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?



My argument is that this efficiency as it relates to speaker performance is a complex issue, much more than a simple number. You forget I am engaged with dealers and end users who ask these questions (and similar ones) quite often. The desire to reduce a complex issue down to a simple one is very attractive when the subject is complex. THAT is my point, not that there aren’t times when facts are facts.

Since you own DH1A, I can use a historical reference: I bet you remember many people arguing the advantage of 1.3 inch throat driver/horns (EV) vs 2 inch driver/horns (JBL) and vice versa. That discussion was often reduced to focus on one attribute (throat diameter) when really it was a far more complex issue than that, depending on what you were trying to accomplish.



Dear @phusis  : " Indeed sufficient headroom is a prime takeaway here (regarding both speakers and amps) - that is, it’s that it actually matters, and far more than people seem to realize. "

Normally audiophiles do not cares enough about " headroom " eve3n some of them not even know what it means in electronics and especially when we are talking of speaker/amp combinations.

As  a fact I learned through my first hand audio experiences when I owned thr Classé DR3-VHC This amp is a pure Class A design with a power of " only " 25 watts but in its times was only one of the few amps that handled with aplomb the Apogee Scintilla that gone even lower than 1 ohm impedance and with not high efficiency but around  79db at 3m. but ( if I remember the Classé came with 7db on headroom and from here its VHC denomination: very high current. ).



Its very important to some so much so that they house giants. Its also of very little importance to some so much so that they house giant amplifiers. If you don't want high power it would be important to you.

Is the entire "speaker efficiency" conversation motivated by passions and opinions about the free choice of amplifiers -not speakers ? 


@lonemountain Brad, I think one of my points is that the free choice of speakers and amplifiers are connected. IOW, a highly inefficient speaker is going to severely limit your amp choice, and conversely a very low powered amp ( or an amp with minimal current drive capability) will also be a non-starter with a speaker that cannot be properly driven by said amp. Therefore, picking out either one of these designs invariably leads one down a path, that may or may not be where one wants to go.