Help Me find a 3 Channel Amp

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Evan S, Apr 19, 2002.

  1. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

    Nov 21, 2001
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    OK, here is my situation...right now I run a 5.1 setup with an Anthem MCA-5II amp, Paradigm Reference 40's (front), 20's (back) and the CC with an Anthem AVM-20 processor.

    In about 9 months, I'm buying a house and moving up to 7.1 functionality. I am pleased with my Anthem amp, but plan to use it running my four surround speakers, leaving one channel free and acquiring a 3 channel amp to drive my main soundstage L/R/C. I am looking for an upgrade from the Anthem in every way...something that will reflect more refinement for music, without compromising detail and energy for HT. I find the Anthem to be a very capable amp, but I think it lacks for music at higher volumes by sounding slightly strained and a little harsh. For HT, I don't notice this as much, but for music I would like something with a slightly "warmer" sound and a little more body (I know these are vague terms in the audiophile world).

    I would be willing to go 5 channel, but prefer a 3.

    Ones I am considering are the Pass Labs X3, Aragon 8008x3, Odyssey Stratos HT3 and the Earthquake Cinenova Grande. Not sure if the Odyssey would be the upgrade I'm looking for but people seem to rave about it left and right!

    Obviously these are not cheap pieces and I would like to take the next 9 months to listen to all 4 if possible and save money. Anyone have any thoughts on these 4 and any others I may not know about? Thanks.
  2. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

    May 19, 2001
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    Real Name:
    Bob Lindstrom
    Well, I purchased an Aragon 8008x3 a couple weeks ago so I could relegate my Carver 705x to the rear channels.

    I continue to remain dumbfounded by the improvement in the system. The Aragon is VERY musical and, unlike some reports, I don't find it excessively analytical, just smooth and honest with a big soundstage and elegant highs, solid/tight bass. (Using it with NHT 2.5 speakers which are, themselves, considered very analytical.)

    At the time I bought it (used), I kinda felt it was an extravagance inspired partly by my frustration at the Outlaw 950 delays. In retrospect, I am SO GLAD I splurged because it has transformed my system from top to bottom (even with the crappy Pioneer receiver that I'm currently using as a stopgap pre/pro because I sold my main pre/pro.)
  3. Joseph_Mikhail

    Joseph_Mikhail Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 26, 2002
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    I just purchased the HK PA4000 from J&R for $575 shipped. It runs 4 channels at 100 watts or 8 channels at 45 watts (for multi-room application).
  4. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

    Apr 29, 1999
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    I have the EarthQuake CineNova 3 which I could part with for a good price. I doubt if you will find an amp to match the overall specs and perfromance for the price.

    I wouldn't use it with overly bright speakers like Klipsh but with most other types it is "stunning" and stable, throwing a vivid and lush soundstage, of psychoacoustic depth and height with any speaker set 32 inches high or higher and set up at least 2-3 feet from the back wall toed in for "on axis" listening.

    It has only a couple hours on it so it would still require a little breaking in.

    Or if you find one locally, remember that it might take 20-40 hours before it "smooths out". It will sound dry and brittle at least for the first 20 hours. Then it will bloom like a fresh rose in the morning dew.

    As far as HT... If your speakers can deliver, just what do you think, 300 watts @8 ohms and .003% distortion will do for your dynamics.

    I better stop before I decide to keep the darn thing.

    Have fun in your auditions. That is the best part.

    John Casler
  5. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Evan: Of the ones you mentioned, I'd get the Earthquake Cinenova Grande. I've heard of folks getting this amp for around $2300 brand new in box with warranty.
  6. Ken Stokes

    Ken Stokes Agent

    Dec 7, 1998
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    If your looking for a truly musical amp I don't think the Earthquake would get it for you. It is a tremendous value and has the power to push any load but it is pretty void of finesse or fine detail. I tried one in my system and while great for movies, music seemed stuck in mud. The best I tried was an EDGE AV8M three channel. The clarity and detail were better than anything I've heard. Unfortunately my Aerials just want more power than it could give over the long haul. While the 175wpc never were strained, the few days I used it I noticed it was running very hot so I boxed it up.

    I'm currently running Classe CAM-350s which are very good. I still wish the EDGE would have had more power because I do miss it. To get the same power with EDGE I would have had to spend 30K which isn't happening.

    Good Luck


    PS Of the ones listed I would give a hard listen to the Pass Labs, I liked the EDGE better but it was good.
  7. John Cain

    John Cain Second Unit

    Nov 19, 2000
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    I might suggest three mono-amps.

    That was my choice for a "4 channel amp".

    -- John
  8. Henry W

    Henry W Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 31, 2001
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    The Bryston 6B ST is an excellent three channel amp. I own one and I'm very happy with it both for music and home theater. The cost was reasonable and it provided a big boost to my system.

    Best regards-Henry

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