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Ultra High Efficiency Speakers That Won't Break the Bank?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hey Guys,

Since there is now a slew of quality 1WPC/2WPC headphone amps (RKV Mark II/III, MicroZOTL & Twinhead) I was wondering if anyone out there knew if there were any decent but reasonably priced loudspeakers which are sensitive enough to be driven by only 1-2W of power?
post #2 of 13

High efficiency speakers

The headphone amplifiers you listed would not make good amplifiers for speakers because the impedance of the output stage needs to be matched to that of the speakers for maximum efficiency.

There are a number of single ended triode (SET) tube amplifiers on the market that are designed to drive high efficiency loudspeakers. Think Cary Audio, Antique Sound Labs, and others.

The really high efficiency loudspeakers (>99 db/1watt/1meter) are always horn-loaded designs and are large and expensive.

Avantgarde: http://www.avantgarde-usa.com/

Some companies offering medium-high efficiency (>95db)speakers to check out would include:

Moth Audio: http://www.mothaudio.com/

The Horn Shoppe: http://www.thehornshoppe.com/

If you are willing to buy used, the classic Klipsch loudspeakers such as the Klipschhorn, Cornwall, Belle Klipsch are all large horn loaded speakers that offer efficieny of between (100 and 104db). These show up used on eBay, but shipping costs can be prohibitive unless you can pick them up locally.

A slightly smaller yet still reasonably efficient (96db) Klipsch speaker would be the Heresy or Heresy II. These show up used on eBay frequently and sell there for $400-500 USD.

Good luck in your search for the perfect, low cost, high-efficiency loudspeaker. Please let us know what you ultimately decide to do.
post #3 of 13
FYI... the RKV has an optional tweak called "the impedancer" that will let it drive 4, 8, and 32 ohm speaker loads.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Are there any bookshelf ultra efficients? I'm just looking for something that fits on my desk, or by nature, are all horn designs floor standing?

Also, Nick you'd know the answer to this, are there any decent/cheap pre-made Lowthers?

Some interesting links:
post #5 of 13
Moth Cicada speakers
Black wrinkle finish

Buy them here : http://www.mothaudio.com/garage.htm

more details here : http://www.mothaudio.com/speaker2.html
post #6 of 13
For the biggest response you might want to try posting your question over at the full-range driver forum:


Be sure you tell them how much you're willing to spend, the biggest acceptable cabinet size and if you're willing to DIY. Putting a Lowther in a small cabinet is a waste of money as they were designed to be horn loaded. Good luck.
post #7 of 13
You could try the Triangle Titus.
post #8 of 13

I second the Moth Cicadas. At 94db they are quite efficient. They use a Lowther-like driver that sounds pretty good but you'll still need a sub for the lowest frequencies. At $350 per speaker, they are among the cheapest, best looking fullrange speakers that still sound good.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Yeah the Cicadas are a bit of a steal especially the used pair @ $549 USD. Unfortunately, I'm in Australia though so I'll have to keep on looking.

I'm not really into DIY loudspeakers (I can't even DIY amps that well.) I saw a company called Beauhorn but they don't list prices... Their speakers are however tantalising to say the least.
post #10 of 13

...high efficiency speakers are always very large speakers – if they reproduce some appreciable bass at all. And the question is: is it worth to focus on a weak, but fine and audiophile amplifier and therefore to accept a crude, resonance-inherent and poorly balanced high-efficiency transducer?

post #11 of 13
Most certainly.

evilcthul: http://www.scientificdesign.com.au
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip Nick! But from what i've seen it kind of overshoots my budget and I don't think they offer pre-made loudspeakers. In any case, I've emailed them.

The cheapest cone is $1230 AUD which is the equivalent of about $615USD and for that amount I could buy a Cicada or something else if I was in the US.

Are there any speakers with much over 100dB efficiency? I think for use with a head-amp I'm gonna need it as efficient as possible.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

How the heck do you keep going on the Oris project!? No offence but I emailed the AU distributor for the DIY kit and he said that the pre-made version is selling here for:

"The top of the range Oris 150 is $12,500 complete."

That's $6250 USD... Insane! I.e. Enough to probably just get you an EAR HP4, Sony MDR-10 and Stax Omega if you found them used/at the right price.
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