What is your experience with amp power?

So I wanted to know what my fellow audiophiles feel about power.

I realize that some speakers are current hounds and need a prodigious amount of power or watts (lets say Maggies). But my question is for speakers that do not. Speakers that are easy to drive, or maybe just higher in efficiency and can be driven by a modest tube amp or even an adequate receiver. 

What is you experience with high power, high current amps ? Do your speakers sound better with more power? At low volumes, in a small or medium sized room? Do you think the quality of the music is dependent on higher powered amps?


Power is good and watts are watts, no such thing as better watts. But speakers are not resistors; they are reactive and good amp design(often great power supplies which don't show up in specs but do in sound) does matter when feeding real life loads. How an amp responds to reactance matters. Some amps ring a little bit into bad loads and take time to recover. Some amps can't produce power into bad loads only resistors. I recall a revered 80 watt tube amp that only put out 2 watts at 20 kHz into real loads. And the story can go on and on. The best is to have a quality amp that works into reactance AND lots of power. You'd be amazed how much power may be needed for split seconds(30 or more dB) to make clean dynamic transients even though the average power being used is only watts.

Most tube amps soft clip. Most SS amps hard clip. Many newer Class D amps also soft clip. Soft clipping gives the illusion of going louder overall (like “loudness wars”)  but the dynamic peaks are suppressed.

Clipping is public enemy #1 of good sound. Soft clipping is sonically more acceptable to most than hard clipping. More power when needed is the antidote to clipping. Them’s just the facts…..

The "quality of the music" depends on the "quality" of the amp.AND the power. Sometimes mutually exclusive.

It seems the closest thing to a perfect world of amp employment is

via Bi-Amping. That said I use an Integrated. 

Been thinking about amp power for a while now.

Diy builder of amps, so I spend time thinking about this.

The issue of bigger power amps is more about the power supply than the number of gain devices at the output stage I think.

Unless you are driving inefficient speakers to ear shattering volume in a huge space, I wonder how high on the watt side you actually go. I wonder how much of the dynamics are managed by power supply as opposed to number of gain devices.

Built a 30W class a amp with a 500va transformer, and 192k uF in storage.

That amp drives my 83db efficient speakers with much better control and dynamics than my 100w Adcom. Apples and oranges, I know, but it speaks to what power in an amp is important. All of it matters, but if given a choice, I would choose lower power, bigger power supply, than give versa. The 30w amp never feels like it’s straining.

Im also thinking, you want to get into the power band of an amp a bit for the speaker’s sensitivity and how loud you listen. Don’t want to over drive the amp, but you want to get into the linear part of the amps power band.

Curious what others have experienced.