And then there were 5....(amp decision)

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Jorge UF, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. Jorge UF

    Jorge UF Stunt Coordinator

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    This is in continuation of my other thread.
    I started out with 5 amps, and people kept reccomending amps and now I have finally narrowed it down to 5. The office is now closed to other amp reccomendations and it will be one of these 5. I have ranked them in what I feel is their proper order, after reading reviews and possible good pairing with my klipsch rf7's.

    1.Classe CAV 180 = 5 x 180. Possible Audiogon price $2600
    PROS:
    Has a smooth sound that will blend well with the RF7's. Known as a high end audio amp manufacturer. Great reviews.

    Cons:
    The most expensive of the group. Might not even be able to find one that hugs the 2k price range. 2nd lowest spec power in the group.

    2. Bryston 9b sst or st = 5 x 120. Possible audiogon price $2200
    PROS:
    Known as a very detailed amplifier with extremely low noise. The best reviews out of the bunch. Balanced inputs. Could possibly be better than the classe. The 20 yr warranty is untouched by other manufacturers.

    CONS:
    The 2nd most expensive. Many comment on it being too bright for klipsch. Lowest spec'd power of the group.

    3. Parasound Halo A52 = 5 x 125. Street price $2000
    Pros:
    The best looking of the group. Many klipsch owners comment on the great pairing of parasound and klipsch. Ultra 2 certified (if that counts for anything)

    CONS:
    Low spec'd power. Could be the lowest power of the group.

    4. ATI 2005 = 5 x 200. Street price $1750
    PROS:
    Big powerful amp. Will be able to drive almost any speaker that I may upgrade to. Cheapest of the group. Balanced inputs
    CONS:
    Ugliest of the group(well its not that bad). Many also say it might be bright with klipsch, though no actual reviews of the two have said this.

    5. Earthquake CineNova Grande 5 = 5 x 300. Street price $2000
    Pros:
    The biggest and heaviest of the group. Appears to be also the most powerful as well. Good reviews from a strong little following. Not bad looking in silver.
    CONS:
    No balanced inputs.


    Well there they are. Its taken me a while to finally get a real top 5. So which would be the amp to choose considering the pros and cons and the fact that I want to stay under 2k? I would appreciate it if you could give your top 3 out of these amps. Thanks guys
     
  2. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    From that group the only one's I'd consider with your speakers is the classe or the parasound. If you're thinking long term investment the classe will be likely retain its value longer then the parasound and it doesn't have the power the classe does so I guess I'd pick the classe (though I'm not sure why the Rotel 1095 dropped of your short list?)
     
  3. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    Thomas
    since you're running Klipsch speakers all 'round, there's absolutely NO reason why you'd EVER need more than like 100-125wpc to drive them (especially of high current output like these amps have).

    that said, i would choose the Classe. feel free to take this recommendation with a grain of salt (i own a CP-35 and a CA-150), but IMO Classe makes some of the best amps available for the money. the sound is super smooth and very warm on my Vandersteens (86dB/w/m btw...your Klipsch's are probably around 98dB/w/m), and the CA-150 has more than enough power to make my ears bleed ten times over. of the amps listed here, i think the Classe is the only one in the group that 'doubles down' into 4 ohms.

    maybe you should look into less powerful amps. this would both save you money and help you match your speakers to an amp more fluidly. cross out the 300x5 Earthquake right now because that redefines the word 'overkill'. for your situation, i would recommend a Bryston 9B-ST or the Classe.

    ...but i highly recommend you go listen to some amps at your local dealer and gauge your decision from there. if for no other reason, this will let you know how each of them sounds and will allow you to rate each amp accordingly. good luck!
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Let's turn this around a little bit. Assume for the moment that all the amps you've chosen do not interact with the speakers you've chosen or are likely to choose in such a way as to influence their FR curves. Further let's also assume that of your 5 choices there that the coloration (warm, smooth, bright, whatever) is really a non-issue and that the room they'd be placed in as well as well as speaker arrangement and of course, the nature of the speaker itself is the prime determining factor for the 'sound'. In other words, all the amps are essentially neutral. Which would you choose?

    Now let's throw another factor into this. You're considering used amps and with the exception of the Bryston, I don't know if the warranties are transferrable. Assume you required service. Further assume this service means you need to eat s/h. Let's estimate this cost at$75. Let's further estimate that to reconcile a problem will require an additonal $300 (nothing in the case of the Bryston). Which do you choose?

    Since in the configuration you're looking at, it appears unlikely that you'll be running long lengths of interconnects, personally I consider the issue of balanced, RCA to be a non-issue.

    Note that I'm not taking a stand on one amp over another. The important thing IMHO, is for you to accurately assess the issues as are important to YOU.
     
  5. Jorge UF

    Jorge UF Stunt Coordinator

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    Thomas even though I know that anyone of these amps would be overkill for the klipsch, I want to buy the best amp I can get for the money. If I ever decide to get the relatively inefficient dynaudio contours then I want to already have an amp to power them.

    Chu the only amps that I would have to buy used would be the classe and bryston. When I state street price I mean brand new. So servicing wouldn't be a problem except for maybe the classe.

    I was hoping you guys can give me a top 3 since I think the classe and bryston will most likely get the chunk of the reccomendations, but I am not sure I will be able to find one that fits my budget. I am sort of leaning towards hanging around audiogon, to see if I can get a good deal on either bryston or classe, and if that doesn't happen then maybe look at the last 3. Though to be honest I don't know which one of the last 3 to choose.
     
  6. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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    Jorge,

    Considering your future speakers and also what you have now, the Bryston or CineNova would be the best choices. As a dealer I have clients with who I have placed ATI, Parasound, Bryston, Krell, and CineNova.

    ATI is a great amp and is value priced. It will not however sound like the Bryston or CineNova. It has 10 times the distortion, although with the power your Klipsch require you wouldn't notice it until you get your Contours if even then. However it does have balanced inputs which can be good "if" you have long interconnect runs.

    The Bryston would probably in the overall scheme of things offer you the best sound, but will be difficult to find in your price structure.

    The Parasound, while many Klipsch owners have gone to it, is not the best amp for the Klipsch, and definatly not for the Contours. I have mentioned that I place TWO 3 channel CineNovas with a Klipsch owner a year or so ago who had been using the Parasound and he was "floored" at the improvement in his system.

    I'm surprised he hasn't seen your post and responded (check the archives he has commented on his impressions)

    Over kill for the Klipsch? Maybe. For the Contours? Not at all.

    In the long run your best bets are the Bryston (if you can find one) the CineNova (I too own one in my system) and the ATI (as a value based performer)

    In that order.

    Good luck,
     
  7. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Without any doubt Classe. Parasound after that. Any other choice with Klipsch will sound sparkly and detailed at first but will lead to listener fatigue very soon, IMHO. Its upto your ears. Let them be the judge. You will get as many suggestions as there are people here, so trust your ears over everything else. Because you are the one that will have to live with your system.

    Best of luck.
     
  8. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Power is overrated, IMO. Even with Dynaudio's, you still would never need more than a few watts, unless you plan on having outdoor events using your system. I've heard speakers with 86db sensitivity being played loud with SET amps of only 8 watts per channel. Buy quality power versus quantity.
    That being said, out of your list I would choose the Classe. I have heard their amps and they are very nice indeed. I have owned a Classe SSP-25 pre/pro for about 3 years and the build quality is excellent(I use Aragon amps for HT). The only downside is that they are in Canada and if you buy used and have a problem with the amp, it will take a long, long time to get your amp repaired, should you send it back to them.
    I don't care for Bryston much, their warranty is great but can't say much for their performance. Good luck. [​IMG]
     
  9. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Power is not overrated! Even though I didn't use all the continuous power of my 100 watt amp, a larger one sounds stronger, more dynamic, and less harsh. (Your mileage may vary.)

    Of course you'll have to factor in the fact that quality power costs money. A good 20 watt amp may be a better purchase than a cheapo 200 watt amp.
     
  10. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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    Frankly I was not expecting my Klipsch Client to notice much difference moving from a 200wpc amp to a 300wpc amp and the difference may not have been due to the power difference (since there are several other distinct differences) but even though I'm sure he used only a portion (although he did play ear bleeding levels) of the power, he claimed the Klipsch had a whole new sonic persona with the 300watts.

    Go figure.[​IMG]
     
  11. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Oh wait a second, I just noticed the owner of this thread has Klipsch RF7s which are like 98db efficient. (I was replying to the above post saying 8 watts could play loud with low efficiency speakers.)

    Forget power! 20-50 watts is plenty. [​IMG]
     
  12. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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  13. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Oops, sorry Frank. That's typical of me. [​IMG]

    I think Klipsch pads most of their sensitivity specifications by 4db. One of their forum moderators posted that this was used to reflect "typical" boundary gain. I know that the RB-5 model is rated at 96db, and the real sensitivity was measured at 92.1db by some magazine. Their difference in sensitivity is barely noticeable compared to my Kit281s at 89.7db.

    And 102db is pretty absurd efficiency for a speaker of that size rated to go to 32Hz, eh? Not that it matters. Even if it was "only" 98db, a 20 watt amp could rock the house.
     
  14. Lee-M

    Lee-M Stunt Coordinator

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    I have owned Klipsch speakers for 15 years, and have used a variety of amps to power them; I can state unequivocably that, unless they are fully horn-loaded (such as the Klipschorn or LaScala), they do their best with a muscular, but high-quality, amp.

    I think that the reason for this is that there is still a big cone woofer in these speakers that has to move a lot of air, and in the low freqencies, this takes some very solid power.

    It wasn't until I plugged in a McCormack DNA-1 (185 wpc) that I actually heard what mine were capable of...
     
  15. Jaime B

    Jaime B Stunt Coordinator

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    Jorge;

    All you can get out of these recommendations are (honest) personal preferences. Trust your own ears. go borrow as many amps as you can, if you buy from Audiogon do it because you already auditioned the amp and want "used pricing".

    Do not drop the Sherbourn from your list, as it is more refined sounding than the ATI (haven't heard the new, just released ATI's however.)

    JaimeB
     
  16. Frank joe

    Frank joe Stunt Coordinator

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    HI, im late to this and i know you said your closed to this but ati is offering the 2505 at 1,486 at onecall.com i know as i jsut bought one . original price was 2,700 a closeout item. 250 watts by 5 channles and 106 pounds. hard to beat that frankie
     
  17. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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    Nice deal. Keep in mind that you need a 20 amp circuit for that beast.
     
  18. Frank joe

    Frank joe Stunt Coordinator

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    yea , i know about the 20 amp circuit. i am going to run two 20mps lines for all my theatre equipment. the hard part was convicing my wife i nneded more power lolololo. frankie
     
  19. LarrySkelly

    LarrySkelly Stunt Coordinator

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    Wanted to comment on the Bryston and the Classe. I have bought both used, A Bryston 4B-ST and a Classe SSP50 pre-pro. The Bryston warranty is legendary. My Classe pre-pro arrived a month ago and the seller was less than honest in his assessment of its condition. It had a broken RCA jack on the back, and for some reason is unable to decode DTS.

    The response from Classe is exemplary. It is still within the warranty period, which I think is 5 years, but I'm the third owner, and whether these problems are covered would be disputed by some manufacturers. Not Classe. After discussing the RCA problem with them they immediately couriered me a block of 4 jacks to install, at no charge. Then I discovered the DTS decoding problem, their assessment is the DSP board is blown, but they would be happy to fix it, again at zero cost.

    So I think you will be very safe with a used piece of equipment from either Classe or Bryston. I have no experience with the others.

    Larry
     
  20. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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