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Thread: Max speaker wattage?

  1. #1
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    Max speaker wattage?

    HELLO
    I have a Hi Fi system that includes two JBL speakers in excellent condition.
    Unfortunately my Preamp and two Power Amplifiers have failed.
    QUESTION: What is the MAX wattage my speakers can safely handle?
    Current amplifiers (EICO Model HF35) were 130 watt consumption
    with 35 watt output constant and 70 watt output peak.


    Speaker #1 was purchased 10/ 1/1956 Model C34 B with D130 speaker
    Speaker #2 was purchased 8/30/1958 Model C34 Korina with D130 speaker

    Any suggestions for make and model for new equipment for preamp and Amplifiers
    (or an integrated amplifier) would be most welcome.

    Thank You
    Bud M

  2. #2
    Senior Member Chris Brown's Avatar
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    There won't be a simple answer to this question, as there are many variables. For one, each driver in the system has it's own power handling limitations. The D130 for example, can handle only 75watts, has less than one millimeter of Xmax, and a FS of 40Hz. If you are playing bass-heavy content, you will surpass the abilities of the woofer very quickly. If you are playing content with very little low-end however (or have a subwoofer and use the crossover with your speakers), I have no doubt that the speaker could safely handle considerably more power.

    Also understand that there is nothing wrong with having amps that are considerably more powerful than what your speakers can handle. Your amp only puts out as much power as the volume control dictates, and weaker amps can still put out much more power than they are rated for - they simply do it while clipping, which is bad. Most speakers can also easily handle peaks far beyond the average max wattage that they are rated for.

  3. #3
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    I think a better question is what power range would be useful?

    One watt into those quite efficient speakers would likely be quite loud.

    Accounting for likely musical peaks, etc... I expect you never got even
    close to clipping those 35w amps. If using tube amps, you probably
    had them on 16 ohm taps... if you went solid-state instead (unless
    a McIntosh with autoformer), the rating on the amp for a nominal
    8 ohms would need to be halved when using a 16 ohm speaker system.

    I'm sure there are those with other opinions, but I'd think a nice 35-50w
    tube amp would be a fun/vintage-like match.

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    Thanks for the responses.
    Can anyone confirm that the speakers are 8 ohm?
    Is a spec available?

    Regards
    BUDM

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BudM1930 View Post
    Thanks for the responses.
    Can anyone confirm that the speakers are 8 ohm?
    Is a spec available?

    Regards
    BUDM
    Since both of your speakers are from the late '50s they should be 16 ohm. The same drivers were made for decades and later versions had significantly higher power ratings due to improved glues and other changes. Also later versions were offered in 8 ohms.

    Most speakers changed from 16 ohm to 8 or 4 ohms during the later '60s and into the '70s as solid state amplification became the norm and most solid state amplifiers handle these lower impedances better.


    Widget

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    Thank you for the 16 ohm info.
    I was ready to purchase a Yamaha integrated amplifier Model A-S301 having 60 watts/channel, but note that it states 6&8 ohm for the speakers.
    The higher wattage Yamaha units A-S501 states 85 watts/channel for 6 &8 Ohm and
    The A-S701 states 100 watts/channel for 6&8 ohms.

    DO I need a higher wattage unit because I have 16 ohm speakers or do I need to find a new amplifier manufacturer that has a product that will handle the 16 ohm JBL speakers I have?
    Thanks for your help
    BudM

  7. #7
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Why not look inside your cabinets at the rear of the speakers and see what the JBL label says as to 16 or 8 ohm? I'd be likely to bet they're 16, but why not check?

    Better question would be how do you know they're D130 if you haven't seen the backs already? And are they simply D130 or do they include a crossover on the back with maybe an 075 as a tweeter?

    I've run my 16-ohm D130/075 JBLs for over 60 years starting with Pilot mono tube amp, then Kenwood receiver, then Fischer SA1000, but for the past 50-years I've run Crown amps rated 75 to 90 watts-per-channel, often playing them outside at fairly ridiculous volume levels with no issues.

    When I "rescued" the first one from my Dad (he was giving it the Goodwill when he went stereo) I played it from the earphone jack of a tiny ChannelMaster transistor radio. Believe or not, it played very well!

    Got any photos of your vintage JBLs you can share?
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

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    Quote Originally Posted by BudM1930 View Post
    Thank you for the 16 ohm info.
    I was ready to purchase a Yamaha integrated amplifier Model A-S301 having 60 watts/channel, but note that it states 6&8 ohm for the speakers.
    The higher wattage Yamaha units A-S501 states 85 watts/channel for 6 &8 Ohm and
    The A-S701 states 100 watts/channel for 6&8 ohms.

    DO I need a higher wattage unit because I have 16 ohm speakers or do I need to find a new amplifier manufacturer that has a product that will handle the 16 ohm JBL speakers I have?
    Thanks for your help
    BudM
    Generally speaking, running higher impedance speakers is less of a strain on the amplifier than running lower impedance - your amp will be happier running into a 16 ohm load than it would be if it was a 4 ohm load.

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