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Help me find a silent Amp v. 2 channels, gain control, 200W RMS into 8 ohms.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a relatively inexpensive amplifier that has at least 200W x 2 RMS into 8 ohms to power the woofer in a pair of tower speakers. The original amp died and isn't available anymore.

It seems "silent" home audio amps from companies like Emotiva, ATI, Outlaw don't have gain controls. Pro amps have gain controls, but have noisy fans.

Are there silent amps with gain controls?

Thanks!
post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 
So, it's been brought to my attention that the Crown XLS Drivecore amps might work well here for what I'm after.
post #3 of 13
Yes, I'm thinking of replacing my Behringer EP4000 with a Crown XLS Drivecore. My Behringer makes a loud pop when turned on unless the gain controls are turned all the way down.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Personally, I wonder if they're really as quiet as people have said. When someone says they never heard the fan in their use of the amp I don't have any idea what the noise floor is in their setup. I guess I should buy one from someplace with a good return policy.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresa View Post

Yes, I'm thinking of replacing my Behringer EP4000 with a Crown XLS Drivecore. My Behringer makes a loud pop when turned on unless the gain controls are turned all the way down.

A pop like usually suggests that something else in the system has already put a DC or LF signal on the input to the power amp.

The amp is driven by some other component - what happens if you turn that component off and keep it off, and then turn on the amp?

Pop or no pop?
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post

Personally, I wonder if they're really as quiet as people have said. When someone says they never heard the fan in their use of the amp I don't have any idea what the noise floor is in their setup. I guess I should buy one from someplace with a good return policy.

If you are serious about quiet, you keep your power amps and as much else as possible:

(1) Away from the listener

(2) In another room if possible.

(3) If in the same room put the speakers between you and the equipment.

These days a lot of AVRs have fans as well.
post #7 of 13
I have never heard the fan kick in on my Crown XLS amp. But it's not silent, because there's a background hiss you can hear (but you have to be within a few feet of the speaker.) I suspect, but have not proved, that if it's loud enough to kick in the fan, you would not hear the fan.

Movies and music are different for power requirements. With music, I would not be surprised if an amp fan would kick in at high volumes. With movies, because they rarely need peak power, the amp might not need the fan (assuming it's a variable fan of course.) A lot of this is guesswork.

I do have a question though - why do you need gain? Gain is just a volume control for amps. Do your level balancing at the processor/receiver. I know some people want to run a higher signal to the amp, and compensate with the amp's gain control, but I never saw the necessity.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

A pop like usually suggests that something else in the system has already put a DC or LF signal on the input to the power amp.
The amp is driven by some other component - what happens if you turn that component off and keep it off, and then turn on the amp?
Pop or no pop?

Its really more of a thump, loud enough for me to feel the air rush from the subs. It developed when I went to turn it on and a burst of static electricity passed from my hand to the amplifier. I was holding wool boots at the time. The very next time I turned it on the thump was there. I'm not replacing it immediately because I'm short of funds right now and turning down the gain controls before I turn it on eliminates the problem.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

If you are serious about quiet, you keep your power amps and as much else as possible:
(1) Away from the listener
(2) In another room if possible.
(3) If in the same room put the speakers between you and the equipment.
These days a lot of AVRs have fans as well.
These aren't real feasible for a setup in my great room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

But it's not silent, because there's a background hiss you can hear (but you have to be within a few feet of the speaker.)
Since it's on a powered woofer I don't expect a little hiss from the amplifier in the output is going to be a problem for me.
Quote:
I do have a question though - why do you need gain? Gain is just a volume control for amps. Do your level balancing at the processor/receiver. I know some people want to run a higher signal to the amp, and compensate with the amp's gain control, but I never saw the necessity.
Because it is to drive a powered woofer in a tower speaker. I need the ability to match the volume of the powered woofer to the other drivers in the speaker which is powered from the receiver. An amp with a fixed gain eliminates the level matching ability and is likely to be wrong unless I get really lucky. Then again, I might not have enough voltage output from the receiver or gain in a pro amp to level match 'em either.

FWIW, the original plate amps in the speakers had a gain / volume knob.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, I ordered a Crown XLS Drivecore 1500 to test and use if it passes my testing for quietness.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
I would say that the Crown XLS Drivecore 1500 I got qualifies as silent. I decided to test it bridged mono driving a 4 ohm subwoofer. Playing very bass heavy demo scenes at the limit of the subwoofer had the fan in the amp cycling on and off. It spun pretty slowly and if I muted the audio while the fan was on I could just barely hear the fan spin with my ear up against the amp. I don't see how you could hear the fan under any normal circumstance even after a sudden transition from a prolonged bass heavy scene to silence.
post #12 of 13
A vintage Yamaha M or MX series amp is quiet and has the power you want. It also does not look like a pro-amp. The M 70 is 200 watts into 8 ohms.
post #13 of 13
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MOST AMAZING AWESOME POWER AMPS I'VE HEARD!!!


I've been an audiophile since I first listened to my Dad's Fisher tube amplifier and Bozak speaker (about the size of the Altec Lancing voice of the theater). In short the early 60's. I still go to High End appointment only stores and audition ridiculously expensive equipment amps etc. You get the idea. All I can say is, I have never ever heard any amp that sounds this good, certainly not for very conservatively ten times the price or more. The sound difference is just profound. I'm running two CROWN XLS 2000'S right now in bridged mode yielding about 1650 watts RMS @ 6 OHMS EACH into Newform Research R-45s along with a HSU subwoofer which plays 16 HZ effortlessly. I may add some TEKTON speakers some day. This ain't your Dad's Class AB amp, Class A amp, or Tube Amp. This is better. I discovered this Crown Drivecore series amp from the managing editor of home theater review. They have now become his reference amps for good reason. He has a blog on a forum I don't think they will let me link here, called the Crown XLS Drivecore the official thread. He also has under his name Andrew Robinson a review of it.

So aside from the "Blow your mind" sound what else is so good about this Crown XLS 2000? Here's what... It has it's own built in line conditioner, yes that's right this bad boy is designed from the ground up to handle bad and variable quality electrical power. It has its own DIGITAL crossover built in should you choose to use it if you can bi-amp your speakers. It runs as a stereo power amp as well. And after you hear this baby for a little while you will want to save up and get another one and then run them as dual mono-blocks. Does even more ridiculously higher wattage sound even better? YES. How can that be? Perhaps its just the wattage grabs hold of the speakers and never lets go. Who knows? All I know is I have NEVER had this kind of power to play with before. These amps never get more than a few degrees above ambient temperature either. Amazing. Crown claims they are 98% efficient and that's how. How come amps of this magnitude are so cheap? One reason is they have lost about 500 parts in making these compared to Class AB. How easy is it to configure this amp? Very, all settings are made by the buttons on the front below the LCD screen. How clear are the directions in the manual? Very, only a few pages for the whole manual. Go to Crown usa and check it out. Several Crown employees use these in Home Theater applications and/or home audio applications. Which model do they ALL use? This one. They said the two lower models are more stripped down and this one the 2000 or the 2500 should be chosen. How is their tech support? Excellent! I got in under a minute each time. These are built for pro use under often very demanding conditions and take a "lickin' and keep on tickin!" I read the transferable warranty to cover almost everything unless you drop it in a lake or throw it off a roof and is transferable and lasts 3 years under PRO use.

You should definitely pull the trigger on this one. But first you must be made aware of the differences between the world of pro audio & home audio. Pro audio equipment uses somewhat higher preamplifier voltage than SOME home stuff. Crown states the input voltage should be 1.4 VOLTS minimum, my preamp puts out 1.0 volts for example, and yes that DOES make a difference. Does it work? Yes just fine but I've got to turn my preamp volume control up to 3PM with a volume control range of 8AM to 5PM just before audible distortion. That helps a lot but you won't be able to blast out an auditorium for example like you could with the specified input voltages. I'm looking into a very basic gain control to deliver the specified voltage. After much searching I have found a simple elegant solution. HTD or home theater direct, has a "line level gain booster" which you can find from THEIR search box. It has the ability to reduce or increase line level (preamplifier) gain up to 12 DB. It is made in Taiwan, with quality similar to Japan. After 48 hours break-in, it adds no noise, nor does it introduce any sonic problems of its own. This little device solves any gain problem anyone might have thereby allowing ANY home theater or audiophile enthusiast to enjoy this incredible pro-audio amplifier. A musician friend of mine just told me about a similar one which uses a single 12AX7 tube per channel and loves it. We'll see.

The banana plug receptacles come plugged with a plastic insert which need to be pulled out. The easiest way to do this is to insert a screw into them just enough to grip them and pull them out by hand and they pop out easily. For audiophile purposes you should set the gain controls to 12:00 noon to plus 1 click MAXIMUM. Finally like most fine audio equipment you need to break it in for 72 TO 96 hours before it gets sweeter. You should run it 24/7 even at barely audible volume at night when sleeping. What's the bummer? It only comes with a 3ft power cord so you may need a 15 amp 3 prong extension cord
Go ahead and pull the trigger on this one and grin from ear to ear. That's what I'm doing. And yes these are now my reference amps and I'm done looking. I could NEVER get rid of these things.
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