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More power or more upscale amp ?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by John-Tompkins, May 17, 2004.

  1. John-Tompkins

    John-Tompkins Second Unit

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    What would you put more priority on, more power or a more upscale amp ?

    I have a Lexicon NT512 ( AKA Bryston 9bst ) driving 5 nht m5's which are rated at 85db efficiency. I normally watch movies at around -7~8 db and I dont ever see the clip lights come at this level BUT if I go just a little higher say -4 db or so I see the clip lights glow orange/red on ball busting scenes.

    I guess in other words, is I think Im kinda on the edge as far as power goes but I really like the Bryston "sound"...Soo Im considering more watts from a "lesser" quality amp.

    Which in your opinion outweighs the other, quality versues quanity ?
     
  2. Wayde_R

    Wayde_R Stunt Coordinator

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    You asked for opinions... here goes.

    Being an NHT fan I know that the M-5 recommends at least 150WRMS and the Bryston has only 110WRMS. I am thinking that I'd sell the Bryston (to me cheap:wink[​IMG] and get more power. If you're hung on the Bryston then sell (me, again:wink[​IMG] the speakers.

    It's just not worth the potential for breaking either of the beautiful pieces of gear you own. I'd be too stressed out every time I saw that light come on.

    Just MHO
    Wayde
     
  3. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Wayne,

    The Bryston modules test out at 155-165 wpc (each amp comes with this lab certification) even though bryston specs 125 wpc.

    John,

    If 98% of your listening is -8 to -10, then I think you're fine with the Bryston. The only reason why you went up to -3dB is because I was there [​IMG]

    The Lex/Bryston is worth about 1750, or 350 per channel. One of the few amps (used) that would provide you more watts and similiar quality are the Aragon 8008x3, 8008st, 8008x5 amps. These go for ~350-450 used per channel and really do ~ 250-280 wpc (even though Aragon specs them at 200 wpc).

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...gon8008x3.html
     
  4. Robert Hoffman

    Robert Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    According to Nousaine, there is no such thing as a more upscale amp, right?
     
  5. John-Tompkins

    John-Tompkins Second Unit

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    [​IMG] , But remember we were listening at -9 ( which is really -3 because Ive calibrated my system 6 db high) when it happened. I normally listen at -10~-11 db ( which is -4 or -5 db in reality)...so really Im only 2~3 db away from possible clipping. Granted that is extremly loud
     
  6. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    I think you should buy a QSC or any of the other PA amps available that will get you in the range of 700 to 1000W/ch at 8ohms for a mere $300 or so. I think you will never run out of power then.

    BTW the new Lexicon amps are OEMed by Crown which is a big PA amp maker. Lexicon dropped Bryston as their OEM for some unknown reason.
     
  7. John-Tompkins

    John-Tompkins Second Unit

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    Yogi,
    I have 2 crown amps right now powering woofers. Ive been thinking about trying my crown xs-500 (I think its 500 watts @ 8 ohms x 2 ) on the front mains..versues the Bryston but the crown is in another room and it would be a hassle to rewire etc. plus a true a/b would be impossible.

    PS. This particular model crown( xs500) wasnt that cheap however..I believe it retails for 749.00 or so ( I paid 499.00 new) I also have a crown xl2 -402 which I paid about 275.00 and it is 280 watts x 2 @ 8 ohms.

    Ive always heard that pro-amps are bright and not refined, although Ive never tried it myself (excluding a cheap samson 700)
     
  8. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    There you go John. You already have the answers to your questions. It only required some searching inside your soul (and your house)[​IMG].



    Thats just speculative sujectivist audiophilism.
     
  9. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Lexicon went with Crown because Bryston said that they couldn't/wouldn't do a 7 ch version of the 9b-st and maintain their typical quality/performance.

    John- I say keep the Bryston. You might get more power elsewhere, but I think you'll be hard pressed to get close to Bryston quality with more power. Unless you stay with Bryston. [​IMG] (You could go for their higher power versions, a separate two channel and three channel amp.) Not impossible, just difficult.

    'Course, that shouldn't stop you from researching it. [​IMG]
     
  10. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Kevin,

    I'm surprised that you don't think the Aragon 8008 amps offer more power and would be close to Bryston quality when you have Acurus, Bryston ST, and Proceed amps all in your house and say that the Acurus amps almost hold their own. To this end, the more powerful, more bulletproof, double the price (vs Acurus), and double the weight per watt (vs Acurus), big brother Aragon 8008 should be even closer, if not at least even with the Brystons.
     
  11. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    John,

    I didn't realize you normally listen at -5! That's loud man! Now I understand why it's important for your two SVS's to be able to hit 118dB [​IMG]
     
  12. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Ricky- Because I also know that John struggles with ... upgradeitis. [​IMG]

    Plus, y'all remember, right, that you have to double the power to get only a 3 dB increase in output, right? [​IMG]
     
  13. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    More power Scotty [​IMG]
     
  14. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Kevin,

    Double = +3dB is true.

    BUT

    the Bryston's 160 wpc starts clipping when John listens at -3dB and do NOT at -5dB...he is right on the edge where he might be able to use another, final 3dB of headroom.
     
  15. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    John- I have the answer for you. Actually, two of them:

    1) Get new speakers. [​IMG] 85 dB is pretty low sensitivity. But if you like them you like them, so ...

    2) Sit closer to them. [​IMG]

    (You actually freaked me out a little, with my "little" Proceed AMP 5 that has been tested to only do 135W/ch. But then I remembered that my speakers are about 89 dB efficient. Whew! But now I will test for what their upper limit is...)

    Ricky- The first alternative to the 9b-st I thought of, if he wants to keep a 5 channel amp, was the 8008x5. [​IMG]

    There *are* the new P series from Anthem. 300W/ch and they might be fully balanced too.
     
  16. Felix_H

    Felix_H Stunt Coordinator

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    John,

    Go 8008X3 or 8008X5.
    Aragon is quality stuff. I have always loved the 8008x3 series. The Acurus 200x3 are good too.

    Unless you pocket book is bulletproof, pull the trigger for some nice Bryston 6B sst & 4B's.

    As Ricky says, you may need a little more power (200+ watts in 8 ohms) than your 150 watts/8 ohms.

    Maybe you can convice Kevin to lend you his spares. [​IMG]
     
  17. John-Tompkins

    John-Tompkins Second Unit

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    Yea Felix I agree. Has anybody actually a/b-ed the Aragon/acurus to see just how far apart they are soncially ?



    I've also did some reading on audio asylum and audio circle about the CARVER ZR SERIES digital pro amps..they freakin love em and people are comparing them to MEGA dollar amps ( class a included) and coming out on top. Plenty of power and the reviewers are saying they are tube like except the bass is krell like, plenty of power and bullet proof...anybody heard em yet ? .. (Maybe 3 each Carver ZR1000's) would give me 6 channels total
     
  18. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Kevin,

    John's system sounds pretty awesome, and his speakers are laid out "perfectly" (for his room).

    John,

    On Acurus vs Aragon: if you are using easy to drive speakers (ie, 8 ohm, ~94dB sensitivity), then you are less likely to hear a difference -- since the amp probably doesn't need to go below 6 ohms or 40 watts continuous.

    But on your 6 ohm (dips to 3 ohms?), 85dB speakers, I think you would hear a difference. 85dB needs 8 times the power of 94dB speakers. Then factor in 4 ohm nominal speakers like Thiels and Maggies.

    Having said that, you might be fine with Acurus 200 watts (or the older Aragon 4004/2004 amps) on your rear centers and B5 front subs, with Aragon 8008 amps across the front 5.
     
  19. MikeTz

    MikeTz Stunt Coordinator

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    John:

    So far the guys have made some pretty good suggestions for amps. Sounds like you need more power if the Lexicon is clipping. Another alternative might be to keep the Lexicon/Bryston (I'm a Bryston owner and completely biased) and buy a used Bryston 4B for the front speakers. It has the same gain as the Lexicon, 250w/ch (operates closer to 300+w/ch at 8 ohms), and has that great 20 year warranty so buying used is no worry.

    You can use the Lexicon for your other 3/5 channels. The combination will operate distortion free at levels that will make your ears bleed.

    Good luck

    MT
     
  20. John-Tompkins

    John-Tompkins Second Unit

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    Mike,

    Ive considered the 4b and its could be an option.

    Ok, If you play your movies/music at say -5db and dont see the clip lights come on, but you know you would clip at just 2db higher -3 db(per clip lights)..Does this mean that during transcients or when alot of dynamic power is needed all at once (especially in HT) that you may not have enough available power on hand even though you DONT see the clip lights come on ?
     

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