Is too much power in an amp really a problem?

As recently as 8-10 yrs. ago, I maintained my card carrying residence in the ‘lots o’ watts’ camp’ regularly. I’ve since held only a casual attendance to that group, and since departed with the acquisition of higher eff speakers, and lower powered tube amps.

Now I’m debating the future and appropriateness, of that perception and considering another SS, or a non tube amp. This time a digital amp… such as a class D or ICE configuration… as in a Bel Canto, PS Audio, Spectron, Wyred 4 S, etc., to use for both music and HT with my current Silverline speakers.

Several of these amps profess IMO rather high ratings for output power. 250, 300, and 500 wpc into 8 ohms, as your ‘oh by the way’ choices, and then doubling up should the impedance drop off to 4 ohms!

1000 wats per!

E frekin' Gad!

Truth be told, I’ve never put together a high eff speaker & high powered amp combo, nor felt the need, so I’m in a whole new ball game now, or am I?

I understand immense power reservoirs on tap, (like with my former BAT vk500) is a good thing, as well as are other attributes like a good input impedance, and control or damping figures. that amp ran VR4 JRs though, and both have since departed la casa Sunburn.

Additionally, my current tube mono blocks (120wpc) handle my 93db Sonata IIIs quite well IMO. My Odyssey Stratos SE also does a good enough job too rated at about 160 wpc. Between the two amps, the Dodds are the better sounding, and appear to have better control and more ease with the Silverliness.

In making a choice on one of these Digital or ICE amps, should the power numbers be regarded as something other than what they are? I mean more likely, do 250 wpc into 8 ohm rated ICE amps provide likewise results or the same feel, of an SS amp having the same output? Ie., control, power reserves, etc?

I do feel a good match between the speakers and amp is a prime consideration now, and do not wish to buy far too much or too little an amp, given these thoughts.

There too is the thought of the amps actual 'voice' itself to consider.

I sure wouldn’t want to smoke the speaks with too little or too much power on tap. Or have the amp ()s) always loafing. Or is that loafing bit just nonsense?

Any experiences and insights here on the digi power front is more than appreciated as I'm trying to get a 'feel' for this 'new to me' amp topology and not over or under buy.

Thanks much.
If the amp sounds good to your ears, there is only one potential problem. You have to keep drunk/impaired friends away from the volume control.

I lost a good pair of Jamo's that way. And the amp was only 75 watts into 8 ohms.

Currently my Emerald Physics are by-amped with 250 amps going to the bottom end (really 500 being seen by the 4 ohm woofers), and 125 amps going to the top. ICE powered, and the speakers sound spectacular to my ears.

As with all advice, YMMV.


Extra reserve power can be a blessing with inefficient speakers. However, extra care is definitely warranted. An inadvertant dropped stylus, or turning on the DAC after the preamp and amp can all to easily blow your speakers.

So, if you're feeling anal, and keep alcohol away from your lips when playing your stereo, and are not an error prone individual, then go for it.

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