Integrated Amp or 2 Channel Amp?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kevin Biller, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. Kevin Biller

    Kevin Biller Agent

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    I am looking at upgrade paths for better two channel sound. I currently am using an Integra 7.1 powering B&W602's in front (CDM-CNT Center) but would like to replace them with N-805's this fall.

    Here is what I have considered: 1.Buy a two or three channel amp to power either the fronts or the front and center, using the integra as a pre-amp. A separate processor would follow eventually, but in all honesty it would be several years down the road. (I am thinking a rotel or a bryston would be a good fit)

    2.Buy an integrated amp (looked at the Krell KAV300i (150wx2) used at a good price but higher cost than option 1). I would hook my CD player directly to it, bypassing the receiver giving a cleaner source route. It also has a pass through mode, so it can be utilized to power the fronts for home theater as well. I am not sure how to incorporate bass management with this option though in 2 channel mode.

    I am not willing to have 2 separate systems for home theater and 2 channel, but would like the best compromise for both. The N-805 upgrade and improved amp will be all I can afford for a while. If any one has any other options, I am open to suggestions. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    I really like the krell 300il integrated. Power galore. amazing for such a small piece. I'm considering getting one.

    If you'd really like great 2-channel performance I'd say the 300iL is the way to go, especially given your going for the 805s later on. You'll appreciate the power.
     
  3. Kevin Biller

    Kevin Biller Agent

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    The model I looked at is the D/C'ed KAV-300i which is now been replaced by the KAV-300il. The il gained 50w of power per channel and digital display on the front (and an increase in price).

    There is another thread in the forum discussing using a Receiver as a pre/pro and actually having a separate pre/pro. Does any one have personal experience with some of the various integrated amp combo's out there vs. the sound on true separates?
     
  4. Kevin Biller

    Kevin Biller Agent

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    I am shocked at the lack of input from this forum. Is no one else using an integrated amp for 2 channel listening? This is reason I am considering this upgrade. What are your impressions vs. separates vs. receivers?
     
  5. Mike Estoup

    Mike Estoup Auditioning

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    I have been considering the same option to improve 2-channel performance of my Yamaha 2092. I posted a similar question a couple weeks ago and got minimal responses as well.

    In doing reasearch, I found 2 integrateds with home theater throuput, the Krells (300i & 300il) and the Anthme integrated-2. I was almost set to go with the Anthem, then got to thinking that since the Preamp uses tubes and a majority of use is with HT, that I would be burning the tubes for many hours every day without using them. I was concerned that I would go through a lot of tubes and at $50 per pair, this might not be the most cost effective way to go.

    In considering the Krell, my main concern is how the 150 WPC amp would mate with the 100 WPC amp in my Yamaha. I am still considering the Krell, but would like to know what other integrateds have theater throughput, and if anyone else uses this set-up.

    Mike.
     
  6. Brian Vaughan

    Brian Vaughan Stunt Coordinator

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    Kevin, You should also look into the Classe integrated amps. I've heard nothing but good things and they are supposed to match up with B&W speakers quite well (I believe that B&W just acquired them, but I may be wrong). I think the CAP-151 is comparable in price/power to the Krell KAV300i. They tend to come up often on audiogon if you are interested in picking up a used one. Of course, because you live in Canada you could probably get a pretty good deal on a new one.

    Cheers, Brian
     
  7. Joe Casey

    Joe Casey Stunt Coordinator

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    Ever consider tubes? There's a nice selection of integrated tube amps (AEC, Cary, Rogue etc) that won't break the bank.
     
  8. Kevin Biller

    Kevin Biller Agent

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    I have not considered tube integrated. Based on my budget constraints, I am primarily looking at the used market (up to $2000 CN). The two models that seem to fall into that range that I have found so far are the Krell KAV300i and the Classe CAP-150.

    The new replacement model for the Krell (il) has more power and different front panel display. Whereas the CAP-151 has the same power rating, just different display. Both have some version of pass thru to mate them with a receiver or other pre/pro.

    I have had several people mention the nice mix of B&W with Classe. No offence to Krell, but many describe there sound as anilitical, cold, and even unmusical. Classe is the same stuff my favorite B&W dealers chooses to mate with various speakers. For this reason, I am leaning toward the Classe. Also the CAP-150's I have seen used were about $500 less than the used Krell 300i I have seen.

    I anyone has any other options I should consider, please bring them up. I am likely to make a purchase very shortly.
     
  9. Ted Kim

    Ted Kim Stunt Coordinator

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    I listened to the original Krell integrated some years ago before deciding to purchase a Classe CAP-150 integrated. I also have B&W speakers, P4's, among others that matched up well with the Classe. Now, if I were you I would try to demo the Krell with the Nautilus speakers, as the Krell sound is not to everyone's taste. I happen to prefer the Classe sound, but to each their own.

    I am not sure about which models, but my impression is that theater throughput is starting to become widespead on integrated amps.

    My opinion on the using the receiver as a pre-pro with an amp vs an integrated is that for stereo, the integrated will be usually be superior if the speakers can be suitably driven by either method. However if the speakers are difficult to drive, that limits your choices. In fact, the British press, notably What HiFi? for one recommends using an integrated for the stereo and getting a receiver for the rest of the HT as most receivers will not be as good as the integrated in stereo. Using a power amp with a receiver will be limited by the quality of the preamp section in the receiver, and just keep in mind the simpler route is usually better. The preamp section in a receiver has too many compromises and/or has to do too many things compared to a stereo integrated for great stereo.

    For reference, my impressions are that the Outlaw 950 ($900) prepro is about as good (maybe a little worse) as my NAD 314 integrated amp ($400) in the preamp section and was far worse than a Classe CAP-150 when used in my 2 channel setup driving a Pass Labs Aleph 30 amplifier. And that's for a prepro, let alone a receiver.

    The outlaw prepro is substantially better than a HK receiver used as a prepro, when listening in stereo in the HT system. Better still was the Classe as a stereo preamp in the HT system. The amp was a Citation 7.1.
     
  10. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    Also take a look at the Musical Fidelity int amps. Seem to be a great value, as both their amps and preamp have gotten rave reviews by critics and owners alike. 150 wpc, mm/mc phono, remote, and I believe it also has a ssp loop.
     
  11. Mark C.

    Mark C. Supporting Actor

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    Let me chime in for my .02. I have separate music and home theater systems. In my dedicated two-channel system, I use a Classe CAP-101 (100 watts per channel) to power my B&W Nautilus 804s. The "baby'' Classe provides more than enough power for the 804s. The combination sounds wonderful.

    In my home theater, I'm using a Rotel RSP-976 pre/pro and Rotel RMB-1075 5-channel amp with B&W CDM speakers. Again, great combination. I've never been a fan of using a receiver as a pre/pro because a receiver inevitably is a product designed with compromises.
     
  12. Kevin Biller

    Kevin Biller Agent

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence Mark. My local B&W dealer mentioned the integrated option on my last visit and I hadn't considered it previously. Although I am planning on combining a two channel and home theater system, this definitely seems the best way to get the most of both fields.

    I am leaning towards the Classe CAP-150 for the added benefit of its thru put from my receiver. I assume its power supply will give the front channels a 'cleaner and stronger' signal than the receiver. The fact that you like the CAP-101 so much with your Nautilus 804's, should mean the CAP-150 should be more than adequate with my proposed mating with 805's.

    Out of curiousity, what type of CD player do you have with your Classe-Nautilus combo? A better CD player will be next on the upgrade list after buying new speakers.
     
  13. matthew_rm

    matthew_rm Second Unit

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    The best interconnect is NO interconnect.
    Thats all I know[​IMG]
     
  14. Bruce Chang

    Bruce Chang Second Unit

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    I'm in the market for 2 channel integrateds and found that the people who had the krell 300i switched to Plinius 8200 or the 8150. Classe also makes a very good unit.
     
  15. Mark C.

    Mark C. Supporting Actor

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    Kevin:

    I have a Cal Audio Labs Icon MkII in my 2-channel system. This is the basic Icon, without the bass enhancement or HDCD. It's a very smoothe player, built like a tank. I highly recommend it. CAL doesn't make the player anymore. I bought mine almost two years ago as a dealer demo. You can usually find them for sale at audigon.com. Of course, I've been considering a CD changer, you wouldn't want to......nah!
     
  16. Ted Kim

    Ted Kim Stunt Coordinator

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    The Classe CAP-150 is discontinued, the current model is the 151, which has a different faceplate and volume control implementation. The person I sold my Classe to has it matched with Proacs, the 1.5s???, and is really enjoying the combo.
    As for CD player, you may want to consider the SONY 500V DVD/SACD player or the others in that lineup and have it modded by EVS. Supposedly, the modded players sound very good for Redbook CD's.
    http://www.tweakaudio.com/EVS%20modi...20players.html
     

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