Speaker power vs amplifier power

December 13, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

9 comments on “Speaker power vs amplifier power”

      1. Good afternoon Paul!
        Call me crazy if you would, but I’ve seen it happen the other way around.
        Lets just say, you have a woofer that can only handle 50 watts.
        But you go and put a 200 watt amplifier on it.
        And you turn the volume all the way up to the max.
        I’ve seen amplifiers eat not just tweeters, but they will eat the woofers and mid ranges too.
        Because when you crank up the volume, you’re not only increasing the voltage, you’re increasing the currant too.
        This is where the amplifiers will fry the voice coils right out of speakers.
        Because they can only handle so much voltage and currant.
        Way too much of that, your speakers will die.
        There are videos on You Tube where some guy is doing this kind of a thing.
        Some of them are playing music really loud, while others are pumping low rumble signals in to speakers.
        And this is done just for the sake of blowing those speakers out in the first place according to the videos.

  1. Hello Paul I once blew out a woofer on my Infinity SM 152 with a Bryston 4B and tweeters were unscathed. They use a true clipping light which I believe all amps should have.
    I will put these speakers up against your IRS any day. (JK) 🙂
    when I removed the woofer I saw why. Very cheap drivers and replaced both 15’s with a Dayton Audio 15″ driver and was very happy. Of course I upgraded the crossover also and bypassed the L pad control which didn’t do much in the first place. These are not my first choice speakers but they sounded great in the showroom when I purchased them but somehow when I got them home they weren’t nearly as good. I will say one thing about them they have excellent efficiency ratings Yes larger amps are better to overpower than underpower a speaker.

    1. Hi Jim,
      I found that TELARC’s version of Tchaikovsky’s – ‘1812 Overture’, the one with the digitally recorded canons, is an excellent way to blow out your woofers, if your not careful.

  2. I’m pretty sure that Paul meant to say ‘the former’ instead of “the latter”, ie. your amp should be capable of producing more clean power than your loudspeakers can handle, that way your loudspeakers wont be harmed by possible clipping from your amp.

  3. A speaker power rating is a nominal thing. It means the speaker manufacturer says a given power, Stable amplifier with his speaker power rating is good. He doesn’t mean that the speaker can handle its rating with continuous power at all frequencies. If he calls for 100 watts putting 100 watts into the tweeter will blow it out. In fact 100 watts continuous into the woofer will probably blow it up. Fortunately music only needs super high power for milli seconds which drivers can handle. The average power over time as Paul said is only a few watts and that will be loud. The extra watts are to make sure when a super short, super high power comes along the amplifier won’t clip because that can blow up speakers. As Paul said it produces square waves at full power and square waves effectively are made up of multiple sine wave frequencies so even a low frequency clip goes into the tweeter. Plus a clipping amp doesn’t just stop when thew problem happens so a very short overload can last seconds, a long time musically, easily destroying drivers.

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