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?


I’d say it is more the speaker than the Amp. I’m running only 30 watts of class A power into the Tannoys... (Sugden A21se signature)plenty of power! They are honestly the best speakers I’ve heard at low volumes...still sound full and I do not feel I have to play them loud, as it is still all there

I’ve destroyed several amps, melted binding,posts, blown tweeters, mids, u get that unclear muffle sound, then u fry a tweeter, nt from power, from NOT ENOUGH POWER, headroom, amps ability to produce the juice you want, when you use a little flea fart amp, or in my experience, anything under,250-300WPC RMS, even at medium volume, the amp may not be able to supply the current/power,needed for a crescendo, or a double bass section with lead ,bass, and rhythm guitar, all going forward with intensity,……many,amps will clip. In my 35+ years in audio, I’ve found the best results with min 250-300 W at 8 ohm and close to doubling in 4 and 2, which tells purchaser there is a stable power supply.

The lowest power monos I have are the Odyssey stratos maxed out , they are 200W at 8 ohm, and 375 into 4 ohm, while these are capable, they are very high current which picks up the slack, almost beer can size caps, etc etc, I hooked up my modded cerw vega D9 which drop down to about 2 ohm, new woofers, crossovers reworked, great mids and tweeter, these destroyed my previous receiver and amplifiers.

When I bought the Rotel rb1090, the gates opened, and a heavenly light shined my window, and the angels sang a chorus of Stevie wonder ,ac/dc, Helstar, which was crystal clear 1/2 mile away at my uncles driveway.

From that point on, nothing less than 300+ WPC rms

plus that headroom gives a open almost stadium, ease of playback ,no strain volume , at any level.
will never go back to flea fart and bunny queef receivers, amps.

its effortless, easy, and gives a sense of fluid, easy going, non fatiguing playback.

In the end, I was so sad one morning, saturday, no work, pressed power switch on my Rotel rb1090, and POP, flash, white smoke, small,white and blue flame shot up from the top cover vents, the inrush limiter had fried, only 15 months old.

went through a couple amps and monos since settling on my dna750 monos bought used in 2016 I think. Best decision I have made in a,long time.


650W 8, 1000@4, power supply not quite hefty enough to double down, but with 650 at 8 ohm, I’ve never heard a muddy sound, clip, strain, distortion,

pure goosebump overload.
even playing poorly recorded records, does sound as it is, poorly,recorded, but there is a subtle fix, or tone, which makes demo tapes and old boot live,recordings more listenable.


yes, having the headroom is essential for playback, if you like any volume at all, it will save you from clipping, distortion, strain. 
higher powered amps sound better, with class A being only exception. 

even in class A, I would not go below 250-300WPC,  just from lessons learned and life experiences with power amps. 

plus , if you decide to upgrade speakers, etc, you will have the backbone to drive most consumer speakers down to 3.5 - 4 ohm.

planar speakers and those 1-2 ohm,…speakers, best check with manufacturer. 
and use your ears as main guide, if you hear strain, or tweeter breaking up, Gary Moore’s guitar muffled in midrange, your pushing too hard. 

use ur best judgement, and FFS, drunkenness and volume don’t mix. 

my,speakers I use now, only rated at 250W,, they are,glorious, smooth, warm, and so clear, there are no,speakers when I sit for an extended listening session, when eyes,closed, you can not pinpoint where the speakers, sound is emanating from!

love it

I figured out a long time ago that less is better - amplifiers and other components with fewer parts sound better to me - better imaging, transparency and so on.  The less stuff a signal has to travel through the better.  High power means more parts.   I just finished building a Firstwatt F5 which is 25 watts per channel class A.  As you know Nelson Pass is designing these low power amps with as few parts as possible.   Speakers are Klipsch Forte which are something like 98 db sensitive.  But what you like is what matters.  

In this home office setup, I’ve come to really appreciate 2 pairs of fairly large, sealed 2-way speakers. Both are relatively inefficient, as most sealed/acoustic suspension speakers are. So on the rare occasions when I really crank the system, having lots of watts matters. There’s definitely a benefit to big, strong amps that loaf along at <10%-15% capacity even at peak volumes (ie, if good sound = a good power supply, it’s an unstressed, high-capacity PS that one is hearing).

But at other times when lots of watts aren’t needed, it’s down to how well designed and voiced the amp is; how carefully the components were selected for sonic as well as electronic properties; how robust the PS is; the quality of circuit layout and wiring...all the audio verities. Spending lots of money on an amp isn’t a guarantee of good sound, but I suspect really good sound becomes more commonplace with the bigger, heavier, more expensive amp designs.



I have read many summaries that said that too little power is the bane of audio systems a can fry speakers. I have tended to use amps above the max recommended for the speakers I owned… admittedly not cranking them to ultra high levels. I have never had a problem with power… speakers or amps.


But, @arcticdeth story is what I have repeatedly heard is possible.