Impedance, Sensitivity, Phase Angles and Watts?
There are certain questions that we are often asked, and to answer these questions we need to discuss certain fundamental characteristics of loudspeakers, namely Phase, Sensitivity, Phase Angle and Watts. Let’s start with Impedance. For many years many customers have asked us about the impedance of our speakers and their importance. The reason for these questions, and justifiably so, is that they are concerned whether the wrong impedance could damage their amplifier. Many amplifier manufacturers stipulate that their speakers should not be used with a speaker of certain impedance (they may do this to protect themselves more than anything else). Generally most loudspeakers use Mid-Bass drivers that are rated at 8 Ohm and when used with an 8 Ohm Tweeter, the speaker would nominally be rated at 8 Ohm. However if the speaker is a floor standing model, it would likely use two Mid-Bass drivers wired in parallel and now nominally 4 Ohm. Also, if the drivers were connected in series, the speakers would be rated at 16 Ohm, but this a rare thing to do.
What makes a good loudspeaker?
A good loudspeaker creates the illusion of being at a musical performance and lets you hear the emotional message that the performer has woven into the music. At first this might seem to be the wrong answer, particularly if you are of a technical bent. Some designers might say, "The magnitude and phase should be so and so." or "The cumulative spectral decay must exhibit x dB of clean decay in the first y milliseconds". For Orpheus, there are a myriad of measurements and assessments which must be performed before the loudspeaker is approved for shipping. Above and beyond all the measurements, the final decision on each pair of speakers is always made after intense listening sessions.
Which amplifier should I use? Which cable? These are very hard to answer since each reputable high end manufacturer produces products with merit. I wish there was an amplifier with the swinging rhythm of the Naim amplifiers, the silky midrange of the Audio Research, the bass authority and control of a Krell and the overall "rightness" of Mark Levinson but there is no such thing. You must listen to as many different amplifiers as you can and take notes in a little notebook as you listen. Eventually you will reach some conclusion that both your head and your heart will agree to. The one thing you can be sure of is that whichever amplifier you use you will hear everything they are capable of through an Orpheus speaker.
How should I place my loudspeakers in my listening space?
The placement of loudspeakers is very important. In one recent Audio Engineering Society study the placement of loudspeakers in a listening room has as much influence on listener preference as the speakers themselves. The room influences sound in two main ways: it changes the low frequency performance and it modifies the spatial aspects of playback. The low frequency performance is the easiest to deal with. Software packages are available to let you come to a quick set of positions to try with the proviso that the room must be reasonably normal in proportions and in terms of the distribution of absorbing surfaces.
Are Orpheus loudpeakers compatible with home theatre/home cinema? The goal of cinema sound, is to help you suspend belief and feel that you are actually there with the actors on the screen. This is the same goal to which the high end of audio aspires to. A very good music reproduction speaker will make a very good cinema speaker. You should feel confident in using any of our speakers for home cinema. You will be astonished how good movies and even television shows sound through a pair of Orpheus loudspeakers