More power for better low volume listening?

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kfz03110@yahoo.com

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More power for better low volume listening?
« on: 19 Feb 2020, 12:38 am »
Hi If everything else are the same. Does more power amp resulting auditable better LOW VOLUME listening? I am talking  around 80 db low volume.

FullRangeMan

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Re: More power for better low volume listening?
« Reply #1 on: 19 Feb 2020, 12:45 am »
Welcome :thumb:
Depends what are the equipments, room size, noise level etc.

Wind Chaser

Re: More power for better low volume listening?
« Reply #2 on: 19 Feb 2020, 04:44 am »
Welcome to Audio Circle.  :thumb:

What kind of speakers? More power compared to? How big of room? How far from the speakers? And was that 80 dB average or 80 dB peak?  :D

JLM

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Re: More power for better low volume listening?
« Reply #3 on: 19 Feb 2020, 12:50 pm »
Welcome!

In general, no.  And in general tube amps perform best at lower volume and solid state at higher volumes.  But those are generalities.

Years ago I ran 90 dB/w/m, 8 ohm, 30-20,000 Hz speakers off a 7 watt per channel amp.  It did remarkably well, but jumping up to 40 watts per channel turned the speakers from polite dinner guests into NFL linebackers in tuxedos (more dynamics, more detail, better defined soundstage).  In other words the bigger amp provided a more commanding grip on the speakers. 

Phil A

Re: More power for better low volume listening?
« Reply #4 on: 19 Feb 2020, 02:26 pm »
Welcome!

ArthurDent

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Re: More power for better low volume listening?
« Reply #5 on: 19 Feb 2020, 03:19 pm »
Greetings & Welcome to AC kfz    :thumb:

rockadanny

Re: More power for better low volume listening?
« Reply #6 on: 19 Feb 2020, 03:41 pm »
I am no expert, but IME it seems higher sensitivity speakers sound better at lower volumes.

RDavidson

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Re: More power for better low volume listening?
« Reply #7 on: 19 Feb 2020, 04:10 pm »
Yep. More efficient speakers are key in my experience. Beyond that, not all amps provide their best qualities within the first few watts. Those first few watts are important for efficient speakers. For that, tube amps, class D, and class A consistently work well.

Bemopti123

Re: More power for better low volume listening?
« Reply #8 on: 19 Feb 2020, 04:45 pm »
Yep. More efficient speakers are key in my experience. Beyond that, not all amps provide their best qualities within the first few watts. Those first few watts are important for efficient speakers. For that, tube amps, class D, and class A consistently work well.

I agree partially with this statement.  Perhaps it is anecdotal, but in my experience, I have had 2 way BR monitors (Gershman X-1s) with 88 db efficiency that were rated for high current SS amp of 100 watts or something in the audio review but I had pair then up with a KT88/6550 amp whose output was 110 watts per channel (SF Power 2) and at lower volumes, the delivery was definitely lit up from within.

There several variables to this quest, I think the biggest one is either tubed vs SS, also depends in the amount of power that is generated.

In the other hand, have a pair of Infinity Kappa 9s in my mom's place being driven by a Henry Ho H20 Signature S250, with around 375 watts/8 ohms on tap that can swing up to 2KW at close to 1 Ohm.  That set up does not produce nearly as much presence in lower volumes than the Gershman.  Of course, Kappas are known to be notoriously difficult to drive eventhough they do have a 88 db sensitivity.  To me Class D, while efficient and in this case powerful, does not necessarily equate with that lit up presence of those KT88/6550 tubes.

Paul :thumb:

AvsFan

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Re: More power for better low volume listening?
« Reply #9 on: 19 Feb 2020, 04:50 pm »
Welcome!

In general, no.  And in general tube amps perform best at lower volume and solid state at higher volumes.  But those are generalities.

Years ago I ran 90 dB/w/m, 8 ohm, 30-20,000 Hz speakers off a 7 watt per channel amp.  It did remarkably well, but jumping up to 40 watts per channel turned the speakers from polite dinner guests into NFL linebackers in tuxedos (more dynamics, more detail, better defined soundstage).  In other words the bigger amp provided a more commanding grip on the speakers.

It really depends on the set up and speakers. The 97.5 db dual 4.5 inch RS5 driver that Louis over at Omega is building me, I plan on matching it with a 2 watt per channel set amp. I had this set up before, with only one RS5 driver, not two and it was some of the best music I had ever heard in my home. Now on to my ZU Audio Dirty Weekends with a 10 inch driver that are also 97 db efficient. I used low powered amps on them and they sounded spectacular as well. But it just seemed like music was, like you said, polite, just easing it's way through the speakers, the amp wasn't really controlling the speaker, it was just moving information through it. I then hooked them up to a clean and very well built 125 watt per channel amp and all of a sudden the ZU's jumped to life! Like night and day difference. The amp controlled the driver and told it what to do. And the impact, dynamics and visceral punch from the ZU's was there in a way I had never heard before. it was stunning. But at the same time, they play with finesse and gentleness too. So more power for the ZU's, less power for the Omega's. 

AvsFan

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Re: More power for better low volume listening?
« Reply #10 on: 19 Feb 2020, 04:53 pm »
I am no expert, but IME it seems higher sensitivity speakers sound better at lower volumes.

Definitely not the case. The more I turn up my ZU's, the happier they get and the better they sound.  I have not found their limit yet. But they also sound good at low volumes as well. And maybe it's just my ears, but even at low volume listening, with the higher powered amp, everything seemed better. Maybe it was just a higher quality amp but the ZU's really responded well to the new amp and more power across the board.

AvsFan

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Re: More power for better low volume listening?
« Reply #11 on: 19 Feb 2020, 05:03 pm »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Humfsis-QLI


And with my Magnepan's , forget about it. This scene sums it up. How much power is enough?  :thumb:


 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Humfsis-QLI