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Amp..... 2 or 5 channel? opinions


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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Drewbert

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Posted August 17 2005 - 05:25 PM

I currently have a HK 230 Posted Image and its under powered for my taste. Klipsch F3s and the C3s.... rears are not with mentioning...haha
So I am looking at a few options.

1. Get a 5 channel amp and call it a day. IMO ~125watts should suffice. This will work when I upgrade speakers as my needs change. This will work fine. I think...

2 Get a strong two channel amp to run my F3s and run the rest off of my HK. Then add amps accordingly ?

Amps... Rotel 1075, and I MIGHT be able to get a deal on a parasound A52... but I am not sure yet. I see the Rotels for sale, but not the parasound... any reason? Are people just not getting ride of the halo stuff or no one is buying them?
As you can see I put some thought into this... but not nearly enough....
Thanks for helping the newb on my first post Posted Image

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   ScottRCapt

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Posted August 18 2005 - 01:29 AM

Your HK 230 is way underpowered and you will really appreciate the upgrade of an external amplifier. If you are going to limit the power requirements to 125wpc then I would go with a 5 channel amplifier. There are many good manufacturers of amplifiers out there so don't just limit your search to Rotel or Parasound. You can also consider B&K Components, Outlaw, Adcom, Aragon and/or many others. There are 5 channel amps that would work for you popping up on eBay all the time.

You really do need to put some thought into where you ultimately want to go with this though. If you are buying for short term enjoyment and a quick upgrade, then a 5 channel 125wpc clean amp is a good idea. I wouldn’t bother with a 2 channel 125wpc amp because you will miss the power in your center channel. Your front three speakers should all be matched as closely as possible and that includes the power source (Amplifier). So, a three channel amplifier would be the minimum but a 5 channel amplifier rated at 125wpc won't cost that much more and that will improve your surrounds a great deal.

If, on the other hand, you are buying for the future I think you should increase your expectations for power. I know that you have been living with 50wpc rms with the HK 230 and that 125wpc sounds like a lot... But really if you are going to the trouble and expense of an external amplifier you should spend your money on something that you wont want to upgrade next year. 200 wpc is the minimum power rating I would think about when upgrading to a separate amp.

And this is the route I have taken. I have a three channel B&K Reference 4430 200WPC amplifier powering my front right and left and center speakers. I will purchase a 200wpc 5 channel amplifier at a later date (Most likely another B&K). I say a 5 channel amp at a later date because I am bi-amping my front speakers now so in the future if I wish to bi-amp all three fronts and have 200wpc all around I will need 8 channels of amplification for 5.1 surround. I may go nuts and get a 7-channel amp instead and go to a 7.1 x 200wpc setup but in my small home theater environment that may be a bit of overkill. (We all love overkill).

Back to you though...

Think about where you want to go...

Remember you can almost NEVER have too much power.

Remember that the amplifier must have clean power (yes - no matter what you hear or read the THD spec IS important).

Remember that no amplifier is going to sound better than the pre-amp/pre-pro (Garbage in = Garbage out).

Buy what you can afford but also think about the future. If you are a wheeler dealer and have no problems trading up then by all means just buy what fits in your budget today. But if you just want to do this just once and get the building blocks in place for a great home theater then buy what will stay in your home for a long time to come.

Just about any external amplifier you do buy will make a big improvement in your listening enjoyment so go forth and amplify!

Scott

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#3 of 9 OFFLINE   John S

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Posted August 18 2005 - 03:03 AM

Budget????

I scored Qty8 Audiosource Amp1/A's for like a rediculous $70 each. I mono bridge them and they are impressive. So consider something like that perhaps on cost.

I tend to agree, if your going external and it is for the long term, you probably want the 200+ watts mark. A new more powerful AVR may be a cheaper / better solution if your going for 125 watts per channel or less.


It really gets into the deals you find at hand -vs- the budget you have for the new amplification.

Let us know what you buy and how you like it though for sure.

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Drewbert

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Posted August 18 2005 - 04:09 AM

LOL shows how much I know..... looks like 200 is a nice round number...
Ill look around some more.... would 200 for the whole front work great? and would the rears be under powerd if I were not to run an amp to them at first?

Thanks again guys. I have not looked into B&K... I think that I will.

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   John S

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Posted August 18 2005 - 04:58 AM

With your AVR only driving the rears, I'll bet it would be fine.

I'm not a big fan though, I like all the amps and speakers to be the same. But I think just doing your L/R/C would have a very positive impact on your issue all on it's own.

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   ScottRCapt

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Posted August 18 2005 - 05:25 AM

If you like how the H&K works (soundfields - settings etc) you can stay with it, the power you get from a quality stand alone amplifier will almost always be better and cleaner than any from a new receiver.

That said - Sure you can buy a three channel amp first and then look for a 2 channel amp to match later on. The rear speaker do not get nearly as much information as the front three. You will notice a great deal of difference with every step, for sure... One step at a time is fine.

It would be wise to do your research on the first amplifier and its siblings. i.e. preferably you will want the same brand of amplifier for the front three speakers as you would for the rear surrounds. It is not a must but has advantages. Not the least of which is the looks... (Gotta please the sig-other).

You are on the right track...

Scott

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#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Drewbert

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Posted August 18 2005 - 06:43 AM

Excuse my ignorance... but all I can find are 2, 5, and 7 channel... how would I go about getting 3 channel?

I do not know home audio.... but I do know car.... so I would assume you cannot bridge these amps... and hows the best way to change the resistance? How can I pull 4ohm loads? 125 at 8ohm is 250 at 4.... or does that not work that way :b

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   John S

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Posted August 18 2005 - 07:29 AM

It still generally works that way... With the load.

One of my favorite 3 channel amps is the Adcom these days...

http://www.adcom.com...ers/gfa5503.htm

PS: Most 2 channel amps alllow you to bridge mono still, not all of them though. I don't think very many if any 3 channel and above amps allow it though.

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   ScottRCapt

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Posted August 18 2005 - 07:32 AM

There are 3 channel amps out there Drewbert - I know because I own one.

A very nice B&K Components Reference 4430 200 watts times three into 8 ohms with .007% THD.

Adcom makes a 3 channel amp (GFA-5503) as does Anthem (MCA-3 mkII) and Aragon (8008 x3).

Try doing some research at AudioGon on thier Bluebook. Its a good resource especially if you are hunting used equipment.

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
-Douglas Adams (1952 - 2001), "Last Chance to See"-

Correct me if I'm wrong - the gizmo is connected to the flingflang connected to...