Your favorite pro amps for powering L/C/R mains? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 06:40 AM - Thread Starter
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As the title says, I'm looking to experiment with some different pro amps on my front stage. I'm currently running an EP4000 but would love to try something with built in DSP. The lower the noise floor the better as with the gains we're dealing with they seem to be very prone to picking up noise. I convert the unbalanced input of my receiver to balanced. I'm considering the following:

Inuke6000DSP - tried this on Sunday. Seemed to have a good deal of power, but very prone to picking up noise in the line, especially with higher gain settings. Damn thing just looks and feels like a toy but it does crank indeed.

Crown XTi2002 - Looks like a nice amplifier, have not used the DSP. A bit more pricey at 699, but likely a higher end (build quality) amp than the Behringer.

Anything from QSC worth looking at in this range? Peavey IPR series?

What are you guys running and what are your favorites? Price range (street price) 400-800 per amp would be a good range.
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post #2 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 07:40 AM
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IPR1600 gets some pretty good reviews for full range. Check out the review in the amplifier measurements thread.
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post #3 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 08:00 AM
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the IPR3000 and IPR3000DSP as well (more power)


QSC has a few in that price range as well GX5/7, rmx2450...
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post #4 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 08:12 AM
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Why so much amp to run your mains? Seems a tad rediculous. Couldn't you get by with a couple hundred watts? Maybe something non-PA with unbalanced inputs, low noise floor, no fan, 12V trigger, etc. Would probably perform better.
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post #5 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 08:19 AM
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post #6 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 08:26 AM
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I am using a 100 watt per channel 5 channel amp and it works great, my theater never sound better. My speakers could take 1000 watts but at that level my ears would blow up. That extra 10 dBs is not needed ever.

I think if you state what you are doing it would generate better answers. As I said in the other thread, I would think trying out a EP-4000, and then try out a crown amp would be enough. I have used many different pro amps, have you tried using your clone on your mains?

Here is what I would try to cover all the different types of amps.

EP-4000
Crown XTI or DSI
Clone 14K
QSC PLX, crown PLX
5 channel B&K, Adcom, or emotiva
5 channel ATI or parasound or cinenova grande
5 channel Sim audio, krell, plinius, or even a used proceed amp5.

This way you have the low end 5 channel and pro covered, the midfi 5 channel and pro audio, and the high end pro and 5 channel.

My favorite amps for mains are:
Pro audio, ashley
5 channel would be nakamichi and gemstone
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post #7 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic View Post

Why so much amp to run your mains? Seems a tad rediculous. Couldn't you get by with a couple hundred watts? Maybe something non-PA with unbalanced inputs, low noise floor, no fan, 12V trigger, etc. Would probably perform better.

I would also echo this sentiment. We're dealing with drivers with sensitivity in the high 90's. I think a couple hundred watts would be plenty to offer an instant onslaught of deafness. wink.gif

Only reason I'm going with an external amp over my 3009 on this new build is the fact I'm running an entire front stage (5 speakers) at 4 ohm. I'm sure my receiver wouldn't appreciate that too much. smile.gif And at that; a couple hundred watts should be more than enough to reach reference levels with ease.

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post #8 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Goals here are:

1) Experiment - measurements and blind listening tests vs. receiver vs. other amps. Testing to be done at or slightly above reference listening levels with a few sessions a bit above to stretch the legs of each.
2) Built in DSP would be a big win - I like the ability to tweak stuff without adding other boxes in biggrin.gif

I haven't tried the Clone on the mains yet but when I do so I will probably back the gain down quite a bit. biggrin.gif

The plan is to get a few of us together and try out some different amps to compare/contrast receiver power vs. pro amp power vs. mid-fi and hi-fi amps. The testing would be done blind.

MK - I like your idea of trying varying levels of price/quality at each level but would definitely need someone to bring the high end stuff. I don't mind buying a few more pro amps to play around with though. I will likely wind up using one of them to power the subs I'm planning on building for upstairs anyway.

P.S. - Please guys do I really need to explain that we're way beyond 'reasonable' power here? biggrin.gif
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post #9 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 08:42 AM
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I'd be interested in seeing the tests. I've run quite a few different amps in my system, and unless I had them back to back, I honestly don't think I could have told a difference between them, power levels being calibrated equally. I love the reviews you always see online; this amp was much warmer, the soundstage was wider, blah blah.

Rilla, I think instead of wasting a bunch of money buying and trying a million different amps, you would be better served messing around with going active. Much more to be gained than by changing power levels. Keep in mind once again, that these are very efficient speakers. After calibration, the difference between a 200 watt amp and 500 watt amp is going to be nonexistent for home use. There is no way you are going to be able to use enough extra reserve to see the difference. We're not in a live venue where you can continue putting power to them until you reach either the amps, or the speakers, physical limits.

I love seeing you guys experiment with different things, and we all feel overkill is just right biggrin.gif; but I think some of these experiments are just plain ludicrous. wink.gif

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post #10 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 08:44 AM
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You can find some amps that were designed by high end people for other companies and find them used. I bought a Nakamichi 5 channel amp designed by Nelson Pass just for the fun of it. It is rated at 100 watts times 5. I am coming from an $8500 500 watt per channel amp that could power anything and the little 100 watt amp sounds incredible and I like it better. I bought it for $500! Of course my speakers present a 4 ohm load at 109 dBs sensitivity so I don't need much power. The difference in amps in my humble opinion are very minimal. Detail and all that stuff are the same from one amp to another to me. The difference to me are a couple things and they are an overall difference. The feeling or goosebumps effect, dynamics, and the excitement which I guess goes back to the dynamics. The goal is to find the cheapest amp that does it all for you. This little 5 channel cost me $100 per channel and I get it all, huge bargain! Of course I get that from other amps but they all cost more, even multiple pro amps. 3 used EP-2500's would cost $600-$750 and I like the Nakamichi better. Why? Because it had more feel and more exciting during parts. All the detail and accuracy was the same.
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post #11 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorilla83 View Post


P.S. - Please guys do I really need to explain that we're way beyond 'reasonable' power here? biggrin.gif

Exactly, you're way beyond any benefit extra power will offer. You want better sound? Focus on the attributes of an amp that actually can offer you better sound. I don't believe, like others have said, there's much difference between good amps. But if you have a 1000watts and only using 50 watts at the expense of hiss because it has a cheap dsp chip, terrible noise floor, rca-xlr coversion, etc, then what good is that spare 950 watts to you? Much better off with a 200 watt emo or something. There are some "hifi" amps with dsp in them as well.

Also, I gotta ask. What do you plan on doing with the dsp?
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post #12 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Sibuna View Post

Tux,

these are his mains biggrin.gif

http://www.yorkville.com/products.asp?cat=38&id=268&type=29

Huh, I thought he had Fusion 15s.
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post #13 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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OK - Perhaps I should clarify as I think you guys may be getting the wrong impression. The point of this experiment is to settle some arguments and satisfy some curiosity as well. Of all the amps I've listened to (dozens) I can't say I've ever noticed any that sounded better than others. My EP4000 and Denon 4311ci sound exactly to me the same below reference in my room. Above reference they will play louder without distortion. There was a lot of chat at the last GTG around the amplification to drive the speakers - even the high efficiency models like mine. Would be nice to put this to rest both on paper and subjective blind impressions.

Note: I'm not looking to improve output potential in my own room - I've got plenty of volume, that's for certain. The power of the EP4000 I'm using now gives me plenty of output and can hang with the subs nicely. I would however like DSP control to allow me to tweak the high end or mid bass area for certain types of music listening. Audyssey never seems to give me exactly what I'm looking for in all situations.

I was simply asking of those of you that use pro amps to power your front stage, which have you found to be reliable, quiet, and of high value. eek.gif
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post #14 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Huh, I thought he had Fusion 15s.

Oh, I do. biggrin.gif

Current collection:

Yorkville U215's
Fusion-15 "Sentinels"
Other SEOS12 based 10" model I've built crossovers for
CHT SHO-10s
Definitive BP30s
Definitive BP2002
Definitive BPVX
Magnepan MMG
Other stuff like Bose 301's, Infinity bookshelfs, etc.
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post #15 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 09:22 AM
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have you thought about opening your own used stereo equipment store in your basement? wink.gif
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post #16 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 09:28 AM
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Oh ok. I understand better now. You want to carry out an experiment, not satisfy any requirements for your listening application.

I'd check out the Crown XLS series. RCA inputs. Lots of power for very little money. Quite. Audiophiles like them. But no dsp. But I don't have lots of experience with amplifiers, so... smile.gif

So are the Yorks now your LCR? You still using your SEOS design for surrounds? You change setups faster than I change movies eek.gif
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post #17 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 09:49 AM
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Ashly KLR, pick a size. 2k is class A/B.

 

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post #18 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 09:55 AM
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If you want DSP for your speakers and the denon does not do it for you I would get separates and amp and be done! You can tweak however you wish for each channel including subs. This way you can get any amp you want and have the dsp built into the processor. I can think of the Emotiva UMC-2 and sherbourn processor that can do this. Ada has some but very expensive. Sherbourn and Ada both have receivers that can do it all as well and maybe you can order the reciever from sherbourn which will give you true 100 watts per channel(trust me, you won't need more) and the parametric EQ for all channels needed. Using emotiva you can choose any amp but the sherbourn is not low quality as emotiva owns sherbourn now. I would sell the Denon and go this route, I have done the same thing but use a Meridian and DCX with my Nakamichi amp and everyone says this setup sounds much better than my Pio SC-37 did. The pio had supposedly more power to boot and DTS-HD where my meridian does High bit rate DTS. Go figure, I test about 7 different people. BTW, the differences were subtle but worth it, not night and day. I live at reference so everything counts for me.
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post #19 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 09:57 AM
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Cheap amp like the EPX3000 on closeout, and a minidsp. Musicians Friend had them a few weeks ago in the lower $200 range. Should come out to less than $400.

I have an Emotiva XPA-5 which I love. Refurbs on sale are ~$680 shipped and have a 5 year warranty. 300w at 4ohm x 5 + a minidsp would be killer.
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post #20 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 09:58 AM
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+1 on the Crown XLS drivecores. I have one, running the big boys right now, and used to have an xls2000 for sub duty. Killer little amps, super light and dead friggin quiet. Even when the fan is running, you can't hear a thing. I wouldnt hesitate to stack my entire rack with these should I sell the sunfire at any point.

(European models do not accept banana plugs.)

 

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post #21 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sibuna View Post

have you thought about opening your own used stereo equipment store in your basement? wink.gif

If you asked my wife, she would have already thought some type of business was (is) being run. biggrin.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic View Post

Oh ok. I understand better now. You want to carry out an experiment, not satisfy any requirements for your listening application.

I'd check out the Crown XLS series. RCA inputs. Lots of power for very little money. Quite. Audiophiles like them. But no dsp. But I don't have lots of experience with amplifiers, so... smile.gif

So are the Yorks now your LCR? You still using your SEOS design for surrounds? You change setups faster than I change movies eek.gif

Yorks are currently setup as the front stage, but toggling back and forth with the SEOS. I may move the SEOS upstairs for a bit as well.
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post #22 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 12:31 PM
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Yamaha P2500S/3500S
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post #23 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 12:33 PM
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Another Gorilla thread...

Anyone else smell that?

Reeks of DIY in here...

 

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post #24 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 12:53 PM
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QSC PLX3602s
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post #25 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 01:02 PM
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The idea is to get the smallest amp you need. If you only need 100w, then don't get a 1000w amp. One it's a waste of money, but two, because of the larger gain structure, it increases noise levels. So grab the right sized amp that way you have the smallest gain possible and keep your noise floor as low as possible. 200w, 300w Max is the most you'll need.

YID DIY
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post #26 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Yamaha P2500S/3500S

Hadn't heard much about the Yammy's - are the fans quiet on these guys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by popalock View Post

Another Gorilla thread...

Anyone else smell that?

Reeks of DIY in here...

Haha, I'm leaving my mark all over the place. biggrin.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiovideoholic View Post

QSC PLX3602s

That thing is a monster! Quite a bit out of the experimentation budget though. tongue.gif
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post #27 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 05:01 PM
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Carvin's new DCM-X series seems interesting.

I've used Carvin's, QSC EX & MX, Yamaha's, Soundtech, Crest Prolite, and others for HT/Stereo speakers and can say that I really can't tell the difference between them and my "audiophile" amps.

Jim
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post #28 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorilla83 View Post

Hadn't heard much about the Yammy's - are the fans quiet on these guys?
The fans on my P7000S have only very rarely come on when running subs, hard. My P2500S, I've never heard the fans come on at all.
Very quiet electrically too. I've been running Yamaha pro amps in my PA for years now and have beaten the snot out of them and never broken one yet.
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post #29 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 10:33 PM
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if you haven't seen this old one, you might find it interesting:

http://www.matrixhifi.com/contenedor_ppec_eng.htm

inuke6000 bench test:

http://forum.speakerplans.com/behringer-inuke-nu6000-vs-kam-kxd7200-bench-tested_topic69202_page1.html

fun read on how a "golden ear" couldn't tell the difference of a $14000 pair of monoblocks vs. an cheap integrated amp.

http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/home-theater-receivers-processors-amps/34084-can-we-really-hear-difference-between-amps.html

"The Editor at Hometheaterequipment.com picked up a few Crown XLS Drivecores on a lark to test on his B&W 800 Diamonds. Long story short: He dumped his Parasound 2250."

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1424367/amplifier-for-revel-salon2-for-10k-or-less/30

famous quote: “Any amplifier, regardless of topology, can be treated as a “black box” for the purpose of listening comparisons. If amplifiers A and B both have flat frequency response, low noise floor, reasonably low distortion, high input impedance, low output impedance, and are not clipped, they will be indistinguishable in sound at matched levels no matter what’s inside them. Of course, some of the new “alphabet soup” topologies do not necessarily satisfy those conditions.
I really believe that all this soul-searching, wondering, questioning, agonizing about amplifiers is basically unproductive and would be much more rewarding if applied to loudspeakers instead. For various reasons that I have discussed in the past, people are more willing to change amplifiers than loudspeakers. That’s most unfortunate because a new and better loudspeaker will change your audio life but a new amplifier will not.
—Peter Aczel, Editor & Publisher, The Audio Critic

http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/home-theater-receivers-processors-amps/34084-can-we-really-hear-difference-between-amps.html#ixzz2NwiQPW7Y

as for how much power you need, work backwards.

if you are listening at 95db average (high listening level) to content with 20db peak to average, you need 115db at the listening position (uncompressed and unclipped). add some more to make up for losses due to distance from speakers and you need even higher. so if you want realistic dynamics of a drum set in a club sitting close to the stage, you might need a system capable of clean 130db peaks. so even with high sensitivity speakers, you can still encounter scenarios where hundreds if not thousands of watts of power are required.

basspig's system is 140db+ capable in the mid-bass for a reason. :-)
page 3 is a fun read: http://www.basspig.com/

Listen. It's All Good.
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post #30 of 129 Old 05-01-2013, 11:49 PM
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^^ To add to the above, the famous Nouisaine/Zipser test. Starts end page pdf7.

Can't pick a Yamaha integrated from a Pass.
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