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"You need to run at least twice the power the woofer is rated for if you want it to get loud."
The problem with this statement and belief is that it leads people to make some poor decisions when putting a system together.
Many manufacturers use thermal measurements as a basis of power handling specs. The more power you put to a speaker the hotter the voice coil will get faster.
I have a woofer rated for 300 Watts RMS and I have a 250 Watt amp connected to it. My friend warns me about the dangers of "underpowering" subwoofers (see Myth #1) so I decide to get a bigger amp.
I do some research and I find out that by doubling power I can gain another 3dB of output (the minimum change we can hear easily). So I go out a buy a 600 Watt amplifier and connect it to my woofer. More power = more output and no worries about Myth #1.
What the 3dB rule does not consider is heat. As a voice coil gets hotter the impedance rises. As it rises the output will decrease. So instead of the 3dB gain, I get a 1 or 2 dB gain which I will not hear.
So I spend all this cash on a new amp and it's not louder....I'm not having that! So I turn up the gain, I turn up the bass eq to try to extract my $$$ worth of audio. I exchange my radio which has a volume that goes to 65 because mine only goes to 60. I am now driving this amp into severe clipping and the amp is producing average energy like one twice it's size (See Myth #2). Eventually the woofer will grenade.

Woofers can handle greater power levels for short periods of time but for long term listening, it's not worth it! If you find that your EQ levels are greater than +6dB, you really should consider more drivers over more power to get the output you are looking for.
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