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#167264 - 07/27/12 06:30 PM [Off-Topic] Stereo amplifier recommendation
Rachael Offline
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Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1616
My Audiosource AMP 300 died for the second time and figured I should look around at other brands. The a/v store I have known for decades recently closed shop after 30+ years. I have been out of touch with audio for quite some time and hoping for some recommendations here for a reliable amplifier.

My 2.1 stereo is a pair of Definitive Audio Mythos One and a Supercube 3 powered sub. The specs for the Mythos give a recommended power of 20-250 watts. The dead Audiosource was rated at 2x150w @8 ohms which was just fine for the Mythos.

Thanks for any input

R

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#167265 - 07/28/12 09:00 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: Rachael]
Mac Offline
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Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
Hi Rachel,

Today you have a myriad of power amplifier choices due to the interest in this "hobby" of music making.

While that can seem like good news as compared to a decade or so ago, it can also present the consumer with a myriad of choices as to which one is "better".

The good news is that, audio-wise, just about any of them is up to snuff for the intended purpose. Gone are the days of experimentation with solid state circuitry for this particular task, for the most part and I would not recommend ANY esoteric, high-priced "audiophile* (I usually spell that, *Audiophool*) power amplifier. Money down the drain, fussy circuits that likely will need expensive repairs some day, etc.

When a speaker system is rated for a certain top wattage, it is a good idea to select a poower amplifier that meets or comes near to delivering that peak wattage. Many don't know it, but speakers can get blown much easier by attempting to use a power amp that produces much LESS wattage than the speaker in question was designed to handle. This is because when you need to turn the Volume UP, the underpowered amplifier will be pushed into Clipping, which flattops the waves and thus creates more ON TIME, which can heat and damage the expensive speaker voice coils. Besides that, you will be hearing distortions at that point, also undesirable.

That said, I'd recommend any power amp rated at producing anywhere from 100W rms all the way up to the 250W rms per channel.

IO'd also recommend going with the more modern FET output power amplifier as vs the older Bipolar Transistor output designs, if buying new. Of course, a good Bipolar Amplifier that is built right can sound wonderful and you may find one that is affordable, by all means, worth it.

In order to recommend a particular brand or model of amplifier, I would first need to know your price range, though.


--Mac
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#167266 - 07/28/12 12:00 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: Mac]
Rachael Offline
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Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1616
Thanks for the feedback Mac.

I do consider myself an audiophile as I love to have the music at a 'natural' volume and feel the artists are in my living room. I still enjoy listening through a good pair of Grado headphones although it is sort of rude to any guests. I never went for the 'audiophool' $2500+ amplifiers like Macintosh and Conrad Johnson back in the 70's. My Marantz 2270 and later Adcom 545 sounded just as good to me.

About 5 years ago I got my new speakers and stumbled across the Audiosource (preciously Carver). It sounded great but was not reliable perhaps due to being made in China. It still sits in my closet awaiting a response from a letter written to Audiosouce.

So another search begins for an amp around the $500 range. Any suggestions or am I dreaming? In the meantime, I'll read up on FET and Bipolar and start checking around.

Again, thanks!

R

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#167267 - 07/28/12 06:06 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: Rachael]
Mac Offline
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Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
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#167268 - 07/29/12 08:35 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: Mac]
ROG Offline
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Registered: 12/12/11
Posts: 2614
Loc: York, England
Nice selection, Mac.

Out of those, my preference would always be the Crown.

ROG.

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#167269 - 07/29/12 08:44 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: ROG]
John Conley Offline
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Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 8333
Loc: London, Ontario, Canada
I thought I put this up but my dbh eq to crown to my yorkdale elites gives me a 20hz tone I can hear. The Bose can't do it. I combine the two.
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#167270 - 07/29/12 09:40 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: John Conley]
rharv Offline
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Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18971
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
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#167271 - 07/30/12 12:43 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: rharv]
Rachael Offline
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Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1616
Thanks Mac and others

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#167272 - 07/30/12 05:31 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: Rachael]
rockstar_not Offline
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Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7455
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Out of curiosity - why is Rachael talking audiophile use of home stereo speakers, but the recommended amps are for PA systems?

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#167273 - 07/30/12 06:01 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: rockstar_not]
Mac Offline
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Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
Quote:

Out of curiosity - why is Rachael talking audiophile use of home stereo speakers, but the recommended amps are for PA systems?




Because those amps tout some pretty impressive audio specs, the proliferation of such means a much lower pricepoint than that to be found for pretty much the same spec but made with a pretty front panel and an audiophile brand name, and the fact that these kind of amps were designed and built to withstand the rigors of the road. "More bang per buck..."

Sitting on the shelf in the home environment, they should turn in very good performance plus last a long time before service is needed.


--Mac
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#167274 - 07/31/12 09:08 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: Mac]
rockstar_not Offline
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Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7455
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
I guess I would have expected the PA system amps to be built around durability, not necessarily home-audio clarity. Never having connected the two (PA amp to hi-fi speakers) I'll claim ignorance.

-Scott

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#167275 - 07/31/12 10:54 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: rockstar_not]
ROG Offline
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Registered: 12/12/11
Posts: 2614
Loc: York, England
Quote:

I guess I would have expected the PA system amps to be built around durability, not necessarily home-audio clarity.




Hi Scott.

I thought the same thing until someone showed me a spec sheet, but some of the top-end PA amps will compete with anything in terms of THD, S/N and slewing rate. I've seen several studios using Crown for driving the main monitors and it's interesting to look at the specs for even something like Peavey.

Thanks, Mac, for bringing this to everyone's attention.

ROG.

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#167276 - 07/31/12 04:40 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: ROG]
jazzmammal Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 6592
Loc: Redondo Beach, Ca.
There have been so many blind tests over the years concerning "audiophile" and good average stuff it's a complete joke. By good average I'm not talking about those Awia home theater in a box things for $199. Say it's a $1,200 component system.

Nobody older than 18 and certainly no one over 40 could tell any difference at all between one of these PA amps and a $4,000 Macintosh or a $10,000 Silver going through a good speaker system in a blind behind the curtain test. The speakers are 90% of this IMO.

Bob
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#167277 - 07/31/12 06:01 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: jazzmammal]
rockstar_not Offline
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Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7455
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
I bought my last home stereo receiver/amp combo used at Goodwill for $25, so I probably shouldn't even be in the discussion. I will attempt to gracefully bow out now....

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#167278 - 07/31/12 08:48 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: rockstar_not]
Rachael Offline
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Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1616
I've been reading up on Mac's suggestions and am leaning towards the QSC - made in USA and has 6 year warranty. The Crown would be my next choice.

Another question...

My 'old' amp had an auto sensing which would turn the amp on when a signal is received. After a few minutes of no signal, it would shut off. This is important because the amp is not in an easily accessed area. Neither the QSC or Crown have this ability. I assume that leaving the amp on continually is not a good idea?

Does anyone know of audio signal sensor that would automatically turn power on/off to the amp? No, the Clapper won't cut it!

Thanks

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#167279 - 08/01/12 04:19 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: Rachael]
ROG Offline
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Registered: 12/12/11
Posts: 2614
Loc: York, England
Electrical and electronic components are under the most stress at switch-on, so continually powering up and down isn't the best idea. You've possibly noticed how light bulbs only fail when you switch on the lamp.

Many studios leave everything on 24/7 whether it's being used, or not. Personally, I'd switch off at night, or when leaving the house, just as a fire risk.

ROG.

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#167280 - 08/01/12 04:30 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: Rachael]
Ryszard Offline
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Registered: 09/28/07
Posts: 3900
Loc: Kennesaw (Atlanta) GA
Quote:

I've been reading up on Mac's suggestions and am leaning towards the QSC - made in USA and has 6 year warranty. The Crown would be my next choice.




I'd go with the Crown. They are considered bulletproof. You will get any number of testimonials from other users here. I have used them professionally in live sound and in clubs. You just can't go wrong. They used to have a lifetime warranty; don't know whether that's still so.

On the other hand, I had endless problems with the one QSC amp I owned. I'm sure that in general they are much better than that, but given a choice between Crown and almost anything else, well, I don't actually see a choice.

Quote:

Another question...

My 'old' amp had an auto sensing which would turn the amp on when a signal is received. After a few minutes of no signal, it would shut off. This is important because the amp is not in an easily accessed area. Neither the QSC or Crown have this ability. I assume that leaving the amp on continually is not a good idea?

Does anyone know of audio signal sensor that would automatically turn power on/off to the amp? No, the Clapper won't cut it!

Thanks




A very few high-end amps and powered speakers have this feature. I have never seen it available as an accessory. Guess you're gonna have to do the ol' switchie thing!

R.
_________________________
"My primary musical instrument is the personal computer."

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#167281 - 08/01/12 07:14 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: Ryszard]
Pat Marr Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7577
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
there are power strips available that have master-slave outputs, and the slave outputs only become active when whatever is plugged into the master outlet is turned on. My son just bought a couple of them for exactly the same reason as yours, Rachel. He has music equipment that he uses at the same time, and only one of the items has an ON switch that is conveniently located. So he plugged that device into the MASTER outlet, and all the other stuff into the SLAVE outlets.

He keeps the switches turned on all the time for the slave devices, so they can be active when their outlets are active. Then, by turning on only the master device, everything comes on and stays on until the master device is turned off.

For equipment that is all used at the same time, and is located close enough to share the same power strip, it's a pretty neat solution.

They cost about $20-$30. I'll ask where he bought it and post that info later

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#167282 - 08/01/12 07:28 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: Pat Marr]
Ryszard Offline
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Registered: 09/28/07
Posts: 3900
Loc: Kennesaw (Atlanta) GA
Pat and Rachael,

Given that these things exist, there's something you have to be careful of. Some quality audio gear has a power-on delay circuit intended to avoid the transient "thump" on power up which can damage speakers and ears. Bypassing the onboard power switch also bypasses this safety feaure. I'd like a remote switch for my powered monitors, but I'd be afraid to use it. Unfortunate, but I'll stick with the inconvenient* device switches for that one.

FYI,

R.

*I have to take two steps from side to side. What a drag.
_________________________
"My primary musical instrument is the personal computer."

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#167283 - 08/01/12 07:54 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Stereo amplifier recommendation [Re: Ryszard]
Pat Marr Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7577
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
You speak of bypassing the switch...

I'm not talking about a short circuit in which some part of the wiring is skipped.

In a device that is always plugged in, power waits at the switch until it gets turned on. The switch itself is just an on-off gate. Once the gate is open, power proceeds to the circuitry and whatever features are built into the electronics do their thing.

Seems to me that this feature would not be a function of the switch, so leaving it in an ON position wouldn't change the flow of electricity at all. Any buffering would still be there, happening after the power got past the switch.

And even if it IS built into the switch... the power will still pass through the switch, so... what changed?

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