Jump to content

twofires

Can speaker sensitivity be too high for a given amp/system?

Recommended Posts

The reason I'm asking this question is because I want to use a particular amp for relatively low volume (65dB ish) listening in the bedroom, and at the moment it's not working out too well. The amp (a Marantz PM8006) has four audible steps in volume on the dial before it reaches 9 o'clock, at which point it acts normally. The speakers (old Monitor Audio B2s from 2003) are rated at 90dB and it seems that optimal listening volume with this combination is right between one of these volume steps. 

 

My theory is that if I want to keep the amp for the bedroom, I need to pair it with far less efficient speakers (Spendors or Dynaudios come to mind). My reasoning is that speakers rated at 84dB will take 4x the power to reach the same volume as 90dB speakers, and this will hopefully push these volume steps down to inaudible levels. Does that seem logical?

 

Have you ever had speakers that were too sensitive for a particular system? If so, what was your solution?

 

NB: This amp has other quirks that I don't love, and have detailed elsewhere, but I do like the sound otherwise. So I'm not exactly for the idea of replacing the amp, but not dead set against it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe try 10db in-line attenuator ?

Thinking out loud 😁

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Mr 57 said:

Maybe try 10db in-line attenuator ?

Thinking out loud 😁

I had no idea such a thing existed. That's possibly the most useful answer anyone has ever given me to a question posed here. Very much appreciated. 

 

Something like this, yes?

 

http://www.decibelhifi.com.au/rothwell-in-line-rca-audio-attenuators-pair/

 

I mean, the current speakers were always a temporary measure, so I may yet replace them with either of the options mentioned in the original post, but this is obviously a much simpler solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sold my Elektra pre/power combo, not because I didn't like it, but because I found like the OP, the combo had too much gain for my new speakers. I loved the combo with the speakers I had previously. There is also the option of modifying the amp to lower gain. The designer and builder of the Elektra gear offered to do this for me but I prefered to leave the gear in "original" spec and move it on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are well worth a try. You might even be lucky enough to score a used pair from one of the guys here.

Try a WTB ad, might get lucky 👍

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, blybo said:

I sold my Elektra pre/power combo, not because I didn't like it, but because I found like the OP, the combo had too much gain for my new speakers. I loved the combo with the speakers I had previously. There is also the option of modifying the amp to lower gain. The designer and builder of the Elektra gear offered to do this for me but I prefered to leave the gear in "original" spec and move it on.

I can understand that - you'd imagine the original gain spec was decided upon as part of a wider design decision and messing with it might have unintended consequences elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


The great thing about this attenuator discovery is that it gives me the option of speakers with even greater sensitivity if I so desire. The new Klipsch RP-600M bookshelves, for example (which I know from experience are a very good match for my amp at much higher volumes), would have been completely untenable, being well above 90dB sensitivity. They are now back on the shortlist.

 

This is all very exciting. 😁

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, blybo said:

I sold my Elektra pre/power combo, not because I didn't like it, but because I found like the OP, the combo had too much gain for my new speakers. I loved the combo with the speakers I had previously. There is also the option of modifying the amp to lower gain. The designer and builder of the Elektra gear offered to do this for me but I prefered to leave the gear in "original" spec and move it on.

I just went through the exercise with my new amp. The designer offered and lowered the gain but it lost a bit of definition. It was like someone turned the tone controls down slightly.

So in the end went back to its original form. I sometimes use the Windows players I'm using to lower the volume (like the attenuators) so the volume range is better suited to my listening levels. eg. Foobar, JRiver etc

I have used in-line attenuators in the past and they had a similar effect of toning down the music. Some more than others. It is slight but noticeable.

Edited by rocky500

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If not super critical of the sound try a 15ohm 10W wire wound resistor from Jaycar. Put this is series with the speakers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, mwhouston said:

If not super critical of the sound try a 15ohm 10W wire wound resistor from Jaycar. Put this is series with the speakers.

I had a feeling there'd be a solution involving a resistor, but knew I wasn't savvy enough to deduce the correct specs. I might still go for the attenuators for the sake of neatness, however. Thanks for the option all the same. 😊 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×