Why is it that guitar speakers never seem to come less efficient than 96db??

NatDeroxL7

Member
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972
I don't know much about how speakers are made, but I just though of this question...maybe its a dumb question...

Why can't anyone make great sounding guitar speakers with efficiency in the 50-70db range?

Wouldn't that really be the greatest solution for getting great tone from high watt amps at controllable volumes?
 

Fractal Audio

Member
Messages
1,282
It's one of those conservation of energy things. Speakers transform electrical energy into acoustic energy (plus a little heat). To be that inefficient they would have to shed a lot of energy as heat and then they wouldn't work well as speakers since the basic parameters would then be all funky.

CC
 

John Phillips

Member
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13,038
A lot of hi-fi bass drivers are down in the mid to high 80dB range, but they don't sound any good for guitar. (I've tried ;).) I think you just lose too much of the harmonic complexity, overtones and sparkle that you want from a guitar speaker if you reduce the sensitivity too far - for hi-fi, this is the goal because they're trying to make the response as flat and uncolored as possible, which is more important than sensitivity.

The lowest normal 12" guitar speaker I know of is the Jensen P12R at 94dB. You may get a couple of dB lower with some 10"s, and lower still with 8"s, but obviously they don't sound the same either.
 

NatDeroxL7

Member
Messages
972
Here's another volume question.

lets say I go from a 100db speaker, to a 96.

then add an attenuator at -8db

would that be a whole 12 db quieter than straight to the speaker, or is that not additive?

and if I'm not mistaken, 12 db is a very noticeable amount no?

Add in a decent master volume and that should be a fairly controllable rig for 50 watts I would think, with little to no tone loss?
 

John Phillips

Member
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13,038
Here's another volume question.

lets say I go from a 100db speaker, to a 96.

then add an attenuator at -8db

would that be a whole 12 db quieter than straight to the speaker, or is that not additive?

and if I'm not mistaken, 12 db is a very noticeable amount no?
You're right on the math.

12dB isn't that much though - at least, not if you're talking about a loud sound in isolation (eg a guitar amp at home). It's a huge difference in a mix, but at home it's more like the difference between very loud and still quite loud. To get a larger amp down to quiet practice levels you're going to need to do two to three times better - 20 or 30dB less than normal full volume, probably into the 70dB range for 'bedroom' volume.
 

NatDeroxL7

Member
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972
I'm not too worried about bedroom levels as far as not disturbing others goes, I practice at most 4 hours a week with my schedule, 45 minutes max at a time, I practice in a larger living room (25x25 at least) an I'm just looking to see what I can do to keep the volume 'ear safe' but still maximize my tone.

It certainly isn't bad now, I can practice and still enjoy my amp, but why settle for less than the best I can get!
 

n4p226r

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,491
im not 100% sure if what i am about to say is correct but maybe someone that went to the amp show can verify but they had a marshall major going through a 4x12 cab in the hallway and the speakers were made so that when a voltage was applied to them, the efficiency dropped. i thought it sounded great at near bedroom levels. better than an attenuator from what i remember. i woulda bought a 1x12 or 2x12 cab if he didnt want a ton of money for it.
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,354
Speaker efficiency is part of the equation, but cabinet design makes a huge difference.

A deep (16") closed back cab is going to affect the tone considerably over your typical open back Fender style cab or closed back 4X12.

See my post in your other thread regarding my SVT cab with my Hot Cat 100R

You can also do wonders with detuned cabs which are also usually deeper.
 

Rod

Vibrato & String Bender on Overdrive
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
25,109
You know, that's a really good question, and wouldn't that be a great way to attenuate a loud amp!!
I did it years ago with a Jim Kelley amp I had...I ended up running it with a Cetec Audio, Gauss 12" Bass speaker...It was REALLY inefficient, and the combination was just great..[I didn't have to use the Kelley attenuator], and it sounded lousy anyway.....
HHHHHUUUUMMMM anyone got any of those speakers lying around???
 

FFTT

Member
Messages
28,354
You might try Ted Weber for replacement CTS AlNiCo's for an SVT

Not sure what he has for comps in a 12"
 




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