What is your experience with amp power?

So I wanted to know what my fellow audiophiles feel about power.

I realize that some speakers are current hounds and need a prodigious amount of power or watts (lets say Maggies). But my question is for speakers that do not. Speakers that are easy to drive, or maybe just higher in efficiency and can be driven by a modest tube amp or even an adequate receiver. 

What is you experience with high power, high current amps ? Do your speakers sound better with more power? At low volumes, in a small or medium sized room? Do you think the quality of the music is dependent on higher powered amps?

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@czarivey Wrote:

 It's a trade-off. Heavier speakers can get a lot better dynamic range from quiet listening to very LOUD.

What does the speakers weight have to do with it's dynamic range?

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High efficiency loudspeaker usually have greater dynamic range than less efficient speakers, due to something called ’thermal compression’, which is heating of the voice coil. As the coil heats up, its resistance goes up too. This is far more common with lower efficiency loudspeakers! Most solid state amps will thus put out less power. This can happen with individual bass notes, causing them to compress.

Its often more difficult to find higher power amplifiers that actually sound like music, although that problem is not as big now as it was 20 years ago.


I use all pro amplifiers crown xls, xti and a Cerwin Vega el-36dp along with a cvx 21-s all of those are professional level which they also put out a lot of power and sound very musical and I mean it they sing also the Cerwin Vegas makes my system sound like a movie theater, club and small concert. My goal is to have a huge concert going on in my head and around me when I’m by myself

More power, more better when comparing apples to apples is pretty spot on. The best example of this I’ve ever heard is when I added a second Devialet to my system go from a 200 to a 400. It was an instant wow. Same technology all around, just more power. 

But now I use a Luxman 590, 30w class A and will never go back. 

The type of power seems to me to be way more important than the amount of power. 

Some amps with a lower rated power sound more powerful than their specs would have you believe (due to good design and a robust power supply). Speaker sensitivities are unreliable (and misleading). If a high powered amp sounds “more dynamic” than a lower powered amp at lower levels, it is not due to its maximum power rating in watts, it has much more to do with the amp’s design, regardless of rated power. An amp’s input sensitivity dictates what sound level will be produced at what position of the volume control (all else being equal). If you listen to music at moderate levels, you likely don’t need as much power as you think you do. I’m getting some of the best sound of MY life with a Music Reference RM-10 amp (35 w/ch) driving my Magnepan 3.7s… and I’ve used dozens of amps of various power ratings over the past 37 years (I’ve always had Maggies in the house).  This is my experience with power. Ymmv. Gotta try some different amps out with an open mind regarding power!