Pay Attention to Wattage, Ohms in Home Theater Speakers

Pay Attention to Wattage, Ohms in Home Theater Speakers

Taryn Williford
May 19, 2011

Without "audiophile" listed in my credentials, I seriously have no idea how to pick out a set of good speakers. Luckily for me (and the rest of you out there who don't know your aux from your elbow), there's bits of advice like this one: Pay attention to watts and ohms when you're shopping for home theater speakers.

This Old House has a great article about setting up a home theater. While it's full of advice that the common techie knows about a home theater—like choosing sound-absorbing surfaces and placing your TV at the optimal viewing distance—it had a few lesser-known (to me, anyways) audiophile tips.

If you're in the market for home theater speakers, make sure you look out for wattage along with those confusing configuration numbers:

Wattage is a good indicator of how loud a speaker can play without distortion, but watts enough to power a Who concert will be wasted in an 8-by-12 room. Instead, choose speakers that are closely matched to your receiver's watts-per-channel rating. That ensures that the speakers won't be fried by the movie's bang-up climax.

Another thing that's important to check? Ohms:

Although some speakers are available in 4- and 6-ohm designs, stick with standard 8-ohm units. The lower the ohm rating, the more electricity needed to generate the same volume, which can cause the receiver to overheat.

Both tips offer great advice. The bottom line is to choose speakers with specs that match the gear already in your home theater. Don't be swayed by big numbers and flashy descriptions.

via This Old House

(Images: Flickr member favaro JR. licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Rog42 licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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