Frequently Asked Questions - Speakers

How are AMTC speakers different than those I can buy at Best Buy?
First, AMTC speakers, like most commercial-grade speakers, use completely different technology than consumer-grade speakers, with 70/100 volt input transformers. This allows speakers to be connected in "daisy-chain" fashion. Consumer-grade speakers must be wired directly to the amplifier, making installation much more difficult and expensive (copper speaker wire isn't cheap). Equally important, the 70/100 volt technology allows connection of many speakers, limited only by the output capacity of the amplifier. Second, AMTC speakers have a "multi-tap" feature, which allows you to set the wattage load for each speaker, allowing some speakers to play relatively louder or quieter than others, and allowing you to match the total speaker load to the rated output capacity of your amplifier. (88)
How do I decide which multi-tap setting to use?
The first consideration is ensuring that your total wattage load doesn't exceed the rated output capacity of your amplifier. If the total wattage load is too high, the multi-tap feature allows you reduce the setting on some or all speakers to eliminate the excessive load. Simply put, the higher the tap setting, the louder the speaker will be. In the typical business environment, music is played at a modest "background" level, which can be achieved using surprisingly little power, even just 1 or 2 watts per speaker. The multi-tap feature also allows you to tailor the relative volume of individual speakers. If your ideal sound level is achieved at a setting of 3 watts in an open area, this setting may result in an unbearably loud sound level from a speaker located in a small enclosed space (such as a bathroonm). By using a lower tap setting for that speaker, the ideal sound level can be achieved. The same result could be achieved using a volume control, but this adds cost. (89)
Certain AMTC outdoor speakers are advertised as "weatherproof", and others as "weather resistant". What do those terms mean?
AMTC will only designate a speaker as "weatherproof" if it achieves an IP55 rating. This rating means that the speaker is impervious to dust and to low pressure jets of water aimed directly at the speaker. We designate a speaker as "weather resistant" if it achieves an IP54 rating. This rating means that the speaker is impervious to dust and to water spray from all directions, but not to a low pressure water jet aimed directly at the speaker. All AMTC outdoor speakers are designed not only to keep working in outdoor environments, but to keep looking good as well. For example, our surface-mount weatherproof speakers use epoxy-coated aluminum grills. Many "outdoor" speakers use painted steel grills. The steel rusts under the paint, and in six months the speaker looks awful. (90)
What impact does speaker mounting height have?
Assuming consistent speaker output power, the greater the distance between a speaker and a point of reception (e.g., the ears of a listener), the lower the sound pressure level (“SPL”, or volume). Therefore, to achieve a desired SPL, the greater that distance, the more power is required. On the other hand, the greater that distance, the more broadly the sound is dispersed. Therefore, raising speaker height increases the area of coverage for that speaker. While mounting a speaker higher will require an increase in power, it will allow speakers to be spaced more widely, and therefore fewer speakers will be required to cover a given space with the desired SPL. (187)
How do I determine the proper gauge of speaker wire I should use?
Proper speaker wire sizing is dictated by the total speaker load (in watts) and the total distance of the wiring. The attached chart is useful for proper sizing.
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