (and you dont even really care what it sounds like outside of the circle of speakers). So you dont need tons of power for a HT system. You need even less power if you have a external subwoofer. This takes a large load away from the receiver and leaves power for the speakers. My current system: 80 wpc.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Bill**H


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Posted December 17 2003 - 02:14 PM

John, Go to Circuit City and listen to the Onkyo HTS-760. For $500.00 you can not go wrong. You will still have to buy a DVD player and hook up cables. You will be very happy. Later you will want to buy a better Sub. It's the best entry level system out there! Search this site for, Onkyo HTS-760 or HTS-650 (last years model). Bill

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Joe Tilley

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Posted December 18 2003 - 01:46 PM

I second Bill on the Onkyo. I work at CC & that system is one of our most popular & IMO the best sounding that CC offers in a package. For a starter system you wont be disappointed, & at least your buying something with a reputable name.

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