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anm 05-10-2008 02:43 PM

How to match AVR to to speaker wattage? Pls help choose speakers.
Same old newbie question. How to enter into the world of great home audio? But I think answer to this same question changes with time and space. This is 2nd quarter of 2008, and I am located in Delhi, India. I am sure people here have faced similar confusions and have moved forward in their unique ways.

How to decide what should be the amp power of an AVR (or a separate AMP) when using a certain set of speakers? (have listed more questions later in this post)
I came across this metrics at This doesn’t talk in terms of wattage of the speakers. I wonder how to link wattage of speakers to the wattage of an AMP/ AVR.

Guideline for Minimum Receiver Power Amplification
(minimum recommended power, in Watts per channel) (v1.0)
Loudspeaker Sensitivity
[dB] Room Size
Small Medium Large
85 96 128 192
86 76 101 152
87 60 81 121
88 48 64 96
89 38 51 76
90 30 40 61
91 24 32 48
92 19 25 38

I intend to use it in my ground floor living room, that is divided (visually mostly – no physical partition) into two section. Seating area is 14ft deep x 19 ft wide, and the rest extends into a dining area, stair case etc that measures another 14ft deep x 19 ft wide. I plan to put all 5.1 or 7.1 inside the seating area only. Roof dips by about 1ft when you move from seating area to dining area – so I can use this dip to mount rear speakers at an angle pointing towards the seat. Seating area faces a 19ft wide into 10 ft high solid wall – that I intend to use for mounting a large TV AND also for projecting from a projector – need to figure out how to setup both a TV and a projection.

I am trying to decide from the following combinations (5.1 is what I aim at right now, will add 2 more surrounds when there is more money available)
Option 1 – JBL Studio L series – two L890 towers, two L810 for surround sound, 1 LC2 center, and one subwoofer – say L8400P. In this series, there is no other subwoofer. I think it might be better to add two subs with half the power than a large highly powered sub.

Option 2 – JBL Studio L series replacing the towers by L820 – as I am quite concerned about the placement issues and securing people from falling towers.

Option 3 – JBL E series pair of E100 towers or save some money and buy E90, or E80 towers (towers are so macho and I am sure they have better sound too), EC35 for center and either E30 oe E10 for surround.

Option 4 – minus the towers and use some better wall mountable front speakers – like L820. There doesn’t seem to be a good option in the E series. L820 looks a fairly good option for front speakers.

Option 5 – There seems to be a similar ES series now – which looks midway between L and E.

I am ok with other cheaper options, but I am not much aware of the brands, and their availability here in Delhi, India.
Need help in choosing a decent set of speakers, keeping the cost in mind. I would not be able to purchase everything in one go but will have to build it brick by brick over several months.

I am looking at a good sounding but an inexpensive AVR to start with and later upgrade to higher power, higher features. Once the HDMI repeaters are available at decent cost, and maybe get my hands on good amp somewhere down the line.

Summarizing my queries
1. Given the rooms size, which set of speakers shall I choose? What could be the issue (except sales/ marketing) if I mix and match between these different series?
2. Are two subs of 300W each better than 1 sub of 600W?
3. How should I go about building the speaker system brick by brick? Someone suggested me to buy towers + very good subwoofer first, and then add surround speakers later. But this needs a lot of money upfront. Another option I think is buy smaller subwoofer like 12” ES250P + center + two surrounds first, and use surrounds as front speakers. Later add towers, or more powerful bookshelves like L820 to front, move the smaller ones to back to make a 5.1. And add another small subwoofer later. And 2 more smaller ones to complete 7.1 or 7.2 speaker system.
4. How to match an AVR/ AMP with these sets of speakers. What should be the min/ max power of the AMP? Would a 40W per channel receiver be able to drive them? I was looking at AVR 132(30 Watts per channel) and AVR 137 (can’t find any details on internet but saw in a brochure) for now. Just to have a view of how expensive things are here in India (not to mention outdated) – have a look at

5. How should I upgrade in future in the department of AVR? Should I buy the cheapest 5.1/ 7.1 now, and add just more amp power later? But then, what about audio/ video encodings and connectivity of the future – like True HD and audio over HDMI 1.3a etc? I think the cheap ones do not come with audio over HDMI, video upconversion etc.

6. I assume I will have to upgrade the AVR for the above reasons. In that case, can I put this cheaper AVR to any use? One use that comes to my mind is using it as a plain amp. From new advanced AVR, I take 2 fronts out pre-amp and feed them to this old AVR. The old AVR drives two front speakers only with max possible power – while use the AMP of new AVR for driving rest of the surrounds? Will that work? Can it introduce delays, or any other spoiling effects to the sound quality? Will these old ones process the signals further?

7. Most of the amps I see are two channels. Does it mean I can use them only to power my front speakers and use the AVR to power rest?

8. What is clipping and how could I possibly cause clipping? Would it damage my speakers? Or would it damage the AVR/ AMP? Or both?

thanks and regards

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