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sub 100w 2-channel setup recommendations - Page 2

post #31 of 74
Thread Starter 
This is hard.

I heard the Kef LS50s today, which also sounded incredible. The problem is the CM5s did make more of an impression on me yesterday, but I can't put my finger on why. I prefer the look of the LS50s and maybe because of all the good reviews on here I want to like them more (which is wrong, i know) and now I'm thinking about other factors that might have made the LS50s slightly less to my liking today.

The CM5s were on the manufacturer stands and in a big room and I was sitting about 12 feet away in big comfy chair. The LS50s were setup on a shelf and because of the way the room was laid out, I has sitting about 6 feet away against a wall. I know this can make a difference, but now I'm thinking that when people sample speakers, they can't rationally expect to get an even comparison if they are trying different brands in different locations.

So question is, how to you make the final choice in situations like this, which must be fairly common.
post #32 of 74
Some dealers will allow you an in home demo if you are truly serious. All you can do is ask. I might also throw in the suggestion of checking out the equivalent DALI line of speakers.
post #33 of 74
I had a chance to listen to the LS 50 and the cm-5 back to back ( within 5 minutes) in adjacent very similar rooms at RMAF last fall.
Neither had a sub hooked up and the LS 50's spanked the b&w. I was expecting a closer comparison.
Just my impression, but for a 300 ish sq ft room, the KEF was the clear winner.
Full disclosure: I own neither of these brands
Cheers, Mac
post #34 of 74
Thread Starter 
ok, I'm pretty much decided on the LS50s. I'm going to make one more round of listening next weekend, but I'm 95% there.

As far as amps, I've narrowed it down to the Peachtree Nova vs the NAD 375DAC (which looks like the 375BEE with the DAC module) They cost about the same and both have close to the same power output.
I'm not worried about the number of inputs, etc. I only plan on using the USB.

Is there anything else I should consider between these 2 other than the way they look?
post #35 of 74
The NAD is considerably more capable than the Peachtree in terms of power. It is a beast.* And it's as big as a full sized AVR and needs plenty of room for ventilation, so factor that into your decision.

The Peachtree is far less powerful, but it's much smaller and looks better.


*Continuous, full bandwidth, both channels driven, the NAD provides 150w into 8/4 ohms (odd that they are the same); dynamic power by IHF method results in 250w/410w/600w into 8/4/2 ohms. The previous version C372 as measured by SoundStage and Stereophile indicated that the published specs are conservative if anything. I doubt that the Peachtree can hang with that, but then again, you may not need such prodigious power.
post #36 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawndo View Post

ok, I'm pretty much decided on the LS50s. I'm going to make one more round of listening next weekend, but I'm 95% there.

As far as amps, I've narrowed it down to the Peachtree Nova vs the NAD 375DAC (which looks like the 375BEE with the DAC module) They cost about the same and both have close to the same power output.
I'm not worried about the number of inputs, etc. I only plan on using the USB.

Is there anything else I should consider between these 2 other than the way they look?

Peachtree makes some lovely looking gear which, by all accounts, performs as advertised. ..Plus, their small size and up-start mentality is cheer-worthy. ..But that said, I must say that i would never choose a minimalist design like the Nova over a full-featured integrated like the NAD for my main listening system. ..To my thinking, there is really NO good reason for an amp to lack Bass/ Treble and Balance controls all of which are absent on the Nova, and present on the NAD. These are non-destructive features (when competently engineered as they undoubtedly are on the NAD) which allows the user to better enjoy less than perfectly recorded music with just a simply turn of a dial. I know they are something of an anachronism these days, but they shouldn't be. ..They are essential for the real music lover, IMHO. I owned both the Peachtree (bought it on a whim, intended for a 2nd system) and the 375 (to replace the Bryston separates on my main rig) and found the fit/finish on the NAD to be better as well.
post #37 of 74
Thread Starter 
I guess the new Rotel RA-1570 is also in consideration, but I am leaning towards that NAD.

I kinda wanted a minimal amp with just a big 'ol volume knob on the front. I also saw the Music Fidelity M6i, but it is 200Watts per channel. Would that be dangerous for the LS50s?
post #38 of 74
shawndo:
Speakers are much more frequently damaged by under-powering them. Having excess power for dynamic passage in the source material is a good thing. I believe that you would not be able to be in the same room with the LS50s before you would damage them with too much power. So don't turn it up to 11.
Good luck,
Mike
post #39 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnilan View Post

shawndo:
Speakers are much more frequently damaged by under-powering them.

And that is an audiophile myth.

Fact is that speakers are generally damaged by either shock or excess power. More than once I've dropped a speaker not too many inches and had a rubbing voice coil to add to my troubles. But mostly its excess power that cooks those voice coils.

The myth is that clipping changes the spectral balance of music and tips so much energy to high frequencies that the tweeters get fried. Reality is that clipping music does change it to square waves, but the music may have have had more highs in it before it was clipped. Or not. No general rule there!

One thing that clipping does do and that is increase the total energy. One might think that when an amp starts clipping it can put out no more power, but because of the dynamic nature of music, amps can put out as much as 10 times or more power if you keep turning them up after they start clipping.

The rule that works most of the time is to stop turning the volume up when the music starts sounding bad. Of course liberal consumption of your favorite libation or just a rush of ego can carry some of us beyond that.

What ever happens with small amplifiers happens even more with big ones.
Quote:
Having excess power for dynamic passage in the source material is a good thing.

Of course it is. But if you work the numbers or measure actual power with actual speakers in actual rooms, it usually only takes a watt or a few watts to get up to reference level (85 dB SPL). The most dynamic music around might have peaks up to 20 dB above that, so now you are talking maybe 100 watt peaks. This is still within the realm of fairly ordinary amplifiers.
Quote:
I believe that you would not be able to be in the same room with the LS50s before you would damage them with too much power. So don't turn it up to 11.
Good luck,
Mike

KEF LS50s have only about 85 dB/W sensitivity:

http://www.stereophile.com/content/kef-ls50-anniversary-model-loudspeaker-measurements

Specified are: "Amplifier requirements: 25–100W. Maximum output: 106dB."

106 dB corresponds to about 100 watts iof nput power. KEF seems to be pretty consistent about the care and feeding of these little babies.

106 dB peaks aren't ear shattering if we are talking really dynamic music, which is the topic you brought up. A 5.25 inch Uniq driver can be very pleasurable to listen to (I have a pair of 6.5 inchers), but for musical enjoyment and good dynamic range the use of a good subwoofer would seem to be indicated.
post #40 of 74
You cannot damage a speaker by underpowering it, any more than you can damage a tire by driving it too slow. There is a grain of truth there, however, plus a lot of misunderstanding (what it would have to do with "audiophiles", I can't imagine).

I guess Arnie thinks all myths in existence can be blamed on audiophiles, going all the way back to ancient Greece. biggrin.gif

What CAN happen, however, is that an amplifier with a 60 WPC power rating CAN be turned up until it is clipping and put out a lot more than 60 watts (with massive distortion).

The 60 WPC rating is for maximum UNDISTORTED output, but it can put out a lot more power with huge amounts of distortion when it is driven to clipping.

The point is that it is conceivable that a 60 WPC amplifier could possibly damage speakers rated for 80 watts, IF the amp is turned up to where it is clipping and putting out around 100 watts or so with 60% distortion.

This is very unlikely to happen because it will sound so bad, but there are idiots out there who have done it. That may be where that myth of "underpowering" comes from.

By the way, Arnie, an amplifier cannot put out 10 times its rated power, even at full clipping. It can put out a lot more, but nowhere near 10 times as much.

If it can put out 60 watts RMS, for example, with a maximum P-P sinewave output (limited by the power supply rail voltages), and then you crank it up to where the output is clipping and essentiailly putting out a maximum square wave ( limited by the power supply rail voltages), that is still nowhere near 10 times the power. Do the math.

For example, if an amplfifier has two 50 volt DC supplies (+50 and -50V), then the maximum P-P sinewave output (undistorted) is 100V pk-pk or 35 volts RMS. This would deliver about 153 watts of power to an 8 ohm load. That's the most it could possibly deliver.

The maximum fully distorted square-wave output of that amplifier would be a 100V pk-pk square wave, which will deliver 312 watts to the same 8 ohm load.

That's twice the power, not 10 times as much.




Quote:
Originally Posted by mnilan View Post

shawndo:
Speakers are much more frequently damaged by under-powering them. Having excess power for dynamic passage in the source material is a good thing. I believe that you would not be able to be in the same room with the LS50s before you would damage them with too much power. So don't turn it up to 11.
Good luck,
Mike

Edited by commsysman - 5/8/13 at 2:21pm
post #41 of 74
The W4S Mint has a nice feature set : 100 wpc@ 8 ohms, internal dac, and is very compact (8x8x4)as well. About 1500.00 though.
I don't own this or work for anyone that sells them, just saw one on A- gon and was intrigued .
Cheers, Mac
post #42 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by macddmac View Post

The W4S Mint has a nice feature set : 100 wpc@ 8 ohms, internal dac, and is very compact (8x8x4)as well. About 1500.00 though.
I don't own this or work for anyone that sells them, just saw one on A- gon and was intrigued .
Cheers, Mac

Has a "nice feature set"?? ..In what way is it's feature set "nice"? ..Other than having a remote, it's about the most basic feature set one could find on ANY integrated amp of any price. ..It has very few inputs, no balance control (before buying this I'd definitely want to make sure the volume control tracks accurately all the way down to zero gain - particularly if being used for a desktop setup), drives just one pair of speakers, etc.. ..The NAD, equipped with the optional DAC, is much better value, and the Peachtree is as well (although it too lacks a balance control which proved problematic with my NOVA b/c the left channel was louder when listening at very low background levels).
Edited by syd123 - 5/9/13 at 7:33am
post #43 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

By the way, Arnie, an amplifier cannot put out 10 times its rated power, even at full clipping. It can put out a lot more, but nowhere near 10 times as much.

Never said it could.

What I said was:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1470882/sub-100w-2-channel-setup-recommendations/30#post_23293251

"One thing that clipping does do and that is increase the total energy. One might think that when an amp starts clipping it can put out no more power, but because of the dynamic nature of music, amps can put out as much as 10 times or more power if you keep turning them up after they start clipping."

I was trying to be very clear and distinct, and basedmy comments on the point where the amp "starts clipping", and the "dynamic nature" of music, and not the amp's rated power or power measured with pure tones on the test bench.

What do I need to say to be more clear about this?

That all said, you also said:

"This is very unlikely to happen because it will sound so bad, but there are idiots out there who have done it. That may be where that myth of "underpowering" comes from."

and we are in total agreement about that!

IME the idiocy can be enhanced by intoxication with either various substances or the ego. ;-)
post #44 of 74
Thread Starter 
About balance and tone control. The only source for this will be my laptop. Is there anything negative about using the eq and balance from the computer side of things?

I am really leaning towards the Music Fidelity although it is overkill. I just like the look of it over the NAD and reviews seem to suggest it is a step up. Probably not worth twice the price of the NAD though. still debating..

I'm picking up the LS50s today and will make a final amp choice this weekend.
post #45 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawndo View Post

About balance and tone control. The only source for this will be my laptop. Is there anything negative about using the eq and balance from the computer side of things?

I am really leaning towards the Music Fidelity although it is overkill. I just like the look of it over the NAD and reviews seem to suggest it is a step up. Probably not worth twice the price of the NAD though. still debating..

I'm picking up the LS50s today and will make a final amp choice this weekend.

Using the tone controls in iTunes is probably just as effective, but it's certainly less convenient. ..That said, if you don't feel you're apt to ever use them then it probably doesn't matter. Personally, I have found some otherwise great music to be so poorly recorded that if I can't adjust the tone a bit, my enjoyment is greatly diminished sometimes to the point that I just won't listen to the song. The audiophile orthodoxy would have you believe that Tone controls are bad and should be avoided by "real" audiophiles, but I think that is absolute nonsense. ..Having a great system should be about making ALL music, not just stuff that is perfectly recorded, sound its best.
post #46 of 74
Both the NAD and the MF are overkill for those speakers. Another glaring fact is that the KEFs are already rolling off at 80hz, so they're practically begging for subs. They're not begging for 200+ watts at frequencies below that! Better to spend money where you'll really use it than wasting $2K for headroom you'll never need or cannot use. That amount of coin will get a kick butt front end and sub or two for the frugal shopper.

For example, you could get an HK3490, save a bundle, and get everything out of the KEFs they have to offer. Similarly with the Emo stack you were looking at. Or a mid-level AVR. Or the Outlaw/ATI combo I linked to previously, perhaps with a AT1202 (2x120w). The Outlaw and AVR, and Emo if you go with the AV pre-amp, have bass management, which you'll want. Pair any of those options (which range from $350-$1200 or so), and the remaining $ on quality subwoofage, and you'll be better off.
post #47 of 74
If you're looking now at full size the AVR route will save a bundle and give you everything you need. I'd recommend Denon AVR-2113 or equivalent (the networked Denon has preamp outputs and Spotify, if you care), that includes Audyssey MultiEQ XT, a feature that will be greatly appreciated when integrating a sub, which I also think is a necessary component with those speakers. For about $500 SVS has small footprint sealed or ported subwoofers, if you have a preference.
post #48 of 74
Thread Starter 
I guess I am going the full size route now. I think i might be prioritizing aesthetics a bit more than what's usual on here. If 2 amps are effectively the same but one looks much better, but cost $500 more. I'm paying an extra $500 bucks.
For some reason I really really dislike that lcd low-bit text display that is on pretty much every AVR out there. It's irrational I know, but this is a very subjective hobby anyway I guess. NADs aren't pretty, but at least most of them dont have that display. There are a lot of amps out there that will do the job. I feel like I might as well go with one that I can stand looking at every day.

Just picked up the LS50s but just looking at them with no amp.. Hopefully this weekend. I'll also look into a subwoofer after I get all this setup. Not sure where I'll fit it though unless I can fit it underneath the dresser.
post #49 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

Has a "nice feature set"?? ..In what way is it's feature set "nice"? ..Other than having a remote, it's about the most basic feature set one could find on ANY integrated amp of any price. ..It has very few inputs, no balance control (before buying this I'd definitely want to make sure the volume control tracks accurately all the way down to zero gain - particularly if being used for a desktop setup), drives just one pair of speakers, etc.. ..The NAD, equipped with the optional DAC, is much better value, and the Peachtree is as well (although it too lacks a balance control which proved problematic with my NOVA b/c the left channel was louder when listening at very low background levels).
First off, I was responding to the OP. Secondly, I was throwing out a suggestion based on the op's wishes (compact, integrated dac, around 100 watts , and well within budget).
Furthermore , I believe ( my opinion) that it does have a nice feature-set. I'm not a tone / balance control kind of guy. Apparently, I'm not alone here as there are lots of quality products out there that don't offer the aforementioned features .
So how bout you back off and allow me my opinion as I have yours.
Cheers, Mac
post #50 of 74
The Marantz AVRs are pretty clean looking.
post #51 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by macddmac View Post

First off, I was responding to the OP. Secondly, I was throwing out a suggestion based on the op's wishes (compact, integrated dac, around 100 watts , and well within budget).
Furthermore , I believe ( my opinion) that it does have a nice feature-set. I'm not a tone / balance control kind of guy. Apparently, I'm not alone here as there are lots of quality products out there that don't offer the aforementioned features .
So how bout you back off and allow me my opinion as I have yours.
Cheers, Mac

Not looking to step on toes, but this is a web-forum where we discuss the pros/cons of different gear and that is all I was attempting to do. ..Sorry you took such offense.

To reiterate, I feel that for $1500 the W4S amp is almost completely devoid of useful features: ..no tone controls, no 2nd speaker terminals, no mono switch, etc.. The OP can do much better w/ his $1500. ..An AVR is probably the best buy, and a full-featured integrated amp his next best option.
post #52 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

Not looking to step on toes, but this is a web-forum where we discuss the pros/cons of different gear and that is all I was attempting to do. ..Sorry you took such offense.

To reiterate, I feel that for $1500 the W4S amp is almost completely devoid of useful features: ..no tone controls, no 2nd speaker terminals, no mono switch, etc.. The OP can do much better w/ his $1500. ..An AVR is probably the best buy, and a full-featured integrated amp his next best option.

No worries, perhaps I overreacted. Totally agree on the avr thing.. I haven't seen a compact avr that has all the goodies and decent power output. Denon has one ( rcd-n7) that's 65wpc and wifi connectable.
With the smaller form factor stuff, you're always going to have trade-offs, like no b-speakers, bass management,etc.
As far as integrateds go, the NAD 356bee dac is nice ( and the 390 is a beast) but probably too wide given the op's real estate limitations.
Cheers, Mac
post #53 of 74
Thread Starter 
This is the spot where everything will go and there is about 19.5" in between these speakers. It looks like I can fit a full sized amp there, but not a lot of room left over. This project really has changed alot since the original post I guess.

post #54 of 74
Thread Starter 
Any opinions on the NAD 375DAC vs the NAD 390DD ?
It seems that the 390DD is modern, class D and all digital, but I can't seem to figure out what that actually results in, in terms of qualitative differences (build quality, sound quality, reliability, etc) Is it worth the extra $1K?
post #55 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawndo View Post

Any opinions on the NAD 375DAC vs the NAD 390DD ?
It seems that the 390DD is modern, class D and all digital, but I can't seem to figure out what that actually results in, in terms of qualitative differences (build quality, sound quality, reliability, etc) Is it worth the extra $1K?

It's much lighter weight. Isn't analog friendly unless you buy the extra card. Can handle HDMI from the output of a video source directly (like a Blu-ray) with the HDMI card.

As for reliability...who knows? The standard NAD stereo pieces are quite reliable and proven.

You get a lot of extra input choices and flexibility for multiple digital sources on the 390 vs. the 375.

My co-worker was gonna do a comparison, but never did. Does the shop you've been working with not have a demo of both?

B.
post #56 of 74
The C390DD is rather innovative for a stereo receiver, but a bit pricey compared to an equally capable AVR. Arny posted something recently showing it to be non-linear into certain loads, but your KEF should not present much of a challenge. It lacks any auto-magic room correction, but has more-than-basic bass management capability. It's smaller than the C375, good form factor.

I've been curious about the C390DD myself, so if you take it for a spin please share your thoughts.
post #57 of 74
If you're considering a full size unit, perhaps the HK 990 then?
Cheers, Mac
post #58 of 74
Congrats on the LS 50's! I have an opportunity to buy a pair at an attractive price but I have to give up a pair of my favorite speakers up to get them. Thinking..weighing..Aw crap! Why can't I have both biggrin.gif
Cheers, Mac
post #59 of 74
Congrats on the LS 50's! I have an opportunity to buy a pair at an attractive price but I have to give up a pair of my favorite speakers up to get them. Thinking..weighing..Aw crap! Why can't I have both biggrin.gif
Cheers, Mac
Doh!! Double post- mods please delete smile.gif sorry!
post #60 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawndo View Post

Any opinions on the NAD 375DAC vs the NAD 390DD ?
It seems that the 390DD is modern, class D and all digital, but I can't seem to figure out what that actually results in, in terms of qualitative differences (build quality, sound quality, reliability, etc) Is it worth the extra $1K?

AFIK the 390DD has bass management capability whereas the 375 doesn't which would come in handy since you're subwoofer shopping.
I believe the hk 990 does as well and also has a form of room correction. Both seem to be well received by the review community ( for what that's worth)
Cheers, Mac
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