The capability of semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOA) to amplify advanced optical modulation format signals is investigated. The input power dynamic range is studied and especially the impact of the SOA alpha factor is addressed. Our results show that the advantage of a lower alpha-factor SOA decreases for higher-order modulation formats. Experiments at 20 GBd BPSK, QPSK and 16QAM with two SOAs with different alpha factors are performed. Simulations for various modulation formats support the experimental findings.