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Understanding power output – getting the right product for your needs
Just like a car requires the right amount of power to keep it moving, your speakers and amplifiers require a certain amount of power to create the right sound.
We often take the quality of our sound for granted, but there’s a lot that goes into creating good sound, and it can be easy to get it wrong. One of these easiest ways to sabotage sound quality is with the incorrect power output.
Not completely understanding the power output needs and handling capacity before purchasing speakers or amplifiers leaves you at a high risk of choosing the wrong product. And that means ending up with a disappointing sound experience.
Power output is not as hard to understand as it sounds, though. And once you understand what’s involved, you’ll be able to find the perfect equipment and the perfect sound for you.
Understanding power output needs is essential before setting up your HiFi room.
Power mismatch can ruin your sound experience (and your speakers)
The quality of your sound directly correlates to the efficiency of your speakers. Different speakers have different levels of efficiency, and the efficiency of any given speaker affects its ability to convert Amplifier power output (electrical energy) into acoustic energy (sound).
The less efficient the speakers, the more power you’ll need to achieve the result you’re looking for.
But that doesn’t mean you can simply ramp up the power of any HiFi speaker to achieve better sound. Rather, it is essential that your speakers are controlled by the amplifier and not the other way around. Amplifier power is to a large extent responsible for this function as it needs to provide High current and low impedance drive capability.
Failing to get this relationship right will likely produce damage to the speakers and or Amplifier which will then need to be repaired and this can’t be done in your home. It is often better to have an Amplifier with greater rated output power than what the speakers are rated at.
It is somewhat like a car!
If you wanted to speed safely down the road at 300km/h, you’d need to buy a Ferrari which can do 400Km/h.
Not all speakers are designed to produce the same volume of sound.
What’s the ‘right’ power output?
It’s pretty easy to see why something that sounds as basic as ‘power output’ is actually anything but. It’s one of the most important things to consider when purchasing Hi-Fi.
So, you want to make sure your product has the right power output – but what does ‘right’ look like? If we accept that the volume played at is an integral part of Hi-Fidelity reproduction then power requirements will differ from situations to situations.
So the required available power output changes from person to person, depending on your desired use and musical tastes and in what situation it will play in. Amazing sound quality for reproducing a classical chamber orchestra will require different output power and speaker power handling capacity than for playing heavy metal.
When determining the right output and speaker for you, there are a few things you should consider that play a major part in your decision.
- How do you listen to your music? Is it in the background or do you like to immerse yourself completely?
- What size is the room/s where you’ll be installing your speakers?
- What kind of music will you predominantly be listening to?
- What range of music do you want to be able to play?
- What volume do you want to be able to listen at?
Before recommending any speaker, there are multiple factors you must consider
The right output + expert advice = sound excellence
When it comes down to it, power output is what allows you to get the precise quality of sound you want and expect from your Hi-Fi equipment and at the right volume.
You’re not buying Hi-Fi for compromised sound quality, so unless you really know your stuff, it’s best to experience the alternatives first hand and consult with an expert.
Different brands have different specialties, so going by price or brand alone won’t give you enough an idea of a products capabilities in relation to your individual needs.
When you engage an expert, they’ll compare your room acoustics, music taste and power output requirements with the design of leading brands to point you towards the perfect product.
By going through this process, you’ll ensure you:
- Achieve the highest sound quality
- Hear your music the way it was meant to be heard
- Enjoy extended equipment and sound longevity
- Know that you’re getting value for money on your Hi-Fi purchases
For an even more customised and perfected sound experience, Tivoli experts take it further than a simple consultation. We have listening rooms to give you a first-hand experience of different products, and will even consult in your own home – to ensure the sound outcome will be exactly right.
If you’d like advice on understanding and determining your power output needs, or would like to book a consultation with a Hi-Fi expert, click here to contact Tivoli.
One of Tivoli Hi-Fi’s 9 listening rooms