More Power is always good?

Hi all,

I'm a little lost in my search for the amp. Does more power (like more than 100W) means good?

I have been around listening to various amps, maybe a little too much that confused me.

Say for a room of 16ft by 20ft. What is the optimum power requirement?

For example, once I heard the Sugden A21Se (Class A 30W) driving the Spendor S6E, everything was nice except that I found that the basss definition and extension is lacking which is a concern to me, the showroom was smaller than my room. That's why I'm looking for amp with more power (like 100W), am I wrong? Will Class A amp like Sugden MasterClass or Accuphase E530 or Lavardin or others similar amp with power rating of 30W-50W be sufficient?

by the way I am using the old SF Grand Piano Home. I'm looking for a good amp that will outlast the GP Home, i.e. I don't have to change amp when i change the GP Home.

Any comments?

Thank you.
Some time ago I read this article in Soundstage! that was very useful:

You may want to look at it too.
if that were the case people would not spend $30,000 for 3 watt amps...
the grand pianos in a mid to big room thrive on a larger amp. lots of good integrateds for no more than the cost of the sugden.
Think about being in a car pulled off on the side of the interstate. You want to get back on but there's a lot of traffic. Would you be safer trying to get up to speed to merge back onto the interstate with a four-cylinder or a turbocharged V-8?

The more power that you have the more headroom you have when you need it. Do you need it all of the time? No. But if you don't have it when you need it and you run out of headroom, you drive your amp into distortion. That will blow a speaker before anything else.
Keep in mind that the speakers totally dictate the needed power and type of amp for good synergy. First the room size and volume level you like to listen to have to be taken into acocunt. With the grand piano's , 30 tube watts(correct impedance of course) would be fine- bass quality has many factors involved for high quality but overall power is the least of those factors. Damping factor, room acoustics, room placement and on and on. Never buy into more power is better. Most lower power amps from the same company sound better (don't believe that-check out wavelength audio). Try to stay as low as you can with quality being more important than quantity. Current is the important factor as far as actual power is concerned. The current abality is far more important than the watts rating. More efficient speakers with smooth impedances require much less power than low efficient and wide impedance speakers. So there is no telling what amp to go with if you are changing speakers- no way to tell till you get them.
Mahandave is right.

Watts that are composed of higher amperage are stronger watts.

Efficency of speaker dictates how loud it will get with a given number of watts.

Speaker placement/room dimensions will dictate (more so than most other factors) how tight or accurate the bass response will be.

Find a pair of speakers that are capable of doing what you want them to do in your room. Build the rest of the system around them. Audition at home before you buy.

Good luck!
Bass quality can easily be compromised due to lack of power. This is where a low powered amp will show clipping first. It's best to have an amp that has enough power that it nearly never or never clips. I've seen a number of times where what you describe was no more than a lack of power. At normal listening levels you only use a couple watts or so but when a strong bass line comes in that's when your amp can go into clipping and it's easily audible. The power draw during these periods can need 100 times the power of your average listening needs from your amp. I use a 300wpc amp in my 12x17 room with 90db sensitive speakers and feels it's adequate. With A 100wpc amp I'd be clipping for sure.

When you double the output power you only gain 3db which is a bit more than noticeable. So you'd probably want to go to at least 100wpc if you're struggling with 30.

Almost all the time a good SS amp will have better bass than a tube amp. The damping factor of tube amps is typically very low in comparison and it's quite audible.

I like the car engine analogy.
The Sugden Class A watts are more comparable to a 6 cylinder Porsche.
More sophiscated, better at braking, cornering with wicked acceleration.
Better than the huge V8.
Just because someones spends a lot of money on a 3 watt amp doesn't mean it's necessarily good.
I think Krell Man makes a good point. You may not need the extra power, but once you become accustomed to what more power can do for you at all levels it becomes hard to go back to lower powered amps. The kind and amount of power you feed to your speakers to a huge extent determines how well they will do with their dynamic ability, and dynamic ability is probably the biggest factor in mimicking live sound.
Eljif makes the right point. It's the dynamics that need alot of power and once you listen through having adequate power you'll never go back.
I disagree big-time with the Ian Masters article linked above, and not just
because he disses tubes. In some 50 years of serious listening I have come
to find that power output wattage, per se, is almost meaningless. No, you
can't run a Wilson speaker with a 3-watt SET amp. But the quality of the first
and subsequent watts is far more important than their quantity. I was
astonished when a friend who designs and builds SET amps brought over a 6
wpc amp that not only drove my ProAc speakers as well as the 140 wpc amps
I had been using, but sounded a bunch better. I'm now using a pair of 12
wpc SET monoblocks (same designer) to drive Gallo Reference 3 speakers in
an 18 x 40' room, with an "L" off the 40' length, and have never
come close to running out of steam and sound glorious. Yes, I'm powering
the Ref 3s' second voice coils with a powerful SS subwoofer amp, but half the
time I forget to turn it on.

Bottom line: forget the output wattage specs. Listen.

Good luck, Dave

PS- A good friend has your speakers. He drives them VERY successfully, in a
large room, with a 22 wpc tube amp.
Power is power.
More power is NOT always good.

If the first watt doesn't sound fabulous, why would you want more?
Power is not power, any more than a car is a car or a meal is a meal. There are serious differences, and it is on the shoulders of a real music lover to seek out and understand the differences. If power is power, you're in the wrong hobby.
Yes nice analogy.....

The thing is you could push the car back on to the road.The power is needed to get past ,or blend back into traffic.It's not need to get the car back on the road per say.

Now if your room is covered with need more power...because you have traffic

Your amp is massive ,hard to get you simple SIGNAL through.....because you have traffic.

Your speakers weight tons ,you need power to get the delicate SIGNAL through.....because you have traffic

your wires are 1 inch thick.delicate SIGNAL needs power to get through got traffic.

your stuck in this massive traffic jam ...your delicate signal need power to push it through....BAD FOR MUSIC IN THE END
I'm on the wrong planet if you are a true earthling Anarchy!
So according to 5150 get a nice bright reflective room with a small amp, horn speakers, thin wire and it'll sound great. OK, sure. I guess everybody has a different idea of what's good for the music.

There's no such thing as too much power - too little power can be heard immediately.
Hi Pingpong, still searching for an amplifer ?

As for the question, I believed u can find all the answer above.

It's all come back to what speaker u wanted to drive.
More power doesn't really mean good. Its the quality of the power that's more important.

I went down to Ong radio & did ask the same question.
The salesman demonstrate to me. As what I know more power is required only at the dynamic part of the music.
Of course, the size of the room, what music u listened to & the sensitivity of your speaker play an important part. Speaker of high Db is much more easier to drive than lower Db.

Most of the time a speaker consumed very low wattage
( 0~5W ).
Now , nice.

Those are the facts dude....that's why 3 watts work.I didn't say they were the best.And that an empty room is the answer either.You are drawing conclusions.I'm talking general.
Always is a terrible word in any real question. If we say mostly a good thing I would definitely say yes. I am convinced that if you're going to get a bass driver to play cleanly at loudish spls there is no replacement for displacement. Sure great sound attributes can be found in really well built transformers. I find the sound quality of most class D amps with big output numbers sterile sounding, but with the usual assortment of tubes or bipolar devices the more power usually in terms of both amperage and watts the more I like the sound. And despite claims that there are beautiful 22 watt amplifiers It may well be an arifact in fact the music sounds better because there is really more juice. Thus some of the best sound you are going to hear- depending on your affection for microdynamics (read SET preferences) comes from the bigger amps. For instance many amps that use transmitter tubes are asked to drive only the higher frequencies, e,g, the need to biamp VSA DB99s they have the amps built into them and big bass columnspeakers almost they almost always have snarling V8s driving them frequently out of the way. While you're bewildered and beguiled with sheer effortless beauty of that relatively small tube amp out front, paying attention to the musical elements now that the bass isn't a blur of ill defined vibration and pleasant. Demand some real db from a low watt amp, even with high efficiency speakers and I almost always hear them distort/clip like mad except the overbuilt ultra transformer amps for a couple of million mega bucks the ability to provide real output in some manner, or another, it comes from someplace and it ain't cheap.
Also why are so many companies drawing attention to their High Amperage/Wattage Flagships? Is it because the smaller versions simply cost less to build and are more affordable and therefore less likely to sell well. Hardly, watch what sells easily on this site, the profit margin maybe smaller but they count on the basic models to keep them afloat.
An aside price is critical. You don't see too many 1000 watt Chinese amps they would cost too much. We all know how poorly the Chinese are doing in the market not because they build powerful amps that cost a fortune. Its simply too expensive to build a really big (BIG) good sounding amp to be competetive! There are just a couple of us who can mortage the house for that big American/ European amp. It will be interesting to see if the Chinese ever make that real powerhouse for cheap and how they fare. I know the bigger but still not huge ASL amps are really struggling to sell compared to their 2X/3X price competitors.(right)
There are diehard believers in low output amps and sure a lousy high output amp will sound terrible but within a range from a single company, its always the bigger one they claim sounds better. I have found few if any manufacturers of low powered tube amps that don't tout the magnificence of thier big brothers, only if they make a bigger amp of course. Even using delicate musical tubes e.g. Canary Audio.
Some of the equation can be answered by your listening habits . If you are not interested in extreme or loud playback levels and acoustic as well as intimate jazz is your cup of tea you may well not need excessive power reserves. I would err on the side of too much for reasons that your musical taste may alter or friends may want to pop in Kraftwerk at 109 db . System synergy with your preamp , speaker sensitivity , nominal ohm rating , room and listening tastes are quite a balancing act.The larger the room for instance , the more power you will probably need to get the same level of playback in a smaller room . The rule I use is how good is the first watt in reproducing the sonic characteristics you deem important. Is dynamic range more important than space retrieval? Is bottom end extension more important than midrange accuracy? Your choice and your system. Thats what makes this hobby so personal and thought provoking.
51, there just seems so much wrong with your conjecture -

-covered with absorbtion = traffic - no, reflections due to lack of absorbtion equal unwanted traffic
-large amp - hard to get signal through - huh? Want to explain that?
- speakers weigh tons - hard to get signal through - huh (again) - for every large inefficient speaker, I can show you one that's extremely efficient - in fact large and heavy horns are one of the most efficient.
- large speaker wire usually equates to lower resistance, or easier for the good 'ol signal to get through.

So your equation of what makes for good music leaves me very confused.
"So your equation of what makes for good music leaves me very confused."

Snofun3, me thinks he works for DK Designs.:-)
that's mister 51......

Ok ....look at it this way.I know it sounds like i'm on crack ,but try to look at your whole system as one.

I used to look at the numbers game myself.I used to own mega YBA amps,and yba signature pre etc...watt pups.So i know about heavy & massive.

So we start at the fusebox,the energy vibrates and goes to the cd.It picks up the signal.The super delicate signal must remain whole.It is hitching a ride on your energy.If the wire is too massive the energy is not vibrating at is close to native frequency.The more mass the energy meets the less it vibrates.The weaker your signal.Then more wire,heavy preamp kills more of the energy.Imagine when you cryo a wire ,the molecules are even more dense then original. Even less air for the energy to vibrate through.The signal is jammed with traffic.Need lots of juice to force it through.POWER.So just follow the pattern to a heavy amp which blocks the vibration etc...

Once you hit your speakers ,most assume the ride is over.Actually the air is now moved ,VIBRATION.your floor and walls (room) are part of the WHOLE.The walls need to vibrate in order to continue the communication.Killing the musical notes is not the way.Absorption of any kind will affect the whole.Cement walls that don't vibrate are ???.Some say to put up 2 layers of drywall to make it rigid....what do you think that does to your vibration?

I'm not pushing any one product over another.All i want you to understand is it works together as a whole ,vibrating like a light .....musical instrument...

I don't care about....tubes vs. SS...analog vs.cone drivers etc...american vs.europe.No names are better or worse ....They are tools to work with and produce music.We tend to collect components instead of applying our art to let the signal BE.


This is a stripped dvd....very light weight,ounces.It is allowed to vibrate.You don't need to go as far.This dvd is 70$.Don't go stripping the mega $$$ cd players....please.

Don't let the weird ,"hey this guy is on crack" fool you.If you hear this thing sing,you will sell your gear...LOL
Hi PingPong,

Just my $.02 here. For maximum flexibility, you will probably want to go with a solid state amplifier that can deliver around 200 watts. This will drive almost any speaker at any level you will probably ever want to try.

More power is not necessarily better. It depends on how "clean" that power is, and what kind of distortion is introduced. Amplifiers which introduce lots of odd-order harmonics (which many cheaper solid-state amps do) can sound unnatural. Some people believe that tubes sound better because they introduce mainly even-order harmonics, which gives them a more natural sound (though there is much debate about this topic).

Also consider if you like keeping your gear on all the time. If you run the amp all day long, solid state is definitely the way to go (maybe with a tube pre-amp). Good luck!
Whoa - Mr. 51. Fill that bowl up again guy. Whew, that must be some stuff.
Remember to flush's a long way to my

Yeah i know it seems ,far fetched and hard to let go of the brainwashing we get in life.It's not for everybody either.Only do-ers need apply.It is not a set and play mentality.I used to be that way,and if you read most of the threads on the GON ,we tend to be after a sound that is not possible. We also see when the truth comes out just how unhappy we are with our $$$ systems.Now ask it a goal that is not possible ,or is an application that i am constantly doing wrong.I tried both sides of the hobby and you know where i stand.99% of hi-fi won't give it a chance ,but they are sure 100%, that it doesn't work.How could a 70$ dvd compete with a 20K cd player or TT.

But it does sound like nothing else you've ever heard.
I have found with many experiments with home designed pre/ power amps and Dual Concentric speakers thet there seems to be one simple rule of thumb.
The bigger the better and the more powerful the better.


Bristol, UK