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What are the benefits of 4 ohm speakers?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Henry J, Apr 27, 2021.

  1. Henry J

    Henry J If you get confused, listen to the music play Thread Starter

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    Simply speaking.
    If someone were to be buying new speakers, why would they seek out 4 or 6 ohm speakers?
    I know they make the amp work harder, so that ain't a good thing.
     
  2. I think I would concern myself with how the speaker sounds rather than impedance rating. If you like the speakers enough you buy a compatible amp to drive them. No problem.
     
  3. coolhandjjl

    coolhandjjl Embiggened Pompatus

    Location:
    Appleton
    They don’t make the amp ‘work harder‘. Sure, most ss amps will give more output into four ohms when compared to eight, but that doesn’t mean it’s working harder. ‘Working harder’ implies it’s wearing out or operating at less than optimal performance.
     
    The Pinhead, Lowrider75, trd and 2 others like this.
  4. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    Location:
    Malaysia
    Some amps are designed to work that hard and even harder.

    Try this video for starters:

     
  5. jbmcb

    jbmcb Forum Resident

    Location:
    Troy, MI, USA
    It's really a spec, not a feature. Find the speakers you like, then get an amp that can drive them.

    As for how hard an amp needs to work, sensitivity is more important than impedance. A 90dB/W speaker will need roughly half the power to get the same volume as a 87dB/W speaker.
     
    Tullman, Ingenieur, trd and 3 others like this.
  6. It’s good to have an amplifier that can handle the varying impedance loads of speakers. The amp I’m getting doubles output when halving impedance. It rated at 200, 400 and 800 watts into 8, 4 and 2 ohms respectively. It will handle a very wide range of speakers varying loads. I’m sort of future proofing myself in case the necessity arises for an unplanned speaker change.
     
  7. Nice. Which amp are you getting?
     
  8. Not well known here. A Danish amp the Alluxity Power One Stereo amplifier.
     
    Shawn likes this.
  9. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    Location:
    Malaysia
    Sweet! Getting the one in red? Hehehe
     
  10. No sticking with the Titanium Grey.
     
    tIANcI and Rick58 like this.
  11. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy "The greatest love of all is unconditional"

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    This is a pretty much like a good and questionable topic. I don't really know why the 6 ohms speaker cab. I am just "assuming" its more friendlier to work with in between 8 and 4. But its not gonna make the amp work harder.
     
    Henry J likes this.
  12. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Intermittent audiophile

    Location:
    Colorado foothills
    Well...

    Yes, a 4 ohm speaker will make many SS amps "work harder", because the reduction in resistance requires more current from the amplifier. If the power supply isn't up to it, performance suffers. A capable amp will work just fine at 4 ohms with the increased current demand; however, many amps don't like the reduction in load.

    A Marantz tech guy told me many years ago, "Wattage is a threat; current is what backs up that threat."
     
  13. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy "The greatest love of all is unconditional"

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Isn't that suppose to be the other way around....:biglaugh:...............................................................................:laughup:
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2021
  14. coolhandjjl

    coolhandjjl Embiggened Pompatus

    Location:
    Appleton
    Could be a semantics issue. Working harder seems like an anthropomorphic term. If the amp is designed to operate at 4 ohms, does operating it at 4 ohms damage it, cause it to wear out faster, or create more distortion? All I can see is that it makes the electric meter spin faster and add some heat to your shelf.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2021
  15. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Intermittent audiophile

    Location:
    Colorado foothills
    No, if an amp is designed to operate at 4 ohms, running it at four ohms will not damage it. It's all a matter of the power supply providing the current to drive the outputs. Many amps that are stable at 8 ohms become marginal at 4, and below that you run the risk of the amp becoming unstable, and you get thermal runaway...and yes, damage.
     
    unclefred and SandAndGlass like this.
  16. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    You're assuming the load does not drop below your nominal 4 or 6 ohm load. Unfortunately, some loudspeaker loads are reactive with frequency and some 4 ohm loads can drop to 2.7 ohms. Which some amplifiers will flat out refuse to drive. As in blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers. Or damaging output transistors or IC modules and associated component parts. One must be careful. Do bear in mind, many European solid state amplifiers are designed with 4 ohms in mind, but not all.
     
    Uglyversal and grbluen like this.
  17. Are you pairing it with their Pre One? Regardless, would enjoy reading your impressions once you’ve got it in your system - looks like a very, very nice amp.
     
    Mad shadows and Khorn like this.
  18. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    No speakers are 8ohm really. They all dip well below at most frequencies.
    Most of the specs are kinda BS in that respect. If they were done correctly they would also show the impedance range with the lowest impedance the speaker reaches.

    The amp needs to be able to drive the speakers with the same energy at all impedances they have throughout the freq spectrum.
    So it needs to have a low output impedance.
     
    clercqie, McLover, tIANcI and 3 others like this.
  19. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    The rated impedance of any given pair of speakers is a nominal rating. It’s not a fixed value. The impedance and phase angle of a pair of speakers varies wildly depending on the frequencies its reproducing at any given moment. The impedance of a given pair of so-called 4 ohm or 6 ohm or 8 ohm speakers can fluctuate between 2-16 ohms during the course of playing music. Every amplifier designer understands that reality, and designs power supplies and circuits to be compatible with the vast majority of speakers that might be hooked up in someone’s home.

    The impedance given for any particular speaker is either a mean value or an average value - the center point, or middle value - in a wide range. All amps are designed with that in mind. So, no worries. You’re not doing any particular amp a favour by restricting your speaker considerations to 6 ohm ratings or higher.
     
  20. No I’m going back to having tubes in my system so I have a new ModWright LS100 waiting till my amp comes in.
     
    Shawn likes this.
  21. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile

    Location:
    MI
    4 ohm speakers have no benefits. 6 ohm work well with 8 ohm. Speakers vary the resistance (impedance) all over the place anyways. If using 4 ohm, most SS amps perform well into 4 ohms, tube amps may not have a 4 ohm tap.
     
  22. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy "The greatest love of all is unconditional"

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    [​IMG]
    ........................:laughup:..................................
     
    SandAndGlass and Khorn like this.
  23. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    Low impedance speakers make SS amp work harder, generates more heat. A number of amps don't do so well with it. This is common knowledge guys.

    Not aware of any advantages of 4 ohm or lower impedance speakers.
     
  24. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy "The greatest love of all is unconditional"

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
  25. coolhandjjl

    coolhandjjl Embiggened Pompatus

    Location:
    Appleton
    Just because an amp generates more heat at 4 ohms isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It all depend on what the engineer designed it for.

    Would it wear out faster at 4 ohms? Again, it all depends on what the engineer had in mind.

    I have never heard of anyone’s amp wearing out prematurely because it was run within its rated load.

    Most loudspeakers have impedance spikes, rather than drops. But it is a moving value for certain. An engineer designing for 4 ohm loads will obviously plan for drops and will design enough overload capabilities to handle it. Maybe the cheapo brands do not, but I didn’t think we were talking about gear like that.
     

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