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post #1 of 51 Old 05-22-2020, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
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New 2 Channel Set Up

Hi. I’m looking to get a new two channel system for a room that is 13 ft wide by 13 ft from speaker to listening position. I’m in my 70’s and pretty much disabled so listening to music(classical, jazz and female vocals) is a big part of my daily activity especially being sheltered in place for the foreseeable future. At my age and with maladiesI don’t have much else to spend money on and can afford the “drop dead bucket list “ system I’ve lusted after since first entering a stereo shop in college,(but I’m not talking tens of thousands here!).

I saw the McIntosh MA5300 Integrated Amp for $5500 and thought how cool it would be to to finally have a Mac with those big blue dials. I would just get a nice CD transport like the Cambridge for $599 and listen to all my CD’s and expand my collection.

But browsing the net, I saw the Anthem SRT Integrated Amp on sale this month for $900 off. It has twice the wattage (which I don’t think I need) and rave reviews and would cost $3600.

I don’t “need” either of these but they would be nice with my B&W CM10s2 speakers(which I didn’t “need” either, but do enjoy. I understand that I could put together a nice system for much less money, but I’m retired and mostly homebound now and this is my hobby, even tho I know one of my kids will probably be using this equipment far longer than I will!

Any advice or suggestions regarding these two amps? All suggestions will be appreciated.
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post #2 of 51 Old 05-22-2020, 02:34 AM
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The anthem has room correction with ARC. I use it in my anthem MRX-520 and it works well even with just a 2 channel setup. But I can also sympathize with the desire for a McIntosh.

The speakers have a sensitivity of 90 db so are easy to drive. Either amp will work fine. If you really want to crank it up, I'd recommend the anthem 200 wpc at 8ohms, the Mac, 100 wpc 8 ohms. (at 70+, I wouldn't recommend cranking too much; save the hearing you have.)

I'd also note that these are heavy units, 38 and 40 lbs. So make sure you can maneuver them as you say you are disabled. There are some nice class D amps that are very efficient and much lighter. NAD masters, Lyngdorf to name a few. The Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 is 18.1 lbs. NAD M32 is 20.1 lbs. Lyngdorf has Lyngdorf Room Perfect room correction. M32 none, although the coming (August) M33 will have Dirac live room correction.

You don't mention the nature of your disability but getting up to put in CDs can be a pain. Might consider a streaming function. Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 will do airplay so you can stream music files from ripped CDs on a laptop, iPad, or iPhone to the unit. You can also load them up on USB thumb drive and play them via an app. Not sure about the NAD.

Will this also serve to amplify sound for TV and movies? If so, the NAD and Lyngdorf can be had with an optional HDMI module for connecting a blu ray player and cable box, and they pass the video on to the display.

If you want old school with meters like the Mac, you might consider the Yamaha integrated amps, 1100,2100, 3000 etc, or a Luxman. The coming NAD M33 will have digital meters via a display, but that's not the same as the allure of real meters. All of these will be pretty hefty units (except the NAD M33), so there is that to consider.

The Mac at one time was my dream amp as well. But my system came to be basically the system for mostly music, but also occasional movies, so my sources became universal players, Oppo. Hence HDMI inputs became important to me, hence, why I use the Anthem MRX-520 even in just 2 channel mode. I think my dream amp today would be the lyngdorf TDAI-3400 with optional HDMI module.

Good luck with your choices.
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post #3 of 51 Old 05-22-2020, 02:38 AM
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I would go for separate preamp and power amp, you have a lot more choice going separate. Your choice of high end integrated amp is very limited. I never listen to either one, I looked at the internal pictures of the Anthem, heat sink is way too small for the price, not enough filter caps. Even though its cheaper at $3500, it's just doesn't have what I consider important for a high end power amp. Can't find pictures of the Mac, so I can't comment other than the amp looks very small for the money. For that kind of money, I would be looking for one with big heatsink on both sides of the chassis.

For high end amps, things I am looking for is the size of the heatsink, how many pairs of output transistors, how many big caps inside the amp, how big the power transformer. There's no short cut on the high end Class AB amps. I would consider it NEGATIVE point on Anthem that is 200W/ch and such small heatsink and only 4 medium size filter caps. That's CHEAP.

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post #4 of 51 Old 05-22-2020, 03:10 PM
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Thumbs up

I would also look at the Luxman 505UXii integrated. Also as an add on a Bluesound Node. You'll be able to stream music from your seat. A few years ago I had a total of 7 1/2 hours of cancer surgery on my left groin. It was very hard for me to get up and the streamer was a god send for listening to music. By the way the Luxman also has meters so you'll still have that visual.
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post #5 of 51 Old 05-22-2020, 03:15 PM
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just get the mcintosh if its been a dream.

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post #6 of 51 Old 05-22-2020, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dfndr
... I’m in my 70’s and pretty much disabled so listening to music ... is a big part of my daily activity ... I don’t have much else to spend money on and can afford the “drop dead bucket list “ system I’ve lusted after since first entering a stereo shop in college ...

I saw the McIntosh MA5300 Integrated Amp for $5500 and thought how cool it would be to to finally have a Mac with those big blue dials. I would just get a nice CD transport like the Cambridge for $599 and listen to all my CD’s and expand my collection.

But ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by torii View Post
just get the mcintosh if its been a dream.
^ 100% this.
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post #7 of 51 Old 05-22-2020, 04:56 PM
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Yeh, if the Mac is your dream amp, by all means get that. I just don't like what I saw in the pictures of the Anthem. It's $2000 cheaper.....and it really shows.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #8 of 51 Old 05-24-2020, 09:58 PM
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Just get the McIntosh, the MA5300 is fine and affordable as far as McIntosh goes, you can pick up a lightly used unit on audiogon for about 3500. This is what I'm planning to get after a lot of research and a lifelong McIntosh dream also.
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post #9 of 51 Old 05-24-2020, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munc C View Post
Just get the McIntosh, the MA5300 is fine and affordable as far as McIntosh goes, you can pick up a lightly used unit on audiogon for about 3500. This is what I'm planning to get after a lot of research and a lifelong McIntosh dream also.
I never buy new, even for very expensive piece. If OP like Mac, I would buy a used Mac power amp and buy a preamp that has the latest gadgets. High end power amps have not change for the last 30 years, from the very early 90s on, they are just the same, no new technology on the high end amps, only the lower end came up with class D and all, high end still class AB or class A. I am sure you can get a older used power amp for less than 1/2 price.

I bought a Nakamichi PA-7 a few years back, it's designed by Nelson Pass and it's an improved version of his famous Threshold S300. I paid $700, original MSRP was $1800 in the late 80s, now must equal to like $3500 new today. I don't like the amp, but that's a different story for another time, it's sitting in the shed outside the yard.Bbut it's the Threshold that put Pass on the map. I almost bought a Krell KSA200 for $1900.....a 200W class A Krell!!! You are talking about the amp of amps!!!


I would never buy another amp, but from studying hundreds of circuits of amps, if I were to buy, I would seriously consider Adcom GFA565 monoblock. Second one is Parasound A21. Of cause I never listened to them, but just from the circuit and the layout inside the amp, they tell me a lot already, I'd take these two any time of the day over Krell and Mark Levinson. I've seen a pair of GFA565 as low as $1400. Name don't mean a thing to me, I look at what's in it.

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post #10 of 51 Old 05-28-2020, 01:07 PM
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I agree with the others, if the 'Mac' is your dream amp, go for it.

As for your digital needs, do you have any SACD's ? If not I'd opt for the Rotel 1570
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post #11 of 51 Old 05-28-2020, 04:47 PM
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New 2 Channel Set Up

I’m currently upgrading my 2 channel and looking and looking at the Naim Uniti Nova or and Luxman L-505uXII. I’ve always wanted a McIntosh too and was looking at the 8900 but I’m hesitant after the last listening session with my current speakers. How do you like the 5300?

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post #12 of 51 Old 05-28-2020, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
I looked at the internal pictures of the Anthem, heat sink is way too small for the price, not enough filter caps. Even though its cheaper at $3500, it's just doesn't have what I consider important for a high end power amp. Can't find pictures of the Mac, so I can't comment other than the amp looks very small for the money. For that kind of money, I would be looking for one with big heatsink on both sides of the chassis.
The Anthem STR integrated is considered a very well engineered product that runs cool and does not need the large heat sinks. At normal listening volume, it may be using 5-6 watts.


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Originally Posted by mbroadus View Post
The Anthem STR integrated is considered a very well engineered product that runs cool and does not need the large heat sinks. At normal listening volume, it may be using 5-6 watts.


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That's the problem, when comes to high end amplifiers, they are all either high bias Class AB or class A. both require burning power and getting hot. There is no low bias class AB amps that can be that good. I design quite a few power amps and I keep up with studying books and studies a lot of schematics of good amps. Really it comes down to how big the heatsink, how heavy the amp is, how much filter capacitance, how many output big transistors. There is no other way.



The Anthem has only 4 medium size capacitor, very small heatsink. You just cannot get high quality class AB from that. I actually experimented changing one of my amp to get rid of two pairs of output transistors ( from 9 pairs to 7 pairs), design to reduce the bias current to 1/3 the original bias of 1A. Everything else are exactly the same. Big difference in the richness of the sound. I literally tried all the tricks in the book and not in the book, I yet to find any short cut............Neither are the top brand amps like Krell, Mark Levinson etc.


I attached two internal pictures of high end power amps. The inside are packed to the brim!!! Look at the size of the heatsink, the size of the transformer. Those are like this for very good and valid reason.
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post #14 of 51 Old 05-29-2020, 06:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Alan0354, I haven’t taken advantage of the Anthem sale( which ends this weekend) because of your cautionary post. I also have read that the McIntosh ma5300 is not really going to give the “McIntosh house sound”because of the power output design being something new and different.
So, what do you think of the Parasound Halo integrated amp?
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post #15 of 51 Old 05-29-2020, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Dfndr View Post
Alan0354, I haven’t taken advantage of the Anthem sale( which ends this weekend) because of your cautionary post. I also have read that the McIntosh ma5300 is not really going to give the “McIntosh house sound”because of the power output design being something new and different.
So, what do you think of the Parasound Halo integrated amp?
No offense but I wouldn't let Alan's thoughts sway my opinion. Anthem is known for being extremely well engineered and efficient. I do not have any reservations about buying any Anthem product. Do some research on what's in your price range and go for it. The Anthem STR Integrated is considered a very good integrated amp and I would not let the sale end without ordering one, if that's what you want.

Stereophile Magazine recommended components - Anthem STR A-List Recommended Component

I have been trying to research the McIntosh house sound trying to determine if the signature sound comes from their amps or the combination of their amps/pre's. I've heard so many people buying McIntosh preamps and pairing them with other manufacturers amps.

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post #16 of 51 Old 05-29-2020, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
That's the problem, when comes to high end amplifiers, they are all either high bias Class AB or class A. both require burning power and getting hot. There is no low bias class AB amps that can be that good. I design quite a few power amps and I keep up with studying books and studies a lot of schematics of good amps. Really it comes down to how big the heatsink, how heavy the amp is, how much filter capacitance, how many output big transistors. There is no other way.

The Anthem has only 4 medium size capacitor, very small heatsink. You just cannot get high quality class AB from that. I actually experimented changing one of my amp to get rid of two pairs of output transistors ( from 9 pairs to 7 pairs), design to reduce the bias current to 1/3 the original bias of 1A. Everything else are exactly the same. Big difference in the richness of the sound. I literally tried all the tricks in the book and not in the book, I yet to find any short cut............Neither are the top brand amps like Krell, Mark Levinson etc.

I attached two internal pictures of high end power amps. The inside are packed to the brim!!! Look at the size of the heatsink, the size of the transformer. Those are like this for very good and valid reason.
What's the price on the Krell and Mark Levinson amps, $8-10K?

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post #17 of 51 Old 05-29-2020, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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M Broadus , thank you for your kind post. I read it in detail and it is somewhat puzzling because you seem to endorse the Anthem products but also state “I have reservations about buying AnAnthem product.” Is this a typo? If not could you please explain what reservations you may have. Thank you again.
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post #18 of 51 Old 05-29-2020, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Dfndr View Post
M Broadus , thank you for your kind post. I read it in detail and it is somewhat puzzling because you seem to endorse the Anthem products but also state “I have reservations about buying AnAnthem product.” Is this a typo? If not could you please explain what reservations you may have. Thank you again.
Yes, typo corrected. I was hesitant to buy the McIntosh MA8900 after my last listening session at the dealer, not the Anthem STR.

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Originally Posted by Dfndr View Post
Alan0354, I haven’t taken advantage of the Anthem sale( which ends this weekend) because of your cautionary post. I also have read that the McIntosh ma5300 is not really going to give the “McIntosh house sound”because of the power output design being something new and different.
So, what do you think of the Parasound Halo integrated amp?
What are your 'return' options if you go with the Anthem and are not satisfied ?

I know you haven't mentioned it but I'll throw it out there anyways, Pass Labs integrated. My son is currently utilizing (forgot the model #) with great results up against a big pair of Zu speakers.

As for Parasound, I've only herd their products briefly but they do seem to get favorable press, for what that's worth

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What are your 'return' options if you go with the Anthem and are not satisfied ?

I know you haven't mentioned it but I'll throw it out there anyways, Pass Labs integrated. My son is currently utilizing (forgot the model #) with great results up against a big pair of Zu speakers.

As for Parasound, I've only herd their products briefly but they do seem get favorable press, for what that's worth

PASS is a fantastic amp but their lowest price integrated is $9K.


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PASS is a fantastic amp but their lowest price integrated is $9K.


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not cheap by any means but then again nobody in their right mind pays msrp and then there's the used market ......
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post #22 of 51 Old 05-29-2020, 02:30 PM
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What's the price on the Krell and Mark Levinson amps, $8-10K?
I am giving example of how to look at a good amp. Parasound A21 is a whole lot cheaper and still look like that. Like I said, there is NO way around this for class AB and class A amps. I think I explain in great detail already. There is NO MAGIC on this. More marketing than real.


Look at the Parasound A21


Every bit look like those expensive amps, it's $3200 new, I think you can get used for $1500.

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post #23 of 51 Old 05-29-2020, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dfndr View Post
Alan0354, I haven’t taken advantage of the Anthem sale( which ends this weekend) because of your cautionary post. I also have read that the McIntosh ma5300 is not really going to give the “McIntosh house sound”because of the power output design being something new and different.
So, what do you think of the Parasound Halo integrated amp?
I just think these integrated amps are VERY EXPENSIVE for what they offer. You are talking about $3500 sale price. Even the Halo 6 is $3000. I would pay a little bit more and get separate with good quality. You already looking at Mac that is $5500. If you look at brand new Parasound A21 for $3200 and spend $600 on a preamp ( that's plenty good for a preamp), your total is less than $4000. None of the Halo 6, Anthem and even the Mac ( from looking at it) can touch the A21.

Of cause, I pm you on the used A21, I think you can get one for $1500 or less, that will bring the cost below $2200 total.

Brand name doesn't mean anything to me, I look at what's in it, just because I don't like the Anthem you showed doesn't mean all Anthem are not good. Just because some Anthem are good means nothing to what you showed us. Like I would not recommend Parasound A23.

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post #24 of 51 Old 05-29-2020, 03:05 PM
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not cheap by any means but then again nobody in their right mind pays msrp and then there's the used market ......

True but by looking at what the op has chosen, it looks as though he would prefer to stay in the $4-5K range.


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@alan0354 - You realize that the op is talking about integrated amps, not stereo power amps? You keep showing us pics of power amps and comparing it to an integrated amp. While we would all like to have separates, not everyone has the room or need.

Here’s a pic of Anthem’s 5 channel amp (MCA 525).




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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
I am giving example of how to look at a good amp. Parasound A21 is a whole lot cheaper and still look like that. Like I said, there is NO way around this for class AB and class A amps. I think I explain in great detail already. There is NO MAGIC on this. More marketing than real.


Look at the Parasound A21 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6_6hNuOuJc


Every bit look like those expensive amps, it's $3200 new, I think you can get used for $1500.
you do realize(I trust) that it's made in Taiwan, thus the lower cost. I'm not taking anything away from the brand(supposedly quite good) but some thing produced off shore will almost always (high end Japanese excluded) be less $$
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@alan0354 - You realize that the op is talking about integrated amps, not stereo power amps? You keep showing us pics of power amps and comparing it to an integrated amp. While we would all like to have separates, not everyone has the room or need.

Here’s a pic of Anthem’s 5 channel amp (MCA 525).




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This is a 5 channel amp, take away 3 of the channels and it's going to be empty. Look at how small those filter caps are for 5 channels, how small the power transformers are for 5 channels. As I said, I don't put down Anthem, I look at each amp as individual.


For example, I rave about the Parasound A21, but look at the Parasound A23, to me, it's no better than the Anthem integrated amp that was $3500.


BUT, the cost of the A23 is about $1300, exactly how I would estimate the price base on how cheap it looks.

https://www.google.com/search?q=para...QpYDc7Zf1rNhM:


That's what I am talking about, it's all about the cost. If the Anthem were $2000, I would be raving about it that it's good for the money.

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post #28 of 51 Old 05-29-2020, 05:34 PM
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you do realize(I trust) that it's made in Taiwan, thus the lower cost. I'm not taking anything away from the brand(supposedly quite good) but some thing produced off shore will almost always (high end Japanese excluded) be less $$
Nothing wrong about made in Taiwan, or even China. I won't be surprised Krell are made in China. Why? My big amp that I designed and built is using a Krell KSA50 chassis sold in China. I don't believe for a moment they copy the chassis and sell it on ebay for $350.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/A50-KRELL-5...sAAOSwtjhb-nTJ
It even have "Krell" name plate on it. I believe they make this for Krell and sell off the excess to DIY people like me.


Look at these other chassis, recognize them? You have Pass Lab, Krells etc.
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...t=nc&_udlo=220


I bought a lot of these chassis, they are of high quality. I don't think for a moment they are made for DIY. Question is how many of them actually build in USA.

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post #29 of 51 Old 05-29-2020, 06:03 PM
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New 2 Channel Set Up

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Originally Posted by Dfndr View Post
M Broadus , thank you for your kind post. I read it in detail and it is somewhat puzzling because you seem to endorse the Anthem products but also state “I have reservations about buying AnAnthem product.” Is this a typo? If not could you please explain what reservations you may have. Thank you again.

I apologize for taking over the thread...I really hope you find what you’re looking for. I would hate for you not to buy a McIntosh if that’s what you want. Save for it, you’ll be much happier when you get what you want. That’s what I’m doing. Best of luck and let me know what you end up doing.


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post #30 of 51 Old 05-29-2020, 07:48 PM
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New 2 Channel Set Up

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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
This is a 5 channel amp, take away 3 of the channels and it's going to be empty. Look at how small those filter caps are for 5 channels, how small the power transformers are for 5 channels. As I said, I don't put down Anthem, I look at each amp as individual.


For example, I rave about the Parasound A21, but look at the Parasound A23, to me, it's no better than the Anthem integrated amp that was $3500.


BUT, the cost of the A23 is about $1300, exactly how I would estimate the price base on how cheap it looks.

https://www.google.com/search?q=para...QpYDc7Zf1rNhM:


That's what I am talking about, it's all about the cost. If the Anthem were $2000, I would be raving about it that it's good for the money.

A few things here:

1) you probably won’t pay $3500 for an MCA525 unless you try to pay retail. In fact right now they’re marked down a fair amount on the website, no haggling necessary.

2) I think it’s a bit unbecoming to eyeball pictures on Google and make snap decisions.

If we seek facts, we will see that the MCA525 has 10 capacitors, 100v caps at 8200uF. The common dimensions for such a capacitor are 36mm diameter, 105mm tall. Ripple current ~10A.

The mentioned A23 has 4 capacitors, 10000uF each. The common dimensions for such a capacitor is 35mm diameter, 50mm tall. Ripple current ~6A.

Note that the caps in the MCA are actually more than double the size of the A23 caps, and there are more than twice as many. Despite each cap having slightly less capacitance the higher voltage rating requires a much larger package. As a bonus each cap also has more than double the ripple current. Hmm, I wonder why they need to use a higher voltage capacitor, I suppose the rails are beefier on this amp.

So we have ~20,000uF per channel on the A23, and ~16,400uF per channel on the MCA. A small but notable difference, though apparently the MCA has higher voltage rails, meaning it can deliver more power ohm for ohm. Add to that the far superior ripple current on the larger caps probably makes it more stable even dividing out for five channels.

If we bump up to the A23+ we get 6800uF caps, still 80v, but 8 of them. That’s pretty good but still lower voltage and ripple current.

3) I was unable to find the specific transformer on the MCA525, it is a custom Nortatel. However, according to Nortatel spec sheets it is roughly the same size as the 630W model listed http://www.noratel.com/fileadmin/con...en/General.pdf. Two of these would be able to provide more than the continuous 225W x 5 channels advertised.

The A23 I guess has a “1kw” transformer, who knows why when it has lower voltage rails and isn’t rated to deliver even half that to the speaker. But it does and channel for channel that’s a perk.

All considered, I think we have proven that the power supply for the MCA525 is pretty good for its rating. Comparing cost per channel, retail on an MCA525 today is $559.90 per channel. If Anthem marks them back up it would be $699.90 per channel. A23 is discontinued, well I saw some on EBay for $700/channel. A23+ is $797 per channel retail.

None of this is to say that one is better than the other. I’m not interested in a debate like that. I was just trying to insert some truth into the claim of poor value proposition based on eyeballing perceived small caps on the MCA525.

As a side note, having designed some amps before, the layout and output transistors on the MCA525 are a thing of beauty. Each channel has very large TO-264s laid out in the center of a full 4U tall heat sink.







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