A little update to my post below...(please do read it or this bit won't make any sense)...

Further to my argument, I spent the final hours of Saturday plugging the Leema Hydra power amp into the Sonus Faber Cremonas and it's the best I have yet heard these divine speakers sound. A mind blowing demo. Two of my colleques were equally as stunned by the improvement in dynamics, control, punch and speed. So in this case, an $8500 power amp with an appropriate pre amp is of about equal value to the Cremona's ($12,999) and while all other amps have also sounded great (amazing in fact), this combo has left me with goosebumps.

Obviously, this sort of kit isn't within everyones budget, it's just to further illustrate my point.

I read some AV forums last night ...

I know, I know, I have no-one to blame but myself.

It was interesting and concerning to hear some people recommend that you allocate half of your surround sound speaker budget to your subwoofer. This is so thoroughly absurd that I don't even know where to start but it got me thinking about budget allocation in the two channel world.

Opinions differ widely, here in the store and in the wider hifi community but I think a common mistake people make is under powering their speakers. I'm not talking about watts RMS here because as we all know; there's 100 watts and then there's 100 watts ...

The problem I come across is that people often want to spend three quarters of their budget on the speakers. Sometimes more!

I think it's commonly understood that in an ideal world, you should allocate equal amounts to every component in your system but in the real world, this rarely happens.

What people use as their primary source is changing rapidly. With so many good dacs and streamers out there now and the unstoppable resurgence of vinyl, lets leave sources aside and think about speakers and amplifiers.

I think part of the problem (that most "audiophiles" won't admit to) is that the speakers are the thing that you see. They really are a piece of furniture as well as hifi kit, so the look and scale of the speakers becomes a factor of much importance...often at the expense of the amplifier, which people tuck away in a cabinet. Out of sight, out of mind. Of course I too live in the real world and I can't deny that at the end of the day, you have to live with this stuff and see it every day. The form does matter and to deny this would be dishonest.

The other reason people place priority on the speakers is that that's where the music comes out...right? Well yeah sure but they don't do it on their own. A car's wheels do all of the driving but I'm pretty sure the engine does all the heavy lifting.

The moral of the story...if you've fallen in love with a $5000 pair of speakers then you really need to give some long hard thought to powering them with a $5000 amplifier.

Again it's not just about watts per channel. I would never advise buying big just because it's big. I can site lots of examples of tiny amps sounding better than bigger ones. And of course, vice versa.

In the other camp, there are people who think the truly discerning listener, listens softly and would never need more than 35 watts. This argument holds little weight in my mind. Firstly, the truly discerning listener needs to stop taking himself so seriously, secondly, buying a big amp doesn't mean you have to listen at full volume and thirdly, the really important part... a bigger amp has better control over the speakers at any and all listening volumes. Even super softly.

In the interests of full disclosure...this is coming from a guy who bought 2 x 750 watt monoblocks. 5 years on, I'm still too embarrassed to tell my mum how much I paid for them.