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How would you rate/rank these amp-makers?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Kevin C Brown, Apr 2, 2003.

  1. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Well-Known Member

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    Got to thinking about what I would move to next from what I have now, whether 6 months from now, or more likely [​IMG], years from now.

    I have an Acurus A200 and A200x5 for 7.1. Love 'em. But like all people in this hobby, just interested in what I would go for next.

    Ground rules: solid state, one stereo plus one 5 channel amp, 200W/channel is what I have and a benchmark, but not in stone.

    I kind of rank all these makers similarly to Acurus: B&K, Anthem, ATI, Outlaw, Sherbourn, & Rotel.

    These, I put a notch above: Cinepro, Proceed, Krell, Bryston, Aragon, & Threshold.

    The 1st catagory is in the $400-500/channel new range, $200-250/channel used. The 2nd, I don't know, maybe pushing $750/ch new, and $500/ch used? (Usually, stereo amps are a little more per channel, 5 ch a little less.) Not looking to spend $10g's on an amp!

    My rating/ranking is based on (somewhat) my own use, professional mag reviews, audioreview.com, ecoustics.com, and here of course.

    There are 4 manufacturers I would definately *not* buy from (poor reliability, poor performance, etc), but that isn't really the point. The real point is, is in your opinion, to get to a definate difference in quality and performance from what I have, at just a slightly higher cost, what would you suggest?

    Got to admit, Bryston and their 20 year warranty at this stage of the game, certainly has me intrigued.
     
  2. Ricky T

    Ricky T Well-Known Member

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    Kevin,

    Great post. I would probably agree with your classifications (even though the quality of the models can vary within some brands and perhaps "crossover" into the next tier), and think that within each group one would buy simply on price attained and personal cosmetics/brand preferance. Also, what are your speakers and their sensitivities? Do you really need 200 watts?
     
  3. Yogi

    Yogi Well-Known Member

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    I'd rate them in the following manner based primarily on my own personal listening experience and secondarily on mag reviews and price.

    Level I: Rotel, B&K, Parasound, Anthem, ATI, Sherbourn, Odyssey, Outlaw, Acurus, Cinepro, Cinenova, Aragon.

    Level II: Krell KAV series, CAL, Bryston, CJ, Marsh Sound, SIM Audio. Musical Fidelity.

    Level III: Theta, Proceed, BAT, Pass, Mark Levinson, Krell FPB series.

    You could further divide the amps into sub levels, but this I think is the broadest classification IMHO. I am sure others will divide them up differently.

    My 2 cents.
     
  4. RichardHOS

    RichardHOS Well-Known Member

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    I'd rank them in this order:

    Tied for first:

    Rotel, B&K, Parasound, Anthem, ATI, Sherbourn, Odyssey, Outlaw, Acurus, Cinepro, Cinenova, Aragon, Krell KAV series, CAL, Bryston, CJ, Marsh Sound, SIM Audio. Musical Fidelity, Theta, Proceed, BAT, Pass, Mark Levinson, Krell FPB series.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Ron_L

    Ron_L Well-Known Member

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    what about Adcom?

    where do they fit in the catagory?
     
  6. Russell _T

    Russell _T Well-Known Member

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    Richard HOS,
    Buy the man a cigar, you nailed it. [​IMG]
     
  7. Mike Fenech

    Mike Fenech Well-Known Member

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    Kevin,

    Why would Bryston be intriguing with its 20-yr warranty if you're continually upgrading over time?

    No one has mentioned Sunfire...?
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Well-Known Member

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    perhaps because the user transferrable warranty increases the resale value?
     
  9. RajeeK

    RajeeK Well-Known Member

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  10. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. :b What RHOS said. Maybe it's just upgradeitis again.

    Yogi, interesting that you rank Proceed in catagory III though. [​IMG] (And also interesting that you put Aragon into I. I actually had an 8008x3 in my system for a month last year, and couldn't detect any differences from the Acurus.)

    And, what Chu said. Plus the fact, that because Bryston actually does offer a *transferrable* 20 year warranty, they must have a lot of confidence in their design out in the field.

    Ricky- For brands like Bryston and Proceed for example, I wouldn't mind dropping the 200W/ch "requirement." [​IMG] (Informally priced the Bryston 3b and 9b over the past few days, as well as the Lex versions. But I haven't actually come across pix of the Lexes yet.)
     
  11. NickSP

    NickSP Well-Known Member

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    I hereby blatantly ditto RichardHOS' post. [​IMG]
     
  12. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Well-Known Member

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    Kevin, i'd also think that rating the various manufacturers might also be mitigated in part what you plan on driving with them. Doing 2 ohm or greater dips isn't always the easiest things for amps and there most certainly is something to read into a manufacturer's statement that an amp is 'stable into 2 ohms' don't you think?
     
  13. RayJK

    RayJK Well-Known Member

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    Cinepro is a pretty good buy at the moment because the company is no longer. If you can live with that you can get a good deal.
     
  14. Ricky T

    Ricky T Well-Known Member

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    Kevin,

    Here's a picture of a Lexicon NT312 120x3(aka Bryston 5B-ST). Most of them have 17inch faceplates (a few with 19inch), and the green stripe would match your Outlaw's green button [​IMG]

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=14973

    I agree with Chu that the type of speakers one has and how one drives them may impact how much amps can differentiate themselves. According to most forums, including audioasylum and audiogon forums, three amps--Bryston 4B-ST, Aragon 8008BB, Classe CA200-- are perhaps a half-step above my Parasound 2200II 250x2 in the amp food chain. In the used market, these three go for 50% of their retail, about 1250, while my 2200II gets ~ 750. While that difference is not bad for one amp, like you, I like matching cosmetics and changing one amp would cause the envitable avalanche that I want to avoid at this time [​IMG]

    I picked Parasound because I can buy their good performing cd players, dacs, preamps, and a variety of amps from big 250x2 dual monos like the 2200II to bridgeable 80x6 amps like my 806 at good prices on the used market. I like my two 2200IIs, 806, cdc1500 changer, and the 2200II matches my NHTs well.
     
  15. Darrel McBane

    Darrel McBane Well-Known Member

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    For over thirty years there is only one amp manufacture I've dreamed of owning. And that's McIntosh. Too expensive. Too many other quality amps that make more sense for most needs.

    Rating amps is too subjective for the most part.

    So, I'll just stick with my Rotel until I can afford McIntosh.
     
  16. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure I get Richard's post... is he saying that the law of diminishing returns kicks in so hard for amps that "budget" models are really the only way to go unless you've got money to burn, or something even more universal like "watts are watts"?
     
  17. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Well-Known Member

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    I have Vandersteen all about, and the mains are low/medium efficiency at 86 dB, and they are rated at 4 - 7 ohms. Bottom line, I guess that since I haven't had any problems driving my system with the Acurus I have, I wouldn't expect any problems if I moved "up" a category. [​IMG]

    Ricky- I looked a bit further, and that same dude just sold 2 212's! (Not too much more than what I paid for the A200 I have...) If I had spotted that a few weeks ago, might have started the "avalanche" effect in my system too! I would put Parasound a level up from what I have as well. I looked at them when I switched from 6.1 to 7.1, but just decided to stay with what I knew with Acurus. (Hee, hee: the 950's green button is going away when I open it up for that eprom upgrade...)
     
  18. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Well-Known Member

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    how has nobody mentioned Classe yet?! i'd rate Classe either with or above the Bryston.
     
  19. Ricky T

    Ricky T Well-Known Member

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    Kevin,

    What those two Lexicon 212s went for is truly sick, what bargains for the buyers!

    Your speakers have the same senstivity as my NHTs; I agree that you should stick with 200W, with the lower spec'd Brystons being the exception. When you could not tell much of a difference between the Aragon 8008x3 and the Acurus 200x3, did you have the Vandersteens in your system?

    The classic Parasound line had a very wide price range; the top models (ie, 2200II, hca3500, 2205) should be better than the less expensive Acurus 200 wpc models....that's because the upper end Mondial amps were called Aragon [​IMG]
     
  20. RichardHOS

    RichardHOS Well-Known Member

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    I was a little concerned that there might be an outlash of criticism for my post, but I'm glad that this group seems to be a pretty level headed bunch.

    Timidly stuck my toe into the water... glad it didn't get burned! [​IMG]
     

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