Thinking about going back to a pro amp.

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by James W. Johnson, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    I am a little bit frustrated with what ~$1000 buys a guy in a used home audio 5 channel amp so I am considering going back to a pro amp for home use.

    I say back to because I was using a QSC USA 900 amp to power my Adire Kit281s for several years and I was very happy with the results, during that time I tried a few home amps and receivers and the QSC/Adire sound always came out on top. Man did I catch some flack for using that amp too!

    Anway I upgraded to seperates recently and now I only have the amp that I was using to run my mains..a Parasound HCA-1500A ...I am still 3 channels short.

    I paid $200 for my QSC USA 900 and got tons of use out of it, that thing was rated at 450x2 @ 4 ohms and it very much sounded like it, it drove those speakers to very high SPLs cleanly.

    I could pick up 3 used QSC USA 900s for about what I paid for my HCA-1500A .

    QSC says that on paper the new RMX line is identical to the USA series but I am not sure I believe that or not. If it is true then I could pick up 3 RMX 1450s and have tons of power on tap.

    What are some of the better sounding budget amps out now? Have any of you guys experimented?

    I do have an RMX 1850HD for subwoofer duty right now so I plan on wiring it up to my Stage 4 Pi speakers and A/Bing it against my Parasound HCA-1500A.
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I think you'll find a bunch of info on the RMX line over at avscience. Might be some issues with fan noise but people have managed to get around those problems. There's also a fellow here whose name excapes me that has some sort of affiliation with QSC and can provide useful information. Vince Masskeeper also has experience in the pro sound area so I think he's a great resource.
    Carvin's are pretty nice too. Try your local Guitar Center.
     
  3. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    I believe the QSC guy's name is John Gordon.

    There's also a thread on the AV Forum on the Crown XLS-402A pro amp. Not multi channel, but plenty powerful and cheap enough so that you could get three of them for under $1,000.
     
  4. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    You should never have joined this forum or any other audio forum. Now see what you have done to yourself[​IMG] These audio forums are full of bugs that will infect you for the rest of your life. Why go for a fix if it isn't broken. I have done that mistake and I keep doing it over and over again. I should have stayed with my Technics/JBL combo that I loved so much when I first veered into HT.[​IMG]

    Become bug free while you still have the chance and the will to do it.
     
  5. TimRP

    TimRP Stunt Coordinator

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    I am one of the Crown XLS 402 users from AVS and must say for the cash outlay, they are one heck of a bargin. In my system they replaced a Onkyo 919THX that I was using as a 5 channel amp, and I can't get over on how much cleaner the system sounds and how the dynamics have increased. I was looking into the Outlaw mono-blocks and am glad I went the pro audio route. I just need some quiet fans and I will be all set.
     
  6. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    Yeah fans are a bid deal to me, I got around the fan on my subwoofer amp by putting it in another room however that will not be so easy with the other channels.

    Tim I know what you mean, my QSC USA amp was a huge leap over my Sony ES receiver's amp ...that was about 3 years ago.

    Since then I have tried lots of amps and none has really made the huge leap in SQ like that QSC did.

    I just struck a deal for a multi channel amp so I am going to try out one last home unit before I go back to pro...when I do go back to pro its doubtful I will ever return. :)

    One think you guys that are new to pro amps should watch out for is blowing drivers on your esoteric speakers...they can get pretty spendy.
    Once you tame your volume knob then you have to watch out for hot resistors burning your house down! Seriously, most home speakers just are not made for this kind of power...most drivers can handle alot more than their rated power if its clean so the weakest link becomes the low wattage resistors in your passive crossover.
    I've burnt my crossover boards with resistors to the point that it looks like I took a torch to the crossover board! (hence the big nuts and washers under my high wattage resistor blocks in my Pi speakers ...see link below)
     
  7. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    James,

    Also as a person being bothered by fan noise, you can easily modify the pro amps so that they use more-silent Panaflo fans which will still provide adequate cooling - and much less noise.

    I replaced the factory fans in my pro amp with some fans that only produced 25dB of noise. It made a big improvement. The Panaflo fans that I'm thinking of actually only produce 21dB or so of noise.
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    wtg! Also there's plenty of websites where fans are evaluated from a noise standpoint and catalogs from electronic vendors will often list the dB level of the fan as well as the CFM it pulls. The one thing pro amps don't have going for them is looks or appearance and we all place our own value on those.
     
  9. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    Wayne, that cheap (price wise) pro amp outperformed your HCA-1500A? I am in the process of choosing a 2-Ch amp and was looking to buy a an HCA-1500A but I also was looking at Haffler Pro amps. I bid on a P7000 which is 350WX2 but stopped bidding howveer it only closed at like $450 or so. I think they retail for like $1300-$1600. Anyhow, I was also debating getting one of those pro amps and was just curious where you are at now in your decision process. How do you like the parasounds and how do they compare in particular?
     
  10. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Just to bring up an opposing viewpoint: [​IMG]

    1) Maybe you really do get what you pay for.

    2) Companies are in business to make money. If a pro amp maker really had an amp that could compete in the consumer market, why not do a consumer version of it and charge more money? Wait: Bryston *does* do this, and, gee, their amps cost a lot of money. But IMO, you do get what you pay for. Well ... at least *used* ... [​IMG]

    But Crown also does do this on a limited basis, and I posted a link to a review in another thread about the poor performance of the Lexicon LX-5 into lower impedance loads...

    3) Personally, I won't buy a component unless it's been tested by a third party. It's easy for someone to say, this amp sounds great, has great dynamics, low distortion, good power delivery into difficult to drive loads, but it's quite another to back up those claims with real data. Chu had some leads on a site that did real testing of pro amps, but the number of amps they looked at was limited.

    Just my opinion is all... [​IMG]
     
  11. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    Kevin Breeze, I am going to stick with the Parasounds for now. The Parasound handles the first few watts better than most pro-amps do being that they are heavily A biased.
    If I had a larger room to fill and listened to loud 2 channel music more often then id have all pro amps.
    Plus most of them have fans , fans are noisy and are dust collectors.


    Here is one shootout I will post on my website for a few days. The guys that did this are end users over at Pro Sound Web.

    pro amp shootout
     
  12. John Kilroy

    John Kilroy Stunt Coordinator

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    That's why you need to get pro studio monitors to match your QSC! Over here I have JBL studio monitors (older ones that kick ass, before they got bought by Jensen), and JBL pro subs, all driven by sweet QSC power.
     
  13. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    JBL purchased by Jensen? Thats news to me!
     
  14. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    JBL is contained within Harman International. I don't think Jensen is involved. ??
     
  15. John S

    John S Producer

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    I'll give a vote for value -vs- performance to QSC.....

    I don't use them at home, but I swore by them and had probably a dozen or more of them when I was doing live sound reinforcement. For the money they blew everything away, on power, sound, and reliability.

    I'd wager, that the amps are still not different design wise, I mean QSC hadn't truly updated a design for 15 years up into the late 90's when I stopped doing live sound reinforcement. I used to run those babies full out, for the bass in a tri-amp setup at 2 Ohms (2000 watts), no sweat from them ever, and output wise, they don't hiss either, like most of the less axpensive so called Pro-Audio amps out there.
     

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