How much amplifier power can our Skiff and Kayak speakers handle?

Submitted by on

A customer recently asked this question and noted that we do not publish power handling statistics on our website. I am publishing my response since it is a question that comes up quite often. We do not publish this information because it is basically irrelevant and misleading and often interpreted to mean small speakers cannot be played with powerful amplifiers.

While it may be relevant for PA systems, in my opinion, it is not relevant to high-end audio. I know of customers who are using anywhere from 5 to 500 watts to drive these speakers and we have not had a single Skiff or Kayak returned for repairs in the last two years. In fact I don't think we have ever had an instance of outright failure of the woofer in the Kayak.

Our dealer in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, relates how he inadvertently started playing the Sampan speaker (the driver is rated at 30 watts) with a 350 watt amplifier turned up to maximum and had time to walk across the room and turn down the system without any damage to the speakers.

Though it might sound like heresy, you will get some of the best performance from small speakers driving them with a powerful, high quality amp with high dampening factor because a powerful amp will reduce distortion in the small speaker and allow them to play to at their maximum level before distortion sets in. I personally use an amp that outputs 500 watts per channel into 4 ohms to drive both the Skiffs and Kayaks in our listening room. Even with this powerful amplifier, the speakers are seeing a small fraction of its output power most of the time and that changes dynamically with the type of music being played and the dynamic contrasts in the music.

The driver in the Skiff is rated at 25 watts power and the one in the Kayak at 60 watts power but that is further moderated by filtering circuits in the speakers. The caveat with any system is to start playing at moderate volume and reduce volume when distortion sets in. So in short, it is not an issue we worry about, and publishing and stats about it would be misleading... I might add that some dealers and customers tend not to take very small loudspeakers seriously and only want to pair the cute little speaker with the cute little amplifier. That's OK if space limitation and budget are major concerns. However, a small speaker, like any speaker, can benefit from being pared with a high quality, high powered amplifier. Although our loudspeakers are designed to play well with just about any amplifier.

I sometimes worry that customers will not realize how fantastic our small loudspeakers are when paired with great electronics. Our Skiff and Kayak speakers are two of the very best small loudspeakers -- good enough to be the basis of very sophisticated music systems. If you only play them with the cute little amplifier, you may not hear how great they are. ER