I see a lot of "which is better" questions in the audio forums from most people listening to games or music. Some in audio creation, and others, well, for whatever else you can think of for your cans, intended purpose or not.
I get many questions about what setup I use at my house if my wedding DJ setup looks like it does, and that is almost always followed by "well,I use a pair of ______ out of a _______ with a ________ @40000000 watts! I bet I could be a DJ too!" I usually respond with the polite reply of "maybe" followed by "in your bedroom" in my head.
You see, the problem is not one born from stupidity, but from lack of knowledge. Now this is not a rant about Pro gear vs. audiophile gear. It is about selecting the right gear and how to know what to expect out of it.
Let's first dispel a myth or two,
1) if you want it louder, just add speakers!
While this is only partly a myth, it is a total myth when you look at it in terms of the amount of sound delivered to a certain area. Wattage is actually only a small part of volume, it is actually three parts, wattage, Ohm's, and sensitivity. The last being of utmost importance. Sensitivity measures in decibels, how loud a driver is when powered by 1 watt of power at 1 meter away. This measures the efficiency of the driver. In theory, a 1 watt speaker at 4" in diameter could rupture the planet with sound waves. Of course, that is Mathematically improbable, it is not beyond possibility. now,the part that is not a myth is area. if you are measuring the area affected by sound, more speakers will increase the coverage area. more on that later.
"brand here" speakers can handle 900.000.000 watts!
Um.....no, Manufactures do not actually lie as much as they cheat. They give numbers based on signal tests, These drivers will perform as promised IF you run them in the EXACT same way as the test was run. Further, they can cheat by extending the test parameters into the "pink" zone (20kHZ) where any driver can put off an insane amount of power. speaking of power, there are typically three types used by the major brands. RMS, program and peak
RMS (route means square) This is a very complex subject. So to stick with simplicity, we will simply say that it is the wattage (not volume) at which the driver was meant to operate on a continuous level.
program This is the amount of wattage the driver can take in low but sustained amounts.
peak This is the level at which clipping occurs most, it is a number that represents the maximum temporary spike in voltage the driver can handle before permanent, and often irreparable damage is done.
"UberCable will 'Transform' your listening experience!" nope...not a bit, not one little bit. they can stop it from sounding BAD at long cable runs. But that can be fixed by thicker cable. The ONLY thing a "premium" cable is good for is gutting your wallet for a product that has a chance of surviving a puppy attack of .000002. Even if it does not have to contend with pets or children, it must survive YOU. So durability is the name of the game in cables
most run-of-the mill PC speakers will give a very short spec list because they do not anticipate you using your giant magnavox speakers from 1992 on them. But even with these small systems, they adhere to the same principles of the big ones. If it runs at 25 watts RMS it is assumed that that 25 watts is under a certain load, often 2-4 OHMs and each audio channel can take that load or higher. Adding more speakers in a series will cut the ohms down and push more wattage. This sounds like it should equal a louder speaker. It does not, It simply takes away wattage from the other speakers and adds it to the new ones,
but what does all this mean in terms of "which sounds the best?" a lot has to do with the material the cone is made from and the box it is in. the size and height of your room also have a LOT to do with great sound. Does your room have a lot of echo? get rid of with with acoustic tiles, carpet or even blankets.
Get your speakers off the floor and not facing each other! "sound ally is created when two speakers share too much sonic room and it sounds awful. when speakers are on the floor, they do the opposite of sound ally and create what is called "dead zone" proper height should be about ear level. If you can wall-mount your speakers.
if you are hard core, get double or triple pane windows to isolate sound.
I hope this helps even just a bit for those new to speakers. If you have any questions, don't hesitate, I will answer what I can.