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2 Channel Power amp's.

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13 replies to this topic

#1 of 14 paulBAW


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Posted June 12 2003 - 12:00 PM

Hey Boy's and Girl's. I got off the phone and my LSi9's have shipped. My next upgrade will be a 2 channel Power amp. I have a number of questions. First a little history.

I had PSB 400's. I use a NAD 320BEE intergrated amp. A Sony SCE775 sacd player. I just purchased Polk Audio LSi9 bookshelve speakers. My current room is rather small. 15x10. This setup will change and I figure the next room will be about 20x20. My goal is to buy a 2 channel power amp, and use my NAD intergrated as a pre for the short term. Then my last up grade, will be a true higher end pre-amp that will mate well with my existing system.

On with the questions:

1. I know balance is important and I've always strived for balance. The LSi9 bookshelves retail for $1500CDN what kinda money should I be prepared to put away for a power amp? What ratio have you been spending on amps, speakers, pre's? Would buying a Bryston 3B ST be overkill for a $1500 CDN speaker combo? Factoring in the AMP/pre combo would be more then double that number?

2. What brands would you recommend? YES I will always rely on my ears, but a few suggestions would be nice. Nad, Rotel or Arcam? Or should I kick it up a notch and look higher such as Bryston, Anthem, Classe? Or inbetween, like Blue Circle, Creek? This also relates back to my first question about balance. I'm not worried about money as I can always save, I'm more worried about direction and having a goal outlined.

3. What models within these brands would you recommend? A particular Linn, creek, rotel, nad you recommend?

4. Would it be in my best interest to stick with the same pre-amp down the road, and does it matter?

I really need help balancing the ratio, and particular ratio's you have used. For those of you who are not familuar to the Polk Audio LSi9's. They are a very nice bookshelve speaker. They don't get much recognition, lack of dealers and brandwide recognition probably don't help. They are a 4ohm speaker, and I would easily compare them to Paradigm Studio 40's, Energy Veritas 2.1's or PSB Stratus Mini's. Hope I get some help, thanks.

#2 of 14 Jonathan M

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Posted June 12 2003 - 12:22 PM

Why not stick with NAD - the C270 power amp is a nice 2 channel amp - plenty of juice. What's the sensitivity in-room of the LSi9's, and how loud do you listen? That'll give you an idea of how much power'll be required. I presume you are wanting more power than the 40W/channel the C320 offers. The thing with the NAD range is the value for money - they should be priced more than they are - we're lucky that they are not. The amp layout they use is good (I don't care all that much for the funny switching supply rails though) and the power supplies are always more than enough, and they use good quality componentry throughout.

Others will no doubt suggest other possibilities - I've only really heard NAD gear at this price point.
"Price and quality are not correlated"

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#3 of 14 paulBAW


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Posted June 12 2003 - 02:25 PM

The LSi9's are rated at 88db if memory serves me correct. They aren't very efficient at all. To me its not exactly a question of more power, that is an added benefit. Yes I would like more power, but I would also like better sound, and an amp that is capable of delivering the goods to these speakers, again it's balance question. The $2000cdn Bryston B-60 is going to sound better then the BEE320 not because it is rated higher. It has tighter control of bass, much more open highs. I have heard it. I like it. What I'm concerned with is getting the right mix. And knowing what price points I should be looking at. Suggestions on brands and models would also be a very nice bonus.

#4 of 14 Drew Eckhardt

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Posted June 12 2003 - 04:30 PM

One rule of thumb is 1/3 speakers, 1/3 amplification, 1/3 source.

The preamp may get lumped in either amplification or source category; especially if it's a digital preamp.

As far as your next upgrade, you might try a sub-woofer. I was _really_ surprised at how much one cleaned up the vocals on my 2-way towers (Definitive BP8s) and monitors (NHT 1.3?); and the bass itself goes lower with less distortion.

#5 of 14 Thomas_Berg



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Posted June 12 2003 - 11:03 PM

dont forget all the Polk LSi speakers are 4 ohm speakers, so factor that into your buying decision.

that said, i couldnt recommend Classe amps highly enough. being canadian yourself, you should be able to buy for a little less than we get them for here in the states. when i was in search for an amp for my Vandersteen 2ce's, it came down to the CA-100 or the Bryston 3ST. i just found the Classe sound to be much more musically pleasing to my ear, plus the fact that the amp 'doubles down' into 4 ohms was a selling point for me.

but my experiences will differ from yours. go listen to as many amps as you can from manufacturers like Classe, Bryston, Krell, Acurus, Aragon, Parasound, NAD, and Rotel. find what you like best and see if you can get an in-house demo for the weekend. ultimately, choose something you'll be happy with.

ps: don't forget that the used market is a great place to score a fantastic amp for cheap. Audiogon has been great to me. YMMV Posted Image

#6 of 14 paulBAW


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Posted June 13 2003 - 02:36 AM

1/3rd eh? So assume $1500 on speakers, then $1500 on amp/pre-amp then $1500 on CD player? This is a two channel audio system I'm building here. I had always heard a 60%-40% ratio for home audio. 60 speakers, then 40 amp/pre. But that seems awfully low.

Thanks Thomas for the classe recommendation. Any particular models you'd consider. What kinda prices are we talking here? I know their stuff is higly regarded.

#7 of 14 paulBAW


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Posted June 14 2003 - 05:08 PM

Still need help on ratio of spending guys. Really, is $2k too much on an amp for my speakers? Is it better to keep a tighter balance? What about eventual preamp costs?

#8 of 14 Alex Dydula

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Posted June 15 2003 - 01:48 AM


I have a PS Audio 200C 200w/ch AMP that I am selling that would do nicely and for your budget. I paid $1400 for the beast and am downsizing....will part with it for $400. I used it to drive Maggies, Mirage M1's, Vandersteens, and Dahlquist QX10's.

Let me know if ur interested.


#9 of 14 paulBAW


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Posted June 15 2003 - 04:36 PM

Alex, thank's for the offer but I'm not planning on upgrading for some time. I really want to listen to a number of amps. My next upgrade will probably be around christmas time. I'm still kinda confushed on what price I should be looking at spending in relation to the money spent of the speakers (Polk Audio LSi9's) and SACD play (Sony 775). Not only on the amp, but what to spend when I replace my NAD 320BEE intergrated too a dedicated preamp. Would I notice a sound difference within NAD dedicated Amps like the C270 at modest volume levels? The specs seem to indicate I would.

#10 of 14 RichardHOS


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Posted June 16 2003 - 01:18 AM

This is my own personal opinion...

Well designed solid state amplifiers sound practically identical (practically, because while they don't sound exactly identical, the differences are below the human perception of hearing). This includes models from Acurus, Rotel, Bryston, Parasound, NAD, Sunfire, Adcom, Krell, Classe, Innersound, Arcam, Aragon, Marantz, etc... In a true blind listening test, you'd never be able to tell one model from another.

So, I'd choose an amplifier based on a few factors other than "sound": power supply design, stability and distortion ratings into 4 ohms, power output, price, looks, warranty...

As far as price? Since I think speakers can sound drastically different, and SS amplifiers sound practically identical, it only makes sense to me to put the majority of resources into quality speakers. I think something with well designed power supplies and good distortion ratings into 4 ohms at 150 to 200 wpc would be appropriate. I'm familiar with Rotel equipment, so something like the RB1070 would be a good match (price wise). There are no doubt countless alternatives that are equivalent to the RB1070... some more expensive, some less.

#11 of 14 RichardHOS


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Posted June 16 2003 - 01:19 AM

I forgot to mention that I think preamps can have audible effects on the sound, primarily because any distortion introduced at that level is amplified later; therefore, it may be appropriate to spend more on a preamp than a power amp (though that isn't necessarily the case).

#12 of 14 peter m. wilson

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Posted June 16 2003 - 03:38 AM

Hi Paul,
The Adiogon for used is a good one and I paid the $75.00us for access to the blubook because i was in the market for a few items at the time.

The Canadian sites to checkout for used are Audio Eden and Canuck audio mart.

Peter m.
dyslexia "for a cure found"

#13 of 14 paulBAW


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Posted June 16 2003 - 04:11 AM

Thanks Richard. At least it gives me a ballpark. That's all I was looking for. The amp/preamp wont be bought for some time. So right now I'd rather figure out what I should be planning on spending and have a ballpark. Rather then find something I can afford but might not be the right amp.

When I upgraded from my early 90's Yamaha stereo receiver to my NAD intergrated I noticed a huge difference in sound. It was like somebody had put new tweeters in my system. Bass was much much more controlled. Was this due to the fact I went from a receiver to a more focused intergrated amp? And when going from an intergrated amp to a power/pre because your entering the world of seperates, should I expect another "jump" in sound performance?

#14 of 14 RichardHOS


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Posted June 16 2003 - 06:10 AM

There's no reason why a well designed and manufactured integrated amp shouldn't "sound" just as good as separates of equal design and build quality. The same can be said for receivers, but finding one with equally well made preamp and power amp sections could be a bit challenging. Posted Image

Remember... never underestimate the power of suggestion.