sensitivity in a nutshell

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by awa, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. awa


    Jul 18, 2004
    can anyone give me a brief explantion on driver sensitivity? how does it effect the input/output wattage and the audible volume?
  2. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    Sensitivity in general is expressed in dB, measured with 1W (into 8 ohm, or 2.83V), measured ata distance of 1 meter.

    All thing being equal (which they never are), a 90dB/1W/m cab driven by a 400W amp will offer the same output levels as a 93dB/1W/m cab driven by a 200W amp. Taken further, the same output would be offered by the following:

    96dB cab, 100W amp.
    99dB cab, 50W amp.
    102dB cab, 25W amp.
    105dB cab, 12.5W amp.

    Driver sensitivity is also greatly affected by the enclosure in which it is loaded.

    You can see why Schroeders and other sensitive cabs get some attention.
  3. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    this is a subject that never gets enough attention.
    now of course, some purists will remind you that sensitivity ratings on cabinets are generally done at 1 Khz (the usual rating is XdB @ 1 watt @ 1 meter @ 1 K), and 1 K isnt exactly the best frequency to measure bass guitar at.
    true enough. specs are specs, and there's no subsitute to actually listening to both units in a side by side comparison. Overall I've found most reputable manufacturers to be pretty accurate in their ratings, but cabinet voicing can play a major role in how you hear a particular cab.

    Case in point. I had 2 12" cabs with identical ratings at 100 dB. Cab a had more lows and more of a scooped sound. cab b had less lows but had strong midrange voicing. cab b sounded louder. to be fair, with some upper mid boost cab a came close, and really came into its own with a lot of watts, but using the two together always gave me the distinct impression that most of the sound at any given volume was coming from cabinet b.
  4. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    gawd, i love using the search function!!!!!!!

    i'm going through this issue right now......aggie and eden 112's! :D
  5. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    There is another side to this equation. Efficient cabs are louder. But generally speaking, they don't go as low as less efficient speakers of the same size.

    This is where cab design gets interesting - finding the right balance to get a cab that's low enough and loud enough.