you wont reach its potential with alot more then 150 watts, you need headroom for an amp to be comfortable driving a speaker, far more speakers get blown from lean power vs too much power.
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Assuming the power is clean and of high quality and the concern for blowing the speaker is not there, what I'm asking about is the speaker's potential performance. You know how when you go and audition speakers, the salesman will always try to use the most powerful highest quality and most expensive amp or receiver so you will hear the best out of that speaker. What I'm asking is if you can afford to purchase a higher power amp of high quality vs a lower power of high quality, will the speaker perform at its best performance simply from the higher wattage? Will the drivers produce the best sound they can simply from more wattage than from less provided you stay within its spec? Does that make any sense? Hypothetical situation: You have two Rotel amps or A-V receivers side by side, both high quality well built units. One puts out 75 watts/channel into 8 ohms and the other 100 watts all channels driven. You have the volunme set so that the speakers are producing say 85 db in the room. The speakers' power handling range is 50 to 150 watts at 8 ohms. Will more detail, resolution, bass ext, and soundstage be produced by the 100 watt receiver over the 75 watt? That's what I'm asking. Thanks.
There are so many variables in your question that it is hard to answer. A speaker reaches its potential more by the elimination of poor components/conditions, as opposed to the introduction of more power. Most speakers would reach their sonic potential with a 50w quality tube amp/ic's more often than with a 250w Rat Shack pa amp w/home depot ic/s. Not to mention that one persons maximum potential sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to another.
Yes power makes a difference. The more power, the more the entire system will play with a sense of ease. A sense of ease is hard to define but you will know it when you hear it. Music just seems to flow from the speakers, loud passages will jump from the speakers instead of kind of falling out of them. The speakers will have greater authority no matter whether they be stand mounts or floorstanders. There will be no strain at any level and the louder you go, they keep their composer. Now that assumes that the speaker is of good quality also. Just buy the most watts you can afford, I don't think you can go wrong.
FWIW there is nothing about a speakers maximum power handling capability (as spec'd by the manufacturer) that has anything to do with sound quality. At the maximum speaker's level the distortion would probably be a major distraction and the SPL's be excessive for most rooms. With any speakers you want to determine the SPL range in which they sound best, i.e. very dynamic, yet free of distortion, and select your amp accordingly.
Having said that, assuming you use restraint when turning your volume control, you can use a high power amp capable of producing much higher power levels than your speakers are spec'd at. Speaker breakup should stop you from turning the volume control to a position where the speakers would be damaged.
As a pratical matter, it is far more important to use an amp that produces a highly refined sound not just power. Remember, a high quality refined amp, will cost anyware from fifty to a couple of hundred percent more than a smaller amp with sufficient high quality to drive your speakers within the SPL range that you will listen to them. Taking an amp from 50 watts to 200 watts of equal quality power only increases your potential volume by 6db and most folks don't use all that power unless they bought very inefficient speakers, or they a rock heads who are loosing their hearing! A cheap highpower amp is rarely appreciated for long in a high quality system. :-).