Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Central Florida
Re: Pairing Amps with Speakers
I'd say, first and foremost, keep your budget at the front of the list. When buying speakers and amps and all that good stuff, it is easy, very easy to get overboard, like a kid at a candystore.
So with that in mind, stick to manufactures that specialize in certain items. For example, JBL makes great loudspeakers, but their amps aren't as high of quality. QSC Audio has been making amps for a long time, so their amps are their best items, not their loudspeakers. Ect, ect, ect.
As far as speakers are concerned, there are different type of speakers and what ranges of sound they produce, and it all depends on what you're looking to accomplish. If you want boomy, bassy sound, go for larger speakers; if you want crispier sound, go for smaller speakers. I found that as far as quality is concerned, the more "-Way"'s the speaker (2-way, 3-way, 4-way, ect.) the better the sound. So you might what to have a pair of 6 1/2" 3-way speakers running between 150 and 300 RMS for your higher mids and high frequencies, a pair of 10" subs running at 250 RMS for mids, and a pair of 15-or-18" subs at 400-600 RMS for your rubbling, earthshaking bass.
Then for your amps, try to keep your amp power/channel rating over what the speaker can produce. For example, a 100 watt speaker should be pair with a 150 watt/channel amp. Reason being, you can always turn the volume on the amp down, it doesn't have to be 150 watts. This is VERY helpful in the case of the amp getting too hot and overheating or blowing out. A lot of the new amps have cooling features built in, but even with this, power is power, they still get hot. Think of it as maxing out your credit card, you don't want to do that, same way as you don't want to max out the power of your amp, especially over long periods of time. You technically can, because they are rated for that amount of power, but on the safe and logical side, its best not to.
On a side note, when investing money into a system, you want to make sure you are getting everything you need. That includes power conditioning, surge protection, speaker wire, subwoofer wire, protection plans for the speakers and amps from wherever you by them (if they offer it, it is well worth it. if something goes wrong, service becomes expensive and very quickly). So there's all these other 'side' things to consider, unless you already have wires and surge protection and power conditioning.
That brings us to the first thought on the list, BUDGET! Bottom line, its going to take some research and some messing around with different combinations (this is where that math class came in handy in highschool :-D), before you figure out possible systems to meet your needs.
All you need to do is grab some paper and a calculator, make a list of what you want/need, and punch numbers until a system grabs your attention and is within your price range.