One More Question - Newbie

I read about amps and how I shouldn't go by watts. If you look online and in magazines, some 45wpc amps are going for $2000+. I have also read that the higher the wattage, the louder you can go without degrading the sound/ruining the speakers. What's the correct answer?

Yesterday, I listened to the new version of my existing integrated, which is 11 years old. It is the same wpc. They were driving different speakers, but the sound on that 75 wpc sounded a heck of a lot louder than my 75wpc. Does this make sense?
The fact that they were driving different speakers is the reason for sounding louder. Your perception of SPL, if accurate, is probably due to the sensitivity of the speakers. They could be significantly more sensitive than your babies. BTW, wpc vs quality vs $$: no correlation. peace, warren :)
You need to look at the db rating of a speaker. A speaker that is rated at 89db (decibles) will take twice as much power as a speaker rated at 92db to sound just as loud. You will find that some 3 watt amps with the right speaker will sound louder than some 100 watt amps with a much less efficient speaker.
85db @ 1 watt This is a fairly inefficient speaker
88db@ 2 watts
91db@ 4 watts
94db@ 8 watts
97db@ 16 watts
100db@ 32 watts
103db@ 64 watts and so on
For every 10db increase, you will get a perceived doubling of volume. For that reason, when comparing a 40 watt amp to a 50 watt amp, you shouldn't be able to hear a volume difference.
In light of the decible ratings above, a 7 watt 300B tube amp running a pair of 102db speakers can put out close to 110db!
Final note: Most solid state amps will double output power if impedance goes from 8 ohms to 4 ohms. Most tube amps will now double the output power. If you are looking at receivers, many home theater receivers are not even able to run 5/7 4ohm speakers. The impedance is too low.
As the first poster noted, volume depends on the efficiency of the speaker being driven and how much air (ie; size of drivers)they move. Bigger drivers have a tendency to be perceived as louder.
However, they're other considerations also. Some amps allow for greater dynamical power (headroom.) For example, NAD's cheapie little 320BEE is rated at 50/ch into 8 ohms. However, it has about 6 db of headroom allowing it to operate similiar to a 150 watt amp on peaks of short duration and it will sound more powerful than an amp that has, say 1 db of headroom at the same power rating.
Other factors are how the amp interfaces with the speaker. Does the speaker have an low impedance with a high phase angle, etc. This example would cause an amp to have to be able to efficiently deliver current. If the power supply is not up to the task, then it want put out the power.
Remember, power ratings are a guideline only. They are rated into a load, usually 8 ohm dummy load at frequency's of 20 to 20 KHZ. The FTC mandates this. The problem is NO speaker is a flat resistance across the board. They may be 8 ohms at 1000HZ but 3.2 ohms at 60hz. The electrical phase angle changes with frequency. If the amp can't handle lower impedances and/or combinations of phase angles, then the power you thought you had is not there (see recievers below.)
Personally, unless it is a digital amp, I look at the heatsink sizes, cap values (power supply) and other features of a well built amp. Weight tells things sometimes. If you have a 100 watt amp without hardly any heatsinking, then you have to question the power. A good example is some of the BS ratings for hometheater receivers.
You actually load some of the 100w+ receivers into real world loads with all channels driven and that 100w translates into about "maybe" 30 per channel.
Car audio is the absolute worse for this non sense.
Bigtree, you're talking to a tyro. Be gentle. Maybe a tad more explanation for our friend? warren :)