16 ohm speakers: any amp sounds better with more resolution. speaker cables less critical.

Thanks to anyone who responds with whatever answers/opinions/advice comes from this. I'm retired, covid bound, Donna is taking care of everything holiday related, too much time, always curious.

I happened across this in an old thread started by Ralph (atmasphere)

"Sixteen ohms, BTW is a very simple means for getting more resolution out of your system, as nearly every amplifier made sounds better on 16 ohms than it will on 4 or 8 ohms. Speaker cables become far less critical too."

My speakers are 16 ohms (Electrovoice horn tweeter, horn mid, 15" woofer, crossover, rheostats, from 1958).
Extremely efficient, I have more than enough power. Amp, now and in the past all had 16 ohm taps.
Of course I can hook them up to my Cayin's 8 ohm taps now and listen, but facts, opinions, advice, to learn is good.

Lots of Questions? 

1. why/how do 16 ohm speakers make amps sound better, with more resolution? 

2. why speaker cables less critical? perhaps this is why I/we don't hear cable differences in my system?
I'm using my homemade twisted pair of cat 5 now (8 individually insulated small diameter solid core).

3.  to get exterior bias control: use 8 ohm tap for my 16 ohm speakers? (get alternate amp 4/8 no 16 tap,)

lose advantage(s)? 'sounds better'; 'more resolution'; 'speaker cables less critical'? 

this says slightly more mids:


I can fine tune my speakers via their two rheostats: 'presence' and 'brilliance', so not really an issue for me.

4. Importance of Bias Control

how important is Bias? (I don't care about heat, power output, or tube life, just as bias affects sound). Frankly, using vintage tube receiver Fisher 500C, 800C and Fisher Mono Blocks 80Z, I have never checked or adjusted bias. I just put the control in the center position when cleaning insides/controls.

I have always used 16 ohm taps of various vintage tube and SS amps and newer current tube Cayin A88T. (original version, the only one with 16 ohm taps). It's bias control is internal, versions with safer external bias do not have 16 ohm taps.

5. replace their two rheostats? ('presence' and 'brilliance': copper wire-wound on ceramic body, mid/neutral position).
I have them in neutral position now, l/r frequency response equal.   

do I need to keep rheostats 16 ohms? use 8 ohm rheostat with 16 ohm drivers?

sales sheet says 16 ohm, but data sheet shows range 1.0 to 5k ohms. 


does that mean, the drivers will draw whatever they draw (varies thru frequency range anyway), doesn't matter as long as rheostat range starts 1.0 ohm, extends past say 100.0 ohms?



thanks, Elliott

Elliott, it is excellent that you are making your own cables. You should check out Kimber Kable. You can buy their speaker cable in rolls and terminate it yourself. I use 12TC which IMHO is the absolute best speaker cable you can buy. Also check out Canare. Great company. All my digital cables and interconnects are made with their products.

Raul, I agree whole heartedly. I ran capacitors on amplifier inputs for decades. The Dalquist LP1 did that for you. You might want to try a digital bass management system such as used in the DEQX Premate. You get the advantage of time alignment which gives you much more flexibility in subwoofer placement. The best position is always on the floor against a wall or in a corner. However, this placement may not match the main speakers in time unless you can delay them to match. As an example check out my system page. Those 2001 monoliths are about to be replaced by black Sound Labs 845s. I am also working on new subwoofers.

Ralph, I am about to find out :-) I already know the results will be thunderous. As for a quality goes, if they are as good as the Acoustats I will be happy. If they are better then....I guess I'll jump for joy? 
Hi Elliot,
I’ve been extremely happy with these speakers for over 11 years. 14 ohm impedance and 94 db sensitivity. Designed to be very compatible with SET and OTL amplifiers in addition to conventional higher power amplifiers.

I originally drove them with push pull 100 watt (60 watts in triode mode) KT 88/6550 mono blocks and this was a really good pairing. When I tried an 8 watt 300b SET with the speakers, that was it. I immediately heard superb tone (A step up from very good tone) timbre and a more natural or organic sound quality. The presentation is impressively realistic , tactile with a high degree of emotional engagement. This SET and speaker combination pulled me deeper into the musical performance. 
Ralph, I am about to find out :-) I already know the results will be thunderous. As for a quality goes, if they are as good as the Acoustats I will be happy. If they are better then....I guess I'll jump for joy?
@mijostyn, for the investment you are making I hope that is the case. In my experience with my Acoustats the Sound Labs didn't justify the investment.
@rauliruegas, thanks for that information on your crossover. A very elegant solution.

Elliott - That original A88T Steve brought into the US w/the 16ohm output transformers is a peach. I have no doubt about the sound you’re getting. Very cool speakers!

As you’ve heard, the sound off the amps lower impedance taps will be less spacious and more mechanical with your setup - no good.

Have Steve show you the bias process as it’s very easy; ~40mVDC off the Blue or Orange wire for each power tube. Even the adjustment pot is insulated. The amplifier will easily rest on its side making the task simple. With any bias procedure there are caveats which I’m sure he can explain.