Speaker sensitivity?


Bronze Member
Username: Gino0809

Post Number: 16
Registered: Jan-05
what's better a higher speaker sensitivity or lower one?

Unregistered guest
By sensitivity, You must mean lower wattage input to your speakers. If you want to have a loud system that gives you deep bass and crisp highs, then you want to go with about a 200 watt amp, and two 4 ohm 400 watt peak subwoofers in a box. This is what I have and it will blow the doors off most people who go all out and try to run 1000 watts. This is not neccessary to achieve great sound. You can run your stock speakers or get some 100-200 watt speakers and replace your stock ones, But you will want to run them sraight to your stereo. Most stereos can push about 50 watts to each speaker. But this only applies to name brand stereos.You can also run your subwoofer amp straight from your rear speakers if you use the high inputs on your amp. BE SURE TO ADJUST YOU STEREO EQ TO BASS LEVEL -6 or -5. and your mid to about +1 to maybe +3, And your highs, Well I like mine all the way to max level +6. Your amp should be set to subwoofer mode only, for bass speaker boxes; Or you'll damage your speakers. Also adjust your fader to +whatever sounds good to you(on your front speakers. This is because the front speakers are usually lower in sound than than the rear ones. Good luck!>>>slurpee_machine@msn.com

Bronze Member
Username: Mixneffect

Orangevale, Ca. USA

Post Number: 23
Registered: Apr-05
Whatever you do, don't listen to this Slurpee_Machine guy.

Wow, what a complete insane advice.

Slurpee I hope you are joking.


Sensitivity is measured in decibels. The higher the number, the louder it is.

Remember this:

Every 3 decibels is twice the volume per the same wattage.


A 4 ohm 100 watt speaker 93 decibel speaker is twice as loud as a 4 ohm 100 watt 90 decibel speaker.

Gold Member
Username: Jonathan_f


Post Number: 3659
Registered: May-04
Adding to that, a higher sensitivity will get louder than a lower one for a given amount of power, but that doesn't make it "better". A higher sensitivity speaker won't necessarily be louder than a lower one either once you talk about applying 100+ watts, as sensitivity measurements are usually measured in a room, typically anechoic, in an infinite baffle enclosure. Once you change around boxes and put the subs in a car environment, results will differ drastically. As far as what is better, it depends on what your goals are. A higher sensitivity speaker typically has a looser suspension, lighter materials such as foam surrounds and a lightweight, thinner speaker cone, among other things. But, this can also affect SQ in a negative way, via less than optimum damping of the driver, tonality, and overall sound quality. Lower sensitivity speakers may have a higher moving mass, heavier surround and suspension, motor assembly that is unique from others, also the crossover (mainly passive crossovers) will affect the SPL level to a degree. You'll see that most high end speakers are relatively inefficient, this is because they typically trade SPL capability or efficiency for a speaker that may be better damped, or the suspension may be designed to work more efficiently in it's intended environment,there are many factors to consider. There is no free lunch in the audio world.

Gold Member
Username: Glasswolf

NorthWest, Michigan USA

Post Number: 7557
Registered: Dec-03
Speaker Sensitivity and Efficiency.

Speaker sensitivity is a specification provided by all manufacturers of high-quality speakers. The sensitivity rating has no relation to sound quality, as some of the very best speakers have low ratings. Sensitivity ratings simply tell you how much sound a speaker will produce for a given power input.

Sensitivity ratings are given in decibels per watt at one meter, or db/Wm. So, with an input of one watt (usually white noise), a speaker with a sensitivity of 90 db/Wm will produce 90 decibels of sound at a distance of one meter. A sensitivity of 90 is considered average, with ratings of 87 and below considered low sensitivity and above 93 considered high sensitivity. To increase the volume by 3 db, you must double the power. So, using the example above, to make 93 db you would need two watts, and to make 96 decibels, four watts.

Most of the time your system is cruising along producing only a few watts. You need extra power for loud bass passages, crescendos in classical music, and other highly dynamic passages. Your speakers may need more than 10 times the average power to re-create these dynamic passages accurately, and if you are playing loudly to begin with, you may need an awful lot of power if you have speakers with a low sensitivity rating.

So, when you are buying an amplifier, consider your speakers, your vehicle size and how loudly you want to play. If you have sensitive speakers, you probably will not need as much power -- even 20 clean watts would probably be enough. If your speakers are only moderately sensitive, your vehicle is large or exceptionally noisy at highway speeds and you want to play loudly, you will need more power in order to faithfully reproduce dynamic passages.

"Sensitivity," which is expressed in dB, should not be confused with "efficiency" that is expressed as a percentage of power out relative to power in. Efficiency data for loudspeakers suffers from many problems such as failure to consider variations in frequency response.

Speaker efficiency is the ability of the speaker to do work or use power. The more efficient the speaker; the less power is required for the speaker to produce sound. Voice coil design, type and size of the magnets, speaker cone design and material, speaker size, etc. all play a critical role in determining speaker efficiency. However, speaker size is a good general method for guessing efficiency.

Typical speaker efficiency (for physicists) is about 5%. Meaning that for 100% power input, you get about 5% acoustical work back.

Keep in mind that when considering subwoofers, or any speaker that will get more than ~100 watts RMS of power, these measurements are affected by other factors that make this specification less than useful when choosing between speakers.
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