Damping factor or watts?

Hi all,

Which is more important? High damping factor or high wattage? I was reading about how a high damping factor would be better in controlling the excursions of the speaker drivers but to have a amp with high wattage and damping factor would be astronomically expensive.

So in our imperfect world, which is more important? It seems like the amps with a high damping factor are mainly Class D or ICEpower amps (are they both the same?).

My speaker is a Magnepan MMG and is currently partnered to a pair of Denon POA-6600A monoblocks that are 260W/ 8 ohms. I have read some Audiogon citizens driving their Maggies with amps that have high damping factor to excellent results. Wondering if that should be the direction to go....

Your advise would be greatly appreciated!

It's interesting how those three different URLs came out with the same "wikipedia" addy in the post! Hlgoh- The main point is: Don't be confused by peoples' opinions. Most only have those and not much in the way of truth. Do the research, and make decisions based on facts. If you want truth in your music reproduction: Listen to/get familiar with a lot of live music(amplified AND acoustic), and base the judgement of your system's reproduction on that. Enjoy your listening!!!
The idea of damping factor having an effect on the sound of a speaker is mostly myth. However, it is a bit tricky seperating myth from reality. Here's what is really going on:

Almost any amplifier driving a speaker will have an output impedance that is lower than the speaker, but the important thing to understand is that the speaker is reproducing signals from the amp. As the output impedance of the amplifier approaches the impedance of the speaker, the distortion of the amplifier rises. It is this increase in distortion that accounts for the muddy sound that results- the so-called 'loss of control'. IOW the amplifier does not 'loose control', it simply distorts more.

To really understand why this is so, you have to understand the fundamental operating principle of the speaker itself. When the amplifier puts power through the voice coil, the result is that the diaphragm is deflected. The deflection is related to the power that the amplifier is making at that instant. As the amplifier makes more and less power, both positive and negative, the speaker diaphragm follows the waveform of power presented to its voice coil.

IOW the diaphragm is powered **all the way** through the amplified waveform. There is no place at all where the amplifier 'lets go' of the speaker. In understanding of this fact is also the understanding of why 'damping factor' is one of the more misunderstood myths of audio.
Atmasphere- The URLs that I mentioned above contain sites and papers written by engineers in the fields of audio and electronics. Are we to believe that their understanding of damping factor as it relates to speaker control is wrong,and you are right?
Atmasphere- I'm re-reading your posts in these forums and trying to get a handle on your resistance to the idea of damping factor and speaker control. In another thread you advised the poster to avoid his "very long" speaker wires because his system would be negatively affected. What is your understanding of the effect that long cable would have if not raising the impedance of the amp/speaker interface, thereby lower the damping factor? Perhaps our semantics disagree?
These comments from recent audio shows are about rooms that used an amplifier having a damping factor of about 1.2 (that's "one point two"):

"Bass was excellent. I think I was told [the speakers] went down only to the mid 30s (I could be wrong) - sounded lower than that." - Paul Folbrecht on AudioCircle, RMAF '06

"The bass was powerful and tight while the overall presentation was wall to wall and incredibly precise." - Josh Ray, Sonic Flare RMAF '07 coverage

"Of all the rooms at the show, big or small, this room... [was] the finest thing I heard." - Thomas Portney, reader comment on Stereophile RMAF '07 blog