100watts of receiver power or 60watts of Separate power? Paradigm Reference?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Donald_Spry, Nov 28, 2002.

  1. Donald_Spry

    Donald_Spry Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a Yammie 995. I was looking at the NAD, B&K, and Parasound amps (under $800, and some used). However, some of them have 60-85 watts vs. the Yammie "published" 100 watts. Would I actually be gaining anything from a purchase like this?

    I guess the real question is how much power from a separate should I be looking for to Power my Studio 40's and CC. I looking to increase my 2-channel music experience.

    Any specific suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Donald
     
  2. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Hello Donald,

    From your post, I'm not sure if you are considering 2-3 channel amps or full multi-channel. I have the Parasound 855, perhaps one of the models you were referencing. I run it with my H/K 510 as pre/pro and bi-amp my front two 6 Ohm, 88dB towers, also a 6 Ohm CC. (Also have 2 rear towers powered by the 510.) Plenty of power all around. Soundstaging is larger both horizontally and vertically. Imaging is even more precise. Even the level of transparency of my speakers has increased and I didn't think that was possible.

    The 510 has a similar power rating as the 855 at any given impedance but that's where the comparison ends. Improvement in 2 channel was significant and obvious.

    If you are looking for a something with more oomph in 5 channel I would also seek out the Parasound 1205A. Of course, if you are satisfied with the 995 sound overall and just want a greater 2 channel experience I would opt for a 2-3 channel amp in the 150W range.
     
  3. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Screenwriter

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    If this is a pure power question, then I'd say you'll probably come out even. Most receivers are notoriously mis-rated in the power department, especially with all channels running. On the other hand, a dedicated amp will likely come much closer to its rated power.

    A more important consideration than power is load handling. Paradigm Reference speakers aren't friendly - they have a wild impedence curve. For speakers rated at 8 ohms, there seems to be evidence that for some frequencies they dip down as low as 3 ohms. A good quality dedicated amp will do a much better job of handling this "stress" than your receiver amp section.

    It's not a difference in volume - it's a difference in quality.

    All IMHO.

    Best luck,
    Martin.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    without having access to a throrough review of the Onkyo that delves into the technical aspects of the power under different load conditions, its really very difficult to answer your question. That's something that you need to investigate before you spend money and wind up possibly trading apples grown in Washnigton State for those grown in Oregon. I'd say if your musical tastes lend themselves to program material with a wide dynamic range, and if your room is sufficiently large, then there's no reason to not investigate amps up in the 200 or so watt category.
    Aside from that, improvements in your system may well lie within your your room. By that I mean working on improving the positioning of your speakers and where you listen to them...room treatments...dealing with reflections, some of which lend themselves rather neatly to inexpensive DIY projects.
     
  5. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Hi Donald,

    My experience may offer some insight into your situation, as I have a Yam DSP-A1 (which I ran to power Paradigm Reference 40's, as well as Reference CC, and two Monitor ADP diplole 350'S. The DSP was conservatively rated by them at 110W per channel. Yet another independent anaysis of the rated power was near 125W per all channels drive.

    I have since powered the Paradigm setup with Marantz MA6100 monoblocks (125W THX Ultra certified, for whatever that may be worth to you) and nOrh Le Amps monoblocks (rated by nOrh at 100W per block, but also rated by IRD(the true maker) at 76W, and the esteemed John Curl at 75W per amp.

    My personal opinion is that the nOrh Le Amp simply outperformed the DSP-A1's amp section, as did it likewise clean the clock of the MA6100's monos.
    The nOrh is overbuilt, for sure, and by design, handles difficult loads easily. But the Le Amps also sound fuller, handle transients with headroom to spare, and are very neutral and have tight control over the bass region. In fact, that is were the Le Amps shine-- prodigious bass.

    A well built amp will get you down the road a lot further than all but a few top-end receivers, IMO.

    And Chu is dead on about the room and your speakers/systems behaviour in that space.... and treatments are often better than most component upgrades IME.

    Good Luck,

    BOK
     
  6. Donald_Spry

    Donald_Spry Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for for the info. I have played around with my room arrangements and have softened it up pretty well--and the most my wife will allow.

    I guess as far as 2, 3, or 5 channels, I would take any (just depends what the prices are), but the 2-channel is most important.

    BOK, where did your nOrh Le Amps monoblocks, and would you happen to know how much they normally run? Those sound pretty interesting, I am going to do a search on them after this post.

    Thanks again and keep the suggestions coming!

    DJ
     
  7. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  8. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Hi Donald,
    You may also want to check www.harmonicdiscord.com and look for the nOrh forum. I recommend a thorough search of the nOrh forums archives, as that will give you a very good flavor as to what this amp is all about.
    I bought my first pair used. My second pair was new,$495. from nOrh direct. Add about $40 for shipping and they will be at your door via Fedex ground.
    I use a single Marantz MA6100 monoblock for one of my surrounds. I am always looking for a "single" Le Amp--- not so easy to find ;^) Great service from nOrh, btw.
    Actually, I will be sending one of my used amps (just one) back to nOrh service in NC, as I want them to take a look/listen to it. Just a tad loud when idle, as my new pair just purr at idle. This used one idles a little loud, but still sounds great. My second Marantz MA6100 will "fill-in" the other surround for that period.
    Look for a damn good power supply in your quest for a good, powerful amp. As mentioned, a B&K, or a Parasound designed by Curl is a can't miss. Avoid Parasounds that are not Curl's design.
    PS-- the Le Amps are big monoblocks and weigh 22lbs each. Hard to hide these things.
    Good Luck,
    BOK
     
  9. Frank Carter

    Frank Carter Screenwriter

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    Donald,
    I had the same receiver as you(excellent receiver BTW), I later added a Parasound HCA-855a(85x5). It was one of the best upgrades I made to my system. Sound quality and power were greatly improved even though it was rated to put out less power.
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Brian touched upon a rather interesting and important point which perhaps to a large degree has to do with other aspects of power as it relates to an amplifier. These other aspects have to do not so much with continuous power, which we all bitch about getting decent and honest specs for. Rather, I think, additional measurements of an amp(receiver) are needed from manufacturers, and for that matter those who purport to do thorough and comprehensive reviews, in order to provide us with more information to guide us appropriately. People say that you can't necessarily judge an amp by its specs alone. Certainly given the present state of affairs that bears quite a bit of truth.
    Myself I'd like to see quite a bit more done by both manufacturers and those who analytically evaluate amps. How's about these for starters?

    Examples of hard and soft clipping into a variety of loads...what kind and what's the magnitude of distortions that are produced?
    How's about seeing how the amp behaves when its driving a real speaker and not some dummy loads? Let's see what it does when faced with an amp unfriendly load like planars and electrostats.
    What's that amps impedence look like over a wide frequency range?
    How's about looking at THD as a function of not only the power output, but with respect to frequency and that into different loads?
    How about seeing how that amp deals with crappy power? Maybe power that's intentionally contaminated?
    What happens to the amp when the signals going in aren't roughly balanced, but skewed one way or the other?
    How prone is that amp to modest surges?

    All that aside, what I WANT TO KNOW is how does the amp behave when driven outside of its specifications and what does it do when faced with some whacky speaker.
     
  11. Guy Usher

    Guy Usher Supporting Actor

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    535 Adcom, they are cheap and are everywhere they give you 60x2 at 8 and will drive a 18 inch piece of speakerwire, impeadance will not be a problem, sound is greaat ttoo.
     

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