How much is too much?
My speakers, 6ohm, input power is recommended 10-90 watts. My receiver 100w for all 7.2 channels driven. Discrete amplification. I have 5.1 set up. The receivers output for 6 ohm is 160w 2 channel, which, 2 channel is how a listen to most of my music. I only use all the channels for movies or some rock music. So how much is too much? Am I over driving the speakers at 160w? I do not listen at concert levels. I know loudness varies from one person to the next, but I would describe my volume as, a medium level. Would I gain anything by adding an amp? A quality amp.. Does the amp override the receivers wattage output or ad to it?
The best way that I can answer the "how much is too much?" question is to just listen. If you hear distortion, a reduction in clarity and/or excessive harshness when you turn up the volume, then I would say that you are either over-driving the amplifier and/or over-powering the speaker.
Any improvement that you make in regards to an amplifier or loudspeaker should take that overload point to a higher level. The whole idea is to try and minimize distortion in your system. If you can raise that point of distortion well beyond the highest volume that you listen, then your system will take on a whole new level of clarity and you will reduce any sense of listening fatigue.
We get fatigued when our brains try to decipher detail (information) from chaos (distortion). A good example of this could be illustrated by having a lengthy conversation with someone in a very reflective (bright) room and then have a conversation with that same person in a well damped room. The conversation in the well-damped room leaves a feeling of relief.
In that regard, anything that we do to improve clarity will make listening easier and less fatiguing. It does not matter if you upgrade the source components, amplifiers, speakers, power conditioners, cables, or room acoustics. It all helps. And the benefits are cumulative.
As to amplification, when you use an external amplifier, that amps power is used instead of the receiver's amplifier; the power would not be the sum of the two.
Whether you need to consider a new amp or better speakers is hard to say. That is best discussed over the telephone with someone on our sales staff. We really like to get into specifics so that we can steer you in the right direction.
Last edited by AudioAdvisorTim; 01-05-2011 at 12:25 PM.
Interesting story to pass along...
I went to a local Hi-Fi show to listen to a McIntosh demo. They had their TOTL speakers hooked up to a pair of 1,000 watt mono amps. They gave us a little test during the demo and asked the group to guess the output for various passages of music. For classical music and music with a lot of dynamic range, most of the time output was actually around 5 - 15 watts. It wasn't until creshendos (sp) where the watts maxed out. For "pop" cds the loudness was much greater but the amps idled along with a constant usage of around 40 watts. They never really used mored power than that. I was an interesting experiment in how some CDs are mixed for MP3 and radio use so there aren't any peaks and valleys to the volume output. And yeah, the 40 watts was pretty loud.