Do I need 130W AV receiver for 130W speakers?

hans121111

Novice Member
I'd like to know if my speakers must match an AV receiver's max. wattage to get good sound.

Now I have Onkyo speakers (8 Ohm, 130W) and Onkyo receiver (130W per channel at 8 Ohm). The sound quality is great but the Onkyo receiver is acting up so I need to replace it. But I'm fine with stereo only and it's for a small room and late-night TV, so nothing loud.

The question is if my speakers being 130W means the receiver should support at least 130W as well. I have no idea what's the real maximum power provided to the speakers. I only measured the AVR's power consumption and it's 68W at silence up to normal volume, then going slightly up, but still below 100W even with very loud music playing (something I don't need).
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Welcome to the Forum.

Simple answer you do not. The output of the amp doesn't have to match the speakers 'window' at all. If you listened at 130 watts then you are more likely to go deaf. The important figures are with the speaker, the sensitivity and the ohm rating. The lower the sensitivity then the more power would be needed to drive them.

A 130 watts amp (into 8 ohms) is likely to be quite expensive and will have all the power you'll ever need.
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
No you don't need 130w per channel. You typically only need a few watts to get sufficient volume from a speaker.

It's also fine using a amplifier that is more powerfu than the speakers also.
 

hans121111

Novice Member
Thanks.

The speakers are SKF-960F:

Type: 2 Way Acoustic suspension
Impedance: 8 Ω
Maximum input power: 130 W
Output sound pressure level: 83 dB/W/m
Frequency response: 50 Hz–45 kHz
Crossover frequency: 2 kHz


So I wonder what power do I really need from the amp to listen to TV at normal volume. I see even some quite expensive stereo AV receivers, yet according to their specifications they're just 50-85W per channel.
For example, Marantz NR 1200 is 75W per channel and costs 799 EUR.
Then there's a 7.2 channel Onkyo TX-NR696 for the same price, doing 100W per channel.
 

SeanBrothers

Active Member
Whereas the Marantz NR 1200 is a stereo receiver, and puts out 75WPC, the Onkyo TX-NR696, as a 7 channel receiver, only puts out 100WPC when driving two channels. When driving all seven channels, the power per channel will be less, probably less than the Marantz.
 

hans121111

Novice Member
So how can I determine if either of those 2 receivers will be enough to power the speakers so that the sound quality is not degraded at normal TV-watching volume?
 

SeanBrothers

Active Member
It depends on several factors, such as your speaker sensitivity, which is low, how far away you sit, how big your room is, whether you plan to run all 7 channels, or some subset, will you run a subwoofer, etc. Since you are looking at a stereo receiver, I assume you only plan to run teo speakers.

You could ask @Mr Wolf to check out your power requirements, but I suspect that either will do.

If you're dealing with a decent shop, you should be able to try them out at home and return whichever doesn't work.
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
So how can I determine if either of those 2 receivers will be enough to power the speakers so that the sound quality is not degraded at normal TV-watching volume?
Short answer is both will easily have enough, long answer is below.

There are several factors to consider but to a greater extent it depends what "normal TV watching volume" means to you. Assuming you mean the dialogue is at typical 60dB human conversation level, this would equate to a volume level of about 18dB below cinema reference level.

THX tells us that using 89db speakers in a 3,000Ft3 room (seated >12Ft from the speakers) requires [email protected] to hit the loudest peaks cleanly at reference level. 18dB less SPL requires only 1.6% of the power of reference level so only [email protected] should be needed to support a -18dB volume setting. In a smaller room it would be less than this.

83dB sensitivity speakers like yours are quite inefficient and require exactly 4x the power of 89dB ones assumed in the calculations above so that's a peak power requirement for you of [email protected] and [email protected], the latter being an impedance level where your speakers are likely to dip to.

All commercially available AVRs can support such a power requirement. Frankly, if they couldn't they wouldn't be fit for purpose.

If you ever need to go louder than your current system's capability, change your speakers to higher sensitivity ones before adding more powerful amplifiers as it will make a greater difference and cost much less.
 
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Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Output sound pressure level: 83 dB/W/m

This means you get 83dB at a distance of 1 meter using 1W using these speakers. A good table of what 83dB means can be found here. TV at "normal volume" is considered to be 60dB, meaning that 1W is way more than you need; however most people will listen rather louder. 85dB (needs < 2W) is already enough to cause hearing damage over longer term exposure, as well as considerably annoying the neighbours, 75dB can be considered as an upper bound.

What does happen though is that you get explosions, crashes, bangs and other short term loud noises. These can be 20dB above the "basic level" and so it's here you need a short term ability to deliver more power. It's also why a 1W amplifier won't quite suffice.

The power handling figure given for your speaker is its maximum (very) short term power handling before destruction. It's a measure of the speaker's ability to dissipate heat before it causes a meltdown of the insulation surrounding the wire in the voice coils. No speaker can handle its maximum power over a longer period, whilst amplification in any decent AVR is measured as continuous power output, The end effect is that pretty well any reputable manufacturer's AVR offers way more power than anybody will ever need, and the chase after ever more amplification power is not really rational. Other factors are much more important when considering sound quality.

Both the Marantz NR 1200 and the Onkyo TX-NR696 offer more than sufficient power for typical domestic requirements and that includes watching action films.

THX assume a "normal" level of 85dB, leading to peaks at 105dB. Very few people listen at these levels, most are at least some 10dB lower.

(The above does not apply if you regularly party with disco level music. That use case requires the ability to reproduce sound at deliberately damaging volume levels).
 

hans121111

Novice Member
Thanks everyone for explaining that my 130W speakers should be safe to use with a lower-rated AVR. So I actually found my old Onkyo TX-DS494 (55W/channel 8 Ohm) and tried the speakers with it.

I switched off the subwoofer and tried an action sequence in a TV show. It wasn't very loud but at night I'd probably take it down a bit. But there was almost no bass coming from the speakers when connected to the TX-DS494. When I tried again with the HT-R960 (also with subwoofer off), I could notice better bass and when I turned the bass all the way up on the receiver, the bass was so strong, I think I wouldn't probably even need a subwoofer.

So now this confuses me. Is the lack of bass sound from TX-DS494 caused by lower power of the AVR or by all the modern DSP that comes with the HT-R960?

Unfortunately it's not easy to get a receiver and just try it. Most are out of stock to preorder only and I'd also probably have to buy from another country because the prices are crazy where I live (+25% from January).
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
As well as switching off the subwoofer you need to configure your system to tell it you have no subwoofer. Otherwise the bass will simply end up nowhere. My guess is that you have different configurations between your two AVRs. Also it's likely that one of the AVRs has a different meaning of "all the way up".

I would strongly caution against trying to get decent bass from the speakers that came in the HT-S9100THX package and even more against ramping up the bass on the electronics in order to try compensate for the lack of bass on the speakers. The SKF-960F speakers are specifically designed to be used with the accompanying SKW-960 subwoofer to handle the bass. Unless of course you're trying to destroy the speakers to have an excuse to replace them - in which case you shouldn't have to wait very long :( .
 

hans121111

Novice Member
Yes, I did configure the AVR to "Subwoofer OFF" which improved the bass a bit but still pretty far from the HT-R960.
But the bass from the SKF-960F speakers sound pretty good even at low volume with bass setting at 10 (max). There's no distortion. So I don't think it's doing the speakers any harm. In the end they came in a set so there shouldn't be any problem.
 

hans121111

Novice Member
OK, so to conclude. I didn't find any new AVR because stocks are low, units expensive and even many of the expensive AVRs don't even support 4K/120Hz and decent audio calubration, so I couldn't justify a purchase yet.
But I really needed an AVR because the sound from my A1 LG OLED is pretty bad. So what I did is I bought a 13-year old Onkyo TX-SR507 (80W per channel) and the sound is as good as I was getting from the old 130W/channel Onkyo and so much better than I had with Denon X540BT (I'm so glad it died and I actually returned to Onkyos). The Audyssey EQ is doing wonders for me.
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
OK, so to conclude. I didn't find any new AVR because stocks are low, units expensive and even many of the expensive AVRs don't even support 4K/120Hz and decent audio calubration, so I couldn't justify a purchase yet.
But I really needed an AVR because the sound from my A1 LG OLED is pretty bad. So what I did is I bought a 13-year old Onkyo TX-SR507 (80W per channel) and the sound is as good as I was getting from the old 130W/channel Onkyo and so much better than I had with Denon X540BT (I'm so glad it died and I actually returned to Onkyos). The Audyssey EQ is doing wonders for me.

Hdmi boards working ok? Not heat damaged?
 

hans121111

Novice Member
Seems fine so far. The HDMI board on the TX-SR507 doesn't get nearly as hot as the HT-R960 did. But I don't use the HDMI ports because all my sources are 4K. So I use the AVR for audio only.
 

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