Stereo power amp with high current delivery?

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by crobo, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. crobo

    crobo
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    I could do with some input here folks because I am getting into dangerous territory. I have been using a Meridian 561 processor for both 5.1 and 2-channel duties and it sounds fine. An Arcam P1000 is driving Electa Amators fine too (bi-amping) and it all sounds wonderful.

    Foolishly, I have just gone and picked up Sonus Faber Extremas and these are enormous, with a very power-hungry nature according to people I have talked too. I think 4 x 135W from the P1000 just isn't enough - they don't quite have the sound that they had in the demo, where the seller was using about £8k worth of Mark Levinson amplification.

    I don't want to get into seriously expensive territory (yet) but one option is to lose the P1000 and get a serious 2-channel power amp for the Extremas plus a more moderate 3-channel amp for the other 3 speakers. Can anyone recommend a good stereo power amp that that will come in under £1k second hand? I thought of a Meridian 557 - the question is will one of these provide significantly more current delivery than bi-amping from the Arcam? Or do any other candidates spring to mind?

    Any input appreciated
     
  2. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
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    I think you probably need an american muscle amp. Something like a Parasound, Bryston, Levinson, Krell, or even Proceed. From UK brands, I guess a bif Musical Fidelity would do the trick. All of these are available second hand, but might break your budget. I use a Proceed AMP5, which you could probably pick up for £1500-£2000 second hand. Only 5 x 125 watts, but immensely powerful nonetheless
     
  3. CogPaul

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    HiFi Guy are showing a Krell KAV250a at £900 on their website- just what you need.

    I used to own a Meridian 557- believe me it cannot compete with the Krell in terms of delivering high current!
     
  4. Nimby

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    Is it worth discussing PA amps in this context?

    The US chaps have been using pro gear for decades.

    Getting a proper shop demo might be fun though. ;)

    These things often have noisy cooling fans which may mean a fan swap or isolating the amp in another room.
    They perform very light duties in domestic hifi compared with a live gig so can easily cope with a quieter fan.
    More clean watts than you'll ever know what to do with for pocket money.

    I'm using a Behringer EP2500 on my IB sub but can't speak for its peformance on fullrange speakers.
    You could try hiring one if they won't lend you one at your local musical instrument shop.

    http://www.behringer.com/EP2500/index.cfm?lang=ENG

    Enjoy? :)
     
  5. Helicon

    Helicon
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    I purchased a Krell once and it fell below my expectations regarding control and transient response. Maybe they just didn't suit my speakers. I found the Bryston amplifiers to be much better in this respect. Clean, effortless, and hugely powerful.
     
  6. crobo

    crobo
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    I heard from someone that the Krell sound is on the bright side - would you say that this is the case? And can you compare the sound with the Meridian?
     
  7. Helicon

    Helicon
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    I wouldn't say the Krell was bright, it was smoother than the Bryston, but lacked the sphericals, so to speak.
     
  8. CogPaul

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    I am using a Krell KAV250a/3 into Celestion A3's- reknowned as a difficult load to drive- and the amp has no issues. At various times I have run meridian 565 and 568.2 processors in the system and was very happy. I would say that for stereo use the better the preamp the better these amps sound and switching to a Krc-3 reallly bought a smile to my face.Consider trying to pick up a cheaper stereo preamp with HT bypass if you do go down this route.

    I have heard Krell/Sonus Faber pairings in the past- and they have always impressed- but I do like the Krell sound- and it is not to everyones taste.
     
  9. joffy1780

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    :rotfl: :rotfl: :thumbsup:
     
  10. RustyZip

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    If your happy with the Arcam "sound", how about buying 2 second-hand P1's ??
    Thats what i did, and later added a P35/3 3 channel amp...

    I managed to buy my P1's for just under a grand for both of them...
     
  11. slingshot

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    How about 1 of these :-
    http://www.alnerhamblin.com/detailspro.asp?id=2069958303.

    I went from an Arcam P90 to one of these and I love the sound, certainly I'm not tempted to now get a Brytson which was my original plan. Oh and the price I think is 700 quid new.

    Worth a thought, and plenty of oomph.

    Slingshot
     
  12. Rich

    Rich
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    How about a Dussun V8I?
    It comes within your budget( $1,049.00 and $375 delivery or even cheaper if you shop around) and are designed by Mark Levinson (Red Rose music)
    It's an integrated/power amp. 2×250W (8Ω) 2×500W (4Ω)
    I've got the Dussun D9 and it's easily the best value for money kit I've ever bought.
     
  13. Rich

    Rich
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  14. crobo

    crobo
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    Thanks a lot for these thoughts chaps; it gives me plenty to think about. Right now I have to consider whether big changes are in order since I only got the P1000 a month ago and I've been very happy with it and the EAIIs. But I don't think I could keep the Extremas without trying to do them justice. Ah, decisions, decisions, I love this game.
    Cheers
     
  15. crobo

    crobo
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    Actually another thought - does anyone know how a couple of Musical Fidelity M250 monoblocks would sound in this context? Eg compared to the Meridian 557 and Krell?
     
  16. alexs2

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    Generally,you could expect a warmer sound from the MF amps than from the Krells,although I personally have little experience of the Meridian you mention.

    Many of the older Krells(KMA and KSA) were actually better than their later counterparts(the KSA-S series) before the FPB series amps arrived,and in terms of power delivery both the older ones,and the FPBs should be fine(mine certainly give me no problems).
    The Brystons mentioned by Helicon are also an excellent choice.
     
  17. lovegroova

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    Thanks for pointing that out Paul, I picked it up this afternoon and now have a matching set of KAV250a and KAV250a/3 :thumbsup:

    The forum proves its worth once again :clap:
     
  18. crobo

    crobo
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    Thanks again for the inputs. I'm picking up some Musical fidelity M250 mono-blocs at the weekend. I'm buying three so if there's still not enough 'sphericals' :eek: I can always look for a fourth and bi-amp. Having had MF amps before, I think the sound will be suited to the SFs. At the very least it will be an interesting comparison with the Arcam P1000.
     
  19. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
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    Please let me know what you think. I have heard good and bad musical Fidelity amps over the years, perhaps because they release so many of them !!!
     
  20. crobo

    crobo
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    Sure thing.
     
  21. Hifi addict

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    you could also consider trying a Musical Fidelity A5cr or a Lyngdorf SDA2175. Both have plenty of power and control and should be a good match although bi-amping is not to bad as well.

    It could be that your akoestics are very different from the place where you had the demo
     
  22. crobo

    crobo
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    Fair point. I guess if I go for bi-amping I have two possibilities really: to look for another M250 (safest option) or link 2 M250s to e.g. an A3cr or A5cr poweramp. I will have to see how 2 M250s fare on their own first, although the more I read about the Extremas the hungrier they sound (I think I know where they get their name from now :) ). One guy was using four bridged Meridian 557s with them, for example. Still, they already sound good with the Arcam so it's worth the experimenting.
     
  23. Hifi addict

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    sure, it's always fun to experiment :)

    I really think you should try to listen to a A5cr. this poweramp has a peakpower of 200Amps. Really powerfull ! and very open, dynamic, detailed, smooth etc
     
  24. crobo

    crobo
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    I absolutely agree - I have heard wonderful things about this amp. It's just that another monobloc will bring the total cost of 4 M250s to about £1500, which is roughly what a new A5cr costs, so I will give them a try first.

    Can you tell me - do you know whether the A5cr sounds a lot better than the A3cr? This too got good reviews.
     
  25. Hifi addict

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    The A3cr is an old series and the new A3.5 series don't have a poweramp.
    the cr stands for Choke Regulated and it's a poweramp, not an integrated amp.

    I have had the A5 integrated and A5cr in my setup and the A5cr is a step up compared to almost everything I have had in my setup. It also was on pair with a Chord SPM1200B which costs about 3-4 times as much.

    The new MF series are no longer as "to warm" or "slow" as the old series. At least, that was my experience.
     
  26. Crustyloafer

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    I'll second that vote for the Musical Fidelity A5CR Power Amplifier, it has loads of power and does not sound anything like MF amps of old.
     
  27. crobo

    crobo
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    Well I have spent a couple of days comparing the bi-amped P1000 with 2 x MF M250 monoblocs (single wired) and it is hard to decide. They are both on the warm side with the Arcam the warmer of the two (Dido vocals sound slightly more breathless with the MFs and treble is a little more pronounced in general). I get the impression that the MFs are more consistent over the frequency range but the Arcam is better at projecting vocals in the midrange. Both seem to have more or less equal abilities where bass is concerned, and general clarity is good with both. Now I have had time to settle with these speakers I think both amps are driving them pretty well.

    But take these comments with a pinch of salt because I'm just not used to assessing kit of this standard. I only got Electa Amator IIs about 4 months ago and they were way better than anything I'd had before. Now I have gone to £8k speakers from my favourite manufacturer EVERYTHING sounds wonderful and it's hard to be critical. For example, these speakers have far better bass than anything I've had and subtle (and perhaps not so subtle) differences may well be escaping me.

    The M250s have some impressive features. I do like the fact that they never get warm (they are even designed to slot on top of each other) and they switch on from standby when they sense music. Very room friendly, and very attractive too.

    I'll play with them for another week and then decide which to keep. I'll be happy with either for some time I hope.
     
  28. Nimby

    Nimby
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    Being a cynical sod I'd have thought that closely matching the speaker sound level between changes of amp would save a lot of anguish and possibly considerable expenditure.

    A dB or so difference in level will make comparison quite difficult. Only when you start pushing difficult speakers to much higher SPLs will some amps begin to shine. If you spend your listening time at a steady 80dB you may be one of the many who simply can't tell lemons from oranges.

    An SPL meter from BK would probably cost under £30 and offers highly accurate repeatability on absolute level even if you don't trust it for anything else. Pocket change when considering any new kit from modest to high end.

    If when matched for level you find yourself struggling to seperate the minute subtleties between kit then stop trying and enjoy what you have. Or just choose the one you prefer the look of. Just admit to yourself that you can't make a valid decision based on listening tests and leave it at that.
     
  29. EddThompson

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    I must admit i cant realy tell between power amps, the only amp ive ever had that sounded noticibly different was a valve amp, and i bet that was because it was under powered.

    The only time i hear a difference is at high volumes (90db and higher), most amps start to get smeary, or clip.

    I used to have a pair of kef reference 105s, they had an led that came on at a definable wattage, and 100 watts even at low volumes would flash quite regularly. 3db more in volume would mean the 200 watt would flash, and not many amps can handle 200 watts consistantly at low thd.

    The solution for me, POWWWERRRR :D Cleanest sound ive ever had, even to bonkers volumes. And even at high voulmes, surprisingly little fatigue.

    The only other solution for me would be a set of 100db or greater effciant speakers, then you can use what ever amp you fancy.

    edd
     
  30. Nimby

    Nimby
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    What Edd said. :)
     

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