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?


Class D amps are certainly a lower priced option, but most folks still are not that impressed with the SQ. 

Most folks not impressed?   Say what?

The most important thing to me is the sound quality of the speakers. They set the stage for what you are going to hear. That is it, no consideration of efficiency. Then I find the proper amplification to support them.

After a love affair with electrostatic and ribbon speakers for decades… which I supported with 150+ pound, massive high powered amps. I realized I really wanted natural / musical sounding system. So I found Sonus Faber speakers, which are mostly 90db efficient and them I found the best sounding amp to support them… so the wpc went from 350 to 70.

Class D has come a long way and I have been more than happy with SQ of the Nord Purifi. Many other reviewers and actual users have also been impressed with most of the new Gan and Class D amps. 

@ghdprentice  I too have moved on from the MLs, now in my 2nd system, and have replaced them with Sonus Fabers. However I have them in biamp mode and am still using the Class D for the bass and a tube amp for the mids and highs.

Planars just sound more realistic to my ears. If they need power, so be it.

I think amps sound better in their their optimum power range instead of a very powerful amp barely putting out even a small fraction of its power...learned that decades ago from guitar amps. I like an efficient speaker with an amp that's digging in a little, like my Heresy IIIs and one of two amps I use with them: A Dennis Had Firebottle SEP or a Pass XA-25. Works for me. It seems that a very high percentage of speakers are in the 89 or less DB range requiring at least my Had amp to stay away except at low levels. A shame. Give me some clear horns over any "conventional drivers in a box," except for nearfield recording monitors.