What large amplifiers are best for

In his autobiography, Thomas Merton recounts a scene from his early college years:

Two attempts where made to convert me to less shocking tastes. The music master lent me a set of records of Bach’s B Minor Mass, which I liked, and sometimes played on my portable gramophone, which I had with me in the big airy room looking out on the Headmaster’s garden. But most of the time I played the hottest and loudest records, turning the Vic towards the classroom building, eighty yards away across the flowerbeds, hoping that my companions, grinding out the syntax of Virgil’s Georgics, would be very envious of me.

-Thomas Merton, The Seven Story Mountain, P. 99

I clearly remember my first week in college, living in the “scholar’s residence” which was on old Greek row with all the frats and sororities. Most of the houses had procured large, Van Halen-roadshow-sized speaker systems from which they blasted ACDC and Snoop Dog at volumes that would ricochet off the sides of the football stadium a mile away. I remember walking by them and casting a look of scorn in their direction while secretly wishing I might blast a few of my own tunes back. Our professor of early music history suggested Verdi’s Dies Erie. Very good choice. Love that bass drum solo right before the first repeat.