How can I tell if I need more power?

I'm driving a pair of Vandy 3A's with an older Parasound DR65 (65wpc) receiver. Vandersteen recommends 100 to 200wpc for 3A's. I've considered adding a power amp while using the DR65 as a preamp (to keep the tuner), but I since can't hear any obvious lack of sound quality, and I never get close to pushing the level to clipping with 65wpc, I wonder if I'd really gain performance that would be proportional to the high expense of a good power amp. Advise from the audio sages would be welcome.

you have an excellent pair of speakers that you have not heard in their true resolving nature. You owe it to yourself to do a take home demo of some fine amps and preamps to hear what the Vandy's are truly capable of.

I used to swim in the world of good midfi - NAD amps

I made the jump to Audio Research several years ago and never looked back. there is plenty of good top end gear that can be had relatively inexpensively used to help you make that next dramatic and vital step.

As for whether you have too little power, if you are hearing distortion of quick loud passages in the music you may be clipping the amplifier. Probably not. But if you audition a full bodied amp and pre that let the music be registered fully then you'll really seem how much music you have been missing

If you think you need more power , which you probaly do try a NAD C-370, i just got one and its GREAT 120 wpc you cant go wrong, it drives my massive JBL floorstanders real loud and clear with barely even getting warmed up.
1.mids are "far away from you" in the soundstage
2.the sound of drum doesn't stop on time
3.bass responce is "trailing behind"

4.heavy speaker load for amplifier may cause it to oscilate

always remember that it is easier to blow drivers with the lower power amp than with higher.

Vandees will rock and sing with Pass X250 or VTL Mb125 monos will do approximately the same as Pass or even better.

With tubes in fact you can go bellow lowest power requirement upto 60W/ch.
1st thing you might do is finding someone who will loan you an amp with lets say double the power you currently have. 1st thing you will probably notice is bass, you will have more. 2nd will be detail, you should be hearing instruments and little things in the music you never noticed before. 3rd will be more sound stage, a depth to the instruments that was not there. These things should occur at virtually any volume. At volume you will hear more impact, quickness if you would,, and just a general opening up to the music.
You have a great pair of loudspeakers there that can give you a whole lot more than what you are currently getting, and I bet you think it ain't bad now. If I am close enough(Nashville) feel free to give me a call, I have a # of amps that I would loan you for a day or two.
Great offer Jvia, & good for you! Dwpc: rule of the thumb, you should try around 100 good ss watts, some 60+ tube -- just to get an *idea* of what your speaker can do for you.

Connect with Jvia, I say (I live half-way round the globe) !
Jvia, thanks for the offer...but I'm in CA.
Dwpc, please don't take this the wrong way. With that in mind, here goes:

Your current system is equivalent to owning a high performance muscle or sports car and filling up with watered down 87 octane from "Joe's Gas & Go". While it will get you from Point A to Point B, you're not getting ANYWHERE near the performance, benefits or fun of what you paid your money for. As such, your Vandie's are SCREAMING for a chance to to be taken out on the open road and strut their stuff. I'm not just talking about in terms of sheer "output" but also of the finesse and detail that they are capable of.

I would HIGHLY suggest looking into a higher quality amplifier section (as a start). While more power would probably be beneficial, i would first worry about "quality" and then look at the "numbers". Low powered high quality amps will ALWAYS sound more powerful than what they are spec'd at. As a case in point, look at how many "little" Pass amps rated at 30 wpc are floating around in relatively "high dollar" systems. Low power doesn't necessarily mean lack of bass output or low frequency control, clipping, etc... IF the amp and power supply are well designed and the speakers / type of music aren't overly demanding. As such, I would rather have 50 "good" Class A "hi-fi" watts of power per channel than 200 watts of "generic" Class AB "mid-fi" at the same appr price.

Keep in mind that you're working with a music SYSTEM. Your choices should blend together sonically, not just look good on paper. Hope this helps and gives you something to think about... Sean
Well, in Ca there ought to be somebody ithat would enjoy taking you through this.
When we 1st buy our gear, we are taught(or should be taught)that speakers make all the difference, and they do on the 1st couple of systems. But once we get used to our systems, especially one's where the speakers are the strongest link, it is amazing what a good amp will do.
Good listening.
once again, sean gives wise advice, as does jvia (a transplanted gentleman from tennessee of the first water). as for me: i've NEVER heard an "overpowered" system (given that the amps, of whatever variety, provide clean power with plenty of current). -cfb
I hear ya about the power Kelly ( aka "the Cornfed Kid" when out robbing banks and old time trains ). As many of you know, i am a BIG fan of "too much is not enough" when it comes to power. For the record, my HT system is rated at 6400 watts RMS, my computer room system uses 800 wpc monoblocks, my "big" system that i'm still working on will be triamped monoblocks at 1200+ wpc, etc... I think you get the idea. There is a LOT to be said for having MILES of headroom even when "jamming".

As it is in Dwpc's case though, he's obviously been happy with the "limited" amount of juice that he's been running for some time now. I would rather see him get a taste of "quality" at a "reasonable" amount of power than shoot for something that was more powerful, looked good on paper and seemed like a "steal" in terms of watts per dollar. I think that you and many others will know where i'm coming from in that aspect of "system building".

All too often people "upgrade" by reading reviews and specs without really thinking about "how good does it sound in MY system" and don't really think about "system synergy". I think we've ALL been there done that and learned the hard way. If not, they'll be there SOON ENOUGH if they keep hanging out here and get struck by the " upgrade bug" : ) Sean
I have heard your speakers with a Audio Research D-130 and a AR pre. Before that he had a jvc rec. The difference is un real. The Ar seems to be perfict with that speaker. I have a Krell he wont let me compare them he is afraid hell like it better, says toooooo much money!
Bravo Sean I agree 100%. Quality is the key I believe when it comes to pwr. Watts can be sold to the unadvised but a good 60 quality watts will always out perform a bad designed 100. There are dealers in CA that should steer you in the right direction. Best of luck.
Hi, Dwpc:

I have been a proud Vandy owner for many years, and upgraded to a pair of 3A Signatures about a year ago. I had a fairly good preamp and power amp at the time, and thought the system sounded good. Then I replaced the amp with a Bryston 4B-ST, and the speakers "suddenly" sounded much better. Then I swapped out the preamp and replaced it with a Bryston SP-1, and VOILA! everything came together. Let me tell you that Vandy 3A's, and particularly the 3A Sig's, are far better speakers than most people realize, and can be realistically paired with electronics that sell for as much as $7.5k -$10k. Each improvement you make in your system will be faithfully reproduced by the Vandy's. (At some point, I suggest you send your 3A's to Vandersteen to have them upgraded to the 3A Signature version. It's really worth the additional $750.) This is a long preamble to telling you to get better electronics -- the Vandy's keep sounding better and better as you upgrade the electronics in front of them. So, as time and budget allows, you ought to consider a new preamp and power amp such as the Brystons (they pair beautifully with the Vandy 3 series), McCormack, Marsh Audio Design, or similar high-quality tube gear. In closing, let me bring your attention to a review of the Vandy 3A Sig's and other Vandy home theater speakers that has just appeared in the edition of "Widescreen Review" magazine that just hit the newstands (the Nov-Dec issue, I think). Shane Buettner, the equipment editor for WR, wrote a long review of the Vandy 3A Sig's, VCC-5 center speaker, etc., and he absolutely raved about his epiphany as a Vandersteen owner. He is using superb electronics with them, such as BAT's newest preamp, the Theta Dreadnaught amp, etc., and he makes an emphatic point that people who assume that the Vandy's are good only with electronics in their same general price range are WRONG. The Vandy 3-series speakers, if wrapped in nice veneer and sold by almost anyone other than Richard Vandersteen, would be selling in the $5000-$7500 range, and high-end audiophiles would still be thinking they got a great buy. For $2800-3500 for the 3-series, you have acquired one of the finest speakers on the market, BAR NONE, and they deserve to be paired with the best electronics you can afford. Trust me -- you won't be disappointed. Even my wife, who is at best tolerant of my audio habit, has commented on every upgrade over the past year, noting that our Vandy 3A Sig's reveal every improvement, and now sound more like "real music" than anything she has ever heard -- or imagined possible in a home environment. Enjoy, my friend -- you have just started on what will be a very pleasurable journey of discovery. (And read that review in "Widescreen" -- it's got some excellent info about why the Vandy 3-series is such a fine speaker.)
I have heard your speakers with ARC VT100 (any version)amp and LS-25 pre-amp. A very nice system... Richard Vandersteen does endorse running his equipment on ARC, as I have been to several audio parties with Richard present... I am not affiliated to either company...
Re: this thread. ummm, how come audiogon is so much more friendly and down to earth than audio asylum? Ok, off topic, sorry, but threads like these always remind me of that question.

I think every speaker starts to shine more and more, the better amplification you through at. I've had three different amps on my speakers (Snell Type D's) and each time, the speaker seems to "mature" and get more and more well-rounded. Of course, its the amplification that affords that change.