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.
Blindjim - watts cost money, you're absolutely right. 100W amp is better than 200W because sound level is about the same and for the same money one can get much better 100W than 200W amp. Power in class D is cheap but not everybody likes the sound.


yep. Like myself and near everyone else has said at some point... There's watts... and then there's watts!

Hoepfully, Watt this new amp will do will be good enough.

If not I'll do Watt everyone else does that doesn't have either a decent outlet nearby from which to do business and hear things... '.... the Audiogone Shuffle'

Perhaps in the interim, I'll hit that red neck retirement jackpot and get a handful of those Pass xa amps or Rowlands, or such!

You have asked a couple of times for impressions of the sound of an ICE amp. Here goes; my Wyred-4-Sound with everything listed in my system, sounds CLEAN. I do not hear the amp as a separate component.

Prior to the W4S I was running the Emerald Physics (must be bi-amped) with a Sunfire Cinema Grand and I could hear its' effect (using either current or voltage taps) and I did not like it. It was not bad, it was just not to my liking. Prior to that the Sunfire was driving a pair of Talon Audio Khites and it was vary pleasing to my ear. All other components in my system were the same as listed including the Levinson 380-S pre-amp with its' 0.1 db gain control.

Listening volume level with all of the speakers and amps has remained virtually the same (+/- a couple of db).

My best guess as to why the W4S sounds better to my ears (and better means that I don't hear it), is probably due to the W4S multi-channels being constructed as multiple mono blocks in one container. I could be wrong, as I have made mistakes before. Once I even moved away from Analysis Plus cables, thinking greater cost must mean better sound. Wrong, wrong, wrong! As with the W4S, I do not hear the AP cables, just the recording.

This spring, I had the opportunity to listen to the top of the line offerings from B&W (driven by MacIntosh) and TAD (driven by Bel Canto) resulting in my being very happy with my system. For +/- 25% of the cost of the above speakers, electronics, and cables, I don't have to try to listen "around" or "through" the system to hear the music.

Yesterday I started with Beethoven Piano Concertos, moved to The Beach Boy's Pet Sounds, the Significant Other voted for Rod Stewart, I got a reprieve with a mix of early 70's R&B, and finished with SRV Blues at Sunrise. All of it was clean, clear, and in my living room. Over all, a very nice day with no thoughts of "If I changed amps...."

Best regards,



Thanks. that is interesting. The butler is likewise a nulti ch mono setup in one box... using also leading edge technologies.

Setup and matching is certainly key to getting sound you can truly enjoy... in your room... with your tastes and ears.
If You have no hands, to turn the volume down?
And there only 1 single setting? FULL VOLUME or NOTHING?

Then Yes You have a problem.

Otherwise,NO, there is no such thing as "TOO MUCH POWER"