A higher current amp is my choice, and will outperform lower current amps of the same wattage rating. The absolute control of the speakers will be better overall, and they will sound more effortless at all volume levels. More current on demand means very low distortion on program peaks that occur in all types of music, and no sense of strain or "cringe" factor. Even a lower wattage amp with higher current will sound better overall (IMHO)
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WITH HIGH CURRENT AMPS YOU ALSO GET MORE HEADROOM WHICH IS A SUBJECT MANY LOW EFFICENCY SPEAKER MANUFACTURER'S DON'T LIKE TO TALK ABOUT BECAUSE THAT IS MORE MONEY FOR THE CONSUMER TO SPEND WHICH MAKES THEIR SPEAKERS APPEAR LESS OF A BARGAIN. HIGH CURRENT AMPS WHEN COMPARED TO OTHER AMPS PLAYING THE SAME SPEAKERS IN A FAIR COMPARISON WILL APPEAR TO HAVE MORE POWER BECAUSE THERE IS LESS STRAIN ON THE AMP BECAUSE OF ITS RESERVE CAPACITY AND AS GASMAN SAYS LESS DISTORTION. AS A GENERAL RULE YOU CAN MATCH AN AMP UP WITH 20% MORE RATED POWER THAN THE SPEAKER MANUFACTURER'S RECOMMENDATION AND STILL OPERATE WITHIN SAFE MARGINS. REMEMBER IT IS DISTORTION THAT KILLED THE TWEETER NOT THE POWER.
You didn't mention the amp you are presently using which is proving inadequate to the task. That might help suggest alternatives. I can only concur with Gasman and Lgregory that you want both, watts and amps, but whatever the wattage you want comparably high current. Certainly my 100-watt Meitner monoblocks sound many times more powerful than my 130 wapc Quad 606. And it's not as if Quad is "cheating" on their power rating---the 606 is a fine product. But the Meitner is in altogether another class. Gentlemen, correct me if I'm wrong, but the ability of an amp to "double-down", i.e., the power output (wattage) doubles with each halving of the load impedance, is an indicator of high current capability. So some of the Krells which are rated at 100 wpc into 8 ohms develop 800 watts into 1 ohm. Finally, while high current may be necessary for certain types of low-sensitivity, difficult to drive speakers, a good amp is a good amp and they improve high-sensitivity speakers, too: mine are 93-96 dB (Tannoys and Altecs) and are easy loads, but the higher current delivery has really improved the sound, mostly depth, definition and timbre of the bass, but also to a lesser extent, overall resolution and clarity. And as usual, caveat emptor; not all "high-current" amps are made the same! In general, if an amp can happily deliver 400 watts into 2 ohm loads all day long (or whatever), the manufacturer won't hide the fact. If they just say, "high current", then you have to start asking questions. Lastly, I don't think one needs to observe the 20% rule (see Lgregory's note above) for matching amps with speakers. I would say that as a general rule, the more headroom you have the better and for the same reasons as my two colleagues have already mentioned. More specifically, many musical pieces produce transients that are as much as 30 dB above the average program level. This represents peaks up to 1000 times the relative "loudness" of the music. At any volume, a really powerful, really high current amp will distort less when reproducing such sudden peaks. A very sensitive speaker tends to do better in this regard than a relatively insensitive one, but that's a topic for another discussion. Regards, dr.joe
Then again, if you use electrostatic speakers, these normally require copious voltage as opposed to current--and a "high-current" amp produces less voltage for a given wattage rating if I'm not mistaken. So for driving electrostatics, the reverse could be true. But for driving big-ass dynamic systems (especially those of low sensitivity), I agree that a high-current design makes sense.
dr. joe is essentially correct. One of the ways to see if the powersupply and the circuit design is able to deliver the juice, is the ability to run at double power in at lower impedance. I believe that many audiophiles greatly underestimate the peak power required on good recordings if you are listing at concert hall volumes. Many amps do not have the power supply capable of feeing the amplifier at peak output. I think many tube amps get a bum rap in the bass department because they are essentially underpowerd and don't match well to the speaker's bass impedance curves. I own Dunlavy SC-V's and on recent thread on the best amp discussed some of these issues in more depth. If your speakers have a sensitivity of 1 watt for 90 db in your room the peak power requirements for a row 10 experience of Mahler or Stravinsky would take about 250 watts with no headroom or loss of power due to impedance curve mismatch. Throw in an extra 6db of power to cover both and you are in the neighborhood of 1 kilowatt. High power amps or high efficiency speakers are required for a realistic reproduction of the technically suprior recordings.
it sounds to me like you need high watts and high current. suggest you try the jrdg 8tihc, if it's in your price range. i use one with my <90db, 4 ohm speakers to great advantage. it's a bit pricy but less so than the only competition i would consider: bridged accuphase a50's or the top end of the boulder line (monoblocks or the big stereo).
I won't embarass myself in talking tech but I just solved a major problem involving wattage. I own dunlavy V's and had poor sound with 250 plus Wolcott amps. I tried to remedy this with VTL 750's and the sound was the same. I called Dunlavy and they told me to try the Aloia amps which they were going to use as their reference. At 30 watts a channel I was super skeptical. I was awestruck when I heard the control of this speaker. Aloia told me that the inductive power supply is the key to providing clean current. Current is what moves the voice coils of the speaker.
sol322 You may e-mail me at [email protected] for info. The amps cost around 4k with the inductive power. I used one and had great sound then I tried bi-amping was awestruck with the soundstage. I also sold a CAT ultimate preamp and got a Aloia. Also a steal at around 4k