Do you concern yourself with supplying your speakers with maximum recommended power?

Ilusndweller

Junior Member
A general yes or no based on your overall experiences and realizing of course, exceptions exist is fine or feel free to discuss in more detail/with specific models of gear. What % of speakers that you have owned would you say “(really)open up” as is so often stated with extra (more than speakers are rated to) power? How much “extra” power (Im thinking instantantaneous current/doubling down capability are most important here) are we talking about before this happens ? Does it sometimes take an amp with 50% or more rated max RMS power of a speaker’s max rated power before they “really start to open up?”. Im sure thoughts on this run the spectrum, given all the possibilities/options/preferred listening levels (probably should have put that first) in our hobby/amongst us. For those who answer yes, how much of an audible difference (if at all noticeable) do you think this “extra” power makes at lower volumes, like those most of us probably listen to the vast majority of the time. Once I read someone say they never use any amp less than twice the max rated power of a speaker. I find this a bit extreme unless one generally listens to music very, very loud, though it should lead to longer lasting amps. Thanks!
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I don't even recall seeing this listed as a spec in any of the speakers I've used in the last several years. Maybe it was. I know it was on the back of vintage speakers I used to run. I go by room size and speaker efficiency and even then, its easy enough to just try amps and see what happens.
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
I think people get WAY too hung up on power ratings. While these numbers can be important to professionals and others with a vested interest in thrashing drivers within an inch of their lives, they don't mean too much to me.

If a driver has, say, a 6w rating, I'm inclined to be a little more circumspect, but in general I try to let my ears tell me when enough is enough.
 

Ilusndweller

Junior Member
Im referring to the speakers’ manufacturers recommended power range for amps. Your last sentence is most important, you try something out and either like it or you dont. One of the things Im wondering about is if trying one of my 200W or 150W amps on just the metal dome tweeters (slightly harsh sounding to me) of my B&W CDM-1SE bookshelf speakers (max rated/recommended power of 120 W RMS) will make them sound better by “opening them up?”? Seems way overkill. Or maybe try a tube buffer/amp on them instead?
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Im referring to the speakers’ manufacturers recommended power range for amps. Your last sentence is most important, you try something out and either like it or you dont. One of the things Im wondering about is if trying one of my 200W or 150W amps on just the metal dome tweeters (slightly harsh sounding to me) of my B&W CDM-1SE bookshelf speakers (max rated/recommended power of 120 W RMS) will make them sound better by “opening them up?”? Seems way overkill. Or maybe try a tube buffer/amp on them instead?
That is a much different proposal than you implied and, in my opinion, not a good idea.
 

Ilusndweller

Junior Member
I should have said recommended power (I changed the title), not rated power. My specs say “handling power”. Im not worried about blowing the tweeters as I wont be pushing things. Just curious if I might be able to improve their sound with gear I already own. I had my Luxman M120A on them (both the entire speaker and just the tweeter) and that amp works/sounds best to my ears with those speakers/tweeters but it is not currently working. Id not given much/any thought to trying one of my higher powered amps on just the tweeters until now.
 

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Ilusndweller

Junior Member
Totally overkill? I suppose the extra power (versus powering the whole speaker with said amp) will not help “open up the tweeters”? I know I cant turn an apple into an orange but if I can improve the sound a little for free Im all for it.
 
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Olson_jr

Active Member
Can you better define what you mean by "opening up."

Do you think the speaker is midrange forward and there are not enough highs at the levels you are listening?
 
I am about to perform this exact experiment. I am going to replace a Pioneer Spec 4 (150 wpc) driving four LE 14A (peak handling about 140 wp speaker) with a Crown CTS 1200 of 600 wpc. I do expect to hear a difference.

I am going to replace a Quad 405 current dumping amplifier (about 100 wpc iirc) with a Crown CTS 600 of 300 wpc. The LE10A it will drive is rated below even the Quad power rating so I have less expectation of hearing a difference there.

Eventually both the LE10A (one mid bass coupler) and the LE14As (x4) will be replaced with much more modern drivers that can handle at least ten times the power AND are much more efficient. Things have improved in the 40 intervening years.

Some things which I think might be more important than amp power. 1) BL product and power handling capacity and efficiency of the driver 2) Multi Amping in the first place. Getting rid of high level passive crossovers almost always opens things up. 3) Of course when multi amping it is very important to stay away from clipping anyway so as not to blow up spensive drivers.. 4) the aforementioned drivers should have greater dynamic range in your listening room than your eardrums.

The reason I chose to build in the first place is that manufacturers of what are now called passive, full range speakers, did not often disclose where the drivers came from. Sometimes an astute reviewer or user might know, but there also was not yet an internet. I did not want to do a straight JBL horn system (as my box building friend did do). Now things are a lot better with both manufacturer's data being more comprehensive and available and also reviewers and diy ers that take and publish measurements.

JMO
 
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TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
Totally overkill? I suppose the extra power (versus powering the whole speaker with said amp) will not help “open up the tweeters”? I know I cant turn an apple into an orange but if I can improve the sound a little for free Im all for it.
I have a pair of B&W CDM1. They are, to say the least, an interesting speaker.

First off, please remember that, even if you remove the jumpers and connect to the HF binding posts, you are still running through the high pass section of the crossover.

I've tried a variety of tube and Solid State amps on my CDM1 and offer the following opinions:

The CDM1 likes power and current. Big Solid State amps. If you try tube amps, I recommend a big (something like a Quicksilver V4) PP amp.

Since you are not actually biamping (unless you take the speakers apart and bypass the internal crossover - NOT recommended), I wouldn't bother running a separate amp on the tweeter. The CDM1 wants the best electronics you can afford. One review (JA in Stereophile, I think) stated something to the effect that the CDM1 is a $1,000 speaker that needs $10,000 worth of electronics to sound their best. One good amp will sound better than two mediocre amps on the CDM1.

Big, heavy stands and meticulous placement are critical.

Do these things and the CDM1 is capable of rewarding you with very good sound.

Again, just my opinion and YMMV. :)
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
The entire speaker's power handling rating and the rating of the tweeter are not going to be the same thing. I hope you plan on some sort of crossover in front of them. Are you just running off the top binding posts? That would really be no different, 'voicing' wise, than running the entire speaker on a different amp. And if not, if you're meaning just plugging the speaker into the amp for some reason, if they somehow survive, running a full frequency range into a tweeter is not a way to make it sound better.

I was in the middle of typing this when Tubehifinut basically said the same thing with more detail...
 
Only with my MMG's. My amps are all flea powered except for a Vidar I purchased just to see if the MMG's changed with more available power. So I"m on the meh side of "more power" :)
 
Nope.

Putting 150-200 watts on just the tweeters (as stated above) seems Iike a good way to roast them, imo

If you want to smooth out the trebIe in a biamping scenario, a 10-30 watt tube amp should be plenty.

I find most of the metal-dome tweeters I've heard to be harsh, so I avoid speakers with metaI-dome tweeters

I'd experiment with a ZobeI network on the tweeter, or look at the crossover caps; If the voItage ratings aren't too high on the crossover caps, I'd try poIystyrene caps in the tweeter circuit. They shouId smooth things out a Iittle
 

adaug

Senior Member
One of the things Im wondering about is if trying one of my 200W or 150W amps on just the metal dome tweeters (slightly harsh sounding to me) of my B&W CDM-1SE bookshelf speakers (max rated/recommended power of 120 W RMS) will make them sound better by “opening them up?”? Seems way overkill.
adding more power going to something that sounds harsh seems counter-intuitive to me. but why not give it a try and see how it sounds to you. starting with the power way-attenuated, of course.
 
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