Higher sensitivity - more dynamic sound?

Benefits of higher sensitivity- other than loudness per watts available?



If you are basing that off so called dynamic range databases, keep in mind that dynamic range may be based on a "time period", not instantaneous (well fraction of seconds - second) dynamic range. In a given frequency range, I would expect that to be even more the case. My understanding of it is that it shows peak to average of a given time period, not peak to minimum which would be more critical to this discussion though perhaps both are.


I know many here hate ASR, but it would be good to collectively push them to do more frequency response measurements at varied power levels, and perhaps at different frequency sweep speeds to induce this issue. I personally don't see Stereophile doing that and I definitely don't see suppliers going out of there way to highlight problems.

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A 110db horn running off 20 watts will not see any heat that can cause compression a 86db speaker requiring over 250 watts will be near melting at peak SPL levels. A horn also has better throw so at distance, its SPL level isn't dropping as fast as a standard dynamic speaker design. Standard dynamic designs can sound pretty darn nice but they are toys when compared to a proper large horn speaker. Now I know most cant house anything over a toaster-sized box or overly slim tower and they don't want to consider that larger is better even though the brand of small boxes they bought most likely has a much larger model as the top of the line.

@johnk , I see no physical mechanism by which a horn speaker would throw better than a dynamic speaker. The impedance matching improves efficiency, but it is still effectively a point source so it must follow the inverse square law.  Only a line array and the equivalent electrostatic or planar speaker would have improved throw. The room response would be different though. @audiokinesis can you comment on room response of line arrays?


@atmasphere @audiokinesis , I expect that electrostatic speakers and large planar speakers must be fairly immune to these power compression / thermal modulation effects within limits?  By virtue of the large number drivers and small amount of power per driver, line arrays must be pretty immune as well.


The 86dB efficiency speaker on a 250W amp has more total dynamics to cover incoming source material of a wider dynamic content than the 102dB/20w amp system.

Huh? Why? The dynamic range is a function of the recording being played back. Its not as if a system using more sensitive speakers is somehow only being fed signals of less dynamic range :)

The 250 Watt amp has slightly over 10dB more power than the 20Watt amp, but the 102 dB speaker has 16dB over the 86dB speaker; your numbers don’t seem to add up.

Or am I misinterpreting what seems to be written here?

@deludedaudiophile ESLs are immune to this problem as I stated earlier since their MO uses a power supply plugged into the wall. Field coils are as close as you can get to this with ’conventional’ drivers. Of course both technologies do have their practical limits. Both easily measure and sound more dynamic than their permanent magnet cousins.

IMO/IME your surmise about horn speakers isn’t quite correct (although we are starting to see more line arrays in PA applications). You may not be taking into account the controlled directivity of horns which line arrays and planars lack.

In a home instead of a PA application, you are probably correct since the energy needed to fill the room is so much less. But some horn systems are pretty efficient; over 104dB and so only need a fraction of a watt for 90% of all listening. ESLs and all the line sources I’ve seen so far need considerably more...

@audiokinesis Thanks Duke!