Looking for a good amp under $700 for my Quad 12L2 and sub setup - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I have enjoyed my sytem on my $200 onkyo amp from college but its time to upgrade. I had my heart set on an Onkyo A 9555 with the Hi-Fi fuse upgrade. It seems that this model is no longer being made, and I have searched for used ones but no luck from a trusted source. The speakers are 6ohm with 100W rating. I am horrible under driving them at the moment. The amp needs to have a way to hook up a powered amp. I do like having bass and treble control so thats what lead me to the 9555. I do see a 9050 and a 9070 on the onkyo site but, the 9050 is rated 10 less W and its MSRP $400 is under the 9555 $700 so I am thinking its a lesser audiophile type amp.

I am open to other brands that have bass and treble control. AM/FM is no concern for me.
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 02:30 PM
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The speakers are 6ohm with 100W rating. I am horrible under driving them at the moment.
What makes you say that? Are they clipping badly? Are you unable to play them as loud as you want to? If not, then you are not underdriving them.
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The amp needs to have a way to hook up a powered amp.
I'm afraid this makes no sense. What are you trying to say?
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I do see a 9050 and a 9070 on the onkyo site but, the 9050 is rated 10 less W and its MSRP $400 is under the 9555 $700 so I am thinking its a lesser audiophile type amp.
First of all, 10 watts is nothing. You need double the power to get a meaningful increase in loudness. Second, price has nothing to do with the quality of an amp. I could point you to a $100 receiver that could drive your speakers cleanly to ear-splitting volumes.
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I am open to other brands that have bass and treble control. AM/FM is no concern for me.
Fair enough, but one of the upside-down aspects of audio is that amps with tuners in them cost less than amps without tuners in them—and the latter are not necessarily any better in other ways. It mostly has to do with manufacturing economies of scale.

But if you want an integrated amp (and I like them, myself), NAD certainly makes them in your price range. Rotel used to, but I don't know what they offer these days.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #3 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by yusoslo View Post

I have enjoyed my sytem on my $200 onkyo amp from college but its time to upgrade. I had my heart set on an Onkyo A 9555 with the Hi-Fi fuse upgrade.

Hi Fi fuse upgrade? LOL!
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It seems that this model is no longer being made, and I have searched for used ones but no luck from a trusted source. The speakers are 6 ohm with 100W rating

The Quad 12L2 are actually pretty efficient at 88 dB/W
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I am horrible under driving them at the moment.

How do you know that this is true given that the speakers are reasonably efficient?
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The amp needs to have a way to hook up a powered amp.

Lots of receivers have this feature, and for those that don't' "Vee haff a vayy".;-)

Probably more to the point would be to obtain a good powered subwoofer and take a load off of that 6 1/2" l woofer in the Quads.
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I do like having bass and treble control so thats what lead me to the 9555. I do see a 9050 and a 9070 on the onkyo site but, the 9050 is rated 10 less W and its MSRP $400 is under the 9555 $700 so I am thinking its a lesser audiophile type amp.

What is an "ayudiophile type amp" other than something that is being hyped beyond belief and wildly overpriced (like Hi Fi fuses)?
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I am open to other brands that have bass and treble control. AM/FM is no concern for me.

So check the manufacturer's web sites, check out the features, download the user manuals...
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post #4 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. The brand is called HiFi, they make fuses that apparently improve the sound a considerable amount. Here is the link
http://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/907onk

The reason I mention I am underdriving them is my current Onkyo is 15 years old and is 55W rated. The Quads sound great, and get loud but I notice the mid bass starts to soften at higher volumes and I can get some distortion, which makes be believe they are not being controlled sufficiently. I come and go with this hobby at it has been 5-6 years since I purchased my quad speakers and sub. So my jargon is not up to par. The reason I asked about the sub hook up is I have seen some 2 channel amps that do not have a line out for an amplified amp to be connected. I dont need a tuner just a good amp, but being able to switch sources is a plus. That way I can get rid of my old amp/reciever.

I have also been reading up on the peachtree nova 85W and it seems nice. A few years ago when I was researching everyone raved of the value in the 9555, so I was asking on here is there is a popular 2 channel amp that has great clean sound for a good price for my existing sub/monitor setup.

Thanks again.
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post #5 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 03:59 PM
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Thanks for the replies. The brand is called HiFi, they make fuses that apparently improve the sound a considerable amount. Here is the link
http://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/907onk
That is hornswoggle. I love the First Amendment, but it does lead to quality control issues.
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The reason I mention I am underdriving them is my current Onkyo is 15 years old and is 55W rated. The Quads sound great, and get loud but I notice the mid bass starts to soften at higher volumes and I can get some distortion, which makes be believe they are not being controlled sufficiently.
55 wpc will not underdrive those Quads.That doesn't mean you shouldn't replace the Onkyo, but insufficient power is probably not your problem.
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I come and go with this hobby at it has been 5-6 years since I purchased my quad speakers and sub.
Oh, powered sub. Now it makes sense.

If you have a powered sub, the right tool for the job is an AV receiver. Forget all the audiophool stuff about dedicated amps sounding better. AVRs give you two things that really do improve the sound of your system: Room treatment and bass management. And yes, you're "buying" a lot of other features you don't need (at least right now). But you're not really paying anything extra for them.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #6 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post


If you have a powered sub, the right tool for the job is an AV receiver. Forget all the audiophool stuff about dedicated amps sounding better. AVRs give you two things that really do improve the sound of your system: Room treatment and bass management. And yes, you're "buying" a lot of other features you don't need (at least right now). But you're not really paying anything extra for them.

What he said...

A medium level AVR can be had with around 90-100 watts for about 500 bucks or less. Room correction and bass management are nice tools to have.
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post #7 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by yusoslo View Post

Thanks for the replies. The brand is called HiFi, they make fuses that apparently improve the sound a considerable amount. Here is the link
http://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/907onk

What a bunch of hoohey!

There was actually an AES article or three that were written about fuses and audio. No audible effects were ever found.
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The reason I mention I am underdriving them is my current Onkyo is 15 years old and is 55W rated.

Only a problem if you need more than 55 watts to play your speakers the way you like them.
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The Quads sound great, and get loud but I notice the mid bass starts to soften at higher volumes and I can get some distortion, which makes be believe they are not being controlled sufficiently.

The most likely source of this situation is that the Quads themselves are compressing the signal.

Here's the theoretical maximum undistorted SPL you can get out of a 6 1/2 inch driver: Every real world 6 1/2" driver can be reasonbably expected to do worse:

F,Hz Max SPL, dB

10 69
20 81
30 88
40 93
50 97
60 100
70 103
80 105
90 107
100 109
130 114

At 80 Hz you are limited by the theoretical maximum capabilities of your speakers to a mere 105 dB which corresponds to a mere 50 watts given the rated sensitivity of the speakers.

You already have enough receiver to overpower the speakers.

Remember that the estimate above gives the speakers every possible break, while our receiver numbers are likely to be far more accurate.

IOW you are probably already overpowering your speakers with 55 wpc.

Remember that to get twice as loud you need 10 times the power. In your case this would be 550 wpc, and you don't have the speakers to handle such an amp!

Going to 85 wpc or 125 wpc is like a drop in the bucket, and just so you don't forget, you don't have the speakers to handle such an amp! You really don't have the speakers to handle the amp you got.

You would be in far deeper hot water if you didn't have the sub. You might want to experiment with a higher subwoofer crossover frequency.
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post #8 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Great info guys! Thanks so much. I have my sub coming in around 120HZ and below. These speakers sound amazing and I love them, and they do play great for a 15Wx13' deep room with a 11' listening distance (speakers are 14" off back wall). They are also loud enough for 98% of my listening. When I crank really loud on a bass heavy song the Onkyo volume knob is 2/3 maxed out I can hear a bit muddying of the mid range, granted thats with by bass knob maxed out, if I dial the bass back to 3/4 it clears up. I was under the impression the Quads have their own crossover so they wouldnt play too low fequencies. Maybe I am asking too much bass from them and I will turn the sub volume and crossover up a bit.

My most important thing is I hear crackling when I adjust the volume, which got me thinking I need a new amp. Am I doing a diservice to these speakers with a cheap old amp? I feel that there will be a lot of clarity and control to be found in a high quality amp. I really appreciate your unbiased opinion guys. I was really sold on that article!!!!! LOL.

Whats your opinion on the Peachtree Nova? I do a lot of pandora, flac, lossless streaming with my Squeezebox, so the DAC sounds enticing. I will be investing in a turn table next year.
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post #9 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by yusoslo View Post

Great info guys! Thanks so much. I have my sub coming in around 120HZ and below. These speakers sound amazing and I love them, and they do play great for a 15Wx13' deep room with a 11' listening distance (speakers are 14" off back wall). They are also loud enough for 98% of my listening. When I crank really loud on a bass heavy song the Onkyo volume knob is 2/3 maxed out I can hear a bit muddying of the mid range, granted thats with by bass knob maxed out, if I dial the bass back to 3/4 it clears up. I was under the impression the Quads have their own crossover so they wouldnt play too low fequencies. Maybe I am asking too much bass from them and I will turn the sub volume and crossover up a bit.

The more you say the more I feel that you are definitely asking too much of those little quads.
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My most important thing is I hear crackling when I adjust the volume, which got me thinking I need a new amp. Am I doing a diservice to these speakers with a cheap old amp?
.

Probably. The cracking is of course dirt in the volume control which is endemic in old analog volume controls and happens too quckly with the really cheap ones. Sometimes a spray-in control cleaner (e.g. Cramolin) can help. You often have to dissasemble the AVR to apply it and then the results are often temporary.
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I feel that there will be a lot of clarity and control to be found in a high quality amp.

I can suggest to you that if you think that you have to spend the big bucks to have a high quality amp, be prepared to have your feelings hurt!

Quote:
I really appreciate your unbiased opinion guys. I was really sold on that article!!!!! LOL.

If it is in Stereophile and not written by Kal Robinson....

If It is in Stereophile and not an equipment test by John Atkinson...


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Whats your opinion on the Peachtree Nova? I do a lot of pandora, flac, lossless streaming with my Squeezebox, so the DAC sounds enticing.

In this day and age expensive DACs are right up there with expensive cables as being good places to avoid spending the big bucks on.
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I will be investing in a turn table next year.

Unless you already have a big LP collection that isn't really an investment. It's mad money! ;-)
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post #10 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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ArnyK. It seems to me you are saying an amp is an amp? I really spent months picking the right speaker because certain ones did not sound good to me. Its hard to demo and amp, there are no high end stereo shops in Richmond any more due to this economy. From everything you are mentioning to me it sounds like you are saying stick with what I have?
I agree w not spending too much money. For me I set a limit on my home stereo of 4k. To me anything beyond that was not worth the sound per $. Same with my other hobbies, I set a budget and try to find a happy medium. When I restore hotrods 20k is my max, I dont see the point in 50k 75l 150k hot rods that arent driven. Same with stereos, I listened to a clients 35k stereo and I like mine better which is now in the 2k range.

I figured $700 would get me some gain in sound quality. Am I wrong?
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post #11 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 09:16 AM
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It seems to me you are saying an amp is an amp? I really spent months picking the right speaker because certain ones did not sound good to me. Its hard to demo and amp, there are no high end stereo shops in Richmond any more due to this economy. From everything you are mentioning to me it sounds like you are saying stick with what I have?
It's not quite as simple as "an amp is an amp." You need enough power under the right circumstances to drive whatever you are trying to drive. Beyond that, however, amps themselves are pretty much indistinguishable.

But that doesn't mean you should keep what you have. It's old, and the volume pot problem is the first sign of that.
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I figured $700 would get me some gain in sound quality. Am I wrong?
$700 would be a lot to spend for a new volume pot. smile.gif

A new AVR would be a better investment.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #12 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 09:30 AM
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Hey Yusoslo - my suggestion would be to graduate from the bass and treble control and go with a modern audiophile amp. My suggestion would be Emotiva. Super value and great sound, also tons of power. I'm sure you could find something there, but I love the XPA-2. It drives my mmg's (86db) quite nicely!
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post #13 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by yusoslo View Post

ArnyK. It seems to me you are saying an amp is an amp?

That is stated so broadly that I don't know what it means.
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I really spent months picking the right speaker because certain ones did not sound good to me.

Been there done that. The audible differences between speakers are huge compared to what can be heard among good amplifiers. But, your particular amp seems a bit doubtful.
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Its hard to demo and amp, there are no high end stereo shops in Richmond any more due to this economy. From everything you are mentioning to me it sounds like you are saying stick with what I have?

What I say is be purposeful, and have logical reasons.

If I'm reading this thread right, you've got a receiver with a noisy volume control pot and its pretty old tech. It seems to be lacking in things like modern automated system optimization facilities like YPAO, MCACC or Audyssey. I suspect it has other issues as well. It may be time for being pruned at the tap root, if you catch my drift. ;-)
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I agree w not spending too much money. For me I set a limit on my home stereo of 4k. To me anything beyond that was not worth the sound per $. Same with my other hobbies, I set a budget and try to find a happy medium. When I restore hotrods 20k is my max, I dont see the point in 50k 75l 150k hot rods that arent driven. Same with stereos, I listened to a clients 35k stereo and I like mine better which is now in the 2k range.

I figured $700 would get me some gain in sound quality. Am I wrong?

Depends on how you spend that $700!...
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post #14 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by earwaxxer View Post

Hey Yusoslo - my suggestion would be to graduate from the bass and treble control and go with a modern audiophile amp. My suggestion would be Emotiva. Super value and great sound, also tons of power. I'm sure you could find something there, but I love the XPA-2. It drives my mmg's (86db) quite nicely!

I doubt exactly how modern a XPA2 really is. It looks to me like something that could have easily been built almost identically as it is today back in the 1980s, 1990s at the latest.

I agree with the idea of leaving bass and treble controls behind. This far into the second decade of the new millenium, even $29.95 portable music players have credible six band graphic equalizers. That is head and shoulders above bass and treble controls. Even better than that are the automatic system optimization facilities such as YPAO, MCACC and Audyssey. They come with their own measurement mic that you put where your listening chair is and the system optimizes itself for that.

I'm not sure that Emotiva has anything like that anywhere in their entire current catalog! It looks like for a high price about 2-3 times that of a good AVR, they will provide some kind of a "TACT® Dynamic Room Correction™" in the yet-to-be-sold XMC-1. Good. Gonna buy one?
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post #15 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 08:50 PM
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Hey Arnie - Knowing Emotiva, they probably copy popular amp design from Bryston etc. They are quite modern in terms of the overbuilt power supply etc, yet simplicity of circuitry. Much has been learned in class A/B design.
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post #16 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:23 PM
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Copyright protection in the USA lasts for 19 years for most inventions. That means any amp design from 20 years ago could be reproduced without violating copyright laws. I doubt Emotiva is doing anything different than a dozen other amp designers are doing. If you are going to copy an amp design why not copy a great design?

And if those copyright laws never expired we'd all be paying homage - and a royalty - to Sir John Ambrose Fleming's descendent's.

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post #17 of 19 Old 12-14-2012, 08:43 AM
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The Music Hall A15.2 is a very good-sounding amplifier. I recommend it. IMO it will sound much better than your old amplifier.

It is available for $499, and IMO is the best you will get for under $800.

You really do not need more power, but better amplifiers have better power supplies that can deliver more peak current and lower distortion. A simple power rating is not going to fully describe how well an amplifier performs or sounds; there is a lot more to it than that.
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post #18 of 19 Old 12-14-2012, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your recommendations. I will look into that amp. Thats exactly what I was looking for, brand and model recommendations for my setup that I can compare and research. Thanks again.
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post #19 of 19 Old 12-15-2012, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post


The Music Hall A15.2 is a very good-sounding amplifier. I recommend it. IMO it will sound much better than your old amplifier.

It is available for $499, and IMO is the best you will get for under $800.

You really do not need more power, but better amplifiers have better power supplies that can deliver more peak current and lower distortion. A simple power rating is not going to fully describe how well an amplifier performs or sounds; there is a lot more to it than that.

I believe that the above comment distracts its readers from the best possible sound quality in their system a number of different of easily quantifiable ways. However, the claim that "better amplifiers have better power supplies that can deliver more peak current and lower distortion" ignores the fact that this benefit is only obtained if compared to equipment that is actually running out of power in actual use. Merely having the improved power supplies has zero audible benefits unless the power is actually needed. It is my experience that it is the speakers and not the power amplfiers in most modern systems that are running out of dynamic range. In either case, adding a competent subwoofer is superior solution for any such problems.

First off I don't deny that it is a good sounding integrated amplifier as far as it goes. Rather, I feel that it lacks important features that just about anybody assembling a modern system needs.

(1) The recommended equipment lacks digital inputs. I've found that just about everybody who is bulding a modern music system today is going to be wanting to get involved with music sources that have digital outputs.

(2) The recommended equipment lacks bass management. I've found that a great many people have music systems with speakers that have significant limitations in bass dynamic range.

(3) The recommended equipment lacks an automated facility for system optimization. I've found that a great many people have music systems with speakers and other components that would benefit from an automated facility for system optimization (YPAO, MCACC, Audyssey).

(4) The recommended equipment lacks the ability to be upgraded to an effective multichannel system.

What it is really all about is a traditional approach to sound quality versus a modern approach to sound quality.
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