What's the difference between

I own a pair of Platinum Audio Solo's (which are VERY inefficient - 84db) and I'm looking for an amp that can drive them. I just purchased a Classe DR9 which is only rated at 100WPC but is supposed to be high current. It seems to do a good job at driving them at low levels, but tends to lose its' finesse at moderate to high levels. I talked to the shop that I bought it from (Jeff's Sound Values - great people, by the way) and asked for a recommendation. They told me that the DR9 should do a good job because it's a "high current" amp. I asked about a couple of other products that they had in stock (Counterpoint Solid 2A - 200WPC, Aragon 8008ST - 200WPC, etc., and was told that they wouldn't really do any better job because they're not as "high current" as the Classe, even though they're rated at TWICE the wattage.

So now I'm more confused than ever. Somebody please explain to me this VERY confusing difference. Are they just as confused as I am? Can any of you suggest a good amp to drive these inefficient speakers that would sell for $1200-1500 dollars in the used market? When I originally auditioned the speakers, they were being driven by the Sunfire 300WPC amp (can't remember the name). It did a VERY good job. Is it becuase it's 300wpc or becuase it's "high current"??

Thanks in advance for your clarification and enlightenment. Happy listening.
HA HA HA.... Not to laugh at your situation, but while i was reading your post, i was thinking that the Sunfire would do the job for you. You then wrote exactly what i was thinking.

The model that you are thinking of is simply called the "Sunfire" amp. It is marketed as a "load invariant" amp for good reason. The bigger, more powerful model is called the "Sunfire Signature".

Current is only part of the amplifier equation. Voltage, which the Sunfire design thrives on and supplies plenty of, is the other part. The fact that it is both a high voltage / high current design lets it deal with most "difficult" loads relatively easy. Keep in mind that the Sunfire can produce a LOT of power at lower impedances i.e. 600 wpc at 4 ohms continuously and 1200 wpc at 2 ohms for reasonable periods of time. While the DR-9 is a well built amp, it can probably only do about 200 wpc at 4 ohms and 400 wpc at 2 ohms. With what boils down to appr 3 times the reserve power, it is no wonder why the Sunfire sounds far less strained at equivalent volume settings when compared to the highly thought of but less powerful Classe'.

I ran into a similar situation with speakers that are 4 ohms and about 86 db's. I was bi-amping them with 400+ wpc on top and 500+ wpc on the bottom end. When "jamming", i could still drive the amps into compression. The sound would get smeary, hard, glaring, brittle, etc... ALL of those unpleasant words. Yes, it was LOUD but it was also distorted. I switched over to running the speakers full range from one Sunfire Signature ( 1200 wpc ) and the difference was quite stunning. The Sunfire Signature would play measurably louder and NEVER sound anything but relaxed or crystal clear. Turning up the volume just made it louder. The Sunfire NEVER seems to run out of steam or get "jumbled". I've heard the same comment come from several dealers, even some that no longer carry the line.

My suggestion is to look for a Sunfire or Sunfire Signature. You've already heard the combo and know that it will work for you. No sense in "fooling around" with other combinations when that one is already "battle proven" and within your price range. You might want to try contacting Jeff or Dan at JSV and see what you can work out with them. While i have no idea about the specifics or time frame involving your transaction with them, i've always found these guys to be very good to work with. I'm sure that they'll do what they can for you. Sean
Try getting more efficient speakers.You will be able to use a lot more amps that way. Plus hear the magic of some lower watt amps can produce. IMHOP I've never liked the sound of high watt amps and low efficient speakers, too Hi fi sounding, like electronics, just loud no finesse or imagery.
Thanks, Sean. I read through some of the other threads last night after I posted this question and saw all of the comments regarding the Sunfire. You all sure did a good job of increasing the demand for these amps on Audiogon. They're all sold! I'll keep my eyes open.
Another amp that can really pump a lot of power, although a bit more $, is the Perreaux 350. At 8 ohms it peaks around 550w/ch & of course way more at lower impedances. This is one amp that I'll never drive into clipping no matter what.
Bob, i think you know where i'm coming from but others might not. As such, others should keep in mind that i own a couple of each of these amps mentioned, so it is not like i'm biased towards one more than the other.

The big Perreaux's will stand toe to toe with any amp in the "slam" and "impact" department (in my experience). That is why i chose them to run the subs in the "big" system that i'm working on. In terms of overall lucidity when being pushed, the big Sunfire's walk all over them. They are one of the few amps that i've heard that do not sound "strained" or change characteristics as the volume is pushed hard or when driving difficult loads. While the big Sunfire's never seem to run out of steam no matter what you throw at them, they do not have anywhere near the "bottom end oomph", slam or impact that the big Perreaux's offer. Trade-offs, Trade-offs.....

Keep in mind that most of my speakers are relatively low efficiency and need TALL "wattage in the cottage" just to play at what i call "reasonable" levels. Someone that has medium to high efficiency speakers might not ever see the side of the Perreaux's that i mention. Just for sake of clarity, the difference in sensitivity between the speakers that Bob is using with his Perreaux and what i was using with mine is a WHOPPING 18 DB's !!!! Since Bob's speakers are MUCH higher efficiency, his amp is literally idling during normal use and would never get anywhere near the levels that i'm talking about. He also has a much newer model than i do, so they might have corrected / improved what i've pointed out. As such, my comments regarding the Perreaux's only applies to earlier models. The one thing that i am certain about the newer models is that they have retained all of their "muscle" on the bottom end.

As to the comments regarding "high power amps / low efficiency speakers", i have ways of getting around that. It's called "multiple systems". Unfortunately, my "low power tube / high efficiency speaker" system is down for the count right now : ( Sean
I also own a pair of Solos run by a Bryston 4B-ST (250/ch @ 8ohms,400 w/ch @ 4 ohms) and for my listening levels (not measured) I think its power is "sufficient". In comparison my Maggie 1.5's (I alternate and haven't decided which ones I'll keep) play a little louder with less strain than the Solos. The more power the better for the Solos and the Sunfire just may do the trick - maybe I can get my hands on a pair of 7B's to see what the Solos can really do...