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Help me buy an overpriced power amp

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by lfletcher, Aug 9, 2003.

  1. lfletcher

    lfletcher
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    Been looking to replace a Tag 100x5R amp with something better. Speakers are getting an upgrade at the same time and will either be B&W Nautilus 803/805/HTM1 or 805 Sigs/HTM1 Sig. There is also the strong possibility that it will turn into a 7 speaker setup in the not too distant future.
    The amps will be connected to a TAG AV32R and DVD32R (for the time being).
    At the moment its about a 70/30 split between watching movies and listening to music, but that might change when my music server is up and running.

    Narrowed down the contenders to the following makes (and models),

    Theta Dreadnaught II (5 channel, 3x225w + 2x100w setup)
    Bryston (6B SST + 4B SST)
    Classe (CAV500 or CAV180)
    Chord (SPM1900 or 1200C + 603)
    Krell (3250 + 2250, or TAS)

    Any recommendations, suggestions as to which would be best suited to the B&W's?
    Or any other brands/models to throw into the melting pot?
    I should be demoing two of the brands next weekend and the other 3 at the beginning of september, so have a little time to make my decision.

    And now to the title of this thread. Apart from Chord all originate from the US or Canada and after a little investigation on the web, all appear to be a darn site cheaper over the other side of the water.
    The Theta for example would cost roughly £7500 here, and £4500 there. For all the makes we have a 1:1 dollar/pound exchange rate.
    On the other hand the Chord stuff appears to roughly follow the exhange rate of 1.5:1 dollar/pound.

    Does that mean that the Chord stuff is overpriced here or a bargain compared to the US makes?

    Is the US stuff still good value (in its price range) at the inflated price?

    Also has anyone ever imported an amps from the US? If so any issues with the power supply (or anything else)?

    Thanks a lot
    Laurence
     
  2. marck

    marck
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    Have you considered the Copland CVA535? I have one for sale at the moment! It is a superb amp - a significant upgrade from the TAG.
     
  3. buns

    buns
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    And i can thouroughly recommend Korato power amps...... most nobody has heard them except me, but if you can get a listen, you may just fall in love!

    Ad
     
  4. Spligsey

    Spligsey
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    Have you ever considered buying powered speakers?

    Takes the need for an expensive power amp (and speaker cable) totally out of the equation.

    This area is much overlooked & there are some class speakers from the likes of M&K, Genelec & ATC.

    You have the advantage of knowing that the built-in amp has been specifically designed & matched to the individual speaker.

    Worth considering.

    Adzman
     
  5. Cool-hand

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    Mark Levinson range is incredible and the new range have HC in mind. The new range allows for 7.1 upgrading keeping all in sync. ie. timbre, blah blah...

    yes you must buy....................
     
  6. rags

    rags
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    Adzman - with powered speakers why would you not need decent speaker cable or some form of decent interconnects?
     
  7. Spligsey

    Spligsey
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    rags

    No speaker cable needed..connection is by line via RCA / XLR / TRS..(Tip - Ring - Sleeve Jack)

    Forget speaker cable.

    The studios i've been in (mostly private - some larger) use good standard quality leads, which are not that expensive at all.

    Check out the www.digitalvillage.co.uk website (cables) and see that good leads need not be expensive.

    If the recording engineers are using this sort of stuff, then it seems it would be sufficient for us mere users.


    Adzman
     
  8. meep

    meep
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    Buns

    Where did you purchase those Korato, or even hear them in the firts place? - the website is lacking with regard to selling product!

    Peter
     
  9. buns

    buns
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    Hi Peter,

    I first heard of them at tnt-audio when i decided to explore beyond the diy sections! Geoff Husband did a very nice review of them here which got me really interested. Anyhow, yes the site is a bit sparse but they are great if you get in touch by email and you might have noiced their UK supplier, A-audiosolutions who have somewhat more info.

    There is no doubt in my mind that these amps are wonderful, I can think of very little which I would change for at any price without a very very thorough listen, In fact the only thing i would really want to upgrade to is biamp my full setup! :D

    Ad
     
  10. dts_boy

    dts_boy
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    its not really in the league you are looking at but the halo power amp, the h51 is levinson designed and as such suprised me greatly as i wasn't expecting it to be quite so musical. a bargain at around £3000 IMO
     
  11. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    don't forget only a handful of the amps listed can drive the Nautilus range, if you ever want an upgrade most won't cut the mustard
     
  12. alexs2

    alexs2
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    As Beekeeper says,the Nautilus range are quite difficult to drive adequately.....Krell amps(most of the older ones certainly,and all of the newer FPB range)will have no problems,and Bryston and Chord would also fit the bill...basically amps with good current delivery into difficult loads.
     
  13. lfletcher

    lfletcher
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    Thanks for the responses. All food for thought.

    Marc, hadnt really considered the copland, is it any good and how does it compare to the krell?

    Mark Levinson stuff looks good, but has a massive price tag to go with it. I assume you are talking about the 431 (£6k), 432 (£8k), or 433 (£?k) amps? I also thought that Mark L's parent company is having a tough time of it at the moment as well. Does this not cast their future into doubt?

    Spligsey, hadnt really considered power speakers. Only really aware of the Meridian stuff and Im sure the ones I'd like would be the expensive ones.

    Beekeeper, there is a chance that Id want to go to some 802's at some point, so which amp(s) would you recommend?

    Alexs2 do you have a brand preference?

    Thanks
    Laurence
     
  14. buns

    buns
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    Levinson is to close as far as im aware, but Harman, the parent company, is not in trouble.

    Ad
     
  15. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I think it's Proceed that will close as a brand,buns,from the sources i'd seen,and Laurence...ot the amps I mentioned,I MUCH prefer Krell...totally unbreakable and wonderful sound.
     
  16. Spligsey

    Spligsey
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    Laurence

    ATC is here

    Genelec is here

    M&K Professional is here

    These type of speakers are commonly found in engineering/production & dubbing facilities which are obviously linked to the professional audio sector.

    There are members of this forum that have powered setups & can certainly confirm what these systems are capable of.

    In the future, this is definitely the route i will take.

    I understand that this is not everybody's cuppa tea.

    Adzman
     
  17. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    B&W Nautilus speakers can be hard to drive, but it's only once you go higher up the range than the 803 that it becomes really serious. Even an Arcam P7 will drive 803s reasonably happily (and sound better than the Tag 5x100R IMO). If you wanted to upgrade to 802s (or, worse still, 801s or 800s) then you would have a problem.

    If you're interested in Bryston kit I suggest you PM "Lintone" - (Mark Ryan of Lintone Audio in Gateshead) - he might be able to offer you a bit of a discount.

    If cost is no object then you might also consider some Linn amplifiers, or some of the higher-end Brystons -7B-SST monoblocs or the 14B-SST stereo amp.
     
  18. meep

    meep
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    Would people frown on Rotel power amps? Are they outclassed by the suggestions in this thread?

    How would say a RB-1080 (2x 200W) fare with a B&W 804 or 803?

    Thanks

    Peter
     
  19. nfordenfield

    nfordenfield
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  20. alexs2

    alexs2
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    There is of course a world of difference between a peak current sustained for a very short transient,and the ability to deliver that current continuously...the HK's are nice amps but I think they would struggle in this context.
     
  21. lovegroova

    lovegroova
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    I use a Rotel RMB1095 (the 5x200W version) with my 805 Sigs and it sounds wonderful. I also have an HTM 2 which is more than good enough for movies. These are backed up by a REL Q200.

    I would say that whether you choose 805s or 803s depends very much on the size of your room. I have a relatively small room and never need to turn the volume past about -15 on my AV32R. If you have a large room, then go for the larger speakers and a more powerful amp.

    There is an argument put forward by a chap on the TAG forums that all amps of a similar spec sound the same, as long as they are run below clipping. I must confess that I don't really understand the technical details of it and am not sure of its accuracy.

    Others will disagree, saying that they can hear the differences.

    As for me, I am at the point where I feel I don't need to upgrade any more, simply because in order to get any significant improvement, I would have to spend really obscene amounts of money, as opposed to the silly amounts of money I have already spent!

    Then and again, there is that Dual SHARC/TMREQ upgrade for the AV32...
     
  22. Gatto

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    Why won't you have a listen to NAD Silver series S250 THX certified 5 channel AMP. They surely know how to make sweet sounding AMps that can tackle any load!!
     
  23. rags

    rags
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    Lovegroova - what interconnects are you using between the 1095 and the Av32R ?

    Thanks
    Rags
     
  24. lfletcher

    lfletcher
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    So out of the Krell range which should I be looking to audition?
    TAS (£8500), Showcase 5 (£5000) or the KAV3250 + KAV2250 (£10000). Obviously quite a big difference in price, but is there a big difference in quality?

    Spligsey, thanks for the info I shall investigate. Knowing that you are a bit of Meridian fan what do you think of their speakers?

    NicolasB, So an amp to drive the 802's? Big Bryston?
    I wish money was no object. I assume you mean the Linn Klimax amps? If so, I'll have a few but someone might need to lend me some money.

    Out of interest anyone know the cost of the 14B SST or the 7B SST?

    The decisions Im making now are with one eye on the future. Hopefully I will be moving into a bigger place so I will have a bigger room to fill. The amp is gonna have to last a long time. I dont want to have to change it after 18 months (like the Tag one). So I might go a little OTT on the power just so that it can drive 802's (or whatever) if I decide to get them at a later date.
     
  25. buns

    buns
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    $5900 and $3000 each respectively...... but thats US prices...... i would suggest you stick £ in front as a minimum guide.

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  26. lfletcher

    lfletcher
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    Has anyone investigated importing amps from the US?

    Seems you would get a lot more kit for the money.
     
  27. buns

    buns
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    Well just look to the sv subs thread! :D But they are specially set up to export, whereas if you went to bryston, for example, they would refer you to the UK supplier. Hence you have to find a US dealer who is willing to deal with you. You also have to remember that on $6000 you will have about £1000 of taxes and such to pay! :eek:

    Also, if something goes wroong you need to ship it back, uk distributor would just laugh at you! For a light weight product thats fine, but consider that these big power amps are not light weight, so shipping back and forth would be costly!

    Ad
     
  28. marck

    marck
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    Did you manage to hear the Copland. The site is:
    www.copland.dk/products.htm
    I have just changed to Krell Showcase - amazing amp too. But, it is twice as expensive as the Copland so should be better. I still think for the money the Copland is excellent value - fully balanced operation for £2.3k - no one else can boast that!

    Let me know what you think!
     
  29. marck

    marck
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    By the way don't buy an amplifier from the US - they have specific voltage chips inside that will blow the amp - so dont go for the 'cheaper' option - even though it could be more expensive by the time you pay custom/VAT/duty charges.
    I know we get ripped off, but unfortunatley we dont have much choice:(
     
  30. rags

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    Yes I did - extensively. US dealers seem to readily apply discount to the already low US list prices - 15-20% discount is surprisingly easy to get on most makes. You can probably get more if you tried - I know a couple of dealers that will give 25% off all day long as long as your order is significant enough (obviously I dont want to give their names out for fear of getting them into trouble).

    US warranties tend to be a lot longer as well (e.g Parasound give a 5-10 year warranty period in the US but only 2 years here) but they are generally not valid outside of the country. There are however a few exceptions.

    The other thing I noted after speaking to a number of factory reps is that the voltage diff is not a big problem - for example Parasound and Lexicon power amps simply need a couple of fuses changed and they are ready to go on UK socket. Some processors dont even need that - the Parasound C2 and C1 sold in the US all have a multivoltage transformer and simply need the plug changed. I read somewhere that the same applies to Rotel. Obviously if you do go down the US route check power specs out yourself.

    In terms of finding a US dealer - most US dealers I spoke to didnt give a **** as to where the goods were going to as long as you were buying US spec goods - at the end of the day its money for them. They do however prefer that you come and collect rather than them shipping it to the UK direct (this is what potentially could get them in trouble with the manufacturer).
     

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