Just thinking out loud

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Co, Oct 28, 2002.

  1. Jason Co

    Jason Co Second Unit

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    Have my system pretty much where I want it. But like the rest of you I am always thinking one step ahead. I currently have Axiom M50's, VP150, Qs4's all running off of a Denon 3802. I am thinking the next future upgrade would be to separates. I am wondering what the best route to go would be. Any suggestions into the world of separates would be greatly appreciated.

    Jason
     
  2. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    I haven't heard your speakers, but, assuming they're of good quality and you like the sound, your plan sounds good to me. You might want to just get a power amp down the line first. That, to me, makes the most difference and I've heard people that were pretty happy with using the Denon as the pre/pro. I will say this: When I first added a power amp to my Onkyo receiver, I couldn't believe the difference. [​IMG]
    Also, I applaud the fact that you're thinking ahead. Many times, I wish I had done that. This way, you'll be ready to pounce when the right piece of equipment comes along at the right price.
     
  3. Jason Co

    Jason Co Second Unit

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    Dana,
    Any specific models or brand names to kind of narrow it down?

    Thanks for the reply.

    Jason
     
  4. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    It really would depend on what you want to spend and what worked best with your speakers. I have a Parasound and its warmth compliments my Klipsch really nicely. Other real nice values in amps would include brands like Sherbourne and Rotel. There are a whole bunch more like B&K and Outlaw, but those are the ones I"ve heard. I can tell you're already getting excited, aren't you? [​IMG]
     
  5. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    I have a 3802 paired with Proceed for the main channels and B&K for the remaining channels and I can't stop singing its virtues. The 3802 is a sweet pre that will compliment almost any amp out there pretty well. You just have to figure out what your tastes are with respect to sound quality, i.e. warm vs. forward, and you can go on to the next step.
     
  6. Jason Co

    Jason Co Second Unit

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    Yogi,
    Can you give me sort of an idea of how you started your process searching for amps? I know that you audition gear as much as you can, but especially when dealing with amps how much of what you are hearing is actually the amp?

    J

    p.s. I guess price would be a good start. I am thinking something in the moderate price range ~$500 or so....
     
  7. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    In that price range, I'd check out the Parasound 855A. I think it can be had at about three to four hundred dollars. It's rated, if I remember correctly, at 85 watts/channel X's 5 channels. I recall hearing some people having been quite satisfied mating the Parasound to the 3802.
    Here's one link:
    Link
    Here's another:
    Click here
     
  8. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Parasound and 3802 are a good match. While you can get the 855A for about $350 new, I would suggest going with a more powerful 2 or three channel amp for the fronts and let the 3802 handle the rears. This way you will see major improvement in your 2 channel performance and substantial improvement in the HT area too. I would suggest going with used. You could find a 2 channel amp in the 200w/ch range for that amount or even a 3 channel amp in the 140w/ch range for that amount. Even though the difference between 85W and 140W is less than 3db you will hear better resolution and punch even at low volumes. During those action scenes the extra 55W will come in handy. So again I would suggest looking for a good 2-3 channel amp and taking care of your front mains and then later on you can add amplification for the remaining channels. In fact if the 3802 is only running the rear three it can easily do 125 x 3 in the rears. So if you pick up a 125 x 3 separate amp for the fronts you will have 125 x 6 all around which will be more than adequate for a moderate to large HT rooms (according to THX). Some of the choices in that range (used) from warmest to most forward sound are (to my ears):

    1) B&K 3140 (140Wx3)
    2) Parasound 1500 (200W X 2?)
    3) Rotel 991 (200 x 2)
    4) Marantz MA500 monoblocks x 3 (150W x 1)
    5) Anthem stereo amps
    6) Acurus stereo amps
    7) ATI 1502 (150W x 2)

    Hope that helps.
     
  9. Jason Co

    Jason Co Second Unit

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    Hey thanks a lot Yogi.

    Jason

    p.s. say hi to Boo Boo (sorry man I couldn't resist)
     
  10. Jason Co

    Jason Co Second Unit

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    Yogi or anyone,
    What do you think about 3 Audiosource 5.1 monoblockswith the 3802? I was thinking center and main right and left let the 3802 run the surrounds?

    Jason
     
  11. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    I have no experience with Audiosource amps but just about any decent separate amp would show an improvement over the internal amps of the receiver, plus now the 3802 will have an easy time running the surrounds on its own.
     
  12. Jason Co

    Jason Co Second Unit

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    Yogi,
    Here are the specs on the amps. I don't mean to bug ya but I would feel like a jackass buying this stuff used and having it be inferior.
    Thanks,
    Jason
     
  13. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Well looking at the specs of the 5.1 it doesn't seem like you would see much of an improvement over the internal amps of the 3802 which BTW are in the same power vicinity. You might see some better separation and soundstaging but not that much of a difference in dynamics. Overall you might not be able to hear much difference. But you wont know unless you tried one. If you have a dealer or friend that can loan you one its best to try in your system before making the purchase.

    Best of luck.
     
  14. Jason Co

    Jason Co Second Unit

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    So when looking at amps should I be trying to find something with higher wattage than the onboard amps of the 3802? How does this relate to the speakers as far as max wattage they can handle?

    J
     
  15. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Dont worry about what the speakers can handle. As long as the speakers can handle more than 100W RMS you will be ok even when driving them with 250W amps. Speakers can handle more than three to four times their rated power for short durations if the power is clean and undistorted. Clipping and distortion kills the drivers not clean raw power.

    I dont know how the audiosource amps stack up against the amps in the Denon. Maybe other user of these amp might be able to comment on this. Power necessarily is not a factor in deciding outboard amps for your receiver. You could mate it to a lowered power separate amp and still get an improvement in sound. I would suggest mating your recv with three marantz MA500 monos. They frequently come on sale on Ebay for around 125 each. They would definetly be an improvement over your current sound. Or you could be able to find one of the Parasound, Rotel or B&K 3 channel amps for below $500. Whats the average budget you wanna spend on this/these amps?
     
  16. JimC_A

    JimC_A Stunt Coordinator

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    Just think, you told me that your SVS would keep you satisfied for a bit...LOL!!! Your gonna get me to looking into separates now...
     
  17. Jason Co

    Jason Co Second Unit

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    LOL Jim. Actually I am not currently buying anything. I would just like to have this researched out for the day (and it will come) I decide to make the move to separates.
    Yogi I think you hit the nail right no the head. I would definitely like to keep it under $500. I got a little crazy when I saw the guy selling those Audiosource amps, but I regained my senses.

    Basically I am just trying to map out for the future.

    Jason
     
  18. Jason Co

    Jason Co Second Unit

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    Hmmmm...used Parasound 1500a 2ch for $450????
     
  19. Jason Co

    Jason Co Second Unit

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    Okay, a bit of an update. I was sucked in by this whole separates thing. (Jim you probably shouldn't read this [​IMG] )
    I just purchased a used Parasound 1500 for $450 shipped. It is 2 x 205 watts. I plan on using it to run my mains (Axiom M50's). I'm Pretty sure this is a good deal (if it isn't don't tell me). Prior to the Parasounds arrival I have a few questions:
    1. I am pretty sure I understand the hook up procedure, but some info would be great. I assume the mains hook up to the amp, and the amp hooks up to the pre outs on the recevier. Any special cables that I need to do this?
    2. Does the volume control on the 3802 still control the sound level to the fronts? What should the gain level on the amp be set at?
    3. Is there any different calibration technique (assuming I have to re-calibrate) for the fronts when powered by an external amp?
    Phew....I think that will cover it for now. Thanks men.
    Jason
     
  20. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    First off the Parasound is a good deal, no question. You will love the sound.

    Next, you will be connecting the L/R preouts of your receiver to the 'in' on your Parasound. Then connect the L/R speakers to the amp.

    The volume on your revc will control the volume on the Parasound. If your Parasound has gain controls then set them to max volume. Any adjustment to the volume should be accomplished from the preamp (recv). Only if you are unable to exactly match the levels of your speakers with the recv should you resort to the gains on your amp.

    In any case then take the SPL meter and calibrate the setup just like you would with the recv only. Once you have the levels matched, you can forget that there is an amp in the system, and enjoy it.

    Best of luck. Let us know how it works out.
     

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