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Speaker Wattage Vs Amp Wattage

Not every stereo speaker system is as powerful as you might have thought. That is why you may need to purchase an external amplifier to boost the sound quality, especially the bass and beat parts. When it comes to buying an amplifier, you have to keep the wattage of the amplifier as well as the wattage of the speaker in mind.

Should you match the wattage of the amp with the speaker or should you purchase a higher amp wattage than the speaker wattage? This depends on various factors, and you have to understand the factors in detail so that you can decide which amplifier to purchase. We will discuss in detail the important specifications and things to consider and not to consider while purchasing an amplifier.

What Do You Mean By Speaker Wattage and Amp Wattage?

Wattage in speakers and amplifiers has different meanings. Speaker wattage refers to how much power a speaker can handle properly without distorting the output quality. On the contrary, amp wattage refers to how much power an amplifier can put out.

Do Speaker Wattage Need To Be Higher Than Amp Wattage?

Ideally speaking, the speaker wattage should be higher than the amp wattage. More often than not, the speaker wattage should be at least twice that of the amp wattage. The more the amp wattage, the more the bass will be. However, you can find out the ideal amp wattage in comparison to the speaker wattage after going through the following details.

Important Specifications and Their Meaning

In order to choose the right amplifier, you have to understand the specifications correctly. There are three main specifications associated with an amplifier.

1. Power Rating

The power rating is present in both speakers as well as amp under the specifications. In speakers, it represents the power input while in amplifiers, it represents the power output. It is denoted in watts(W).

In simple words, the power rating of a speaker implies the amount of power the speaker can handle. It can be RMS power rating or Peak power. The power rating of an amplifier represents the amount of power the amplifier can push out. Therefore, the amp should supply enough power to the speaker.

2. Impedance

Impedance represents the resistance to AC current that is flowing from the amplifier to the speaker. It is denoted in ohm and in general, the impedance of the speaker is in single digital like 8ohm. It shows how hard the speaker is to drive. The lower the impedance of the speaker, the harder it is to drive. This is because the lower the resistance, the higher has to be the current going by the ohm’s law.

As for the amplifier, the impedance signifies the capability of the amplifier to drive a speaker. For example, an amp with impedance in the range of 4ohm to 8ohm, it can run speakers with 4 ohm, 6 ohm, and 8ohm speakers.

3. Sensitivity

Sensitivity in a speaker or an amplifier defines loudness. It is denoted by decibel @ watt or voltage per meter. The sensitivity in a speaker represents how loud it can sound for a given power input. If there is a pair of speakers and they have different sensitivity, you can determine which one will sound loudness for a given power input.

Along with that, there is a relationship between the loudness and the distance. When the distance increases, the sensitivity decreases. As a rule, when distance increases by one meter, sensitivity decreases by 6dB.

How To Get A Matching Amplifier For Speakers?

You should first check the specifications of the speaker namely power rating, impedance, and sensitivity. You need to note down their values and find the right match for the specifications. For example, the impedance is 4ohm, sensitivity is 92 dB, and power rating is 20-300W.

Considering the above specifications, you will need an amplifier that is compatible with the speaker having 4 ohm impedance, and the amp should have at least 20W of power output. But to get good enough performance, the amplifier needs to be 150W at least because the higher range of the speaker is 300W. But it is always better to purchase an amp with higher power output.

Other Considerations To Match Amplifier and Speakers

Apart from the above-mentioned three important specifications, you should consider the other technical specifications. Starting from the speaker placement and the room size to the tonal quality and even your objective, everything should be under consideration.

1. Room Size

An amplifier that is good for a small room will not be good for a large room. Therefore, the above-mentioned specifications should not be the only parameters in picking the perfect amplifier. The larger the room, the more powerful the speaker and amplifier. Depending on the size of the room, you have to adjust the specifications so that you get the best output.

2. Your Objective

You could be purchasing the speaker and the amplifier for private listening at regular volume. Some could be buying them for watching movies, playing loud sound, and partying with friends. If you want louder sound, you need to purchase a powerful speaker with a matching amplifier. If it is for private listening, you can purchase a speaker and an amplifier with lower power output.

Things You Should NOT Match

These are some combinations that you should not get into. These are quite obvious, and you should be careful about these combinations.

1. Impedance Mismatch

You should not get speakers of low impedance and amplifiers with high impedance. Low impedance speaker implies greater power output. This means when you turn up the volume of the speaker to the highest, the amplifier will fail to produce enough power.

2. Wattage Mismatch

You should not get an amplifier with extremely high wattage and extremely low wattage speakers. If the differences are small, it is not going to be any issue. The amp can have double and even triple the wattage of the speaker. However, anything beyond triple the wattage could be alarming. The sound can get distorted, and the speakers can get heated up and damaged.

3. Wattage and Sensitivity Combo

You should not get speakers of high watt and low sensitivity along with low watt amplifiers. This is because the speaker is powerful but not sensitivity, and it will push the amplifier for reasonable listening volume. There will be a clipping issue when the push is over the limit.

Conclusion – What Is The Best Solution?

If you do not want to get into matching specifications of speakers and amplifiers, you should buy active or powered speakers. These speakers come with built-in amplifiers where the specifications are already matched. You do not need an external amplifier.

However, if you want to match speakers with an amplifier, the speaker wattage can be higher than amp power output. The difference should not be huge. If you want loud sound and you have a large room, you should opt for powerful speakers and match the important specifications of the amplifier that we have mentioned in detail.

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