Is more amp power always better...?


Asking advice on what power Amp/int amp I should buy for my room size...

I have a small listening room.  11' x 10'. I have 89db speaker sensitivity  I am going to buy a solid state amp.   

For best audio quality (ignoring all other factors), my question is:  

Do folks advise "Buy as much watts per channel as you can afford"?  -OR- "Buy enough watts for the room" as more watts in reserve do not mean better quality audio?

Put another way: are more watts in reserve better for audio quality, even if amp does not use this power?  

Thank you...hope this was clear.  


I have a Hegel h160 but was looking to downsize. Found a Keces e40 and for its size, price and power, I don’t think there’s anything that can outright beat it for its SQ within its power limits.

I have had less expensive higher powered gear in comparison to it and it beats them in SQ. Close enough to the Hegel at the SPLs I listen at on my dacs, speakers and room at a fraction of the cost...and size.

Want smaller and lighter and I am getting it. Someday, I would like to try a van Alstine Set 120 though, among a few others amps, speakers and dacs but no interest any longer in spending on high dollar items say over $3K and above.

The Keces drives my Opticon 1 speakers without issue but would be wary of floorstanders of low impedance or speakers that drop well below 4 ohms, or if you need high SPLs, otherwise its fine and can compete with much more expensive gear. Getting marginally more power and/or performance will cost up to double the price, or more.

The Keces works well with all my other speakers too.  The hegel grabs the little opicons so much the bass doesn't come thru as well, just too much for that little woofer.



The SET folks say that the first watt is the most important. Some of them get by with 5 and I’ve heard even less. 

In other words, quality over quantity but you need enough to drive your inefficient speakers. 

Definitely not always.  We also can't really say this is true about having more damping factor. 

The amp/speaker match up is important as is the quality of the first few watts of power.   There are definitely speakers with troublesome impedance curves that like big amps with low output impedance, but also large speakers with big woofers that can benefit from high output impedance.  See Nelson Pass's writing for the latter.

So the ASR Emitter 1 might be a good option. I own the ASR Emitter 2 Exclusive and they sound great with a pair of Quad 2905’s. Quad 2912’s would be the same. I have to share with you however my experience when I matched the ASR with a pair of Monitor Audio GS 10 bookshelf speakers. The amp was just too much for the bookshelves. It sounded like a Tasmanian Devil was trying to break out of the cabinets. When I bought the Monitor Audio’s I was told that it was impossible to blow them up but I blew both a woofer and tweeter. I then paired the Monitor Audio’s with a Rega amplifier and they were fine.

The numerical value given for damping factor is 8 divided by the output impedance of the amp—the lower the impedance, the higher the damping factor.  A typical SET amp can have an output impedance of 2 ohms or more, for a damping factor of 4 or less.  This relatively high output impedance interacts with the impedance of the speaker, which varies with frequency, and thereby affects the frequency response of the speaker (the lower the speaker impedance, the greater the change in frequency response.  Thus, SET and other tube amps with high output impedances are best used with speakers with a rated impedance of 8 ohms or more, and with an actual impedance curve that is relatively flat.  Any damping factor above 8 is probably high enough to be irrelevant.