You could very occasionally let recorded peaks go a few dB “into the red” zone on the VU meter, because it was unlikely that the minimal distortion would be audible. Since speaker voltage sensitivity is measured at 2.83 volts, we can use the sensitivity to calculate the acoustic noise produced by the amplifier-speaker combination. In 1983, he was appointed editor of Sound Canada magazine, which he relaunched in 1985 as Sound & Vision, incorporating video content and reviews as well as hi-fi and audio features. It all depends on the number combination. If amplifier power output is the same, choosing a speaker with higher sensitivity will get you a louder speaker. This is shown in the following two examples: In this example all 3 speakers have identical power sensitivity ratings (90 dB, 1 W @ 1 m). In the late 1970s, he became a contributing editor, columnist, and equipment reviewer at AudioScene Canada, the leading national consumer electronics magazine at the time. Think of “0 dB” on your AV receiver’s volume display as a kind of “maximum loudness” setting beyond which you may drive the amplifier into audible distortion or “clipping.” In the May AudioFile newsletter, I described the subjective sense of loudness changes that increases of 1 dB (just barely detectable change in loudness), 3 dB (slightly louder), or 10 dB (twice as loud) trigger in average listeners. Given sufficient amplifier power, good power handling and reasonable loudness requirements, a low-sensitivity design can offer very high performance in a compact package. Read or watch our the top Home Theater Set Up Mistakes we see. Combine the two, and you get the maximum loudness of a speaker known as Maximum SPL. Hsu Research's VTF-15H subwoofer has a 350-watt amp and puts out an average of 123.2 dB SPL between 40 and 63 Hz. This indicates that the noise produced by the AHB2 should be inaudible in this worst-case example. It’s not easy or readily apparent with music playback, which is one of the reasons that casual comparisons of different loudspeakers or receivers are so flawed. Note that speaker 4 will be the hardest to drive at high levels. In the old days, Bell Labs and the broadcast networks came up with the concept of “0 VU” (which stands for Volume Units) to standardize electrical audio signal levels between interconnected radio and TV stations sending programming across the country over telephone lines to affiliate stations. One additional advantage of nearfield speaker placement is that this tends to reduce the acoustic contribution of the room. Speaker impedance always varies with frequency and this means that the power sensitivity also varies with frequency. The reason for this is power compression. The confusion occurs because we’ve grown up comprehending that bigger numbers mean larger values or an increase. The smaller size offers vastly improved stereo imaging in nearfield and midfield applications. Knowing the difference in meaning, it makes sense we use “speaker sensitivity” as the means of determining loudness. Going from –25 dB to –15 dB, an … In your reading on the subject you’ll find this basic rule expands to the following general rules of thumb: When I saw these figures, my immediate thought was, “is this another rule on top of the basic 3 dB rule?”. Right, you now understand what sensitivity is. We just need to know the voltage that is being supplied by the power amplifier. If it's an anechoic spec (like the ones found in some actual speaker measurements) add +3 dB. Here’s the quick and dirty for you. The best Bluetooth speaker for Sonos users is the portable Sonos Move (£399). If a large space is available, room treatments should be a high priority because of the room effects that come with increased listening distances. He edited Sound & Vision (Canada) until 1996, when he moved from Toronto to New York to become Senior Editor at Audio magazine. © 2020 Colquhoun Audio Laboratories Limited LC It won't be perfect, because you'll be relying on the specifications from the speaker and amplifiers, which are often vague and sometimes exaggerated. Yes and no. At this voltage, speaker 1 will consume 2 W, speaker 2 will consume 1 W, and speaker 3 will consume 1/2 W. At high levels, most power amplifiers will have difficulty delivering twice the power into the 4-Ohm speaker, and the 3 dB advantage over the 8-Ohm speaker will be reduced by 1 or 2 dB. Putting the microphone 6.6 feet (2 meters) instead of 3.3 feet (1 meter) from the speaker will make a big difference in the measured result. Don’t chase loudness at the expense of sound quality. If we hear something, we go back and figure out how to measure what we heard. Trevor Smith | June 15, 2019June 10, 2019 | Helping Your Choice. One could apply weighting curves — such as A-weighting, which focuses on sounds between about 500 Hz and 10 kHz — to an SPL meter to filter out the frequency extremes. Anything below 84 dB is considered rather poor sensitivity. BOSE F1 SUBWOOFER. So if you have a speaker with an in-room sensitivity of 88 dB at 1 watt, then 2 watts will get you 91 dB, 4 watts will get you 94 dB, and so on. Moreover, you don’t want a speaker that sacrifices quality at the lower volumes either. Some Benchmark AHB2 customers have horn-loaded speakers with sensitivities as high as 109 dB, 1 W at 1 m (Avantgarde Trio). Nevertheless, both groups of customers can use the AHB2, because the AHB2 has been specifically designed to operate at both extremes. If your AV receiver’s setting is at, say, -25 dB, and you turn it up to –22 dB, that 3-dB increase in loudness should sound “slightly louder.” Going from –25 dB to –15 dB, an increase of 10 dB, should sound about “twice as loud”. Despite these concerns and in the absence of anything else, comparing the sensitivity ratings of speakers provides an idea of how loud a speaker will be. Sensitivity measurements of 88 dB are about average. This is why high efficiency is necessary in high-output sound-reinforcement systems.