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front soundstage situation

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Nep, Apr 17, 2002.

  1. Mike Nep

    Mike Nep Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 12, 2002
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    Okay here's the situation. I'm getting my odyssey stratos amp today (stereo) and that's great. However, I've come to another mind bending situation. I've been reading posts about keeping the front soundstage the same when talking about amps and home theater. That's understandable but I don't want to compromise my two chanel music listening by using a three channel amp for the fronts and center. Also,I can't see myself spending another 1500 bucks to buy another odyssey amp just for the center channel and the surrounds. Will using a different amp (read: not $1500) from a different company for the center and surrounds really make a sonic difference compared to the odyssey when watching movies? I was thinking of getting a parasound something, anthem mca or acurus a200x3instead. Good choice for studio 80's? Thanks

    Associated equipment:

    yamaha 995 (soon outlaw 950)

    studio 80's (front)

    reference cc (center)

    adp 170 (surrounds)
  2. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

    Nov 21, 2001
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    Mike, here are my thoughts.

    I have an Anthem MCA-5II hooked up to Paradigm Reference Series (CC, 40's in front, 20's in the back). People say this combo is "bright" but I don't get that. Only at the highest volumes and only on certain recordings do I get that slight brashness from the tweeter. I'm sure there are more refined and better amps out there, but the Anthem gives great bang for the buck.

    With that being said, your present combo of Yamaha with Paradigm has the reputation for being VERY bright, so going with the Outlaw/Anthem combo (or any amp for that matter) should reduce the "brightness" quality of your setup regardless of which amp you choose.

    I would always advocate maintaining a seamless front soundstage however. When I make the move to 7.1 next year, I am not going to get a 2 channel amp, but a three channel one to keep my front soundstage seamless. I think it is a tradeoff for music to go 3 channel over 2 channel, but only slightly, and if you get a great amp, you won't be able to tell much of a difference if any.

    Great 3 channel amps are the Stratos HT3, Aragon 8008x3, and the Pass Labs X3. I would love to get any of these three amps into my HT for a demo to see what improvement they give me for music, but for right now I am very content with the Anthem.

    Hope that helps.
  3. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

    Feb 11, 2001
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    Hmmm, if you hadn't ordered the 2ch Stratos already, I would easily have suggested the HT3 (I own both). IMO, you will not compromise 2ch music by using a HT3 (thus 1 channel idle) vs the 2ch Stratos. Of course, you could return the Stratos and order the HT3 instead, although you'll suffer another wait as well as add'l shipping charges. Alternatively, you could sell the 2ch after you order and receive the HT3.

    To play devil's advocate on the HT3, it's not always the case that your front soundstage will suffer if your center is being driven by a different brand amp. Sometimes the speakers have a character that dominates the sound relative to the electronics driving them. I don't know if the reference CC is in this category or not, and such characterization may be different for music (multi-ch) vs movies.

    The best way to know is to try a few amps with your 2ch Stratos in place. My impression of the Stratos is that it's neutral (although I feel I have dominating speakers, so my assessment may be skewed), so maybe you can find something similar.


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