I'm trying to understand the relationship between power and sound quality. My friend recently upgraded his McIntosh amp from 300w/ch to 450 w/ch. The old amp was dated 1998. He has B&W 803 speakers and a nice Mcintosh CD player. He plays music in his great room (no special accoustic treatments).
Anyway, on the new system he claims music is significantly better (clearity, separation,...) while @ a lower power level. On the old system he used play music @ 45 w (on mac power meter), new amp he plays same music @ 4.5 w. He's telling me it's mostly due to the new power supply has more power so the music is cleaner and fills the room so much better @ lower power. I'm struggling to grasp this concept.
To me it would seem like - for a given power level (4.5 w) the speakers would output the same volume level regardless of which amp he uses? I'm not sure why he thinks the new amp produces the same output (volume) @ 1/10 of the power output of the old?
Secondly I'm struggling to understand how the new amp can produce better music @ a lower power level. I can understand the music might sound better to him (maybe the electronics are better in the new amp or maybe he convinces himself it sounds better cause he just graded and needs to justify the expense). Considering that the Mcintosh brand is supposed to be of superior quality i can't believe the distortion would be that noticeable between the new vs. old amp (old amp16% of total power output vs 1% on the new).
Lastly - my local shop is always talking about some of the newer low power amps (>50 w) are so great you don't need high power anymore?