What's the best low cost (sub $400.00) class D amp for 2 channel listening....consumer or pro is fine - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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So some seem to be generally inexpensive, but are they worth listening to? I have even been looking at pro models like the Crown XLS, but I am not finding anyone who has an inexpensive class D in a 2 channel (or 2.1 with separate powered sub) with much in the way of listening experience insight.

What I am thinking of is picking up an older model pair of Maggies and powering with a D class amp to just play around a bit.'

thoughts, advice and amp recommendations welcome.
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post #2 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 12:34 PM
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Why so hung up on the idea of class D?
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post #3 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Why so hung up on the idea of class D?

Just playing around with it and it'a pretty cheap, but then it may sound cheap too so I thought I would ask around.
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post #4 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 07:13 PM
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Well, if you're just being cheap, buy an AB amp, of which there are many.
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post #5 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Well, if you're just being cheap, buy an AB amp, of which there are many.

Okay, so here's a just for instance. Here are the specs for a $349 D class amp I found. Know of a class AB amp with comparable specs at this price that could safely drive a two way set of Maggies (say MMG's or maybe an old pair of SMG-a's)?

Power Rating
300W/Channel @ 8 Ohms Stereo
525W/Channel @ 4 Ohms Stereo
775W/Channel @ 2 Ohms Stereo
1050W @ 8 Ohms Bridged
1550W @ 4 Ohms Bridged
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post #6 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 07:26 PM
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EP4000.
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post #7 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 07:41 PM
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Go here for further discussion:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1086093/the-official-magnepan-owners-thread

of course go to the last page and post - there's lots of knowledgeable folks there.

I drive my MMGs w/ a 200 watt Mac (rated @ 400 w/ 4 ohms) and am considering class D as well.

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post #8 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 07:55 PM
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I went to the last page and found the most often mentioned amp was the XPA. Class AB.
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post #9 of 29 Old 09-15-2013, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
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EP4000.

Great option! Thx!
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post #10 of 29 Old 09-16-2013, 01:37 PM
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I would just go for a low end AV receiver. They're about $200 bucks and a lot more useful than a cheap class D power amp.
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post #11 of 29 Old 09-16-2013, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I would just go for a low end AV receiver. They're about $200 bucks and a lot more useful than a cheap class D power amp.

Will a cheap receiver run Magnepan's?
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post #12 of 29 Old 09-16-2013, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatham View Post

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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I would just go for a low end AV receiver. They're about $200 bucks and a lot more useful than a cheap class D power amp.

Will a cheap receiver run Magnepan's?

No.

I owned a Crown XLS1500 for a while - used it to drive a pair of Emotiva tower speakers - ERTs. The Crown did as good a job as the other two amps I owned at that time - an Acurus A200x2 and an A200x3. The Crown had more than enough power to drive the ERTs and is more impervious to low impedance dips than either of the Acurus amps. I've probably owned 15 or more power amps in the past 5 years alone. I'm currently driving the ERTs with an XPA-5 - a nice amp that also drives my HT speakers. The Crown amp was as detailed as any of the amps I've owned. I've also had a Behringer EP1500 - it too sounded just fine but is much heavier than the Crown which weighs only 11 pounds IIRC. The Behringer EP series amps will need a fan mod to stifle the cooling fan. Or just get the Behringer A500. It has no fans.

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post #13 of 29 Old 09-16-2013, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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No.

I owned a Crown XLS1500 for a while - used it to drive a pair of Emotiva tower speakers - ERTs. The Crown did as good a job as the other two amps I owned at that time - an Acurus A200x2 and an A200x3. The Crown had more than enough power to drive the ERTs and is more impervious to low impedance dips than either of the Acurus amps. I've probably owned 15 or more power amps in the past 5 years alone. I'm currently driving the ERTs with an XPA-5 - a nice amp that also drives my HT speakers. The Crown amp was as detailed as any of the amps I've owned. I've also had a Behringer EP1500 - it too sounded just fine but is much heavier than the Crown which weighs only 11 pounds IIRC. The Behringer EP series amps will need a fan mod to stifle the cooling fan. Or just get the Behringer A500. It has no fans.

Great feedback Knucklehead. I have been eyeing the Crown XLS 1500 and trying to find one on the 2nd hand market. I think it could be a great little match up for some MMG"s or an older SMGa.
Thanks!
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post #14 of 29 Old 09-16-2013, 09:33 PM
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Any decent new or secondhand pro amp would probably suit you fine so long as it has sufficient power and is rated for your load (Google for an owners manual to be sure). There are many brands available: my favourite is Yamaha, but the Behringers are fine and cost less, though they need a simple fan replacement ~$25 and a half hour. Lots of info out there on this. Other brands are QSC, Crest, Peavey, etc.
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post #15 of 29 Old 09-17-2013, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
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Will a cheap receiver run Magnepan's?

Sure, as long as you don't get anywhere near full output power.
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post #16 of 29 Old 09-17-2013, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatham View Post

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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I would just go for a low end AV receiver. They're about $200 bucks and a lot more useful than a cheap class D power amp.

Will a cheap receiver run Magnepan's?

Yes.

Why not?

First off your question is a bit indistinct, as there are a number of different models of Magnepans, and they are different.

The Magnepan web site is no help, as it repeats the audiophile myth that AVR's can't drive 4 ohm loads. I know its not true because I have one of the cheapest AVRs around, and it drives speakers well that have impedance curves that go down to 3 ohms. I'm also a graduate engineer that has designed, built and tested hundreds of different power amps, ranging from Tripath 10 watt cheapies to the best that Bryston and Crown have.

For example the Magnepan MMG has the following impedance curve:

http://db.audioasylum.com/mhtml/m.html?forum=mug&n=171374&highlight=response+dawnrazor&r=&search_url=%2Fcgi%2Fsearch.mpl%3Fsearchtext%3Dresponse%26b%3DAND%26topic%3D%26topics_only%3DN%26author%3Ddawnrazor%26date1%3D%26date2%3D%26slowmessage%3D%26ip%3D%26sort%3Dscore%26sortOrder%3DDESC%26sortRank%3DForum%26forum%3Dmug



It's basically a 6 ohm speaker. So, its not even one of those allegedly hard-to-drive 3-4 ohm speakers which are actually pretty common.

http://www.magnepan.com/manual_MMG

Its efficiency is given as Sensitivity: 86dB, 2.83 Volts, 500Hz @1 Meter


This positions it as being 4 dB less efficient than the average 90 dB/W speaker. 10 dB is subjectively "half as loud", so you might say it is halfway in-between being as loud and half as loud as the average speaker. If you have a modern AVR you can adjust the volume in fairly accurate 0.5 dB steps. Crank in a 4 dB change and see what you think. It is audible but its not a deal breaker.

In use (and I have hands-on experience with Magnepans) it's power limitations are set by the fuse, which you are told in the manual (linked above) to never replace with > 4 amp standard (not slow blow) fuse. 4 amps into 6 ohms is just under 100 watts. I've blown these fuses with 200 wpc amps without audibly straining the amps or the speakers, so I suspect that using MMGs with > 200 watt amps might be a waste of amplifier power potential.

I look at it this way. My home system has speakers and a powered subwoofer and the speakers have average efficiency but dip to just over 3 ohms. It gets to reference levels with about 3 dB headroom. I never listen to it that loud. This tells me that I could power MMGs with the same AVR and it would be fine.

Send me 3 and I'll try them out! ;-)
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post #17 of 29 Old 09-17-2013, 06:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Any decent new or secondhand pro amp would probably suit you fine so long as it has sufficient power and is rated for your load (Google for an owners manual to be sure). There are many brands available: my favourite is Yamaha, but the Behringers are fine and cost less, though they need a simple fan replacement ~$25 and a half hour. Lots of info out there on this. Other brands are QSC, Crest, Peavey, etc.

I'm sure you know this, but you could power Magnepans with a Behringer A500 and it has no fans. $200 in most pro audio stores and web sites.
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post #18 of 29 Old 09-17-2013, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Quote:
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Will a cheap receiver run Magnepan's?

Sure, as long as you don't get anywhere near full output power.

And the rest of the story hangs on the quesiton of "what is full output power"?

Not a trivial question because we listen to speakers with music, and we typically measure them with sine waves. It's all about crest factor. Music has a crest factor of no less than 6 dB and easily up to 20 dB. Sine waves have a crest factor of 3 dB, which is significantly different than even 6 dB and vastly different (100:1) than 20 dB.

The real situation is that AVRs don't measure so well with low crest factor signals but they do measure and perform well with high crest factor signals. I think we both know that once an amp clips it is done putting out more power for high fidelity purposes. Because of the crest factor issue there's no doubt that an AVR will drive 3-4 ohm speakers to clipping with music.

And, as I show in another post, the Maggies are really 6 ohm speakers, which should make it easy.
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post #19 of 29 Old 09-17-2013, 10:29 AM
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The point I was trying to make to the OP and the poster who claims a receiver can't drive a Magnepan speaker is that the fear of low points in an impedance curve is way, way overblown in the audio world.

1. Those low points don't occur often and for long periods of time.
2. Amp impedance ratings are based on full output power and we rarely if ever use full output power
3. Speaker impedances vary with frequency and vary a lot. Sometimes the low points in the curve are above the point where any music is recorded,

I drive 6 ohm speakers every day with a receiver and it has low points in the curve well under 3 ohms. It isn't even the slightest issue for the receiver to handle it. It doesn't get very warm at all let alone overheated. In fact I have yet to see a speaker that a receiver couldn't drive to normal listening levels in a normal domestic room. It doesn't even make sense for a manufacturer to make speakers that can't be driven by a receiver. Theory says that too low an impedance can cause the amplifier final stage to overheat from increased current draw. In practice it almost never happens and the fear of it is blown way out of proportion by audio people - particularly those who are in the business of selling separate amplifiers. I still recommend you choose a receiver. It will be far more flexible and capable and provide you will benefits such as room calibration and bass management.
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post #20 of 29 Old 09-17-2013, 11:53 AM
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I powered my MMGs with a Yamaha RX-V650 receiver to respectable levels for about 6 months without problems. I now use that as a pre/pro and added an MC 2205 to the L/R channels.

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post #21 of 29 Old 09-17-2013, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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FMW and citizen,

More great insight. I have just heard such stories about Maggies needing so much power and current that I was looking for both at an afforable price. With this feedback it sounds as if I can lighten up a bit and just ensure what I am driving them with can handle the load for my listening environment.

thanks!
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post #22 of 29 Old 09-19-2013, 01:16 PM
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I am using a XLS 2500 to power Magnepan 1.6's in my 2.1 setup, It sounds amazing! Best audio bargain out there, IMO.
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post #23 of 29 Old 09-24-2013, 02:33 PM
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I am using a XLS 2500 to power Magnepan 1.6's in my 2.1 setup, It sounds amazing! Best audio bargain out there, IMO.

it sure is...and although I agree with the above posters. I run my xls2k with my mains that dip down to 3ohm and I assure you it makes a difference compared to just the amp section in my avr.

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post #24 of 29 Old 09-24-2013, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Awesome feedback. I pulled the trigger on a Crown XLS 1500.
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post #25 of 29 Old 09-25-2013, 05:07 AM
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The Magnepan web site is no help, as it repeats the audiophile myth that AVR's can't drive 4 ohm loads.;-)




No it doesn't.


Alatham: I fell in love with Maggies almost ten years ago and I couldn't imagine not having them to enjoy. It's great to consider the opinions of others who post on forums such as this, but my advice to you would be to be vary wary of any advice that contradicts what the actual speaker manufacturer themselves say. Magnepan doesn't say that AVRs can't drive 4ohm loads....they say that you just have to be careful in choosing an AVR that has an amp section that is appropriate for their speakers. Clearly Magnepan doesn't have issues with receivers, since they have a receiver in their lobby driving a pair of their excellent speakers.

As far as Class D stuff, I recently was very happy to see that the new Peachtree Nova 125 that has the ICE modules from B&O was able to do a beautiful job with my 3.6s. In fact, this has become one of my favorite products ever. But there are lots of great options for driving Maggies. My personal preference is to avoid receivers, but I'm sure if that was the route you wanted to go that you could successfully find an appropriate match.
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post #26 of 29 Old 10-07-2013, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragman78 View Post

I am using a XLS 2500 to power Magnepan 1.6's in my 2.1 setup, It sounds amazing! Best audio bargain out there, IMO.

That's what I use on my Magnepan 1.7s and have been very happy with it. I run balanced cables out from the variable output of my Benchmark DAC-1 to the balanced inputs of the Crown.
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post #27 of 29 Old 10-07-2013, 04:20 PM
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There is a good budget Class-BD amp called the TBI Millenia but I dont think it will be powerful enough to drive the Maggies (I heard they are power hungry). If not, I would go for the Crown or the ATI amps.
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post #28 of 29 Old 10-07-2013, 06:19 PM
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There is a good budget Class-BD amp called the TBI Millenia but I dont think it will be powerful enough to drive the Maggies (I heard they are power hungry). If not, I would go for the Crown or the ATI amps.
$500 for 8W at 1% THD. More audiophile silliness.
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post #29 of 29 Old 10-07-2013, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
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There is a good budget Class-BD amp called the TBI Millenia but I dont think it will be powerful enough to drive the Maggies (I heard they are power hungry). If not, I would go for the Crown or the ATI amps.
$500 for 8W at 1% THD. More audiophile silliness.

 

"When using the AC power supply [...] 32 W of power per channel for musical passages at less than 1% distortion while having a maximum power rating of 40 W at 10%"

 

Silly? It's terrible.

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