How important is the efficiency of a speaker to you?

I went to an audio meeting recently and heard a couple of good sounding speakers. These speakers were not inexpensive and were well built. Problem is that they also require a very large ss amp upstream to drive them. Something that can push a lot of current, which pretty much rules out most low-mid ( maybe even high) powered tube amps. When I mentioned this to the person doing the demo, i was basically belittled, as he felt that the efficiency of a speaker is pretty much irrelevant ( well he would, as he is trying to sell these speakers). The speaker line is fairly well known to drop down to a very low impedance level in the bass regions. This requires an amp that is going to be $$$, as it has to not be bothered by the lowest impedances.

Personally, if I cannot make a speaker work with most tube amps on the market, or am forced to dig deeply into the pocketbook to own a huge ss amp upstream, this is a MAJOR negative to me with regards to the speaker in question ( whichever speaker that may be). So much so, that I will not entertain this design, regardless of SQ.

Your thoughts?


I use high efficiency speakers with high power. Amps have come a long way and high power does not mean bad/noisy anymore.

there is something about dynamics of high efficiency speaker but a lot of things are at play here too. Dispersion of the speaker and load (ohms) also come into play.

Usually low efficiency means complex crossovers. The issues of cross interference, phase coherence and latency resulting from multiple transducers compaerd to a two way, ideally point source in my mind are too complex to solve. That’s why flea amps with high efficiency speakers have such a strong following among true audiophiles

I'm happy with my bi-amped system which combines an efficient dipole line array (98db/w) driven by a DHT SET, and a dipole servo woofer tower handling the lower few octaves and driven by an 800w class D amp. This is the best of both worlds for me. Fast, tight, powerful bass and gorgeous, spacious mids and highs. 

When discussing speakers that are hard to drive, I'm not really talking about speakers that cannot be driven by just a few watts. The video above, with the Decware amp is interesting, because while this amp probably sounds good within its envelope, at just 2.3 watts/ch, it clearly is extremely limited as to what speakers it will work with. This is basically the other end of the scale, the speakers in my OP need a minimum of 100 watts/ch and an amp that can push current into a very low load. The opposite is the case with a tube amp that puts out flea power...this amp can only be matched with a very small number of speakers. ( Relatively). 

So, while I would agree that the cost to put together a system with a flea watt amp is probably less than one that needs a brute of a ss amp upstream, neither is great IMO. 

I am currently using that same 2.3 wpc amp with my 96dB 140 lb floorstanders.  I feed the amp with a Grimm MU1 streamer and a Lampizator Golden Gate 3 DAC.  Interestingly, my DAC uses large DHT tubes capable of making twice the power of the amp (although they don't, the DAC output is line level with volume control).