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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Why is it that most of the speakers that I hear that I realy like are 4ohm and around 85db? Just me and my ears or do others find this also?
 

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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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I have some high efficiency speakers that I really like that are 97dB/1W/1m

But for the most part I like low efficiency speakers. That's because I'm a dipole freak: open baffle, magnepans, electrostats, etc.

I find resonances more objectionable than peaks and valleys in the frequency response, hence why I like speakers with no boxes.

But dipoles aside, I have noticed that a lot of speaker designs I see online are for 4 Ohm versions. Many woofers are 8 Ohms, and if you use two in parallel, your dominant impendence for the speaker will only be 4 Ohms. You could use two 4 Ohms in series, but very few designs do this.

You would think straining an amp as little as possible would yield the best sound :)
 

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I agree. When I hear one of these speakers it is usually driven my a monster McIntosh with seperates or something like that. I am new at this speaker science and did not know if maybe I just had a fetish for hard to push things like speakers,lawn mowers, tractors ect:}
 

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But for the most part I like low efficiency speakers. That's because I'm a dipole freak: open baffle, magnepans, electrostats, etc.

.....

You would think straining an amp as little as possible would yield the best sound :)
For what it's worth, electrostats are low sensitivity, but high efficiency.

If you get down to the physics of it all, you'll find that efficiency and distortion are inversely proportional. So really, a lower efficiency speaker should sound worse...

I also wanted to mention that a lower impedance speaker is harder for the amp to drive. It's also harder for the amp to maintain a flat frequency response when the speaker impedance changes dramatically at different frequencies.

However, if you're running an amplifier that has poor performance near zero watts, then a lower sensitivity speaker will force you to run the amplifier at higher power levels - which may push you into a region of higher linearity for the amplifier.

I hate to make such a broad claim, but there are often times where an amplifier designer can choose between low distortion at low power levels or low distortion at high power levels. So if you like your sound and then throw in a higher sensitivity speaker, then you gotta make sure your amp isn't causing you to think the speaker is a poorer performer. You might just be running the amp in a portion of its range that has like 5% distortion...

I have found that I generally prefer speakers with much higher sensitivities. I also find that I am extremely sensitive to resonances, which is a shame because a lot of horns (that give you way higher sensitivies) tend to have some stray resonances associated with them. However, some of the newest stuff is so "inert" (for lack of a better term), that you end up getting the best of both worlds.

You also gotta be careful about poor source material. Stuff that was intended to be played back over the radio or in sound systems is often mixed in a manner that it almost requires some power compression from the speakers. When you've got a super linear system, poor source material will just sound absolutely horrid. But at the same time, really good source material will be just amazing. This is one of those things that I've been trying to rationalize and come to grips with...mostly because there's a lot of music that I like that is recorded like c rap.
 
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