speaker sensitivity

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by steve nn, Apr 29, 2002.

  1. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    I just bought the level three towers and the center from Home Theater Direct and I was wandering since these have a rating of 90-91 DB, should it not take less power to put out the same volume as my other speakers that were rated 87-88 DB. My previous speakers were what came with the Kenwood 504. Could it be that these are books versus towers? I notice I can really power up my new ones to way over what I would listen at and they will sound good with no distortion but I had the mind-set that it would take less watts to get them there? The center is like four times bigger now too. Any one know what I should expect. Are my expectations false.
     
  2. Harold_C

    Harold_C Stunt Coordinator

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    The most reasonable expectation when it comes to speaker sensitivity ratings is that they probably aren't worth the paper they are printed on. There simply are no accepted standards for measuring this on consumer speakers.

    Let me give you an example (assuming that the manufacturer even tries to give honest specs).

    Let's take two identical speakers -- a bookshelf with a 6.5 inch woofer and a 1 inch tweeter and the same drivers in a "tower" configuration with a vented speaker enclosure.

    These are the same drivers with the same crossover and from the midbass on up, they are going to sound identical, but the "tower" might "measure" 2 dB more efficient because the ported enclosure is tuned with a bump in the bass at 70 Hz which changes the sensitivity rating.

    However, these two speakers will effectively sound equally loud when driven with the same amount of power, it's just that the tower speaker will have a little more apparent bass.

    Run them both properly configured as SMALL in a Dolby Digital 5.1 system and they will have essentially the same sensitivity.

    Take the sensitivity ratings with a grain of salt. They are useful for estimating the power requirements in a given size room, but that's about it.
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    harold's answer is way too technical for me and i doubt i could t compete. [​IMG]
    that being said, everything that i've read pretty much agrees with your assumption - the higher the sensitivity, the less power it will take to drive the speaker. that results in less "stress" on the amp, which should result in better sound at lower volumes. that's why you get the feeling that you can turn it up more.
     
  4. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Would this be constant with a tower versus a book. The tower has two 6 1/2 and one 1" tweeter and the books have two 4" and a 1" tweeter. Are bigger speakers harder to run? Does it take more to run two 6 1/2 versus two 4" ? Does it take more sensitivity on a bigger speakers part to be at the same volume with the same setting on the receiver? Both replies are good thanks for your help help.
     
  5. Ten_Smith

    Ten_Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure about the sensitivity stuff, but just thought I'd mention that resistance (a/k/a impedance) is an important thing to be aware of. You may know all about this, but if you don't you need to find out. Do the new speakers have a different resistance than the ones that are being replaced? Some receivers have a setting to match the resistance of the speaker.
     
  6. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    I think you are speaking of ohms. Both sets are rated at eight. It might be that the towers have a port and the center. My Stock speakers do not have a port. I think this can cause the difference. I calibrated with my dgtl last night and they do sound great but still not as sensitive as I would like. I'm sending them back. I will try the advents at costco for $79 apiece. This will be less than 1/2 of what the others cost. It's for basically 100% HT so I will try those. For the money I did not gain hardly any thing except high end, 90-100 db clarity. That is good but maybe I can get that or close for much less.
     

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