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Expensive amps with not-so expensive speakers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike_Ch, Mar 11, 2002.

  1. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

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    Just a bit of background first. I've been thinking about buying a high-quality 2 channel amp sometime next year. I'll have my Sony SCD-XA333ES single-disc SACD player (Europe/Asia only model) and ME 24 preamp by the end of this year for stereo music- both are high-quality components and offer IMHO best performance for price. I've currently got a Rotel RB993 3*200W power amp which is not dissimilar to the current RMB1095 amp.

    The speakers I'm currently running are Tannoy Saturn S6's which retail for around US$1000, they are 2 1/2 way with a dual-concentric driver and 6.5" bass driver. I felt they offered better performance than the B+W 603S2's, but I think are a step below the CDM-NT series as a frame of reference (less detail, clarity etc.)

    The amp I am thinking of buying is an Australian made Elektra Audio 2 channel reference amp (2*250W), or a ME 550 (2*120W)- both are designed to compete with, for example, Krell products. Is buying such an amp going to be overkill for my middle-of-the-road speakers, and is the difference between the Rotel and high-end amps not so much that I would be able to notice it? Somewhere along the track I intend on upgrading the speakers, but not in the near future since replacing all 5 would be too costly (I'm only a student still!). Thanks for your help,

    Mike
     
  2. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

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    Woops! :b

    I realised I posted this in speakers and not amps/separates. Could one of the admins kindly swap this to the right forum? Thanks a lot!

    Cheers,

    Mike
     
  3. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

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    Anyone? [​IMG]
     
  4. Travis G

    Travis G Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike,

    I don't know squat about the components you mentioned. What I do know is that the weakest link in any properly functioning sound system is the speakers. No where is there more distortion added then the speakers. No matter how much you spend on the rest of your system, if you buy speakers that are not up to par, it will all be in vein.

    Travis
     
  5. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, there is no such thing as overkill when it comes to amps. The better the amp quality and the bigger the power supply (to a point) the better any given pair of speakers will sound. I look at it this way - speakers are the component with the most personality (in other words, as Travis pointed out, they are the least competent member of a good system). For this reason, you are likely to go through many speaker changes in your life. On the other hand, a good amp will drive every speaker it is connected to to good effect - and once you get into the top tier of amplification, there is actually very little to distinguish them (actually, this is exactly what you are paying for).

    If that was confusing, here is the bottom line - you can never consider spending money on a good amplifier to be wasted. You can always upgrade the speakers later and you may find that the speakers you have were already good enough!

    Personally, I am currently driving a pair of JM Reynaud Twin MK IIs ($800) with an Ayre integrated ($2500) and couldn't be happier. When and if I stop being satisfied with this system, I will upgrade the speakers, knowing that the amp will always let me hear the speaker change to excellent effect.
     
  6. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Chris, I was thinking along the same lines. Just a quick question, what's the main thing you noticed with getting a better amp? Is it more detail or better tonal qualities? What speakers are you using now?

    Cheers,

    Mike
     
  7. mctague

    mctague Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll agree with Chris, good amps rarely go out of "style" or become obsolete in X number of years. You can consider it an investment in the future, and one less piece of gear you want to upgrade next time. While I'm not familiar with your ME preamp, it does sound like you'll have a nice front-end, which makes me think you should be able to tell the difference in the amps.

    My bedroom system is a fairly pricey Linn CD player & preamp in front of some Norh LeAmps, driving $300 pair Energy's. Before that, I had a $1k tube amp driving PSB Alphas............
     
  8. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I originally used an Audio Refinement integrated amp (cheap YBA - about $1000) to drive my speakers. It sounded good, but there was some high frequency grain, bass was a little weak, and the soundstage was pretty wide but not particularly deep. Going to the Ayre fixed all that - absolutely no grain or glare in the treble, wide and deep soundstage, 3-dimensional images, deeper and better defined bass. Having said all of that, the truth is that the Ayre just sounds more 'right'. I could never go back (that is the curse of this hobby).
     

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