Is upgrading a good amp really worth it?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steve Morgan, May 22, 2002.

  1. Steve Morgan

    Steve Morgan Second Unit

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    I currently hav a Parasound 2205a and a 2003a running a 7.1 system. The pre/pro is a MC-1 and the speakers are Von Schweikerts all around.I am getting different opinions on this.Need feedback!How much is say a Proceed or a Theta, or Pass labs going to improve the sonics over the Parasounds? Is it 2 to 3k worth?

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  2. Legairre

    Legairre Supporting Actor

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    IMO no. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure you'll hear a difference, but a $2000-$3000 difference? I don't think so. Also the jump from a seperate amp to another seperate amp isn't the sonic difference you'd get going from a receiver to seperates. From where you are now, I'd say you have reached the point of diminishing returns. You may hear a 10% difference, but is that 10% worth $2000-$3000 dollars? Only you know the answer to that question.
     
  3. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Why not a Classe?

    Upper end sonics for lower end price.
     
  4. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Steve
    Unless you can try the other amps at home in your system it is a crap shoot. Even the best match may only provide a slight improvement.

    If you insist on looking to spend big bucks on an amp, check out BAT. They make some of the best amps around, and cost an arm and leg.

    Might as well go for the gold if you feel your amplification is lacking.

    Artie
     
  5. Steve K.H.

    Steve K.H. Supporting Actor

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    IF money is burning a hole in your pocket, buy a big ass comfy chair. That will improve the listening experience more than upgrading a kick butt amp.
     
  6. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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  7. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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  8. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I have 2 Acurus A200x3's that I really, really like a lot. [​IMG]
    Liked 'em so much, I figured, why not try their big brother, the Aragon 8008x3. So I got one. Tried it out for a month. Couldn't really detect any difference in sound, dynamics, power on music or DVD soundtracks. Beautiful amp though. Got rid of it and kept the both Acurus'.
    Bottom line? You might have to try something else before your "upgradeitis" is satisfied! [​IMG]
     
  9. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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  10. Tim Baldwin

    Tim Baldwin Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd take a good look at your sources and room treatments before I bought the amps.
     
  11. Aslam Imran

    Aslam Imran Second Unit

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    With 7.1 you probably wont see any difference but for two channel you will see some minor differences.
     
  12. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Steve,

    I have found that two channel stereo amps seem to have a bit different sound(warmer) then there 5 channel brothers. I dont know why but maybe the two channel amps are more geared to music and 5 channel amps to HT ? Maybe Ricky T. can tell us the difference between his parasound 2200 mk II and his parasound 1206 as an example.

    I tried some botique amps (McCormack dna-1 deluxe) and found it nice and smooth for music but really lacked dynamics for HT. What is your main priority with amps music or ht ? the parasounds in my system seem to be the best in between amp I've had, good for music and ht. One things for sure, you will have to spend MUCH more for what will probably end up a minor improvement.

    Get that ta-p you wanted or better yet if you want a major improvement for two channel get a tube pre.
     
  13. Aslam Imran

    Aslam Imran Second Unit

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    Two channel amps typically are dual monoaural construction giving slightly better resolution, channel separation, image specificity and soundstaging. OTOH their 5 channel brothers typically have a single large powersupply that feeds all channels. This works great for HT as there is rarely simultaneous demand on all channels, and so which ever channel is in need of power draws from that big single pool of power. That is why I think HT amps sound more dynamic. Thats just my theory.
     
  14. Steve Morgan

    Steve Morgan Second Unit

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    Thanks for the replys. I have a chance to buy the Cinenova Grande at a good price it is a monaural design.You guys still don't think I would here a difference?

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  15. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Steve
    Seriously. I used to believe there was no audible difference between amps. I had read it so many times and had never had the opportunity to try different amps in my home on my speakers. Well, about 6 years ago I had that opportunity and to my surprise there was a difference. A subtle difference. This one had more bass, that one sounded more natural, the other one had the most "punch".
    I learned several things from this: 1) amps don't all sound alike.
    2) No one amp combines the best qualities available.
    I finally figured out why high end reviewers would use a phrase like , "I had no desire to swap out amps after several weeks of listening."
    In case I haven't made myself clear enough, the point is that each amp has its strenths.
    A good price, favorable comments from others, brand name, power ratings, etc., can't tell you what differences you might hear, and if those differences will be worth the price.
    There is a point of diminishing returns with most everything. With your 2205 you are high on the diminishing returns curve.
    This would be a good time to try some room treatments and put other potential upgrades on the back burner.
    Of all the things I've ever heard, the most spectacular was a 2 channel system that had amazing imaging/soundstaging. Like there was room behind each instrument and you knew the horizontal placement and vertical size of each instrument without trying.
    This kind of imaging/soundstaging is rarely mentioned. Once you have heard it, you will never forget. Room treatments probably would help.
    Of course it is easier just to swap out pieces of gear. But those who have heard a 3 dimentional soundstage often put that at the top of their wish list.
    Artie
     
  16. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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    This Thread is rather interesting, and the interesting thing about it is the "intangible" and subjective nature of our hobby.
    The other thing is that we many times project what our "values" are proportionally onto each other.
    "IS it worth it to do this, or that?"
    Steve's system is a 7.1 HT system. Although he has "audiophile" speakers, he does not mention that he is a "2 channel audiophile". We have to make an assumption that because of the quality of his equipment that he does "also" listen to music.
    Arthur mentions "imaging" and "soundstage" relating to "room treatments". He is 100% correct. If you have a bad sounding room it cannot be made up for by better electronics.
    That said, the room is "slightly less" important (I didn't say unimportant) in setting up Home Theater. In the imaging/soundstage that Artie talks about, the amount of room response and reflected sound can collapse that image faster than you can blink because it is an inticate convergence of sonic qualities that must be present for it to exist.
    In a HT, there are 5 or more speakers placed around the room to "insure" that your ear is getting "direct" sound cues and not reflected sound in a proportion that will provide enough "precedence effect" to supply a Theater Sound.
    In the audiophile sonic image, the quality of the recorded source material, the cleanliness of the reproduction chain, the placement of the speakers relative to room boundaries and the listening position, and the sonic qualities of the room itself are all key players in what you hear.
    In a Home Theater, the source material IS NOT REAL! It is the creative product of a sound engineer and editor. The art of film foley is one of "fooling" us into thinking we are hearing the real thing, as in running horses, thunder, fire, etc.
    So Artie's point is a good one, but it does not solve Steve's quest for better sound.
    A few weeks ago I talked to Rick C., who recently ask the same question. Rick ended up going from a Parasound amp to the Cinenova amp in question. Now when Rick ask this same question he got similar answers and suggestions, all based on our own perceptions of what we would do if we had to make this choice.
    To make the question even more demanding. Ricks system consisted of KLIPSCH speakers!!!!!
    Now what gain, if any, could ever be realized by going from a 200wpc amp to a 300wpc amp if you have speakers like Klipsch? Surely you would notice absolutley no difference at all. I mean after all, it only takes a watt or two to make your ears bleed with this type of efficiency.
    What did he hear? Well he tells me that the difference was quite dramatic. He said he never dreamed it could be so good.
    He said the horney stridency and clutter of the high end was now crystal clear silk and that the body of the midrange was so thick he could cut it with a knife. And the Low End was now solid and punchy without being "overbearing".
    Compared to the Parasound, knowing what he knows now, he would never go back. That does not mean the Parasound is a bad unit. Quite the contrary, it is an excellent unit, but we might find that in some cases, making that step up "CAN" make a difference and is worth the money.
    But there I go, projecting my values onto you. And only you can make the decision to make it happen.
    My recomendation to go for it, was based on Rick's experience with similar equipment.
    Rick by the way, actually picked up two, 3 channel amps and was so thrilled with the sonic signature of his front three speakers (Klipsch's floor standing flagship RF-7) he dumped his rear RS-7 speakers , and bought two more RF-7 floorstanders.
    The point being, that one upgrade may lead to another so be careful. [​IMG]
    Regards,
    John Casler
     
  17. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    IMO, amp preferences are VERY subjective and unpredictable. One person's golden ear treasure is another's harsh, brittle, dry, boring experience. If you want to try another amp, do so, but don't sell your parasounds until your compare both in your system.
     

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