View Full Version : Speaker sensitivity ratings

09-08-2007, 08:52 PM
I understand sensitivity ratings are done at 1w of power. But do the same ratings hold true at full power?

For example, let's say one speaker has a rating of 87dB. If I give that speaker 200w of power, would it sound exactly as loud as a speaker with 90dB rating and 100w of power? Since double power equals 3dB increase in SPL.

-- Kevin

09-09-2007, 01:17 PM
On paper, yes. In reality, it's hard to tell without measuring equipment. There are so many other variables that come into play once a speaker is mounted and actually played within it's environment.

Also, it's important to note that you won't exactly be able to tell that a speaker is 3db more sensitive than another. It's not till about 10 db that the human ear actually perceives double or half the volume. This is variable across the bandwidth of human hearing (20-20khz). Our ears are much more sensitive to frequencies in the 250-4000 hz range (+ or -), or the human vocal range. 3 db more output at 80 hz isn't nearly as drastic as 3db more output at 15 khz. While decibel levels may be similar, the fact that the human ear is more intolerant of higher frequencies makes that 3 db more noticeable.

Gary S
09-09-2007, 03:19 PM
Minivanman gave you some good advice.

In addition:

- You really can't compare sensitivity ratings between different manufacturers... they measure different ways, and some fudge the numbers. Plus, there are one-watt ratings, 2 -volt ratings, and in-car ratings which makes things even more difficult.

- in looking at total spl, sensitivity is not a good guage... different speakers do different things when you start pouring on the juice... things such as excursion and power compression can become a bigger factor.

- Watts are cheap these days... high power amps are reasonably affordable. This alone makes sensitiviy ratings of decent speakers these days a non-issue.

09-09-2007, 04:49 PM