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Thread: Pairing Speakers with Amp

  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Question Pairing Speakers with Amp

    Hello everyone,

    In need of your expert advice.

    I'm trying to help a friend pair their super oldschool (but still very reliably working) amp with a pair of speakers.

    The amp: Pioneer SA-1520
    The speakers: Tannoy Mercury MX-1

    Is this doable? I know nothing about what the rule of the thumb is for pairing amps and speakers based on throughput, watt, ohm, etc.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Focus200 View Post
    Hello everyone,

    In need of your expert advice.

    I'm trying to help a friend pair their super oldschool (but still very reliably working) amp with a pair of speakers.

    The amp: Pioneer SA-1520
    The speakers: Tannoy Mercury MX-1

    Is this doable? I know nothing about what the rule of the thumb is for pairing amps and speakers based on throughput, watt, ohm, etc.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    Hi, and welcome to AR Forums.

    Assuming both are working OK, there should be no problem pairing that Pioneer and those Tannoys. The Tannoys are 8 ohm speakers which generally means a non-problematic matching with amplifiers; their sensitivity is 87 dB at 2.8V at 1 m which isn't especially high but the amp/speaker combo should be fine in small and small-medium rooms.


  3. #3
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Focus200 View Post
    Is this doable? I know nothing about what the rule of the thumb is for pairing amps and speakers based on throughput, watt, ohm, etc.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    Feanor already answered your question, so I thought I just give you a VERY general brush-up on some of the cryptic numbers you're seeing on the spec sheet and how they relate to our little hobby.

    Speakers present themselves as a resistive load, so first and foremost, make sure the amp can drive the load. If possible, find out what the minimum ohm rating for the speaker is, the lower the number = harder (bigger load) the speaker will be for the amp and the more current it will need. Don't focus on watts/rms. As Feanor said, the Tannoy's are rated at 8ohm nominal, so you could power these with just about anything. By comparison, my B&W's dip to 2.7ohms and Feanor's beloved Magnepan's are notoriously difficult to drive. Because of this, to extract the best from either of our speakers, you need lots of current and quality watts.

    The sensitivity rating of any speaker equates to the measured SPL's (sound pressure level) usually measured while feeding the speaker 1 watt at 1 meter distance. The higher the sensitivity, the louder the speaker will be for a given number of watts. Simple. The Tannoy's are rated at 87db, which tells you two things; 1) 1 watt will be fairly loud, 2) Most people never need more than a handful of watts for normal listening.

    Understand, the ohm ratings, sensitivity, or any other spec you care to mention has absolutely no bearing on the sound quality of a speaker. The only unit of measurement that matters for that are your ears.

    Hope that helps.
    Feanor and noddin0ff like this.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I believe your amp will deliver 120wpc. It should have plenty of power to drive the Tannoy's. It is not over kill and do not pay any attention to the recommended power ratings of the speaker. The only number that really counts in the power rating is the minimum power. Having an amp that is below the recommended minimum power can damage both the amp and speaker due to clipping.

    You got good advice from the other posters.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
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    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

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    Feanor, topspeed, blackraven,

    Thanks for taking the time to write informative, thoughtful replies to my question and thanks for the welcome. Also, thanks for explaining the general rule, I'll dig a bit deeper into that shortly to have a general understanding for future reference.

    I will go ahead and grab the speakers and will give it a whirl.

  6. #6
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    PS. if you had to choose between the Tannoy MX1 and the Tannoy V1, which one would you spring for?

  7. #7
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    The V1 is a newer model and has better frequency response (45hz-25khz vs 55hz-20khz for the mx1). That said, prices being equal, get whichever one sounds best to your ears with your music. Always audition gear with your own source material that you are familiar with. Too many times, the seller will play "ringers," meaning music that really caters to the strengths of whatever they are selling. I've had that happen to me a million times and indeed it did sound great, but I don't listen to Celtic chorale music, lol!

    BTW, if you're open to other options, the Elac B6 is burning up the web right now. Designed by TAD designer Andrew Jones, these are supposed to be unbelievable bang for the buck ($280/pair, street price may be lower). I haven't heard them, but BR, Mr P or someone else here may have.

  8. #8
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    The Elac B6 seems very interesting, might pick it up for another setup that currently uses a set of tannoy mercuries. Also, fully agreed on testing with your own music. Thanks for the input!

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