How to: Receivers and amplifiers

To give you the best balance of power and performance, select an amplifier or receiver that delivers continuous watts (many times erroneously referred to as “RMS”) in accordance with the speaker’s rating.

For example, a Klipsch RF-83 floorstanding speaker is rated at 250 watts. So, any amplifier that delivers 250w/channel would be a good match. Don’t be misled, by the way; although a speaker’s peak power rating can be much higher—in the RF-83 example, it’s a whopping 1000 watts—remember that peak power means exactly that…a momentary exposure. Trying to make any speaker perform for more than an instant at peak is to invite disaster!

The right amplifier, one that has its power well matched to the speakers, will also eliminate the need to overdrive components, which can induce clipping, which at best distorts the signal and at worst can cause serious damage. Believe it or not, underpowering speakers carries as much danger as too much power.

Horn-driven speakers, such as Klipsch, are much more efficient than their direct radiating counterparts, and require less power to create great sound. Just be sure to keep the receiver’s output closely matched to speaker specifications to ensure years of trouble-free performance.