Some speakers are designed to mate with low powered tube amps that have low damping factor and/or specific impedance requirements. This is a small minority of speakers out there and most speakers will work just fine. Manufacturers usually will let you know if they want you to use a specific type of amplification.
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Both efficient and low efficient speakers have the ability to sound excellent if set up correctly. It is likely that your amplifier will perform better with low to average efficiency speakers. The 98 dB speaker will only demand the first few watts of power from your amp which may not sound as good. The designer may have optimized that amp to perform better at much greater outputs levels. If you like the sound of HE speakers you can check them out, but be aware that there could be a chance that they would sound better with lower power (SET, low output SS Class A, etc). Dont think of it as a bad thing! Having a powerful amp increases the variety of speakers that will work for you!
Yet another way to look at it is, if you have moderately efficient speakers, (93db or more)you then have the ability to use a broader range of amplifiers, from low-power SET, to high-power SS amps. I used to have a very fine pair of Dynaudio Contour 5.4's, and though they were rated at 90db, they loved lots of power to perform their best. I finally sold them, and went to the 93db speakers I'm currently using. I can drive them with as little as 10Wpc, or as much as you want to use with them.
For me, this is the way to go for more options regarding power. I like tubes now, better than any of the SS amps I have had. YMMV
Good Luck enjoy,
In general you do not need a lot of watts with more efficient speakers.
I have not heard any high efficiency speakers that I could afford or even want to yet that equals the best I have heard in general. For me, the key is find the right speakers that meet your tastes and integrate well into your room and then get the right amp to drive them properly. I would not worry too much about efficiency as a prime determining factor. Even the least efficient speakers out there today can be driven well by newer high efficiency amp designs like Class D/Icepower. The results if done right can be on par with the best I have heard out there.
You might want to look at this link:
The issue of the intention of the designer will play a huge role in this matter. In fact, if the amplifier technology does not match what the speaker designer had in mind, the crossover will not even work right!
Hi all, thanks for your responses. What originally spurred this question was all the talk here on Audiogon about the great sound and quality of Tekton Lores. I'm in the market for some new speakers and thought about giving these a shot since they are made in USA and well within my budget. But I thought about my amp, and started to reconsider as I thought they might not be a great match (I want to be able to turn my volume knob past 9 o'clock).
I have also recently auditioned some B&W cm8's, and Paradigm Studio 60's. These seem like a better match for my Khartago, but it's hard to say as I haven't heard anything as efficient as the Lores on my system.
My current speakers are vintage Avid 103's, which I adore. That said, I'd like to upgrade to something better in this system and use the Avids in a secondary system (I'll never let the Avids go; best $80 I ever spent).
My speaker budget is 2-3k, depending on how long I wait to pull the trigger. I mostly listen to Jazz and some Classical.
If the speakers aren't very similar in their design and requirements, then yes I would change amps when I get new speakers, eventually. At first I will see how they sound with what I have on hand. Then if I decide they are keepers I start looking into better amplification matches.
On my last speakers I went through 5 or so amps before settling on an Atma-sphere ap.
Hi all ! One thing I have learned , you never know what it will sound like until you try it . I was driving a pair of Thiel 1.6's with a Cary V12 and it sounded nice ...especially in triode mode . Many folks were convinced it would never work , bad drop to 3 ohms ,etc. Moral is.. try it ya never know .
Tekton has a new model, the Lore-s, which Eric Alexander tells me has a sensitivity of 93-94 db. This sounds like a better speaker for my system, since they are not quite as efficient as the original lores, but still efficient enough that I can use them with tubes at some point. Eric also said they are more resolving than the original Lores with a more hi-fi sound to them. I'm glad I waited to place my order, as he just came out with these within the last couple of weeks.
Thanks again for your advice, all.