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how much difference does sensitivity make?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Yossarian, Nov 19, 2004.

  1. Yossarian


    Jun 24, 2004
    how different, in terms of volume, would a 97db and 103db sensitivity cab be? Assuming they're recieving the same wattage from the same amp and such. I was under the impression that sensitivity makes a huge difference, would that be a huge difference?
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
  3. For the 97 to 103db spread above, this means a difference in watts between a 250w and 1000w amp, to get the same loudness.

    What is more fuzzy, is the sensitivity is measured at 1 watt. In the real world (read: high volumes), power compression comes into play.

    The 103 cab might only be 103 SPL at 1w/1m, and less at high power, where the 97 SPL cab may not have power compression issues. In the end, YMMV, unless you always play at 1 watt.
  4. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Heck-yeah it does!

    Three Decibels is literally equal to doubling your amp power - I mean literally equal. 3dB more sensitivity is the same as doubling your wattage, and it's a logrithmic progression: 6dB is quadrupling; 9dB is the same as 8X...

    A speaker will suck up all the power you can deliver, but efficiency has to do with how efficiently the electrical power is converted into cone motion, and then coupled to the air as acoustic energy.

  5. notanaggie

    notanaggie Guest

    Sep 30, 2003
    Since that is a 6 dB difference, all things being equal, you would expect the 103 dB to be "about twice as loud" to your ear.

    2x power isn't twice as loud to the ear, but 4 x is.
  6. On the face of it, there's a huge difference. But, in the real world, other factors come into play. Bgavin mentioned power compression, which is certainly a factor at high volume. How the cabinet is voiced and how the sensitivity is measured also affect this. A cab with more midrange might sound louder than a more sensitive one with less midrange, for example.

    As a real world example of this I compared an Ampeg SVT 410HLF (98dB) with an Eden 410XLT (105dB). With the same amp (my SVT), same bass (MIA Jazz), same settings, the Ampeg cab sounded every bit as loud as the Eden.
  7. 6dB is somewhat less than a doubling of perceived level. 10dB is more like a doubling of volume.
  8. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    SPL ratings are crap.

    Reality - don't go by SPL ratings, go for tone.
  9. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    tone is a big thing to go for, but a difference of 6 dB is huge
    a great sounding rig isn't worth a dime if no one can hear it ;)