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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

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Powered Speaker Spec's.

Whitenoise

When researching powered speaker spec's I often do not see manufacturers publishing how they rate power.
I know that RMS, Program, Average, and Peak can be very different values.
My Peavey PR series powered speakers are rated 200W continuous RMS. (combined wattage of the biamped system) Much lower values than other similar PA speakers. They seem to perform as well as many other speakers rated much higher. Could it be that other manufacturers are quoting the Peak wattage?
I also understand that SPL can vary with cabinet/driver combination and different power may be required to achieve the same volume levels when comparing different systems. Maybe the Peaveys are more efficient and require less power to achieve the same volume?
I've heard multi thousand dollar JBLs that don't sound as good as my Peaveys at coffee shop levels but I'm sure they'd sound better than mine at stadium levels. (As the plastic cabinets of the Peaveys melt down!)
Has anyone ever posted a meaningful comparison of similar PA speakers and their ratings so I can find out whether I'm really getting my money's worth? Where can I go to learn more about this?
Jack
April 4, 2012 @12:10am
yeahforbes

Hopefully someone else can elaborate on your ultimate question, but I'll point out that the "Max SPL" spec nicely combines the wattage with the sensitivity. It's merely a calculation (not measured) based on those two numbers, but sensitivity isn't usually reported for powered speakers.
However, processing such as built-in limiters may come into play regarding just how loud it will actually go. One speaker with 100 dbSPL@1W/m and a 1 watt amp may max out at 95 dbSPL while another maxes out at 98 dbSPL simply because the limiter thresholds were -5dB and -2dB respectively (and a 3dB difference is like doubling your wattage). I doubt things like this are standardized in any meaningful way across manufacturers.
April 6, 2012 @07:18pm
michaelhoddy

Agreed that the SPL figures (peak and long-term) are far more useful measurements than wattage, because wattage is not a measure of loudness, but rather a measure of power.
Especially in powered speakers, the SPL measurements are as close to a useful benchmark as you're going to get, although, as yeahforbes points out, there are still extenuating circumstances at play, including the limiters, but also the frequency response of the boxes themselves.
Furthermore, the SPL measurements are really only truly useful in free space, although you can still use them to roughly compare Speaker A to Speaker B. Once you place said speakers in a room, everything changes again because of the acoustical characteristics of the room, placement and layout of the speakers, dimensions, surfaces, distances to boundaries, etc.
April 7, 2012 @02:07pm
TimmyP1955

All loudspeaker specs are a lie. Once you know that, you can put away the papers and start listening to boxes.
April 13, 2012 @02:45am
yeahforbes

That too. But within the same product line you might get somewhere.
April 14, 2012 @07:40pm