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Mixing different brands of amp

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by BLACK_MAGIC, Jul 23, 2003.

  1. BLACK_MAGIC

    BLACK_MAGIC
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    Ok if i have different brand of amp driving the mains from centre and rear speakers in a surround setup, will the tonal differences cause a problem with the sound or is this something that processor's cater for and is sorted out at the processor level?
    Any help would be appriciated thanks.
     
  2. Reiner

    Reiner
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    If you believe in tonal differences between amps then there will be some though it might be hard to notice between fronts and rears.
    A bigger problem might be a different gain of the amps used, i.e. one will go faster louder than the other when turning up the volume. Usually different makes have different gain and it's not uncommon to have amps from the same make with different gain, too.
     
  3. BLACK_MAGIC

    BLACK_MAGIC
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    So how do you combat the problem that will caused by different gain?
    My setup is currentley
    Arcam av8
    Musical Fidelity a308 (mains)
    Musical Fidelity a3.2 (centre)
    Musical Fidelit a3.2 (rears)

    I want to exchange the Musical fidelity a308 for a chord spm 1200c to improve on musical play back, but now im concerned that its going to be out of sync with my system:(
     
  4. BLACK_MAGIC

    BLACK_MAGIC
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    looking at the specs for both it seems the musical fidelity a3.2 has an audio gain of 30db and the chord is the same at 30db. Am i looking at the right thing and does this mean that i should be ok?
     
  5. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
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    What about input voltage @ full power playback level?

    If one amp has 1.5v @ full power, and another has 1v, would the difference of the stepping be different? That plus the gain?

    Confused as well.

    I did have problems using a Arcam 9 & Arcam 8P to biamp speakers (different gain and/or voltage I think)
     
  6. BLACK_MAGIC

    BLACK_MAGIC
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    I didn't know voltage was a contributing factor aswell, damn now im confused cause i dont know what all that gubbins means when i look at the spec's for each amp:(
     
  7. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    Black Magic -

    You should be able to mix and match these amplifiers, any difference in gain is taken up in the set-up procedure on the AV8; i.e. in the volume offsets applied to each channel, which also take account of speaker sensitivity variations at the same time. You can't eliminate tonal differences between amplifiers in this way but they are likely to be small compared with tonal differences in the speakers used.

    The only possible serious problem that might occur is if some of your power amplifiers were inverting and others were not; without swapping the red and black speaker terminals of the inverting ones you could have some channels out of phase with others. Amplifier manufacturers rarely specify if their products invert - it's no big deal in itself but can be an issue if some models do and some don't when they are used in the same system. Ask the manufacturers concerned or test in your system by driving two adjacent and similar speakers from the two amps you want to check, using a mono test signal, e.g. from a radio; if the bass disappears then the two channels are out of phase!!

    For the record all Arcam power amps have the same gain (except the P7 which has a couple of dB less gain to comply with THX specs). They are all non inverting. So you should be able to mix and match without problems. Of course this does mean that whereas an Alpha 8P or P75 would have a sensitivity of about 540mV for rated power (50W), an 85P would be 700mV for 85W. This doesn't mean they are incompatible - if you work it out they have the same gains, so one of each could be used to bi-amp suitable loudspeakers (where it does matter that the gains of the bass and treble channels are matched). Of course the 85P will go louder then the 8P/P75 as it is more powerful :) This means you would use this on the bass drivers in a biamped system or on the main speakers in a surround system, where a lower powered amp would be OK for the rears.

    I hope that clears things up a bit.

    John Dawson (Arcam)

    PS We have some rather fine monoblock power amps in the works, the model number is P1. I believe a pair of P1s will give the other models you are considering more than a run for their money :) They will be available in about a month's time.
     
  8. BLACK_MAGIC

    BLACK_MAGIC
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    Excellent thanks for the informative reply. I understand now:). Looks like im gonna be ordering my chord come payday yay:)
     
  9. alexs2

    alexs2
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    If you're interested in Chord amps,Krell are also worth a look....both have very similar sound....very tight bass,clear mid and extended but not harsh treble.
    You will find,I think,that the MFs and the Chord do have a rather different sound,but as you're planning to use the Chord on the front channels,it may not be a problem.....do try and listen to the Chord in your system before buying though.
     
  10. BLACK_MAGIC

    BLACK_MAGIC
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    Yeh im going to be allowed to have a 1 month home demo just to make sure.
    I'm not going to use my system for that multi channel music, just for films and stereo music play back so hopefully i shouldn't notice much difference in the sounds (i think) when im watching a film. At a later date im going to change the MF a3.2s to something better but ive got to first get some better rears and also convince the other half that ive not just wasted half our savings and its a positive investment for the future:)
     

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