low end dorm system, power amp suggestion?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by ericMM, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. ericMM

    ericMM Extra

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    My dorm room needs a stereo, desperately. I'm used to listening to my dad's $20k tube-amped fancy-pants DAC system at home, but prudence prevents such an outlay at this point in my life. I don't even want a 5.1 setup because I don't feel like buying a TV. This is for music alone.

    I have come upon some floorstanding optimus (basically radioshack) speakers which are probably not anywhere near audiophile quality. They have $150 price tags affixed to the back of each one and are at least ten years old. I also have a denon preamp that is no longer being used at home (AVD-2000) and I figured that if I ran my roommate's dvd player via digital coax to this unit, I could then buy a power amp instead of a receiver and get more power for my money (tell me if this reasoning is valid, otherwise I'll just buy an all-in-one receiver).

    My dad suggested adcom equipment as he's used it in the past, but all the models I've looked at are really too high end for the speakers I have. I was kinda thinking of Onkyo for my current situation as they're inexpensive and decent. I'm willing to buy new speakers if these suck badly (a distinct possibilty), but I'd like to take my purchases in steps. Also, my dorm room is like 19 feet by 11 feet, so I don't need much too much amplification currently. I think my upper window for the whole system is $1000, if I had to buy new floorstanding speakers and a power amp. I figure that I'm going to have this stuff for a while so I'd like to do it right the first time.

    With these constraints in mind, what would you suggest in order to make my listening experience swell?
     
  2. ericMM

    ericMM Extra

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    BTW...

    I am looking at several avenues for procurement, none of which include new retail. Pawn shops, ebay, plain jane second hand... these all sound nice. I can also get good discounts on harmon/kardon, infinity, and probably yamaha/pioneer stuff.
     
  3. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Given your sources I'd take a tour round and see what options you have then ask for feed back. Generally speaking though nearly any 2 channel amp from a quality name brand will do you nicely. Something like a used Rotel or Adcom would be ideal. Maybe check Audiogon and see what's available there as well
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    So you've got a preamp. Am I to understand that at the present time you don't have speakers and you're planning on buying the Optimus ones for $300 for the pair?
     
  5. ericMM

    ericMM Extra

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    I shall do that and find some model numbers. One question though: approx how many watts do you estimate an 19' x 11' room would require. 1/2 of the walls are concrete and the other half are drywall. The floor is tile, the ceiling regular "ceiling stuff." Three fairly large pieces of furniture, two made of like fiberboard and our futon. I'm describing the decor because I've heard that more stuff "soaks up" sound, making it less harsh but perhaps with less volume as well?
     
  6. ericMM

    ericMM Extra

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    Chu Gai: No, I just kind of found the optimus speakers and already own them. They cost $300 for the pair at some point in time; I stated this just to give an idea of their quality.

    So currently I have some miscellaneous cabling, the Optimus $300 old speakers, the denon preamp, and a dvd player with digital out. All I need to complete the circle is a power amp and some speaker wire for the preamp/power amp and power amp to speakers.

    However, if these speakers are not to my liking, I'm willing to invest in a new pair.
     
  7. John S

    John S Producer

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    On the cheap, do a search on Audiosource amp1/a's....

    Get two of them, and bridge em, you will have lost of clean power. be warned they run hot.

    But I have purchased these amps for as low as $79 from various sources.


    Just about the cheapest audiophile amp out there, you can order em right off the web.
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Hi Eric,

    Welcome to the Forum!

    Not sure what you mean by “coming upon” the Optimus speakers, but I get the impression you haven’s used them? If you’re used to your father’s megabuck system, you probably won’t be too happy with them. If I recall, most of the Optimus speakers had paper cone tweeters, which are the absolute bottom feeders of tweeters. I think others had horns loaded with piezo tweeters, the next-in-line of tweeter bottom feeders.

    Bottom line, get something else if there’s anyway you can.

    The room is going to be a reverb chamber with so many hard surfaces. It’s going to be a miserable place to listen to music. Get a large area rug for the floor, for sure. You might find yourself suddenly interested in oriental rugs as wall art. [​IMG]

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I quite disagree Wayne. The good thing about the piezo's is that they're indestructible. The bad thing about the piezo is that they're indestructible. At least you can burn out the paper tweeter.
     
  10. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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  11. ericMM

    ericMM Extra

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    Okay. I yanked my dad's parasound HCA-600 (60 watt x 2) from his center channel to test with my system. In fact the speakers do suck, but I have money to fix that. 60 x 2 does seems nearly sufficent for this room. I'm running the back controls on the amp at 3/4 of their max, and it's pretty loud. I'm highly considering a parasound 200 x 2 amp because it loooks as if I can get a good deal on it, but i'd settle easily for the adcom 60x2 or one of these parasound hca 600's.
     
  12. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    ericMM: unless all your neighbors or your R.A. are deaf, there is NO WAY you will be able to use 60 watts per channel in that dorm room on any kind of regular basis. Actually, I'll bet a large supreme pizza that 20 (clean) watts will the maximum you'll ever be able to use before someone is banging on the wall or the R.A. bangs on your door. And during a non-Friday/Saturday night? Power output will be more like 1 to 3 watts for a conversational listening level. This is based on years of owning receivers with built-in power meters that were used at college, as recently as 2000.

    Proper speaker placement to ensure proper imaging/bass accuracy/etc in the typical dorm room will be difficult--I finally stopped trying after a month! And be careful buying nice speakers for your room unless you totally trust your roommate AND his friends. The horror stories I could tell..............
     
  13. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    or maybe invest in a set of good headphones?
     
  14. ericMM

    ericMM Extra

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    Give in and buy headphones? Never! Actually my dad has some pretty excellent senheisers but I digress.

    Yeah, I'm looking at those sorts of amps right now. I actually need much better speakers but I should post another thread for that.
     
  15. Bill_Rockefeller

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    Wow, you're in a great position if all you need is an external amp. =)

    You've got a whole ton of very very good quality Pro amps (Rackmount type) available at very reasonable prices.

    I just ordered (5) Behringer A500 amps (one for each of my 5.1 speakers except for the powered sub). They put out 220x2 into 4 ohms, 500x1 into 8 ohms.

    Far more than enough power for your current needs, and the nice part is you won't need to upgrade them later, you can just add more amps as needed.

    Price? $229 each MSRP, quite a bit less 'street' price. I found an excellent deal from www.instrumentpro.com, email [email protected] or call (800)805-0852. They gave me quite a bit off that $229 MSRP, ate the shipping, and ate the tax.

    This will leave plenty of cash to pick up some wicked used speakers later when you're ready. =)
     
  16. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    I can recommend the adcom 535 (I own it), the audiosource amp1a/amp1/amp3 (I own each of these as well, if I were you just get the Amp3), but watch the pro-amps as some of these sound harsh (my QSC 1450 sounds harsh while my Carver pm900 and altec lansing SA sounds warm and smooth). I've owned RS speakers in the past and present (LS8 with the linaeum tweeter and 8" peerless woofer) and it seems the more power you put thru them the better they sound for the most part.

    I would maybe recommend something else as well, if you lack this maybe a cross-over (if your pre-amp lacks this) and add a powered sub to the mix (there are many good quality subs from SVS, HSU, Adire, etc). I second in replacing the speakers if possible as well unless you just want to keep them to party with (you stated you wanted to listen to music, but didn't state what type).
     
  17. ericMM

    ericMM Extra

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    Yeah, I actually have replaced the speakers (they are horrible). In the mail I have a 535 and a pair of ascend cbm-170's with stands. I am very, very anxious.
     
  18. eddieZEN

    eddieZEN Second Unit

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    EricMM,

    Congrats on the Ascend purchase, great choice! You will be VERY happy with them, unless you are a total basshead without a sub.

    For the amp, I'm a recent convert to the new all-digital receivers. I recently bought a Panny xr55 that's both outclassed and outpowered my NAD separates...and all for a measly $230 shipped! Here's my review:

    http://forum.ecoustics.com/bbs/messages/1/160136.html

    Would almost certainly crush any Onkyo receiver under $1500, IMHO.
     
  19. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Eric,

    Keep us posted on the Ascend/Adcom combo as you get it setup and broken in. I'm sure you'll be quite pleased with what you hear.
     
  20. ericMM

    ericMM Extra

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    I'll definitely post after I put a few cd's through them. I bought pink floyd's animals especially for the first listen (one of my favorite cd's, I previously only had a burned copy {i know I'm such a bum}). The only thing I'm worried about is something like Tool which has a lot of low-end action, but that can always be rectified hsu-style in a week or two if it's a problem.
     

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