How do I choose the right amp for my speakers? Is the most often asked question. Matching your amp and speakers is a common concern for people who want to purchase new systems. In this article, you will find all the necessary help to help you choose the right amp for your speakers.
If you would like to buy a separate amplifier and speakers as opposed to buying a home theater system, to most people it can an uphill task to know what to look for. It is possible that you have seen the specs of both the amp and speaker but you do not know how to match the two.
The most common mistake that people make is that they buy the wrong amp for their speakers or the wrong speakers for the amp. And the result, if the two are not compatible, is the whole system blowing up. To overcome this problem, you need to know the important issues involved.
The compatibility of speakers and amp is like a combination of butter and bread. If you match the amp and the speaker correctly, you will get a high-quality sound system. But if you are not able to match them correctly, that’s nothing to eat your head. That’s why we are here.
Amplifiers are designed to utilize electric power to increase the volume output of the speaker. However, for you to get a clear and crisp sound from what you are listening to, it is paramount to get the right amp for your speaker. Therefore, ensure you read through the whole article for you to be enlightened on how to match an amp for your speaker. So let’s look at a few of the criteria on how to choose amplifier for speaker.
Key Things to Know
Impedance is a common term both for speakers and amps. This is the measure of electrical resistance that either a speaker or amp has. It is measured in terms of ohms.
The first thing that you should consider when matching your speaker and amp, is to determine the impedance of both. In most cases, the impedance of speakers ranges between 4 and 8 ohms. On the other hand, the impedance for amps ranges from 4 to 16 ohms.
Therefore, before you buy any speaker and amp, check the impedance. Generally speaking, if you buy a speaker with 4 ohms or 16 ohms, will work well.
Most importantly, it will be good if you can connect a speaker with higher impedance to an amp but you cannot connect a speaker with a low impedance level to an amp with higher impedance power. For instance, you cannot connect a 4 ohms speaker to an 8 ohms amp.
Thanks to some manufacturers who label the impedance compatibility between the speaker and amp.
This term is commonly applied to speakers. The sensitivity of a speaker is a measure of how loud a speaker is in decibels 1 meter away from the speaker per 1 watt of power. When you are considering the sensitivity of a speaker, have at the back of your mind the listening duration. This is paramount because if the dB of a speaker is too high, it might lead to hearing problems.
The sensitivity of a speaker is a critical factor to consider because it determines how loud the speaker is. A speaker with higher sensitivity will sound louder in a room as compared to its lower sensitivity counterpart.
Although the sensitivity of a speaker is not much of a deal-breaker, it will determine the amp that you will buy. For instance, if a speaker has low sensitivity, then you will have to buy a bigger amp to make up for the missing loudness of the speaker.
Besides that, the power of the amp helps to increase the speaker pressure level by 3 dB. This occurs as the distance from the speaker increases and the loudness of a speaker drops.
Do not confuse that the more power a speaker uses the higher the volume. When we speak of power we are talking about how much watts a speaker can handle and how much power an amplifier is capable of producing.
There are two types of power when it comes amps, that is:
- Continuous power
- Dynamic power
Continuous power is a measure of how powerful an amplifier really is. Dynamic power, on the other hand, is the measure of the maximum output power an amp can produce when its pushed beyond its continuous power.
– Room Size
Headroom can be defined as the difference between the maximum level of sound that an amp can pass without any distortions and the normal operating level of an amp.
The size of the room where you are going to use the speaker and amp is another critical factor to consider. Also, take into consideration the amount of volume you will need to fill that room. It is you alone who knows how loud you want your room to sound.
If possible you should measure the level of sound in a room with the help of a sound pressure level meter. The amp should produce enough sound to fill a room. For instance, if your room is big, then you need a big amp that will produce enough sound to fill a large room and vice versa.
Most importantly, you need to match the size of the speaker, amp, and room size. If your room has a high ceiling, then ensure that the system has enough oomph to fill the room.
Another essential factor to take into consideration is the price of the equipment that you want to buy. If you are not a professional to understand the various specs that we have been talking about, the cost can help you narrow down your choice.
It is advisable that match the price of both the amp and speaker. When the price is approximately similar for both, the specs are likely to match and you will not go wrong.
For example, you cannot connect a $100 speaker to a $1000 amp. The price of the equipment is determined by the specs that it has. The higher the price the better the quality of the equipment. The closer the price range between the amp and speaker, then you can be sure that they will be matched. However, the price between the two does not have to be exact for the equipment to match.
How to Get The Best Match for Your Speakers or Amplifier
Most people are concerned about how they can best match their amp with the speaker. There is no single explanation that we can offer to satisfactorily cover that. That is because there is various equipment in the market.
However, what we will do here is to give a general guiding principle which you can use to match whatever kind of amp you have with the speakers.
Ensure that you buy a high-quality amp and speakers. In addition to that, make sure that the impedance and wattage between the two are matched. Most of the equipment that is available in the market today is well built and they can match. Also, ensure that the sound quality they have meets your expectations.
Another essential thing is buying both the speaker and amp from the same manufacturer. This is good because the company will make equipment that complements each other.
The difference between the various amps and speakers available in the market is where you are going to play them. The room setup plays a significant role in determining how the audio produced by the system will sound.
For instance, if you have a big room, ensure that you buy a powerful amp and sensitive speaker that can be able to fill the whole room with sound. Equally important, the location of the system in the room has a big impact on the sound produced. If you do not place your speakers strategically in the room, they will not sound as good.
Also, your seating position will affect how you hear the sound. For instance, if you seated too close to the speakers, you might not hear the sound as well when compared to seating at least 1 ½ times from each other and from the speakers. The tweeters of the speakers should be at your ears’ level if you want to get the best quality sound.
Moreover, ensure that the speakers are not obstructed by anything. Do not place the speaker behind some furniture or too close to the wall. Doing so will affect the wavelengths and the sound quality will be affected.
All the other factors that we’ve stated above – sensitivity, power, and room size should also be taken into consideration. Getting all these factors right will help you to get a speaker and amp that will meet your audio needs.
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Things to Avoid
Your safety is paramount. If you blow up either the speaker or amp, it is purely your fault. If the wattage between the amp and speaker is not matched, there will be too little power which will lead to the blowing up of the speaker.
There are two things that you should avoid as much as you can. And they are:
- Do not connect your speaker to an amp with a continuous power rating. Your speaker will not be able to handle such power and the result will be the speaker blowing up. In such a case, the speaker will not be able to handle the heat energy that is produced by the amp and the heat will burn the voice coil of the speaker. When this happens, you could lose not only your speaker but also your hard-earned money.
- Secondly, ensure that the speaker is not too powerful than the amp. The lower amp power will not cause any harm but when you crank up the volume, the amp will burn because more power will be required to power the high volume. The amp will overheat and the volume being sent to the speaker will become distorted. When there is an excessive distortion the amp will burn because it cannot handle the high energy need to pass the high volume frequency.
However, of the two problems, using an underpowered amp is less dangerous as compared to connecting a speaker to an amp with a continuous power rating. But we are not advocating that you should use an underpowered amp because it leads to washing down the drain your hard-earned cash.
If you are not sure how to match the speaker and amp, it is advisable to seek professional help.
How to choose an amp for your speakers
The following guide will help you to choose an amp that matches your speaker and that will meet your sound needs in your home:
– Integrated Amplifier
If you want to cut costs, ensure that you purchase an integrated amp. An integrated amp comes with preamps which are meant to handle various input channels such as selection, power amp, and high-quality sound output.
If you are working on a budget, buying an integrated amp will be a great choice for you. If in the future you will want to upgrade your speakers, you can purchase a preamp and you are good to go.
– Higher wattage
The major reason for acquiring an amp is to crank up the sound volume in the house. Therefore, getting an amp with higher wattage will give you better sound. However, the size of the room is another critical factor to consider. An amp with between 100 and 200 wattages will be loud enough to fill a large room with decent audio.
But, you need to be careful not to buy an amp with a lower wattage because it can blow up if you crank up the volume beyond what it can handle. We’ve already explained this point well in the previous section.
– Multiple input connections
An amplifier with many input connection options is more versatile in its use as compared to one with fewer connections. Go for an amp with a standard AUX port and a USB port which can allow you to connect a wide variety of devices.
When you have multiple input connections, you can plug in various devices such as a smartphone, laptop, or even a turntable. Before you purchase any amp, be sure to check the kind of connections it has.
An amp with more than one connection allows you to unplug one device and plug in another to continue enjoying listening to your favorite media.
– Higher signal to noise ratio
The ratio between signal and noise can be explained as the amount of static background noise that you can hear while music is playing via an amp. It is advisable that you should buy an amp with a higher signal to noise ratio. The recommended ratio is 80dB.
An amp that has a lower ratio of signal to noise is likely to experience buzzing sounds that are static. When the sound is distorted, you cannot enjoy listening to what is playing.
For this reason, it is better to pay an extra coin to get an amp with a high ratio so that it will be able to eliminate any background noise that might be in your surroundings.
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Purchasing speakers and an amp separately can be very technical. For most people, this can be a minefield which if they are not careful, they will simply blow up their money. However, with the right know-how, you can effortlessly match an amp for your speakers.
The essential thing is to purchase an amp that is powerful enough to handle the high energy demands when you crank up the volume. Equally important, ensure you acquire speakers that match the amp.
To care for your amp and speaker, do not play the amp at full volume throughout. This is because the strain of power on the amp can be too high and the amp will get burned. Also, do not give the headroom for peaks on the music that you are playing.
If you blow up either your speaker or amp after reading all this info, then you are to blame. With the explanation we have given you, it is our sincere hope that you will not have any problem choosing an amplifier for your speaker. However, if you are not able to connect for one reason or another, then seek professional help. All the best!!