How do Pro Sound amps compare with "audio only" amps for mains use?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by MichaelDDD, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    This may be comparing apples to oranges, but I'm a spec-sheet kinda guy...and they look similar to me.

    Talking about amps like Crown, Behringer, QSC vs. amps like NAD, Outlaw, Rotel.

    I know that many people use prosound amps on their sub, where freq response isn't critical...big power is. But what about on you main 5 (or 7) speakers?

    I've noticed that most of the prosound amps don't have RCA ins...but that easily fixable with some 1/4"-to-RCA plugs from radio shack...I doubt there'd be any signal loss with it.

    Some of the better prosound amps have better than 100db S/N ratios, .01 THD, etc.

    Here's an example

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Spectacularly well however fan noise may be an issue. Also many don't like the utilitarian appearance but if you can get by those issues then you'll have power up the wazoo.
     
  3. Tuan Le

    Tuan Le Agent

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    I'm interested in knowing the differences as well. I have been looking at couple Crown amps. [​IMG]
     
  4. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    As with many other component, it probably depends largely on the overall quality of your system. For instance, if you have $10,000 speakers fronted by similarly-priced separates, you may not like the sound of a pro amp. However, if you’re using more ordinary equipment, you’ll probably be very happy with a pro amp.

    I’d avoid low-end brands like Behringer, Samson, etc. altogether, and possibly even the low-end offerings of the more respected brands. Pro amps designated for studio use are always a good choice, although many of them have power ratings similar to home amps.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  5. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Interesting and hope-inspiring responses! [​IMG] Thanks guys. Anyone else care to throw their opinion into the ring?

    The look doesnt' matter much to me; it's an amp. In fact, I happen to find a rack full of black boxes with little LEDs on them quite stimulating. [​IMG]

    Now, the receiever or pre/pro, that's gotta appeal to me b/c I'll be interacting with it constantly. The amp just sits there and does it's thing. Clean the dust off it once a week, vacuum off the heatsinks and it's happy.
     
  6. JohnMW

    JohnMW Second Unit

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  7. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    I find pro amps to sound quite lively and pretty detailed. To my ears they seem to have accentuated treble and so they lead to fatigue. But this is only to my ears. I won't say they sound worse than 'audio only' amps, only different. If you like forward, analytical sound then pro amps may be the ticket. They give you the most bang for the buck and are usually built like a tank[​IMG].


    Best of luck.
     
  8. JimPeitersen

    JimPeitersen Second Unit

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    I agree with most of the comments. It has been my observation that the "better" lines of pro amps (QSC PLX & Powerlight, Crown MX & Macrotech, Crest CA, Stewart Reference, etc.) sound very good, at least the equal of fine "home" amps. Yes, you do get "power," but the cost is also quite high. So, are you getting a better value with the pro amps? The cheap lines look good at first glance, but probably won't make you happy in the long run. Many here have pro amps, just wait to hear there opinions.
    JP
     
  9. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, I've been looking into the "better" pro amps. $500 for a two channel, 250 WPC @ 8ohms is not uncommon.

    By the time I finished "amping up", I'd have spent a pretty penny. This is not a cheap addiction...er, hobby. [​IMG]

    For that kind of money, I could get an Outlaw 5.1 or 7.1 amp and be done with it. [​IMG]

    I'm concerned b/c my receiver (Kenwood VR-409) isn't rated to drive 6 ohm loads, only 8 ohm loads.

    My center and surrounds are 6 ohm and the main L/R are 8 ohms.

    Would it lessen the load (or have a positive effect) on my reciever to have a single two-channel outboard amp for the front left/right? That would leave only the center and surrounds powered by the receiver.

    Even though each of the 5 channels has it's own "power", they all still draw off the same power supply.


    Would this be a good idea?
     
  10. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    John,

     
  11. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Thank you, Wayne. I appreciate the link too.[​IMG]

    You know, before I realized what I was missing and started upgrading, I thought my little Kenwood was pretty good. :b

    Now I realize how wrong I was. Well, it's great for what it is: a 5.1 DD/DTS receiver for the budding audio/videophile type person. Gotta have more now, though.

    The question is: do I keep the Kenwood and use it as a pre/pro or get a new "real" receiver?
     
  12. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    i recently sold my denon 3802. i'm using the samson s1000 as my amp for my mains (paradigm sutdio 20's). I'd have to say that the sound i am getting from the s1000 is a definate step down from the amps of the 3802. The best way i could describe the sound is it became 'thinner'. Cymbals now sound like tin cans and voices are a bit more shrill (causing listener fatigue).

     
  13. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for your input, Salvador. I'll definitely be staying away from the Samson, that's definite.

    Looking at Crown right now. Looking at the CE1000, specifically. Just waiting to hear back from their tech support on using RCA-to-1/4" adapter plugs. The input level should be OK; the amp is rated for full output with 1.7v in. The Kenwood puts out either 1.5 or 2.0 volts on the preouts...can't remember which one.
     
  14. Mike Sloan

    Mike Sloan Second Unit

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    I read a review on the Crown K2 where the "reviewer" also experimented with hooking the amp up to a pair of B&W 804's and he remarked that the amp exhibited gobs of power but was less detailed in the treble frequencies. I would definitely go with the offerings from Outlaw...especially the deals they are runing on their 200W monoblocks!
     
  15. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Hi Mike Sloan,

    Believe me, I've looked at the Outlaw offerings; I am sure they are most excellent products.

    But $300 for a 200-watt single channel amp? That seems a bit pricey to me.

    Looking at offerings from Crown or QSC, for another $50-$100, I can get a 200W.P.C. stereo amp that would do 900watts mono @ 8 ohms if need be. The specs aren't all that far off, either.

    I've got emails in to both Crown and QSC tech support telling them what I want to do and soliciting advice. Haven't heard from either one yet, but it is the weekend. [​IMG]

    I know there's more to sound than just specs...but I'm just stuck in a quandry right now. Want the best bang for the buck. Monoblocks are snazzy, but the value vs. price ratio just isn't there, IMO.
     
  16. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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  17. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    I just KNEW someone was gonna say "$300? That's dirt cheap for a monoblock!!" But I decided not to edit my post. :p

    "Expensive" is relative, you know. [​IMG]

    Here's the deal. My current receiver, a Kenwood VR-409, runs out of steam with movies at high volume. I.E. all channels driven. It does OK w/2-channel music, though.

    I watch horror and action flicks 99% of the time, so it's usually loud.

    Also, the 5-piece set I just bought (Axiom)is 6 ohms and the Kenwood isn't rated to 6 ohms. I'd DIE if anything happened to my new speakers...could care less about the receiver.

    Ergo, this quest for better/more juice. [​IMG]

    *edit*
    Listening habits? Does "freakin' loud" cover it? [​IMG]
    Seriously, during dinner or business meetings, it low, of course. But movies, it's cranked. Music, it's cranked at least 50% of the time. I may not be home for days, but when I am, I wanna feel it, man.
     
  18. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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    Do you own a good subwoofer?
     
  19. Phil A

    Phil A Producer
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    If you are looking for monoblocks, I picked up a used Marantz monoblock on Audiogon recently for a rear center. They go for $150-200 each (such as these that sold - http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...ran&1070082372). Your receiver runs out of steam since it shares power supplies. An outboard amp will of course put less burdern on them. Another possibility is something like http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...an&1070385460, I actually have one of those laying around. I was thinking about saving it for the basement for the reason if I get a receiver down there (my main system us upstairs) it would run out of steam as well.
     
  20. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Yep, got the sub-bass covered. SVS PB2-plus.

    Phil, thanks for sharing the info and links. [​IMG] I'll check those out now.

    The good thing is that I'm in no rush...don't need to buy anything tomorrow, so I can take my time and research.

    The bad thing is that I have no money right now...so I guess the good thing is REALLY good. [​IMG]
     

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