Is Pro Audio Amp Advisable?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by John Chang, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. John Chang

    John Chang Auditioning

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    Hello All,

    I have a YAMAHA DSP-A3090 that I have been happy with for quite a while. I am using it to drive a pair of YAMAHA Club (12" woofer plus horn) speakers in the front and four studio monitors in the rear. It is started to get tired.

    I am looking to add a more powerful separate amp to drive the front speakers and have my eye on the Mackie M800, which is a commerical amp with impressive specs and an attractive price.

    Are there any negatives or challenges to adding this component to my system?

    Thanks in advance,

    John
     
  2. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    No negatives per se, it's an amplifier, but the question is if it will have the sound quality of a different design. Some pro or quasi-pro amps are excellent, such as Bryston. I personally have found Mackie to be a solid brand, say compared to something like Peavey. However, many professional amps have big negatives like fans that make noise. Many are designed for having plenty of power, and to be very resiliant to heat issues (hence lots of fans and heavy heatsinks and such like that), and the sound quality may take a slight backseat. They are excellent choices for powering a passive subwoofer or things like that, but you may want to listen carefully to the amp with your speakers in a very critical way and see if it performs well for you. I would not expect any decent pro amp to sound poor, but being as they do have a slightly different design target, the important points of realiability and large power handling aren't as important in a home environment. Kind of like the difference between a direct-drive DJ turntable, and one you would use for home listening. Going one route may be fine, but the other may yield better performance for the dollar because of naturally different design goals.

    Hope that helps!
     
  3. MikeNg

    MikeNg Second Unit

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    Sound quality aside, you may also run into 'voltage' problems. Specifically, the signal coming out of your Yammy_may_not_be strong enough to drive the amp properly. This is a common issue with mixing consumer/commercial components. Get a 'direct box' to solve this problem.

    Personally I like AB international, Crown, and Crest Audio (the latter being the bargain). If you can get an amp that is not fan cooled I think that would be best for home use. They tend to be kinda noisy.

    You can sometimes fine really good deals on used amps on eBay if you don't mind doing a little hunting and researching. Good luck - let us know how it turns out.
     
  4. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    John,

    Ordinarily I’d tell people asking this to be careful using pro gear for hi-fi, because some of it isn’t as clean as we’d used to having. But in your case, using PA speakers, that isn’t going to matter much, so any decent pro amp will do.

    A direct box ony converts an unbalanced signal to balanced. It doesn’t boost signal levels (there are other products that can do this, though). Not to mention, they do the conversion via rather cheap transformers, not the stuff I’d want in my audio chain.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  5. Alan M

    Alan M Second Unit

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    There are many of us who us pro amps in a home situation and are happy with the results.Check over at AVS forum.


    For pro amps with with no fan noise,the QSC line of amps have been recommended numerous times.


    I use a Crown amp(with a fan mod to keep it quiet)to power my hungry magnepan 3.6's and couldnt be happier.
     
  6. MikeNg

    MikeNg Second Unit

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    Wayne's right. Doh! :b Sorry for the misinformation there. Was thinking of another product...

    The problem with the difference in signal strength requirements may still be something you will need to overcome.
     
  7. Jacob C

    Jacob C Second Unit

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    I use and reccomend QSC for pro audio. Very nice stuff. There is other good stuff out there though.
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Just what's getting tired with your setup?
     
  9. John Chang

    John Chang Auditioning

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    Thank you all. I am not fond of the idea of a noisy fan in my living room, but more concerned about voltage incompatibilities. I will certainly look at the QSC line of amps.

    What I am looking for is a clean 150-200W amp like the separate YAMAHA MX-2 that died on me. (I was told by the YAMAHA-recommended repair center that it could not be repaired). I reverted to using the amps in the 3090 and when I boost the volume the amp running the front channels cuts out completely. Lower volumes solves the problem.

    Unfortunately, my budget is only around $500-600.

    John
     
  10. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    That sounds weird-why "can't" it be repaired?
     
  11. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    The QSC amps to get for home use is the SRA line, which is a consumerized version of their popular PLX line. The SRA line uses dead-silent fans and replaces the pro-standard 1/4" inputs with consumer friendly RCA inputs. The downside is that the SRA line was discontinued over a year ago and they are near impossible to find. There is one on Ebay right now, but the starting price is a bit above your budget and the guy won't ship, for who knows what stupid reason.

    I have used a Crown Macro Reference (currently called Studio Reference) for a dozen years. While the fans can be noisy, they don't come on until the amp is being driven very hard, which I hardly ever do anymore.
     
  12. DorianBryant

    DorianBryant Screenwriter

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    I purchased a "clean box" for $50 on E-bay. It converts xlr to rca-or vise versa- and acts as a pre-amp where you have volume controls to adjust the gain of the signal. I use it for my subwoofer as I have an HK 430 feeding the LFE to a Behringer 1500 amp for my sub. Works perfect...
     
  13. Robert SW

    Robert SW Auditioning

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    I quieted down a used Mackie M1400 that I got for $250 off of eBay by putting a 130 ohm effective string of resistors in series with the Panaflo 80mm 24V fan. Added a switch to allow taking the dropping resistors out of circuit. Its powering a 15" Tumult DIY sub (that has two 18" Passive
    radiators).

    I agree that many AVR's may have a problem giving 1.23 V (+4 dB) to a pro amp to get the right output. The ART CleanBox is one solution. My old Pany SA-HE70 sub out does not make it. As a temp solution until my CleanBox comes in, I'm using a old Kenwood Dolby Surround adapter as a level booster (split sub out to L&R inputs, using center out in Dolby 3 Stereo mode). That lets me be able to calibrate levels using the Pany's test tones and a RS SPL meter.
     
  14. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    Get the pro amp - with any quality amp you shouldn't even have to concern yourself about whether or not it has "good sound quality", as it shouldn't have ANY sound quality, it's an amp.
     

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