This is a pretty elementary question, i'm sure, but i'm pretty new to home audio. my question is this: is it bad to run speakers at less than their minimum wattage? I have a yamaha receiver @ 135 watts per channel (not that that's important here) and two 8 ohm yamaha 3-ways that are rated for 10 to 140 watts. the yamahas are routed through a 8 ohm (4 per channel) panasonic passive subwoofer. Is it all right to play the stereo w/ the volume low enough that I am pretty sure the main speakers won't be getting 10 watts? i know how important it is to make sure studio monitors get enough wattage and that too little can damage them. is it the same w/ these speakers?
i really would like to know if it is harmful to give my speakers less power than the minimum amount they are sensitive to. i've looked in lots of different FAQs and whatnot and haven't found a whole lot.
thanks for the help, but that's not really what i mean. when i got my speakers, i was also looking at a pair of Polk audio studio monitors. i asked the clerk what he thought the power handling of the speakers was. rather than talking about the dangers of blowing them with a clipped signal or otherwise, he warned that it would be unwise to use them unless i had an amp that could give them *at least* 150 watts a piece. underpowering them would damage them, he thought. My speakers are designed for wattages between 10 and 140 watts per speaker. will giving them less than 10 watts (my amp is 270 watts, no clipping here) hurt them in any way?
There is no danger at all. Due to the logarithmic ratio of watts to perceived sound, 100 watts of amp power will sound only four times as loud as 1 watt. See this link. I probably use half a watt for most of my listening, with no damage so far!
You must listen at very moderate levels or you have very sensitive speakers.
"he warned that it would be unwise to use them unless i had an amp that could give them *at least* 150 watts a piece. underpowering them would damage them, he thought. "
Either you misunderstood what he said, or he should not be selling audio. Don't clip the amp and you'll be ok. What he may have meant were the speakers are power hungry and like a bigger amp. No matter, playing at less than 10 watts, will not damage speakers.
Quote "You must listen at very moderate levels or you have very sensitive speakers." I use my system in a fairly small room. -30 db is fine for talk radio, -6 db for playing a movie. Never tried it at full volume! :shock:
thank you all very much. it probably sounded like a stupid question, but i just didn't want to do anything that could hurt my speakers. i do a lot of late night quiet listening while sitting very close to the speakers.
Speaker wattage ratings are pretty much meaningless guys! The greatest danger comes from too little amplification in which you drive an amp to clipping which if the protection mode in the amp does not activate itself you will end up with a fried amp and/or blown tweeters. Do not worry about a slight power mismatch,i.e. a 150W per channel vs. 125W max speakers. Often a speaker ,especially a full range one with a large woofer 10" or larger will handle much more power than it is rated for for brief periods. To blow out the woofer in a speaker from too powerful amplification is usually rather difficult and much less of a concearn than too little amplification. E.Ramsey AAs industrial electronics