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Speaker impedence: 8 ohm vs 16 ohm

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  • Speaker impedence: 8 ohm vs 16 ohm

    Hypothetical:

    I have an amp that can output in 4, 8, or 16 ohms and I want to get a single speaker cab... assuming all else equal, does it really make any difference if I buy the 8 ohm or 16 ohm version of the speaker?

    I assume there wouldn't be any real difference, but I'm no expert so I was hoping someone here would know...
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  • #2
    I notice a difference in sound when going from 16 to 4 ohms on the same cab. I've heard that this is because of how transformers work.
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    • #3
      Typically, the higher impedance speaker will be quieter (for a given master volume setting) but a little tighter in sound. It will also draw less current for a given power output, so you run less risk of blowing up your power stage with a higher impedance speaker.
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      <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>Flagg Audio</strong>
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      • #4
        Typically, the higher impedance speaker will be quieter (for a given master volume setting) but a little tighter in sound. It will also draw less current for a given power output, so you run less risk of blowing up your power stage with a higher impedance speaker.


        Cool, thanks.
        <blockquote><hr><strong>weebz wrote:</strong><br><br>God appeared to me in a dream and said &quot;Thou shalt post on Guitar Jam&quot; <img border="0" title="Embarrassment" alt="" src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/redface.gif"></blockquote>

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        • #5
          if you get something 4 ohms you wouldn't have the option of adding a second cab without some creative wiring so your best bet is probably 8 or 16.

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          • #6
            Typically, the higher impedance speaker will be quieter (for a given master volume setting) but a little tighter in sound. It will also draw less current for a given power output, so you run less risk of blowing up your power stage with a higher impedance speaker.


            Wrong answers, they're what's for dinner.
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            <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>newholland</strong>
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            <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>mseriously30</strong>
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            • #7
              Yes there is differences.......... Your amp will work harder with a 16ohm speaker to get to the same volume of a 8ohm speaker. You may or may not like how this effects your tone. Basically with more resistance you get to push your amp a bit more and get those tubes glowing. This will give you a hotter and more pushed sound. So with a 16 ohm speaker you would have to turn the master volume of your amp up louder than you would with a 8ohm speaker. Depending on how loud you play, this may or may not work the best for you. Think of it somewhat like a hotplate, attenuator.
              <div class="signaturecontainer">Amps:<br />
              - EVH 5150 III, Mark IV, Triple Recto Rev F<br />
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              • #8
                Yes there is differences.......... Your amp will work harder with a 16ohm speaker to get to the same volume of a 8ohm speaker. You may or may not like how this effects your tone. Basically with more resistance you get to push your amp a bit more and get those tubes glowing. This will give you a hotter and more pushed sound. So with a 16 ohm speaker you would have to turn the master volume of your amp up louder than you would with a 8ohm speaker. Depending on how loud you play, this may or may not work the best for you. Think of it somewhat like a hotplate, attenuator.


                If you're talking about a tube amp, you're 100% wrong, provided that the OT secondary is matched to the speaker impedence. It's nothing like an attenuator.
                <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1"><br />
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                <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>newholland</strong>
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                <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>mseriously30</strong>
                <a href="showthread.php?p=29576752#post29576752" rel="nofollow"><img class="inlineimg" src="images/buttons/viewpost-right.png" alt="View Post" /></a>
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                <div class="message">I think some people have the &quot;suck&quot; knob on full bore.</div>

                </div>
                </div>
                </div> Mah ampbuild thread: <a href="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?p=39421848#post39421848" target="_blank">http://acapella.harmony-central.com/...8#post39421848</a></div>

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                • #9
                  If you're talking about a tube amp, you're 100% wrong, provided that the OT secondary is matched to the speaker impedence. It's nothing like an attenuator.




                  This is theoreticaly speaking..... It is like an attenuator because you get to turn your master volume up higher and not get as much volume out of a 16 ohm speaker compared to a 8ohm speaker. So you are driving your amp more than you would be with the 8ohm. The higher resistance speaker is kind of like the effect of an attenuator.
                  <div class="signaturecontainer">Amps:<br />
                  - EVH 5150 III, Mark IV, Triple Recto Rev F<br />
                  <br />
                  Cabs:<br />
                  - Mesa, Splawn<br />
                  <br />
                  Band:<br />
                  <br />
                  <a href="http://www.myspace.com/arcofdescent" target="_blank">www.myspace.com/arcofdescent</a><br />
                  <br />
                  Speakers I have owned: <br />
                  <br />
                  Almost every Celestion, Eminence and Warehouse speaker made !</div>

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                  • #10
                    lower impedance speakers tend to be more sensitive. Just go to the eminence speaker site and compare.
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                    • #11
                      This is theoreticaly speaking..... It is like an attenuator because you get to turn your master volume up higher and not get as much volume out of a 16 ohm speaker compared to a 8ohm speaker. So you are driving your amp more than you would be with the 8ohm. The higher resistance speaker is kind of like the effect of an attenuator.


                      Incorrect. You're talking sensitivity ratings, not ohmage.


                      In theory, a 16 ohm speaker will sound mildly different because of a different voice coil. Typically more mellow in the upper mids area.


                      A 16 ohm speaker pushed by 100 watts will be as loud (barring variables, of course) as an 8 ohm speaker. You won't get any more saturation out of the output tubes.

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                      • #12
                        Incorrect. You're talking sensitivity ratings, not ohmage.


                        In theory, a 16 ohm speaker will sound mildly different because of a different voice coil. Typically more mellow in the upper mids area.


                        A 16 ohm speaker pushed by 100 watts will be as loud (barring variables, of course) as an 8 ohm speaker. You won't get any more saturation out of the output tubes.


                        You arent getting the fact that with a 16ohm speaker you have to turn the master volume of your amp up higher to get to the same audible level of a 8ohm speaker.
                        <div class="signaturecontainer">Amps:<br />
                        - EVH 5150 III, Mark IV, Triple Recto Rev F<br />
                        <br />
                        Cabs:<br />
                        - Mesa, Splawn<br />
                        <br />
                        Band:<br />
                        <br />
                        <a href="http://www.myspace.com/arcofdescent" target="_blank">www.myspace.com/arcofdescent</a><br />
                        <br />
                        Speakers I have owned: <br />
                        <br />
                        Almost every Celestion, Eminence and Warehouse speaker made !</div>

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                        • #13
                          You arent getting the fact that with a 16ohm speaker you have to turn the master volume of your amp up higher to get to the same audible level of a 8ohm speaker.


                          Sigh. That's because tube amps don't work that way. A tube amp that allows you to select the impedance will put out the same power whatever the load.

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                          • #14
                            You arent getting the fact that with a 16ohm speaker you have to turn the master volume of your amp up higher to get to the same audible level of a 8ohm speaker.


                            This is true, and in that fact lies one of the biggest tonal differences I hear between different Ohm settings..

                            The transformer is reacting differently to the speaker load and you can hear and feel the difference..

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                            • #15
                              in regards to tube amps, Weathered and GCDEF are correct and everyone who says there will be a volume difference is wrong.

                              On tube amps, if the amp's secondary impedance is correctly matched with the load, there is no difference in output or volume between driving a 8-ohm load with an 8-ohm tap and a comparable 16-ohm load with the 16-ohm tap. That's WHAT the output transformer is for, adjusting the impedance from tube side (primary) to speaker side (secondary).

                              There is a tonal difference involved with multi-tap transformers. As you switch the secondary impedance tap from, say 4 ohms to 8 ohms to 16 ohms, the tone gets warmer, and vice-versa.

                              But that is only multi-tap transformers. A transformer manufacturer could very well make two single tap transformers, both with matching primary impedances, but wind one for a 4 ohm secondary and one for a 16 ohm secondary and have them perform exactly the same driving their respective loads.

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