One of my readers, Daniel, was surprised to find that a smaller powered amplifier sounded better than a bigger, more powerful version. He wondered how that could be given how many times I have waxed enthusiastically about the benefits of headroom and power.
Of course, the answer lies not in the power differences but the skills of the designer.
It is often tempting to focus on one area of performance as the key indicator of how a piece of equipment will sound in our systems. Unfortunately, it's never quite that easy. The number of variables determining sound quality is so many as to make one's head spin like Regan MacNeil.
Which is why we listen.