Your question
Solved

speaker wattage, what does it mean?

Tags:
  • Speakers
  • Systems
  • Power
Last response: in Audio
November 28, 2014 10:31:23 AM

Im looking to buy a hifi system and everyone I look at seems to have different wattage. How does the wattage effect the speaker, will it be louder/ better quality? Also under the specs of the hifi systems it shows the wattage under "power output" Does that mean the total wattage of the system or the wattage per speaker

Any help would be great as im pretty confused,
Thanks

More about : speaker wattage

November 28, 2014 10:34:35 AM

BiG_Allen said:
Im looking to buy a hifi system and everyone I look at seems to have different wattage. How does the wattage effect the speaker, will it be louder/ better quality? Also under the specs of the hifi systems it shows the wattage under "power output" Does that mean the total wattage of the system or the wattage per speaker

Any help would be great as im pretty confused,
Thanks


the maximum volume, and power that it needs
higher wattage > higher max volume
m
1
l
November 28, 2014 10:42:27 AM

KNARF XD said:
BiG_Allen said:
Im looking to buy a hifi system and everyone I look at seems to have different wattage. How does the wattage effect the speaker, will it be louder/ better quality? Also under the specs of the hifi systems it shows the wattage under "power output" Does that mean the total wattage of the system or the wattage per speaker

Any help would be great as im pretty confused,
Thanks


the maximum volume, and power that it needs
higher wattage > higher max volume


http://www.currys.ie/mobile/Product/pioneer-xsmc01btk-w...

For example it says this system is 20 watts, does that mean its 20 watts per speaker or (10+10)

m
0
l
Related resources
November 28, 2014 4:24:51 PM

Speaker wattage is defined as RMS which means Root Means Square which is how much the amplifier will put out per channel. 25 watts means 25 watts a channel.This is the pure wattage. Not peak which is a false wattage.4 ohm speaker needs less power than 8 ohm speaker.Usually most speakers are 8 ohms.Try buying a efficient speaker like a 4 ohm where the amplifier does not use that much wattage to play.
m
0
l
November 29, 2014 2:14:42 AM

musical marv said:
Speaker wattage is defined as RMS which means Root Means Square which is how much the amplifier will put out per channel. 25 watts means 25 watts a channel.This is the pure wattage. Not peak which is a false wattage.4 ohm speaker needs less power than 8 ohm speaker.Usually most speakers are 8 ohms.Try buying a efficient speaker like a 4 ohm where the amplifier does not use that much wattage to play.


Thanks for your help, that clears things up a lot. Out of these two systems:

http://www.currys.ie/Product/pioneer-xsmc01btk-wireless...

http://www.currys.ie/Product/sandstrom-shfusb13-wireles...

which would you advise?

m
0
l
November 29, 2014 4:51:05 PM

BiG_Allen said:
musical marv said:
Speaker wattage is defined as RMS which means Root Means Square which is how much the amplifier will put out per channel. 25 watts means 25 watts a channel.This is the pure wattage. Not peak which is a false wattage.4 ohm speaker needs less power than 8 ohm speaker.Usually most speakers are 8 ohms.Try buying a efficient speaker like a 4 ohm where the amplifier does not use that much wattage to play.


Thanks for your help, that clears things up a lot. Out of these two systems:

http://www.currys.ie/Product/pioneer-xsmc01btk-wireless...

http://www.currys.ie/Product/sandstrom-shfusb13-wireles...

which would you advise?

Pioneer they make decent equipment and are reliable.Good Luck

m
0
l
November 29, 2014 6:09:07 PM

KNARF XD said:
the maximum volume, and power that it needs
higher wattage > higher max volume

This is, bascially, what wattage means, in reference to your original question.

musical marv said:
Speaker wattage is defined as RMS which means Root Means Square which is how much the amplifier will put out per channel. 25 watts means 25 watts a channel.This is the pure wattage. Not peak which is a false wattage.4 ohm speaker needs less power than 8 ohm speaker.Usually most speakers are 8 ohms.Try buying a efficient speaker like a 4 ohm where the amplifier does not use that much wattage to play.

Yes, and no.

Buying a low impedance speaker isn't really a good idea, as the lower impedance also can cause excess noise to come through the speakers. Higher impedance speakers will actually deliver a clearer sound, even though they consume more electricity. About the only time you want to consider low impedance speakers is when you are doing things that require a lot of current, and higher volumes; think of bass competitions (ie: car sub woofers). For example, the Kicker CompRT sub woofer will go as low as 1 ohm for impedance, but that's primarily to increase the maximum volume, and to help reduce the need for excess current to be drawn (not directly the intent, but you get the idea). I should also mention the CompRT has an RMS of 800 watts... so keep that in mind. Less power draw on the car means more volume at the same flow of current; and in a bass competition, that is always helpful to the owner of the car, as they are pushing extremely high volumes (enough to require specialty glass windows). Since the competitions aren't entirely scored on overall audio quality, there's no point in making the most absolute clear sounding speakers possible; the emphasis is on measured loudness, and performance at high volumes.

For a shelf system, lower impedance, at higher volumes, will be something that is pointless; the power draw at maximum volume, for up to 100 watts peak volume is low enough at 8 ohms that drawing less current is unnecessary. The units aren't designed to push a high volume to begin with, so running 4 ohm speakers is relatively pointless as it is.

Also, the RMS rating is not really the best number to use when building a sound system. To me, it seems like it's more along the lines of "how loud you can go before you start encountering some sort of distortion" than anything else; and that is kind of stretching the truth. Max output is what all of the musicians, and sound guys, that I do/have known personally, pay attention to, for many raesons. One of these reasons is fairly obvious; overloading your amplifier can cause it to overheat. If you run a 500w speaker to a 100w amplifier (for example), you run a risk of overheating, and various other issues; whereas overpowering your speaker is much easier to compensate with (reduce the gain, and your speaker will stay safe). While you shouldn't run a 100w max power speaker at 100w with the gain all the way open, you can safely run it on a 100+ watt channel, so long as you don't push the speaker beyond reasonable limits (ranging from enclosures, volume/gain, frequencies played at peak output, and so on). Yes, RMS will give you an idea of what limits you can push a speaker to, without problems, but it's definitely not something I've seen many people take too seriously. Most people who are actually going to build a sound system will tend to understand that there is a certain limit their speakers can handle, and they will typically respect that limit. The amount of real effort that goes into building a decent sounding system kind of prevents people from being too lazy, and screwing things up; not to mention, you'd practically have to be deaf to push your speakers to their peak limits, and think they sound "good." Seriously, pushing to the RMS only is just going to be more problematic than being careful, and running more powerful equipment.

Just clearing that up.


Pioneer isn't the same audio company that they used to be (especially with their car audio). Their speakers have gone down in quality over the years, and I would chalk it up to the marketplace as a whole. For small shelf systems, though, it's hard to go wrong with Pioneer. For the price, I would suggest looking around for some used/vintage Pioneer speakers, and a stereo receiver, so you could build your own system that will sound much warmer, and will have better overall performance. Just my personal take, though. You shouldn't have any problems with the newer Pioneer systems, though.

For about the same price of a typical shelf system, I can usually find older components that will give me a richer sound in the vintage/used marketplace (and a lot of the times it's locally). If you want the best sound for your money, you might want to consider that route.
m
0
l
December 4, 2014 3:01:14 PM

With all the good advice above I would just like to cut to the chase and say that when you buy this type of system the power rating is not measured in any standard way so they can just pretty much make up any number they want. This type of system comes with speakers. The efficiency of the speakers combined with whatever power it has relates to how loud it plays. So if it plays loud enough for you the power spec means nothing. It also has no relationship to the quality of sound.
And yes if you have more space you can do much better with some old equipment. Vintage is cool and will give you better sound.
m
0
l
December 4, 2014 4:59:01 PM

Skylyne said:
KNARF XD said:
the maximum volume, and power that it needs
higher wattage > higher max volume

This is, bascially, what wattage means, in reference to your original question.

musical marv said:
Speaker wattage is defined as RMS which means Root Means Square which is how much the amplifier will put out per channel. 25 watts means 25 watts a channel.This is the pure wattage. Not peak which is a false wattage.4 ohm speaker needs less power than 8 ohm speaker.Usually most speakers are 8 ohms.Try buying a efficient speaker like a 4 ohm where the amplifier does not use that much wattage to play.

Yes, and no.

Buying a low impedance speaker isn't really a good idea, as the lower impedance also can cause excess noise to come through the speakers. Higher impedance speakers will actually deliver a clearer sound, even though they consume more electricity. About the only time you want to consider low impedance speakers is when you are doing things that require a lot of current, and higher volumes; think of bass competitions (ie: car sub woofers). For example, the Kicker CompRT sub woofer will go as low as 1 ohm for impedance, but that's primarily to increase the maximum volume, and to help reduce the need for excess current to be drawn (not directly the intent, but you get the idea). I should also mention the CompRT has an RMS of 800 watts... so keep that in mind. Less power draw on the car means more volume at the same flow of current; and in a bass competition, that is always helpful to the owner of the car, as they are pushing extremely high volumes (enough to require specialty glass windows). Since the competitions aren't entirely scored on overall audio quality, there's no point in making the most absolute clear sounding speakers possible; the emphasis is on measured loudness, and performance at high volumes.

For a shelf system, lower impedance, at higher volumes, will be something that is pointless; the power draw at maximum volume, for up to 100 watts peak volume is low enough at 8 ohms that drawing less current is unnecessary. The units aren't designed to push a high volume to begin with, so running 4 ohm speakers is relatively pointless as it is.

Also, the RMS rating is not really the best number to use when building a sound system. To me, it seems like it's more along the lines of "how loud you can go before you start encountering some sort of distortion" than anything else; and that is kind of stretching the truth. Max output is what all of the musicians, and sound guys, that I do/have known personally, pay attention to, for many raesons. One of these reasons is fairly obvious; overloading your amplifier can cause it to overheat. If you run a 500w speaker to a 100w amplifier (for example), you run a risk of overheating, and various other issues; whereas overpowering your speaker is much easier to compensate with (reduce the gain, and your speaker will stay safe). While you shouldn't run a 100w max power speaker at 100w with the gain all the way open, you can safely run it on a 100+ watt channel, so long as you don't push the speaker beyond reasonable limits (ranging from enclosures, volume/gain, frequencies played at peak output, and so on). Yes, RMS will give you an idea of what limits you can push a speaker to, without problems, but it's definitely not something I've seen many people take too seriously. Most people who are actually going to build a sound system will tend to understand that there is a certain limit their speakers can handle, and they will typically respect that limit. The amount of real effort that goes into building a decent sounding system kind of prevents people from being too lazy, and screwing things up; not to mention, you'd practically have to be deaf to push your speakers to their peak limits, and think they sound "good." Seriously, pushing to the RMS only is just going to be more problematic than being careful, and running more powerful equipment.

Just clearing that up.


Pioneer isn't the same audio company that they used to be (especially with their car audio). Their speakers have gone down in quality over the years, and I would chalk it up to the marketplace as a whole. For small shelf systems, though, it's hard to go wrong with Pioneer. For the price, I would suggest looking around for some used/vintage Pioneer speakers, and a stereo receiver, so you could build your own system that will sound much warmer, and will have better overall performance. Just my personal take, though. You shouldn't have any problems with the newer Pioneer systems, though.

For about the same price of a typical shelf system, I can usually find older components that will give me a richer sound in the vintage/used marketplace (and a lot of the times it's locally). If you want the best sound for your money, you might want to consider that route.
He can delve into Rotel and Nad which makes fine audio gear.Much better than Pioneer.

m
0
l

Best solution

December 4, 2014 6:01:43 PM

americanaudiophile said:
With all the good advice above I would just like to cut to the chase and say that when you buy this type of system the power rating is not measured in any standard way so they can just pretty much make up any number they want.


americanaudiophile said:
This type of system comes with speakers. The efficiency of the speakers combined with whatever power it has relates to how loud it plays. So if it plays loud enough for you the power spec means nothing. It also has no relationship to the quality of sound.

While companies could make up whatever number they want, the better companies will not. The wattage rating will give the consumer an idea of what to expect in the output volume, so yes... it does mean something. For the "average" person, knowing wattage means very little; however, knowing how high they should go, to avoid getting a system that is too quiet/too loud for their uses, is a good idea.

I also don't know how the wattage would translate into quality... and I didn't see that referenced anywhere on here. It's true, but I found it odd you mentioned that. Whatever.

musical marv said:
He can delve into Rotel and Nad which makes fine audio gear.Much better than Pioneer.

Could... just depends on what the OP wants. Most people don't seem to really care too much about what they get, as long as it's in their budget and "sounds good."
Share
Tom’s guide in the world
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • UK
Follow Tom’s guide
Subscribe to our newsletter
  • add to twitter
  • add to facebook
  • ajouter un flux RSS