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Question Can speakers be 'too sensitive' for a high power amp

mushiking

Novice Member
Hi everyone. I have a vinyl front end (Rega RP10 / Apheta II) and a Musical Fidelity M6Si and Monitor Audio Silver 8 speakers. The amp is very powerful, and delivers massively high current and I'm very pleased with it having upgraded from an Arcam amp a few months ago. My question is whether having such a powerful amplifier driving speakers which are highly sensitive can cause any issues, or might mean that I am not getting the best out of the amp. I can barely listen to the volumn dial past "9 o'clock" (which is effectively a couple of "hours" on the clock face above zero). I'd be really interested and grateful for any thoughts on this. I don't notice a particular problem in the sound (in fact I'm very happy).
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The speakers will just respond to the power given to them. The more sensitive they are the less power they require and the amp doesn't have to work so hard. As long as they sound good that's all that matters. You are in charge of the volume control on the amp and your ears will give up the ghost long before either speaker or amp will.

Remember your room is also having an influence on how the speakers and amp respond. The bigger the room the more power is required to fill it. Having 'too much power' is never a problem, having too little certainly is.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Turn you amp on and play some music. Now turn the volume down very slightly, just enough to notice a slight change in sound level. That slight change is the difference between 200w/ch Amp and a 100w/ch Amp.

The Monitor Audio Silver 8 have 2x6" bass driver and a Sensitivity of 90db. That's good, but not great relative to Sensitivity.

The Amp - Musical Fidelity M6si - is a pretty nice amp. Curious, is the Volume Control set to the same position for all Sources - CD, Turntable, Other?


The Rega Apheta II is an MC Cartridge. Curious, do you have an external Phono Pre-Amp? Are you sure your M6si is set to MC?


A typical MM Cartridge will put out about 5mv. A typical MC will put out about 0.5mv. Your MC Cartridge is rated at 0.35mv, so it is not putting out excess signal. Many of the High Output MC will put out about 2mv, which could cause extra Volume Control sensitivity, but that does not seem to be your case.

It is possible that you are simply seeing the calibration or general nature of the Musical Fidelity Amp's Volume Control. I'm wondering of other with experience with this Amp can confirm this.

To you core question, I don't think it is the Amp's power, as the difference in volume between 100w and 200w is small. I suspect it is more likely the general calibration of the Volume Control.

Or ... it could be something wrong with the Amp. The only way to determine that is if we can communicate with someone else who has/had the same amp, and see if they are using a similar Volume Control Setting.

Or perhaps a call to your dealer or Musical Fidelity, to see if the Volume Control Sensitivity is common for Musical Fidelity amps.

THOUGH - I wonder if all sources sound the same, that is use the same volume position? If it is just one of the Inputs or one source, then we may have other problems.

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
 

mushiking

Novice Member
Turn you amp on and play some music. Now turn the volume down very slightly, just enough to notice a slight change in sound level. That slight change is the difference between 200w/ch Amp and a 100w/ch Amp.

The Monitor Audio Silver 8 have 2x6" bass driver and a Sensitivity of 90db. That's good, but not great relative to Sensitivity.

The Amp - Musical Fidelity M6si - is a pretty nice amp. Curious, is the Volume Control set to the same position for all Sources - CD, Turntable, Other?


The Rega Apheta II is an MC Cartridge. Curious, do you have an external Phono Pre-Amp? Are you sure your M6si is set to MC?


A typical MM Cartridge will put out about 5mv. A typical MC will put out about 0.5mv. Your MC Cartridge is rated at 0.35mv, so it is not putting out excess signal. Many of the High Output MC will put out about 2mv, which could cause extra Volume Control sensitivity, but that does not seem to be your case.

It is possible that you are simply seeing the calibration or general nature of the Musical Fidelity Amp's Volume Control. I'm wondering of other with experience with this Amp can confirm this.

To you core question, I don't think it is the Amp's power, as the difference in volume between 100w and 200w is small. I suspect it is more likely the general calibration of the Volume Control.

Or ... it could be something wrong with the Amp. The only way to determine that is if we can communicate with someone else who has/had the same amp, and see if they are using a similar Volume Control Setting.

Or perhaps a call to your dealer or Musical Fidelity, to see if the Volume Control Sensitivity is common for Musical Fidelity amps.

THOUGH - I wonder if all sources sound the same, that is use the same volume position? If it is just one of the Inputs or one source, then we may have other problems.

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard

Thank you for such a detailed reply. Yes of course I should have mentioned - I use a Rega Aria with the settings for MC carefully chosen to match the Cartridge. The sound output level on records is about the same as other sources.

I suppose I really noticed the difference in stepping up my amp from the Arcam I had. The performance is much much better in every way, but with the increased power came the observation that it delivers such high sound levels at such a lot volume setting. The power in watts may not seem high, but as I understand it the delivery of the power and peak current is important too. It can deliver more than 30 amps when it needs to. This means to my ears that the dynamics and pucnh are formidable.

Again - thanks. Seems like there is no "problem" - I was really curious as to what people thought.

Cheers
Marcus
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Did the ARCAM have a Digital Read Out Volume Control because they are calibrated very differently.

Amps with Analog Volume Controls put the fastest gain in the beginning of the Range.

Amps with Digital Volume Controls are linear, and therefore the Volume Control needs to be pretty high. On a scale of 1 to 100, typically in the 70 to 80 range.

I play my Analog Volume Amp at about 10 o'clock. My Digital Volume Amp starts at 45% and is VERY quiet. For videos, I'm in the 60 to 70 range, and for Music, I'm more in the 70's range. For Movies I'm up closer to 80. On my Analog Volume, I never go over 50% or 12 o'clock on the Volume Control.

Perhaps this is the difference you are seeing.

Steve/bluewizard
 

oscroft

Prominent Member
I'd say the fact that you only need a low volume setting to achieve high sound levels is a good thing. It means the amp is working well within its linear response range and has plenty of power to deliver faster tansients. Hence the superior dynamics and punch you're hearing.
 

mushiking

Novice Member
The speakers will just respond to the power given to them. The more sensitive they are the less power they require and the amp doesn't have to work so hard. As long as they sound good that's all that matters. You are in charge of the volume control on the amp and your ears will give up the ghost long before either speaker or amp will.

Remember your room is also having an influence on how the speakers and amp respond. The bigger the room the more power is required to fill it. Having 'too much power' is never a problem, having too little certainly is.

Thanks - yes the room is an interesting point and I do have to position myself carefully so as to avoid bass boom from the back wall.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
My speakers are 8 ohm and are 88dB sensitive with a 3.2 ohm drop. My Rega amp is usually around the 10 o'clock mark on modern recordings, those older ones that have a better dynamic range and less compression need to have it pushed to 11 o'clock. It can perform really well at low volume.
 

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