Originally Posted by Osamede
For a full decade, I ran a stereo system powered by a 35 WPC integrated amp that never once struggled to handle 4 ohm speakers - and those speakers were being run full range, not even as home theater satellites for over 80hz, which is what most folks do these days.
In current usage with x.1 or x.2 systems, there's practically nothing left for the receiver to do power-wise. I'd be shocked if they break 5 watts or 10 watts, at least short of people trying to deliberately deafen themselves. Are there amps/receiver that cant generate that little current even if at 4ohms? None of the bench tests I've seen suggest that.
I've been saying this for two years and people just ignore it and go back to demanding 1000wpc. And I'd take it a step further and say 10W is probably even too much. Rane estimates that the 50/50 split is around 350hz, but 5k on up is only 10% of total power. So it's weighted heavily towards the LF. I buy the argument that proper bass management gets you about 3 dB on top; that's pretty big in terms of wattage.
Then figure that competent speakers are around 90 dB/W, and most people don't sit more than what? 6 feet? 9 feet? away from their speakers, so that's maybe 81-84 dB/W. Dolby ref is 85 dB nominal, but I figure most people are like Mike and prefer 75 dB or something thereabouts; so we're talking about 250 mW (9 ft/75 dB) to 2400 mW (9 ft/85 dB) nominal and the 20 dB peaks will want (roughly) 25,000 mW (25W) to 240,000 mW (240W) (assuming you want full DR). Of course if we bumped our speakers sensitivity up, moved closer, etc, this changes.
And remember, this is BEFORE bass management comes into play - chop 30-40% off those figures and then remember this isn't an ACD situation...
I'm assuming that if you're building a dedicated theater, you're using speakers designed for a dedicated theater, like the Klipsch Ultra 2s or Hsus or something like that - in that nice 100 dB/W range. I'm also assuming you're plotting the SPL values and sizing the speakers and amplifiers to the room, and not just picking equipment willy nilly.
I suspect most argument for external amps is purely for those playing at super loud volume and/or in huge rooms.
Surprisingly not. It's the only logical argument sure, but usually the argument for why we "absolutely need" some mondo-buck amp is because it "enhances [poetic words]" and "totally cleans up the system."
Also remember, most of the mega-buck equipment that gets bandied around usually doesn't break 200W/ch anyways. And some of it doesn't even break 100W/ch - there's lots of NAD, Anthem, etc jewelry that barely hits 150W/ch yet costs an absolute FORTUNE simply because someone figured out that they can (as a guy put it a few pages back) "slap a huge price-tag on it and watch the millions come in."
Like I said, if you really want lots of power because it "expands the dynamic range" and "improves bass response" and you're worried about low Z handling, look no further:http://www.qscaudio.com/products/amps/rmx/rmx5050.htm
And for as long as I've been saying people only need a few W nominally, and suggesting the RMX5050 as a joke, I don't think anyone has gone out and bought the RMX5050. So that suggests to me that at least on some level people *are* getting it, even if they don't want to admit to it.