I'm designing an internal sound system for an outdoor sound sculpture. Audio quality is important but volume (sound pressure) is what's most critical in this application.
I have auditioned many speakers, and settled on these outdoor speakers. They are rated at 175W Peak. I initially tested them through this cheap $25 100W amp I picked up from China. Quality wasn't great, but sound pressure wasn't bad (it was quite "loud", which for this application is most important). Given that I was under driving the speakers, I figured I should pick up a more powerful amp so the cheap amp wouldn't fail after continuous max volume playback.
I picked up this 1000W Peak 500W RMS rack-mount amp and connected the same speakers. Sound quality was way better across the spectrum but I was shocked that when cranked to max, the sound pressure was significantly lower than with the cheap amp.
I am really new to this side of audio and this contradicts everything I've learned so far (or thought I've learned) about driving speakers. Can you shed some light on what might be going on? (And more importantly, HOW can I get more output i.e.: perceived volume, out of these speakers?)