Reciever/Speaker wattage question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim Peavy, Sep 17, 2002.

  1. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    So, I have a 200 watt reciever (non-surround, non-dolby digital). It will put out 100 watts per each channel, correct?
    I just inherited my father's old Marantz (from about...oh, the early 80's. I said it was old). I'm looking to get some speakers for it and the Home Theater Direct stuff looks pretty good. The "level two" pairs would look to make good mains for me (I'm in an apartment). I look forward to getting a 5.1 reciever, but gotta' get the TV paid off first!
     
  2. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    yep pretty much. 100 watts x 2= 200 [​IMG] Now, as to whether the reciever actually will put out that much power without distortion and smoke and explosions is another matter [​IMG]
     
  3. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Cool! You mean you wouldn't want one that did this?![​IMG]
    Seriously, I am just educating myself on sound systems and was pretty sure the wattage of a reciever was divided by how many speakers are attatched to it, but wanted to make sure.
    Anybody want to try and talk me out of the Home Theater Direct product?
     
  4. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    yep you had your thinking fine. I would like to clarify one little thing in your second post though. Just a quibble that im sure you realize, but some others may not. YOu said "the wattage of a reciever was divided by how many speakers are attatched to it." Well, yes, but its how many channels. If you only hook up one speaker, it wont push all 200 watts into that one speaker. It does 100 watts (supposedly of course) into each speaker. Just the way you worded that made it seem a little fuzzy is all. [​IMG] Each amp (1 for each channel of course) in the reciever still draws from the same power supply. This is used in fuzzy numbers in some receivers, especially home theater recievers with 5+ amps/channels, because the manufacturer can just run one channel and max it out and use the wattage specs from that test. What happenes when all 5+ channels are driven simultaneously at loud volumes though is different, because they are limited by the power supply which is often short-changed. But again thats a discussion for another day [​IMG]
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Just to confuse you even more- I would tell you that wattage numbers and specs are, for the most part, meaningless bullshit. If you know how to really read specifications, and the specs are presented in a proper manner- MAYBE you would be able to acquire some useful info from them... but for the most part the discussion of wattage is something I leave for the kiddies bragging about their car stereos.

    Amplifier wattage can be dispalyed (and massaged) in a number of ways. What's more- the needed wattage output of an amplifier will often hover in the low double digits- the question of 100 watts is not something you would take advantage of for more than fractions of a second. In addition- some people try to use the watatge output of their receiver to dictate the type of speaker they should purchase- but the truth is that the speaker wattage ratings are equally meaningless.

    So- while it might be a good number to keep in the back of your mind- it probably won't mean much in the end. The only real usefulness of wattage figures is to brag about when you're around your buddies-- but in cases like that, it's just as easy to make up numbers out of thin air, after all- that's probably what the guys who rated the amplifier in the first place did!

    -V
     
  6. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Okay, here's another twist. This Receiver has connections for 2 sets of speakers, and two buttons on the face--one for "speaker system 1" and the other for "speaker system 2." Either system can be turned on or off. Does this mean each channel is actually getting 50 watts?
    Also, when getting speakers, do you want to match the amplifier wattage to the speaker max? For example, for a (2 channel) 200 watt receiver, get speakers rated at 100 watts. Or is this not neccesary, as long as the disparity between the 2 is not too great?
    BTW, thanks for your responses Chris. This has been very helpful!
     
  7. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Well, there you have it!

    Woah, you're blowing my mind. So I don't even have to consider the "wattage" of a speaker when buying it for a receiver, or vice versa? Another childhood preconception blown all to heck!

    Did I say I had a 2 hundred watt receiver? I meant 2 thousand watts! Yeah, that's it!!

    Thanks much, guys.
     
  8. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Well- truth be told (and I've said this once or twice around here) WATTAGE SELDOM DAMAGES SPEAKERS. In my job doing live audio engineering (large format concert PA systems), myself (and everyone) routinely put 2000 watt amps on speakers rated for 400 watts. I can say I have never damaged a speaker due to excessive wattage (unless done on purpose for fun).
    When you hear the popular "I blew a speaker" problem- this usually happens NOT because of excessive wattage- but because of NOT ENOUGH wattage.
    Huh?
    Yep- wattage doesn't kill speakers- distortion does. How do you get distortion? Well- at any point in the signal chain, if you drive some component too hard- you'll get clipping and thus distorted signal. So, often what happens is a guy has 100 watt rated speakers and 125 watt rated amplifier. He turns his stuff up real loud- and the speaker blows up (stops working).
    He figures it got more than 100 watts and fried- and he's wrong.
    What really happened was- because he turned it up so loud- some stage of the process was clipping (probably between the preamp stage and the amp stage). Essentially one of the stages the audio traveled through provided too much level output for the next stage to handle and it distorted- and created dirty signal- and the speaker fried like a cheese steak (mmmmmm, cheese steak).
    In that case- if he had a 400 watt amplifier- he would have achieved the same output volume level without driving the system so hard, thus keeping clean signal and sparing his poor speaker. So, more power would have likely SAVED his speaker rather than damaged it.
    So the truth is that a 400 watt amp running at 50% capacity peaks most of the time is going to be better for ANY speaker than a 100 watter running closer to 100%!
    Like I said above, typically your speaker needs like less than 20 watts to provide LOUD sound. But spikes and whatnot in the signal give you momentary peaks above this level. A speaker rated at 100 watts will be fine with momentary spikes of 200, 300, 400 and maybe more. A driver getting too much wattage is usually obvious by the clacking noise of the coil hitting bottom- which will usually prompt you to turn it back down.
    Hope that makes some sense.
    -v
     
  9. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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  10. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Thanks much to everyone for your responses!
     

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