What is the most efficient speaker?

I have a cary sli signature amp. (Tube) I would like to get an efficient speaker to
The Klipsh Klipshorn folded horn corner speaker. I don't think they make it any more.
we sell two lines of speakers that you should consider ...
the Soliloquy --the SM2A3

and the coincident --Ultra High Sensitivity Series Loudspeakers

you can get info off of our showcase on audiogon .. or go to soliloquy --

amd coincident --http://www.coincidentspeaker.com/speakers.htm

Quest For Sound
From what I hear Raven builds some very nice ribbon tweeters with 95db to 100db efficiency and they mate well with PHL drivers, some of their mid/woofers have 93db efficiencies. E-speakers.com has images of both and kits, if the diy route is something you would also enjoy (the few commercial designs to my knowledge with the ravens are $10k+ since the tweets are $200 to $1,660 each). Zalytron also carries the ravens as does gr-research.com with kits too. I don't like focal a whole lot, at least compared to other stuff for the money, but they also have some very efficient speakers from the audiom and utopia line, about 95db (I'm talking of buying the raw drivers). Both are standard electrodynamic transducers so you won't have to deal with the size of horns, which I've never been a big fan of, although some swear by them. Welbornelabs.com has dozens of high efficient speakers on there links page with horns for those who insist. If anyone knows anything more on the ravens and the phl's let me know since I'm very interested in them?
I suggest you check out the Welborne site at : http://www.welbornelabs.com/ They list many efficient speakers.
avantgarde acoustic series (uno, duo, trio) but they start at $10,000. I believe the sensitivitiy is above 105dB/watt.
I don't think it's a matter of what's the most efficient speaker (actually, "sensitive" speaker is the correct term); rather it's how sensitive a speaker your amp needs. I'm not familiar with your model of Carey, so I can't say.

The most sensitive speaker of which I am aware are the Avant-Garde Acoustics Trio, which the manufacturer rates at, I think, 107 dB at 1 metre with 2.73 volts input at 8 ohms. However, these retail for well above $20K if I'm not mistaken.

Klipschorns, which are still made, are around 103 dB. Fabulous dynamics, but I find them rather coloured, though people report that they respond well to extra damping and other mods.

My personal opinion is that, overall, taking into consideration performance and price, the best value in a highly sensitive speaker would be the System 15 DMT II from the Tannoy Profesisonal line. They're 98 dB and run very well with a quality 5-10 watt per channel amplifier. At the same time, they have extremely high power handling capacity. Tannoy North America uses Manley Labs 100 watt tube monoblocs to demo them, but you can also use big (200-500 wpc) solid state amps, which is what recording and mixing studios usually do. They also biampable, which is probably how to wring out the last bit of performance from them. The DMT 15s are not sold in high end audio shops---you have to get them at pro audio shops or, on-line, from places like Digibid, though they do occasionally appear on eBay. . .

New they're around US$4K; used around half that.

Another very good approach is the Tannoy 3836 driver, quite a few pairs of which have been available on eBay recently, selling for $450-600, but usually you have to build your own crossovers from the supplied schematics as well as cabinets. But for a modest investment you can put together an exceptional loudspeaker that again, will work well with either low-powered SET amps or monster, high-current transistor amps.

Other options worth considering are the classic Altec 604E, 604-8G and 604-8K coaxials, all around 98-99 dB.

As another poster mentioned, Coincident Technologies offers a number of designs in the 92-97 dB range which have the advantage of much higher WAF than Tannoys and Altecs which do best in large (6-10 cu. ft.) cabinets. They also offer relatively high impedance (14 ohms I think), which is good for tube amplification. These are also very fine speakers, retail ranges from $5K to $8K.

Also in the vintage area, JBL L-300s are 95-96 dBs and are still highly regarded by many.

Finally, if you have deep pockets and plenty of space in your living room, the fully horn-loaded, refrigerator-sized (520 litres), Tannoy Westminsters and Westminster Royals are also 99 dB and perhaps the most emotionallly overwhelming and sonically realistic stereo speakers I've ever heard. List is around $30K with a one-year wait, though occasionally you see used pairs for around $10K.

There are many other options, including the various models offered, at $6-12K, by Classic Audio Reproductions, using JBL and TAD drivers, but I hope this gives you some sense of the wide range of choices.

I myself have long used various models of Tannoys, but that's just me. Others will sing the praises of other makes and models I've mentioned, and numerous others as well.

Happy listening! Regards, Dr_joe

If you are looking for the MOST efficient, i think that you would have to go with a speaker based upon TAD drivers. TAD is the professional division of Pioneer Japan. They make some ULTRA efficient drivers. While there might be more efficient designs out there, i don't know of any that can do it while maintaining excellent sonics.

I was not fully aware of these until a pretty adventurous "internet buddy" ( Hi Mike !!! ) pointed them out to me in his system. The raw tweeters produce 110 db's @ 1w/1m !!! With his specific horn body attached, they are doing appr 119 db's !!! Their mids are also highly efficient. While woofers are tough to bring up to that level, but you can find several different raw drivers in the 102 - 104 db @ 1W/1m range. Horn loading them can bring that up a few more dB's, leveling the playing field somewhat.

While these drivers are VERY expensive, i know that Klassic Audio Reproductions uses them in their speakers and they do sound fantastic. This is where i was first exposed to TAD's.

As to the Klipsch speakers, a quick trip to their website would probably reveal what is currently being produced. All of their "classic" series speakers are "very high efficiency" designs. These consist of the Heresy, Cornwall, La Scala, Belle and K-Horn.

Be careful of what some folks refer to as high efficiency. They may not necessarily be "high efficiency" but are simply "easy" to drive. This means that they are not reactive, have a relatively smooth impedance curve and aren't "power suckers" due to using very sophisticated crossover designs. Also take note that some speakers DO NOT meet spec and are sometimes a few dB's quieter. Buying something that you think is 93 dB's and then finding out that they are really 90.5 dB's and not quite as easy to drive can be quite confusing and frustrating.

While this is STRICTLY a generic guideline, this is how i break down speaker efficiencies. All of these measurements are based on driving 1 watt @ 1 meter into the speaker with impedance being factored in. Keep in mind that this chart is "relative". Someone running 88 db speakers ( relatively common in sealed designs ) would surely consider 91 db speakers to be "high efficiency". I'm looking at it from the "big picture" as i own speakers that are 104 db's and another set that are about 78 - 79 db's !!!

99 dB's and above = ultra efficiency

95 - 98 dB's = very high efficiency

91 - 94 dB's = high efficiency

88 - 91 dB's = medium efficiency ( most common )

85 - 87 dB's = low efficiency

85 dB's and below = bigtime power suckers

Keep in mind that some "less efficient" speakers will be capable of playing at a higher maximum SPL than speakers that may be more efficient to start off with. This is due to what is known as "compression".

Compression occurs when the volume of the speaker DOES NOT climb in a linear fashion as more power is applied. You will hit a point where the drivers will not play much louder ( level off or "plateau" )unless you "pile drive" it. Instead of translating the incoming power to sound, they begin to absorb the energy as heat. The driver has reached saturation and is now "compressing" the amplitude of the signal. Once this occurs, damage to the driver is not too far down the road.

Hope this helps.... Sean
Well... depends on what you are looking for. The Cary site says that your amp puts out 80 Watts (or 50 in Triode mode) which is probably going to be too much power for the "high" efficiency speakers listed here. If you throw a 107 dB efficient speaker on that, you will probably not be terribly satisfied with what you hear. High efficiency horns like the Avantegardes are best off mated to a SET amplifier... otherwise unless your electronics are incredibly clean, you will hear all sorts of muck in the line as you throw more power at them. Also, keep in mind that horn speakers have a very particular "love it or hate it sound" to them.

Now, what I don't understand about the people making posts here is that why would anyone be mating a $3K integrated amplifier with a $10-30K pair of speakers? It seems to me just a little out of balance to me.
Thank you for the last paragraph slartibartfast; my sentiments. I didn't realize the amp had that much power either. Which would make most speakers really a fine match-the more accurate the better. If there was anything to pay attention to in selecting a speaker outside of one's preference, given that its a tube amp, I would pay attention to the impedence curve of the loudspeaker to make sure it wasn't abnormally low or any sharp dips in any places, and the efficiency. But it should drive most things fine. In the end it really only depends how loud one wants to play their music. The focal and raven/phl systems can be done for <$2k.