sonny bunz wrote:Hi all,
I'm new to the vintage scene and just setting up my first system. I have a 20 watt amplifier and a turntable but require speakers. With such a low wattage amp do I need to limit my db frequency for speakers or does not matter?
OK - For every perceived doubling in sound volume (10dB), you need to increase amplifier power by a factor of ten. So, if your speakers make 90dB @ 1 meter @ 1 watt, to make 100dB, you will need 10 watts. To go up to 103dB, you will need 20 watts. To 110dB, you will need 100 watts.
This is called "headroom" and how much it means to you depends on three basic factors:
a) The overall efficiency of your speakers.
b) The general volume at which you prefer to listen.
c) The general peak-to-average of the signal you are feeding into the speakers.
So, if you listen to head-banger music (very limited P:A) at a moderate volume on efficient speakers, your 20W amp will be just fine.
If you listen to some very few Direct-to-Disc recordings with a 30dB P:A and into inefficient speakers you will run out of headroom and go to clipping much of the time. Which, depending on amplifier design is either bad enough or directly threatening to your speakers - but never good.
If you like to listen to _anything_ at near-ear-bleeding levels, 20W will simply not cut it. Sound is all about moving air - and 20W will not move enough air for that need.
I run a 17W/Channel RMS tube amp into AR 4x speakers in a small room and listen mostly to classical music with some folk and bluegrass mixed in. It does very well - tubes have "soft" clipping and I do not attempt to influence my neighbors by volume.
I also run a 225W/Channel RMS SS amp into Maggie speakers. For my DD Saint-Saens Organ Symphony, I use every bit of that - and although conversation would be nearly impossible in the listening room at that volume, the sound is not the least bit oppressively loud - even for my wife, the cats or the dogs.
It is all about those three factors.
Melrose Park, PA
So, it is all about those three factors.