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  1. #1
    Romanticist Philosopher
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Long Island NY

    Smile What does more amplifier power mean?

    I've always been under the impression that more power actually improves sound quality/ sonic accuracy. When you compare similar styles of amps it just seems that drastic increases in power like the differences between average receiver amps that output about 100 watts per channel and a pro amp like the Behringer EP2500 that outputs 450 watts per channel results in huge differences not only in volume but the realisticness/depth of the sound you hear while only changing the amplifier and keeping everything else constant. What exactly happens when a speaker is fed more power? Is it my imagination or am I hearing something tangible that can be explained? It just seems that a piano sounds more like a piano. What does more amplifier power mean? Is it merely volume or is there something more?

  2. #2
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    below the noise floor
    No, volume is actually a function of gain, not power; you had it right.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  3. #3
    Audio Hobbyist Since 1969 Glen B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    New York
    There's a lot more to sound quality and sonic accuracy that just more power. The two attributes are not necessarily related to increased power unless the speakers are highly inefficient/insensitive and power-hungry, in which case the higher powered amp may sound superior. It is possible to have a poorly designed high powered amp that sounds horrible on a set of speakers versus a lower-powered amp that is very well designed and sounds wonderful on the same set of speakers. All else being equal, the higher powered amp is likely to sound more dynamic and effortless in a given set of circumstances -- which I suspect is what you have experienced thus far.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular likeitloud's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    San Francisco Ca
    I think it comes down to "Headroom" or as I look at it, what the amp has in reserve, if
    run at high volume. I use very power hungry vintage speakers that really "opened" up
    when a 300wpc amp was added(Hafler XL600). That was a bit of overkill, I play Rock
    music sometimes on the loud side, and the speakers became a bit screechy, so I'm
    in the process of switching to something in the 200-250wpc range(SAE 2400L). High
    power equals" Presence", with my speaker combo.
    Sunfire TGP-5 Pre/Pro
    Carver A760-x
    Carver TFM25
    Carver TFM15 x 2
    Sunfire Signature "True Sub"
    JBL Studio L890(Front)
    JBL Studio L830(Rear)
    Infinity PC350(Center)
    Oppo Digital 983H
    Panasonic Viera TH-46PZ85U
    Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray Player
    Power Protection/Filters-Monster HTS 5100 MKII
    Canare Interconnects

  5. #5
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Mortsel, Antwerp, Belgium, Europe, Earth
    underpowering speakers can cause clipping when played loud,
    but adding more power will increase the dynamic range, and depending on the quality of the watts, it will also improve detail and soundstaging...

    but with your speakers,
    and already having so much power,
    it would be a waste of money to add even more power...

    Rock on,
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  6. #6
    Demoted to Low-Fi Carl Reid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    I think it's really a question of balance....

    Yes, if you have two amps of the same quality but one has more power, then it will likely sound better than the other as it is better able to control the speakers and less likely to clip...

    However, Just dumping as much power as possible into your setup is not the best way to get great sound. If you have efficient speakers, then adding more power will produce far less impressive results, than replacing your existing amp with a higher quality amp with the same power output.

    Try and balance power versus quality with the efficiency of your speakers, room size and your desired listening volume.

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