I'm not currently in the market for new component speakers but I will be in the coming months, and while this question occured to me and I think I am close to a deeper understanding, I figured I would go ahead and ask it.
To give some background, I am running Kicker SS65.2 components off a Kicker SX900.4 amp. The comps are rated at 100rms, the amp at 125rms, both at 4ohms.
Ok I'll try to get to the point. This is my first set of components in car audio. I see lots of people on the board talking about powering, for example, Rainbow Germaniums (rated at 120?? rms) with well over 200 for great performance. Now I don't have a very good understanding of how amplifiers work but I do know this. When I turn up my comps to 35/35, with the gain set about 70% of the way up, they sound like they are at their limit. Not really distortion, but you can tell they are straining.
What happens when you send 200, or 300rms? Will it give the comps the ability to get louder at lower H-U volume settings? (I realize that it depends on the comps you have, and let's just pretend we are talking about Germaniums because people talk about giving them a lot of power.) Or will it increase their frequency response at the given volume, or ???
I'm just curious because I feel like I could be getting more out of my components and I wonder if a larger amount of clean watts will actually enable them to get louder and cleaner with less effort (is this what the term "headroom" actually refers to?). But basically I know very little about this so any insight would be appreciated.
I guess another important question would be how to test this. Bridging my SX900.4 gives it over 400 watts per side and I am very reluctant to try this, even with gain on 0. What kind of hints or specs would indicate that certain components would perform well with extra wattage?