1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Wanted: Your thoughts on 5 ch power amps

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by AOD, Feb 19, 2003.

  1. AOD

    AOD
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    707
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +4
    Okay so maybe it's not the most original subject in the world, but I'd welcome some input from the rest of you good folk.

    My current system as you can see from the sig is a reasonable one, but my spending fingers are itching (after promising the other half that the Tag was the last addition to the system ;) ) and am looking seriously at a 5 channel power amp.

    My budget is under a grand, the further under the better if you catch my drift.

    My shortlist for consideration at the moment is:

    Rotel 985 mkII THX (now discontinued but possible to find)
    Rotel 1075 THX (surprise, eh?)
    Marantz MM9000 THX
    Nad 218 THX
    Bryston (too hopeful for under a grand??)
    Parasound (as above)

    I'm not in the market for a Tag power amp so this is not under consideration.

    I'd welcome observations/opinions. I would like to listen to some of these and am just wondering if I can either reduce or make some additions to this shortlist.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Tag are selling new Audiolab 8000SX's for £250 each, 2 channel poweramp- so total of a six channels will cost £750.

    Nathan
     
  3. sounddog

    sounddog
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,350
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    107
    Location:
    Leicestershire, UK
    Ratings:
    +447
    The NAD 218THX is only two channel ... sorry to break it to you ... though I've heard that 5 of them will sound really good ... almost Byston teretory :) The only 5 channel NADs currently are in the Silver Line series ... the S250 for around £2000 (www.avland.co.uk) ... so I guess that knocks the NAD off your listening list.

    The Rotel's are very well reguarded for under a grand ... and are often avaliable second hand if you're prepared to look in that direction. Depending on how much power you're looking for ... you could also consider the RMB1066 - 60wpc x 6.

    As you say, you're unlikely to get Bryston for under a grand and the Parasound is doubtful too.

    The only one I've not got any comment to make about is the Marantz.

    Victoria
     
  4. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    You could try and find the Rotel 993 (3 channel) and the 991 (2 channel)

    They are 200W x 3 and 200W x 2, THX. You should be able to buy them for well under a grand for both (I think they were 650-750 each rrp)

    EDIT- just remembered the 200W rotels have XLR inputs, if that's any use to you

    Nathan
     
  5. AOD

    AOD
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    707
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +4
    Nathan, thanks for the tip on the Audiolabs. I wasn't aware of that (should pay more attention to the Tag site I guess).

    Victoria, thanks for setting me straight on the Nad. Just goes to show you shouldn't just look at the images and make an assumption.

    The model you mention with 60W x 6 wouldn't be that much different from what I'm running with at the moment. To be honest my main requirements are in order of priority:

    1. Better sound.
    2. One box.
    3. More power.

    I would really prefer a single box so my other half doesn't complain that she can't listen to "Tonight with Trever McDonald" :suicide: without flicking half a dozen switches.
     
  6. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    There is something out which could be useful- there is a multiway powerblock which switches on when it recieves a 12V trigger. So for example- you switch a Lexicon DC-2 on, that sends the trigger to the powerblock, and hey presto the amps switch on!

    You will to leave the poweramp front switch to on.

    The Rotel 1095 is £1800 new rrp. That's a 5x 200W. Over your budget, but I don't think you'll be able to get a (high quality & high output) 5 channel poweramp for £1K.

    Nathan
     
  7. sounddog

    sounddog
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,350
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    107
    Location:
    Leicestershire, UK
    Ratings:
    +447
    Well ... I guess the two Rotels (1075 and 985) would meet your 3 criteria the best along with the Marantz ... which would sound better I'm not sure. The Rotel 1066 would be one box ... but will neither sound better nor will it have any more power.

    The Audiolab that Nathan meationed will sound better, and have more power than your current amps ... but of course are still 3 boxes. Also (certainly by Nathans admission wrt to their integrated amps) Audiolab need the right speakers if they're to sound good.

    Hope that summary helps (didn't really say anything new though did I!)

    Oh ... and if you want to sell your 970s in a couple of months ... drop us a bell cause we might be looking for some more :)
     
  8. AOD

    AOD
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    707
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +4
    Yep the Rotel's are a popular choice for those of us without ultra deep pockets.

    My current favourite option would be the Rotel RB985 Mk II. Used they seem to go for under £400 on here and I've found dealers with them for around £500.

    The Marantz is an interesting one as it offers a switch on option when detecting a video signal. As my Tag doesn't have action switches (for 12V trigger stuff), a simple composite video connection could take care of firing up the unit.

    To be honest I'm not that worried about the amp automatically switching itself on, it's more of a convenience thing than anything else.

    I wonder if anybody makes an IR controllable powerstrip that could be used for this purpose??
     
  9. AOD

    AOD
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    707
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +4
    Victoria, I'll keep you in mind if and when I decide to offload the 970s.

    How many have you got at the moment and how are you using them (stereo, bridged mono) ?

    Nathan, the 12V controlled powerstrip would be useful, except I don't have the necessary option installed in my Tag. Of course I could always get it upgraded.

    I've now found a dealer with the 985 Mk II for under £400. Guess I'd better enquire whether they still have it and if I can have a listen. :)
     
  10. Flimber

    Flimber
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Messages:
    13,360
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Ratings:
    +4,477
  11. AOD

    AOD
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    707
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +4
    Thanks Mike, sadly these are not much use to me as I'm using a processor that doesn't have a "spare" power socket on the back (as some of the Yamaha & Denon kit do).

    Instead I have the option of adding a 12V trigger output to the processor as an upgrade, but I'd rather spend the money elsewhere at the moment.
     
  12. sounddog

    sounddog
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,350
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    107
    Location:
    Leicestershire, UK
    Ratings:
    +447
    Well ... right now we don't have any ... but picking 2 up next week which we're going to us to bi amp the front two (with an RA1060) and the centre.

    Then we want later to look for a couple more to power the rears ... then will look at replacing our Marantz SR5200 with a processor.

    oh and ...
    I wish there was a black hole in my bank balance ... then when the bank manager wanders in to check how much money I don't have ... he'd get sucked in and never report that I don't have any :)

    Victoria
     
  13. Dave20

    Dave20
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    i was considering similar to you.. but decided to wait a while and buy a Sherbourn 5 chan.. this thing has killed all others (arcam, tag, bryston, nad) etc etc in reviews and personal opinions in America.. it has 5 monobloc's.. but alas is £1800, but all good things come to those who wait :D (/me waits)
     
  14. AOD

    AOD
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    707
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +4
    From speaking with some dealers this is a name that has cropped up, however as you say it is seriously way above my price point at the moment.

    Who actually carries these at the moment in the UK?
     
  15. daninthemix

    daninthemix
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I used to own the MM9000. For that money it's extremely good value - drove my Kef Refs (old range) with great control, and never seemed to break a sweat in my setup!

    I've seen them on eBay for £400. In fact, I sold mine for that :cool:
     
  16. Dave20

    Dave20
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    if this was @ me.. Zebra
     
  17. AOD

    AOD
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    707
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +4
    Yes Dave20, it was directed at your good self.

    What a coincidence!

    Almost all of my kit came from Zebra before they moved upmarket (granted this was a few years ago). They used to have some very nice dem facilities in Croydon and they served a mean cup of Earl Grey.

    Ahh them were the days.

    I wonder if they'd give me a good trade in?? ;)
     
  18. Dave20

    Dave20
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Croyden is uhm.. a repair centre heh.. i got my definatives from there.. i think the chelsea shop is for the uber rich only hehe
     
  19. AOD

    AOD
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    707
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +4
    True, however back in the days of Laserdisc and Canon Wide dispersion speakers :blush: , Zebra operated exclusively from their Croydon showroom, mainly cos they didn't have anywhere else.

    Some years ago they realised that they could make serious dosh from high end installations, got a funky place in Chelsea and the rest is history.

    I haven't been into the Croydon shop since their move, I'd be curious to see what it's like now.
     
  20. Dave20

    Dave20
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    i dont think any of the demo rooms are there.. it looked liked a store and repair centre when i was there..
     
  21. sounddog

    sounddog
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,350
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    107
    Location:
    Leicestershire, UK
    Ratings:
    +447
    AOD ... a question for you.

    In your equipment list ... you have listed the Arcam Alpha 6 along with the TAG AV32R ... do you just use the Alpha 6 as a power amp, or when listening to stereo music (CD player, etc) do you have that connected directly to the Alpha 6?

    Have you compared the sound (for stereo) of both?

    Victoria
     
  22. AOD

    AOD
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    707
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +4
    sounddog, in answer to your question.

    Currently I'm using the Arcam essentially as a power amp. When I had my previous "processor" (a dodgy Yamaha Pro-Logic box with hiss levels that would shame a cobra), I used to run the CD direct to the Arcam and bypass the Yamaha.

    Since getting the AV32R I've pretty much done away with the analogue feed from the CD player and instead am currently relying solely on the Tag's DACS with a connection via digital coax.

    If I get some time on my hands (and the odds of that are not good ;) ) I could sit down and compare the different options which are:
    1. CD to Arcam via analogue
    2. CD to Tag via analogue
    3. CD to Tag via digital
      [/list=1]
      To be brutally honest, I *really* like the sound of music when played using PLII Music mode, so much so that it's very rare now that I'll listen to a CD in "plain" stereo.

      Technically I can't help but feel that the digital connection to the Tag *should* sound better, but then again the Rotel isn't exactly a shabby player in its own right (although it is getting on a bit now). Who knows, maybe I'll prefer the sound of its DACS?

      I have to add that the pain of rebalancing/resetting the volume control on the Arcam would probably put me off option 1. I know that I can set it again to 12 o'clock and all that, but since I bothered properly calibrating the levels with an SPL meter, I'd rather not get into that.
     
  23. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    If I had the choice of Tag/Arcam components I'll go for..

    Tag pre-amp
    and
    Arcam poweramp

    rather than...
    Arcam pre-amp
    and
    Tag poweramp


    The Arcam poweramps are pretty neutral, but I've found the Arcam's pre-amp a bit soft, lacking in detail, and quite noisy.

    Nathan
     
  24. mick23

    mick23
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2002
    Messages:
    801
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    uk
    Ratings:
    +2
    i will soon recieve a rb985 mk1 i am going to try this vs my denon3802 internal amplification the mk1 is rated 100wX5 it is just a black box apparently (not finned like the mk2or 1075)

    i would have liked the 1075 but these seem to be at least £600 ex dem 2nd hand,
    in my case i may use the 985 to biamp my front speakers and run center channel, and use 3802 to run surround and rears,
    the guys on the rotel site are very helpfull,still awaiting a bit more info on the biamping bit,?

    i thought id take a chance on the rb985 because if in the future i decide to go the (processer route) i will have 5 channel power in place.

    untill i recieve 985 wont of course know how the 985 or 3802 amps compare
     
  25. AOD

    AOD
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    707
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +4
    mick23, once you have your new amp in place let us know what you think of the combination.
     
  26. Eric Chadwick

    Eric Chadwick
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2001
    Messages:
    22
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
    I got a used JBL S650 (as used in their various Synthesis systems) for £700. Sadly the phono connectors, which aren't normally used in an all JBL system, were useless when I got it and all required replacing (the dealer did this) but after that and certainly following a recent power cable upgrade it sounds great. It is five (pessimistically 150W) monoblocks each with a seperate transformer and offers enough power to peak around THX reference levels with my linn av5103, martin logan aerius, IPL AVC2, linn sekrit, B&W ASW800 system without things getting strained. I don't think it can run out of puff. I don't think I've seen any others for sale in the UK but it shows that if you can find bargains out there if you look for rich people's part exes that few know much about :)
     
  27. GrannySmith

    GrannySmith
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2002
    Messages:
    278
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Pembrokeshire
    Ratings:
    +9
    Just thought I'd ressurect this thread to suggest to AOD that he would do well to seek out a Sherbourn dealer before commiting himself. I knew nothing of Sherbourn before reading Dave20's comments on the last page, but he is indeed correct, u.s. reviews and opinions are wildly enthusiastic of one particular 5-channel model - the 5/1500A, which was twice cited as offering 98% of the Bryston 9B's performance for half the money.

    I am as cynical of gung-ho american reviews as anyone, but being in the market for a 5-channel amp to partner my new Cyrus av8 processor, emailed Sherbourn's HQ about UK dealers. The UK distributor is Gecko (020 86030480), who quoted the 5/1500A at £1900, but offered 10% discount as it is being replaced by the similar spec 5/5120. The offer of a 5/1500A on a trial basis swung it for me, and after living with it for 24 hours, my initial impressions are as follows.

    Physically, it's in the same brick s**thouse league as the Bryston 9B SST which my dealer had kindly lent me for reference two days earlier - both weigh around 80 lbs. In addition to a 12v trigger, it has a very handy sleep mode which powers down the main amps when a signal has not been detected for 5 minutes or so - useful with the Cyrus av8 which has no 12v trigger. After running in this amp for a day, I have to say that I am in love with its sound - it has the same effortless control as the Bryston and knows how to carry a tune, which could'nt really be said of the Rotel RMB-1075 I was previously using. Soundstaging is big and precise, although a little less so than the Bryston from memory, and a little less transparent sounding also, but these are still early days. The amp's 5-monobloc design is absolute - each channel has its own toroidal transformer and reserve capacitors, surely a plus when using speakers offering widely differing loads such as I am. I have not been able to compare it to any direct competition, such as the Arcam P7 or Rotel RMB-1095, but it easily trounces the Rotel's junior RMB-1075 in all respects. It's sonic character is solid and slightly dark to my ears, without any trace of brightness whatsoever. As far as I'm concerned it's a keeper - I'd like to hear any other opinions of this fine amplifier .:smoke:
     
  28. petrolhead

    petrolhead
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2002
    Messages:
    4,477
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Ratings:
    +81
    This isn't a fair comparison

    The rotel is £895.

    Like comparing a Fiesta 1.1 to a Focus RS :)
     
  29. sounddog

    sounddog
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,350
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    107
    Location:
    Leicestershire, UK
    Ratings:
    +447
    It all depends on who is driving :cool:

    Shumie in the Fiesta would probably beat Delia Smith driving the RS.

    *Please* do not ask me where I dragged that comparison up from!

    Steff
     
  30. NicolasB

    NicolasB
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2002
    Messages:
    5,804
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Emily's Shop
    Ratings:
    +520
    Well there's a good reason to avoid it right there. Bunch of profiteering SOBs.... :mad:
     

Share This Page

Loading...