Amp current - how much high current to go for

Hi All,

        Some of you may remember me from a while back talking about my NuPrime IDA-8.   After three months of break in and a fat ass Silnote power cord it's significantly better but still not where I need it to be to drive my pair of Kudos C2.   I think it's time to move on to a better high current amp.  My question is, how much current do I need to go for.  For example, I've been eyeing

Parasound Halo Integrated - 45 amperes max

NAD M3 - 50 amperes max

Parasound Halo A21 - 60 amperes max

B&K EX-440 (vintage) - 70 amperes max

Mark Levinson No331 - ? amp max

Thank you ahead for the education.

P.S.  I missed out on a deal with Cullen's Cable or else would've got with Patrick instead of Silnote.  Patrick is really a nice guy, highly recommend talking to him if anyone is interested in a power cable.


I just looked at the website for your speaker and it is specified as 88db and an 8 ohm load which the manufacturer states to be an "easy load that will work well with a variety of tubed and solid state amps".  Your quest for a high current amp is not really necessary.

What did you not like when powered by the Nuprime?  I would suggest trying several amps in your price range, tube and solid state to find what you like.   

I’ll second the comment by Rhljazz. Also, this thread will be of interest. It explains why the current specifications that are often provided by amplifier manufacturers are misleading and worthless.

And to provide some perspective, 1000 watts into 8 ohms, which would undoubtedly be enough power to blow those speakers to smithereens, corresponds to about 11 amps!

Good luck in your search. Regards,
-- Al

I must agree with the two wise posts above. Your speakers don’t present a difficult load for most amplifiers. Determine what type of sound character moves you and connects you to the music that you enjoy. It may possibly take some time but should result in long term satisfaction. Don’t fixate on isolated specifications like current.
Good luck,
I heard the Kudos C2s driven by a Mystere (sp?) tube integrated amp, a 35 wpc amp I believe. That combination sounded wonderful to me. 
Thanks all for your thoughts.  I bought the Kudos C2 based on my listening experience of the X2.  In between I did live with a B&W 805N for six weeks before i had to give it up due to woofer distortion.  Maybe I simply got too used to the B&W sound characteristics.
However, I do notice that with the NuPrime I loose clarity the higher volume I go.  At 55 volume (the amp has 1-99 volume settings in 0.5db increments) setting the sound quality is good but going past 65 the sound starts to get muffled, could it be because of sound wave resonance in my small listening area of 11 x 14 x 9?  Also when I play classical music or John Williams orchestra music, I have to raise the volume setting to around 85 to get just same sound volume as I play pop song at 55 volume setting.  It baffles me why I have to raise the volume setting so much higher but my real issue is that still then I don't get much oomph when playing Beethoven 5th or Davrok New World symphony.  Is it an amp issue or speaker issue you guys think?  I would think with 100RMS and 7in woofer it'd blow my ear drums but I'm not getting that listening experience.
The reason you have to raise the volume much higher on the classical works you mentioned than on pop recordings is that the classical recordings have much wider dynamic range than the pop recordings. Dynamic range in this context refers to the difference in volume between the loudest notes and the softest notes. Most pop recordings are compressed to very narrow dynamic ranges, while many classical recordings, especially of symphonic works, have far greater dynamic range. Our hearing mechanisms tend to sense volume based on the average level, rather than peak levels (especially if the peaks are brief, as they are on many classical works). So for a given setting of the volume control a recording having limited dynamic range will sound louder than one having wide dynamic range, since a recording having limited dynamic range will have an average level that is closer to the peak level than in the case of a recording having wide dynamic range.

I’m not sure, though, why the sound starts to get muffled above the 65 setting, or why you don’t get much "oomph" on the symphonic works. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find an impedance curve for the speaker, showing how its impedance varies as a function of frequency, which might have been helpful in addressing this question. FWIW, though, I did find one thing that might point in the direction of the speaker as being the culprit, and another thing that might point in the direction of the amplifier.

Re the speaker, from this review:
We’re not going to be too critical of the need for careful system-matching, but we do have to mark the C2s down for a bass performance that’s just a touch vague. Tracks that rely on deep thumps for drive reveal a slight lack of bite and tautness in the low-levels.
Re the amp, I see that its 8 ohm power rating of 100 watts is identical to its power rating for 4 ohms, which is not encouraging in the case of a solid state amplifier. Although it’s hard to extrapolate useful information from that fact without an impedance curve for the speaker.

In any event, good luck as you proceed. Regards,
-- Al

IMO, any solid state amp that is worth its salt should double the power into 4 ohms,or come close to it!
Any solid state amp that is worth its salt should double the power into 4 ohms,or come close to it!
Sorry, but I don't think that's true at all. For example, many McIntosh SS amplifiers use autoformers on the output, so they are rated to deliver the same power regardless of speaker impedance, provided the correct output tap is used. These amplifiers aren't exactly my preference, but I do think they are "worth their salt."

Another example would be Audio Research's DS450, which I think is out of production. These were rated at  450W into 8 ohms and 650W into 4 ohms. I have heard these amplifiers and they sounded a-m-a-z-i-n-g for what they are. Class D, too!

Some of Nelson Pass's amps do not increase power into lower impedance loads.  I don't think anyone would say they are poor designs.
I would just put the words "in general" at the beginning of Yogiboy’s statement. The McIntosh solid state amps that have autoformers and the Nelson Pass First Watt amps are, in different ways, special and pretty much unique cases among solid state amps.

-- Al

i don't know how much high current is needed but my mcintosh mc602 is rated to have greater than 150 amperes per chanell.

Teach us more in this field. After reading on here, we can learn more in this topic.

Hi OP,

I think you are concentrating far too much on a single spec. 2 way speakers are usually pretty easy to drive for almost any solid state amplifier, and usually have a very benign minimum impedance around 4 to 8 ohms.

How is your room? I would reach out to GIK acoustics before doing anything else. They could very well fix your problems. :)

After this, I'd try some rather modest but stiff amps if you still felt you had a problem, such as a Parasound A23 or A21.



Thanks for the continuous feedback.  I had my eye on a Parasound Integrated Amp not too long ago but tax month messed up my plan.  Hopefully just a short delay.

Otherwise, I would like to let everyone know that the NuPrime ID-8 finally broken in after what feels like 500hrs.  I did buy new speaker and USB cables which might've contributed to the long break in period.  Anyway, I would now say NuPrime ID-8 is a solid product for the money!

This speaker is relatively easy to drive (for example would be a good match with most of our amps, which are tube). I think you will find speaker placement to be a far better investment of your time than that spent looking for a new amplifier. How close the speaker is to a wall can have a big effect on how it plays bass- the same can be said for corners of the room.

Further, I really doubt that an amp with 'high current' (which is often more marketing than anything else) will get you more impact. In fact you may find that an amp with *less* current (for example a tube amp) might be able to do it better.

Also, keep your speaker cables short if you can- they have a way of eating up bass in longer lengths.

Have fun- don't drive yourself crazy!