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My grandfather gave me his 2 vintage Sansui - SP-200 speakers. I have a 195 watt super old JVC amp I had been running them of off. The speakers are 40 watts (it says on back "Max 40 watts") and I want to know how far I can push them. I like their sound but I would like to listen too them louder, but I'm afraid to break them.

There are 2 of them hooked up to the amp, and there are 10 tics on the volume knob. How far should I turn it up?

Thanks guys!

  • Your answer has been voted for closing. I think this question is in principle ok for this site, but only by ways of being applicable for professional audio. It would thus be a good idea to phrase it a bit more generally. – leftaroundabout Mar 17 '16 at 0:41
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The crucial thing to know is the impedance rating of both the speakers and the amp. The speakers apparently have 8 Ω. If the amp were rated for 195 W at 8 Ω, then it would – as might be expected – only be safe to turn it up to 20 %. (On a decent logarithmic volume pot, this would actually be something like 11 o'clock; no idea how those 10 ticks on your amp are graded).

Likely though, the amp is rated at a lower impedance – typical are 4 Ω or 2 Ω. That's no problem, but it means the amp will actually never be able to attain its full output power if you connect a 8 Ω speaker: at its maximum peak voltage, the current will only be half or ¼ of the maximum it could supply. So if the amp is 4 Ω, then 40% volume are save, if it's 2 Ω, 80% are safe.

Again, I can't tell you which setting of the volume control this corresponds to. This control is only meaningful with respect to a perfectly levelled input signal anyway.

40 W is certainly enough to create quite some noise, so if at the moment you find it too quiet then it's probably safe to turn it up further. No guarantees though, I can't know how loud you like it!


It would be a problem to operate a 2 Ω speaker on a 4 Ω rated amp though: it would damage (or, with decent modern models, shutdown) the amp.

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