Watts! How many do we need?

Got a new amp. Accuphase P-4600. It’s great. I love it. 
150 watts into 8 ohms, 300 watts into 4 ohms and it has meters so I can see wattage. Have them set on freeze so I can see the highest wattage during the session.

My Harbeth speakers are not very efficient. Around 86db. Their impedance is an even 6 ohms dipping no lower than 5.8 ohms. 

Playing HiRes dynamic classical recordings  ( Tchaikovsky , Mahler) at room filling volumes I have yet to exceed 1watt.. 

Amps today offer a lot of watts some going to 600 even 1200 watts. Even if you have inefficient speakers with an impedance that dips down to 2 ohms do we need all this wattage or should we be focusing on current instead? 


@immatthewj   I think that Sanders covered this question fully in his paper? 

@bigtwin  , I am honestly not familiar with Sanders or the paper you referenced, but is it accessible on this site?  What would I need to use (besides "Sanders") as a search engine to find it?

@immatthewj  Scroll up about 15 posts and you will see I pasted a potion of the paper and included a link to the full paper.  Sanders does a good job explaining the perceived difference in tubes and SS, and why many systems may be underpowered.   Once again, I am assuming he knows what he is talking about after designing and building amps and speakers for decades.   For me anyway, he calls into question all the members who claim only fhe first watt is important and that 50 watt amps are all you need.   Read the whole paper and tell me what you think.  Cheers. 

The Sanders white paper is excellent. The two big takeaways are 1. that transient power demand is far higher than we think or that anything short of an oscilloscope can measure and, 2. the recovery time of the power supply in responding to transient power demands is critical.


"is an unltralinear watt identical to a triode watt? That’s a serious question, I am not intending to be sarcastic."

Basically, yes. But ultralinear operation has plusses and minuses. and a lot of those depend on the quality of the output transformer, the percentage of the screen taps relative to the plate taps, etc. You can get essentialy twice the power of triode operation (or more) but you also introduce stability and distortion factors that must be addressed. In a typical feedback amplifier, switching from triode to ultralinear operation requires adjustments in the feedback components to optimize the amp’s performance and stability. So a big question when buying a switchable amp is, does switching from one mode to another involve correctly adjusting the feedback components to allow for optimal performance? An amp oprimized for triode operation can encounter some serious issues when switched to UL mode, and vice versa. If no such arrangements are made, then one mode or the other is going to suffer. Often times, people with switchable amps will report that they tried the triode switch but didn’t like it because the sound quality was reduced. Or, they’ll report that triode mode was more "open" but the bass control was worse, etc. Usually these negative impressions are the result of the amp not being properly designed to optimize each mode of operation.