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smooth powerful amplification advice..

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

  1. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    hello there, im new to this forum! i want to pick your brains about amplification for AV and audio. I have a Yamaha DSP-A3090 at the centre of my system. I use it to switch between AV and audio sources. Its currently also my power amp as well as pre-amp. I have a variety of sources connected to it, the Pioneer DV-656A is the only one of importance. Partnered to the Yam, is a pair of B&W DM620 floorstanders, a B&WIFS2000 centre (soon to be upgraded on account of being nearly a complete waste of space - actually any advice on this would be good too!) and a pair of RAM bookshelf speakers bringing up the rear (anyone remember RAM?) which pair remarkably well with the B&W 620s. At the bottom end, I have a REL Strata III driving the room below its 33hz resonant frequency and a REL Quake II sat at the other end of the room out of phase with the mains and strata set to 1/3 to a half volume for resonance control.

    Anyhow, the Yamaha doesn't have enough grunt to reach reference level in my room, it can comfortably get to 75db but much over that and it starts to sound harsh. What I'm really after is some advice on outboard power amplification, for the LR channels only to start with, that can reach at least reference level -10db but more importantly sound tight and controlled, punchy yet smooth without becoming harsh at high levels. I put equal importance on quality for movies as i do for music. I dont have pots of cash either, and i would consider 2nd hand gear, i just want the right gear! Does anyone have any advice?

    cheers

    Chris
     
  2. lovegroova

    lovegroova
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    I would look at the Rotel Power amplifiers. Models RB991 (2ch), RB993 (3ch), RB985 (5ch) - all now discontinued and available second hand. Or the newer RMB 1075/RMB 1095 models (both 5ch), some of which are available second hand but you'll probably have to but new.

    see www.rotel.com for the specs - there is an archive section for the older products.
     
  3. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I wouldn't spend too much on power amps as the 3090 is fairly old technology. If you want something more powerful that is good with music as well as films I would suggest that you might look at a second hand Denon AVC10SE at between £450 and £500 and sell your Yammie
     
  4. nathan_silly

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  5. rob_w

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    Considering 1 watt should give you 96Db (according to the b+w website) You need to look into amps that deliver lots of current rather than lots of watts. (your speakers are 4 ohms nominal - difficult load)

    All the big guns should deliver -Naim, Bryston, Krell, Tag, etc. (I believe Marck is selling a copland that should drive the speaks well - Look at the hardware for sale section.)

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  6. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    thanks for your replies.. dont quite have enough money for high-end amps, but perhaps replacing the yam would be a good thing. ill ponder on.. thanks again!

    Chris
     
  7. rob_w

    rob_w
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    You might have a good result replacing your speakers.

    Rob
     
  8. buns

    buns
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    You should get in touch with Eric and check out the ATI stuff which he seems to be considering supplying. I have read some startling things about the power amps and the price is not enormous (at least from the states).

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  9. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Not sure I agree with you there Ian. The 3090 is STILL a good amp by todays standards. If you're not bothered about DTS or coaxial connection for your DVD player, then I would have thought that adding a power amp would be more effective than buying something like a AVC10SE, which won't have much more power?
     
  10. buns

    buns
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    I would tend to agree, the power amplification technology isnt much changed between these 2 amps, so i suggest both will have similar power qualities. But of course the big change is the processing. So it all depends on you long term plans..... if you want one spend and no more for 5 years, get an up to date processor like Ian says, if you plan on spending more in a year, you would be better investing in a power amp which would then form an integral part of a future upgraded system. Horses for courses......

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  11. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    well this is what happened.

    i blew up my IFS2000 (by accident). So I auditioned the LCR60 and LCR600 from B&W and also a Dynaudio 122C that was ex-dem and very cheap. The dynaudio totally outperformed the B&Ws, so I went with that.

    I next upgraded the amp to a Denon 3803.

    Most recently my mains (B&W DM620s) got changed for matching Dynaudio Audience 122s. This change has made the most startling improvement.

    What I'm about to say here relates to another thread I started last week before realising that I should have continued this one, mods, please delete it if required. (power amp advice..)

    My new front three speakers are 4db lower in sensitivity, thus the 110w/chan of the Denon and the 80w/chan of the Yam A3090 (now on power amp detail for the mains) doesnt go as far as it used to. This isnt really noticeable on movies so much, but for music at higher volumes, it can be. The sound becomes a little compressed and harsh and it really isn't THAT loud yet.

    So given my new speaker set-up and the introduction of the 3803, do any of you have any new advice to offer for amplification? Also bear in mind that I also now have a Meridian 506.24 and I would place slightly more emphasis on music reproduction for my system. I would also consider changing the 3803 for a more audiophile grade processor if required. I will also sell the Yam if I had to fund more kit. I'm mainly thinking second-hand here.

    cheers
     
  12. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Chris

    Although my priority is movies over music, I used to have a Yamaha DSP A1 at the heart of my system, and recently changed to a pre/power combo.

    I bought a 2nd hand Lexicon DC-2 processor from the forums, and a brand new Rotel RMB1075 5 channel power amp, and a Rotel RB1070 power amp (2 channel)...this combination sounds amazing, however it's mainly geared for movies rather than music.

    Meridian's are VERY well regarded for 2-channel music, so you could opt for a Meridian 565 processor (around £700 2nd hand), and something like the 7 channel combo as above - that way you benefit from having a 2-channel (and superior) power amp driving the front L+R speakers, and you have 7 channels for Trifield:)

    Alternatives to the Rotels? Well Parasounds are highly regarded on here, again 2nd hand models which would offer superiority over the Rotels can be had for around £800-£1200 depending on the model.

    One thing's for sure though, dump that 3803 and move to true separates and you're bound to notice a difference:)
     
  13. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    Definitley dump the 3803, I went from a 3802 to an A1-SE and that was a big jump, then to a late model DC-1 and parasound, massive improvement.
    I'm using a Meridian 568.2 now with a bigger parasound (2205) and it is stunning, serious sound levels and not once has it sounded harsh or like it is running out of steam.
     
  14. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    ok. gotta do this in phased approaches though.

    the 565 and 568.2 processors will require and video controllers to go with them, how much are we talking? perhaps the DC-2 or MC-1 is another possible route? or do I start to compromise 2 channel music reproduction again?

    Whatever I do, I'm gonna need power amps. I have seen a couple of Meridian 505s kicking about for £350 a piece. They are 160w/8 and 260w/4. Any thoughts on this amp?
    Which parasounds should I consider?
    I know the 3803 is not going to be a good pre-amp for these amps, but I think that change will have to come later.. unless you have any better ideas?
     
  15. buns

    buns
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    350 for a 505 sounds pretty reasonable..... i tried getting some of them a few years back but no one was playing 'haggle' so i went elsewhere (which remains my best av decision!).

    As for the processors, well i have an interim period 565 which is actually surprisingly good for 5.1 movies but i dont use it for stereo since it doesnt compare with my stereo pre. That said it is still pretty good and I believe is better than the lex dc's.

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  16. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    the going elsewhere or not buying the 505s remains your best AV decision?
     
  17. buns

    buns
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    Sorry, the going elsewhere! Nothing wrong with the 505's at all!

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  18. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    So as a first move.. (its so hard to know which is going to be my preferred choice when buying second hand)

    2 x Meridian 505s at £700 for the pair second-hand
    or
    1 x Rotel RB 1070 at £500 new

    on paper, the 505s have slightly more power, but, more importantly, which is going to yeild the nicer sound, especially when pushed hard? by nicer, i mean, as neutral as possible and yet producing a good soundstage, good imaging and excellent detail whilst leaving the treble as sweet as it came out of the 506. i guess the dynaudios are going to be a tough load being 86db/m and 4-6ohms.
     
  19. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    one word, Parasound.

    no offence to the rotel gear but if you are looking for a fuller warmer sound then the parasound would be a better bet.

    Jeff was selling his 2205 for around a grand on here a week or so ago :)
     
  20. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary
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    interesting, interesting. i have read some threads here that suggest the 2205 is not perhaps as good with music as it should be. the arcam p7 has been highly talked about though, although i think that really its out of my price range.
     
  21. drago.d

    drago.d
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    ATI or Parasound.

    Performance/£ ratio excellent. ;)

    drago.d
     

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