Power handling. 200w with 100w amp?



I'm just wondering about what all these "watt" specifications mean in practice. If you have a speaker labelled "200w rms", or maybe "power handling 25w-200w", but your amp is rated as "100w rms", what does this mean?

Does it mean I can use a 100w amp but won't be able to use the speaker to its full potential? Will it result in more 'feeble' sounds, or lower volumes, due to the amp's inability to provide the required power? Should the amp and speaker 'wattage' generally be matched?

Thanks. I'm still learning :)


While we're at it, what about the other way round? Should you not use a 200W amp with a pair of 150W speakers? Or is it only dangerous with volumes up at ear-splitting levels?


Active Member
My understanding is that more damage occurs when an underpowered amplifier is used. The amplifier signal to the speaker starts 'clipping' as the amplifier runs out of current; the waveform distorts and is squared off and the speaker coil has to handle periods of DC current rather that an alternating waveform and is damaged.

I await correction by the boffins out there.


Active Member
My understanding is :

The power handling of the speakers is just that, a figure that states what the maximum power the speakers can handle before you do some serious damage.
It don't mean that their louder or can produce any more volume.

In general it's just a quide line so you wouldn't use 12 watt speakers with 100w amp it would fry them....

I agree with engaged.

More powerfull amps mean that they are less distorted at higher volumes. So as long as you don't go above a certain level the sound will be cleaner and smoother.

you can use the analogy of a car and tires. Max speed the tires can handle is 200 mph. (doesn't mean they're faster\more grip etc etc) just the max speed. Now the car can travel at 100mph.

At near 80-90 car starts to shake and can wear the tires easier. but at 50-70 you get a nice smooth ride.

The speed limit on most local roads is 30 so you happy travelling at 30-35 mph . ;)

What this means in speaker terms......
(A 100w amp will probably never go to it's max levels as you much happier at the lower volumes. Your tires are fine because your amp has never driven at near the amps max 80-100 watt or near the speakers max 200w)

The figures are just guidelines and as usual just need to apply some common sense.

hope this helps in some way..


Active Member
My understanding is also that;

Bra size is 34D, cup size is only 34B BUT my hands are only so big... bugger, could never improve on the car analogy!


Active Member

how about the bigger the bra size the smoother the ride :rotfl:


Speakers rated Power handling is generaly a constant figure or "Program".
The max continuous power figure is just before the voice coils start to overheat.

Speakers love good clean high power for short periods or bursts.
Clipping will overheat a voicecoil faster than a clean high power music signal.

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