Matching Power and Speakers -- Much Ado about Not-that-Much? (Tube amps and speakers)
Interesting conversation at the Part Time Audiophile's The Occasional Podcast.
There, tube amp maker Justin Weber of Amps And Sound makes these comments:
At about 24:03 in, they have an interesting conversation about power in tube amps and speakers' needs.
Justin makes an interesting comment about power and speaker efficiency. He's careful to caveat that room size might be an important differentiating factor, but for many (most?) audiophiles (with small-medium size rooms), there is just not that much to worry about regarding amplifier power and speaker matching. He is not touching on "synergy" in some larger sense -- he's just addressing the "power needed to drive speakers" question.
If I'm understanding the upshot of what he's saying, it's that lower-power tube amps made with quality transformers (and well made generally) have a very good shot at doing an excellent job for a much wider range of speakers than is typically assumed in conversations audiophiles have.
The whole interview is interesting, but here's the interesting bit -- I did my best to transcribe it, but go listen for yourself!
"Almost always, you need vastly less power than you realize....I've seen 1 watt power whole rooms and big rooms with moderately efficient speakers....What's a practical standard? 30 watts should do 99% of everything for everyone, and 15 watts should do 95% of everything for 99.9% of everyone....
Most audiophiles have small listening rooms.... [A more powerful tube amp may sound better, but] I think that’s a matter of it having a better output transformer and [that] output's transformer's core actually having a flatter frequency response and going lower.
So [in those cases where a more powerful amplifier is used] I don't know that it's a question of producing more power -- that you need more power -- as much as the transformer [in] the more powerful amplifier is [instead just] a better transformer."
Not sure what folks here think about these claims. Perhaps they seem so obvious as to almost not need repeating. But there are so many conversations about speaker sensitivity and watts that do not mention the quality of the transformers or which seem to overstate the importance of how powerful an amp is.
If Justin is right, then many, many pieces of advice related to "how many watts do you need" are basically wrong.
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