Monoblocks to Power Front's Question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Bourden, Oct 19, 2001.

  1. Scott Bourden

    Scott Bourden Second Unit

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    Darn this hobby is addictive, I don't even have my initial purchase completely paid off yet, and I'm planning on another already.
    My current setup is Paradigm's all around, Monitor 5's up front, Mini-Monitor's for rears, CC370 center (all are v2), and a PW-2200, run off a yet undecided, though most likely Denon 1802, which lists "Pre-amp outputs (L, R, C, Sub)"...
    I haven't done much research yet (this post is basically my toe in the water [​IMG] ) and I'm just looking for some general opinions to see if I should put my interest elsewhere. I'm considering 2 Le Amps, one for each of my front channel's, in the coming 5-6 months. Would this make much of a difference with a set of Monitor 5's, quality and clarity wise? This is a purchase I'd like to upgrade with, maybe a new receiver in a year or two, better speakers eventually, but carry and perhaps add more external amps, etc. Any input is much appreciated, thanks.
    Scott Bourden
    [Edited last by Scott Bourden on October 19, 2001 at 09:02 PM]
     
  2. Bruce Abar

    Bruce Abar Stunt Coordinator

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    If you want to keep costs down Scott, I would suggest Marantz Mono blocks, the MA6100 are around. I have the MA700's, they push a real punch! You will notice an extreme difference compared to your Denon, music and HT will sound like you spent three times you really spent. My Canadian suppler still says he can get the MA700's, but the 6100 will work as well if don't want to order on line.
    ------------------
    Bruce
    http://bruceabar.tripod.com/theabarshometheater/
     
  3. FrankC

    FrankC Agent

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    Scott:
    I agree with Bruce. I borrowed a pair of old Marantz monoblocks from my boss (MA500s). I'm using the Marantz SR-8000 to power the rest of the channels. The Marantz receiver is widely praised for its warm, rich sound, but the monoblocks added a perceptible boost in quality. Much clearer, more refined, more "live".
    I'm powering relatively needy speakers (PSB Stratus Silvers), power-wise, so maybe I notice more of an upgrade with the monoblocks. But still -- a nice upgrade. I'm planning to get a separate amp when the monoblocks go back to the boss. :)
    --f
     
  4. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    Scott,
    I bought a pair of nOrh Le Amps a few weeks ago to power my main channels, and I am extremely pleased with their performance.
    I had an Onkyo 787 powering every speaker in my system, and previously I couldn't play 2-channel music louder than about 80 db without hearing some briteness from my amp section. After putting the Le Amps in the section, the briteness is gone, and I can play the mains MUCH louder without any hint of distortion. 105 DB is about as loud as I can stand from my listening position, and even that is fine.
    There is also a mod available to take a DC coupling chip out of the path (posted on the nOrh website), and that is supposed to improve the sound even further. To be honest, I feel like mine are still breaking in and improving, so I am not planning to modify mine.
    These amps are rich and powerful (Bill Gates, hehe). But at $495 a PAIR, they are one of the best deals in audio that I've seen in a while (since I bought my SVS).
    If you get these, you'll be able to play the whole system much louder and cleaner. Marantz obviously has a fine reputation too, so you should check out their products as well.
    John
     
  5. John Cain

    John Cain Second Unit

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    What is the power output on those Norh amps??
    -- John
     
  6. Brandon B

    Brandon B Second Unit

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    There was a big thread over at AudioAsylum and a related few at Harmonic Discord regarding Le Amps. This resulted in a listening test at Brian Cheney's house with John Risch and others in attendance, through Brian;s high end (and demandinng) speakers.
    They compared Le Amps to some Plinius amps and to the Marantz monoblocks. The conclusion was (obviously) that the Plinius was better, but Le Amp compared favorabbly in several ways. It was pretty much unanimous that the Marantz were not in either of the other's league.
    I don't have Le Amps, but I do have Norh's preamp, and am completely pleased with the quality and performannce of the unit.
    I would go read the threads at Harmonic Discord where they have been trying to settle disagreements on exactly how much power Le Amps have. The 150W they quote seems to be based on very conservative methods of calculation. They have very large transformers in them.
    BB
     
  7. Jeremy Hegna

    Jeremy Hegna Supporting Actor

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    Wow, that's impressive.
    Where can we read more on these amps?
    Thanks
    Jeremy
     
  8. Scott Bourden

    Scott Bourden Second Unit

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    Jeremy, I've been getting my straight stats partially from www.norh.com and reading a lot of the discussions over at www.harmonicdiscourd.com , they have a nOrh forum over there that is quite helpful as well.
     
  9. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

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    Oh my. I've been looking for monoblocks. Looks like these are now at the top of my list. Is there a place in Calgary that sells these or do I have to mail order these things?
     
  10. Bill Bradstreet

    Bill Bradstreet Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, these monoblocks are now on the research list.
    I figure I could get these for the mains, centers, surrounds and then use the receiver to power the front effect speakers.
    I wonder if I can get a listen somehow. :-
     
  11. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    Bill,
    Curt Wishman is the designer of the Le Amp, and he runs a company called IRD (web address: http://www.ird-thailand.com). He has a facility in NC which may be nearby, and he has said he's got a pair that he's willing to demo at the NC facility. Go to his website and see if you can connect with him through there. If not, post the question in the nOrh forum over at http://www.harmonicdiscord.com. I think there are a couple of members down in NC.
    I'm in central VA, so if you're ever in my neck of the woods, please look me up, and I'll give you a demo.
    Kwang,
    I believe you'll have to mail-order these, as nOrh is a factory-direct company like SVS. This helps them to keep costs down and offer a very high quality product at reasonable price.
    Here's a link with some good info on Le Amp for anyone who is interested in checking this one out: http://www.norh.com/news/0901/index.html
    John
    [Edited last by John Gates on October 20, 2001 at 10:01 PM]
     
  12. Tyson

    Tyson Stunt Coordinator

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    I just got a pair of LeAmps a few days ago from a friend, on loan (he ordered 13 of them, so he had a couple extra to loan out for me to play with). Had them up and running for 5 days now, net result: My Bryston 5B-ST and 3B-ST are now for sale (see the for sale section on this site). It is interesting that a $290 watt monoblock ($500/pair) can outclass a highly regarded amp like the Brystons so thoroughly.
    Only thing is do not judge it right out of the box - mine has been on 24/7 for almost a week, playing music about 10 hours a day & it is just now starting to open up a bit. Right out of the box I was initially very lukewarm about the sound, mainly because nOrh invited comparisons to SOTA amps, like Plinius, or Audio Research (my personal benchmark for what an amp can sound like). But with more time & use, it is opening up, and I am warming up to its sound more and more.
    Also, at this point, the amp really likes to be played loud. At lower levels it sounds slightly closed in. Turn it up a bit & there are details galore, and a very tightly controlled/detailed bass. I have a feeling that more breakin will open up the details in low-level listening quite a bit. I'm still about 3 weeks of hard use away from being able to draw any firm conclusions about the sound, but what I hear so far is quite good & looks to be getting even better. I am especially looking forward to by-passing the DC blocking capacitor, which is supposed to open up the highs more & lock in the soundstage more as well.
    BTW, for reference purposes, I think the Brystons are very good amps (better than Acurus, Parasound, Adcom, Rotel, Marantz, & B&K amps), but the LeAmps are just better. Now, whether they can compare to the super expensive amps is another story. But for reasonably priced amps they already sound very good in my HT (after an initial disappointment with the sound, before any break-in). The only amp I can think that would give it competition is an Odyssey Stratos, especially w/the 120k cap upgrade everyone raves about. But the Stratos is $1200, and for that $$ you could have 5 LeAmps. But I am buying a Stratos & should have one on hand shortly to do some direct comparisons (found one on the used market for $900, one month old :) ). Anyway, sorry for going on a bit here.
     
  13. David Werner

    David Werner Stunt Coordinator

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    You've got my curiosity. Will these LeAmps be able to handle 4ohm loads?
     
  14. Scott Bourden

    Scott Bourden Second Unit

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  15. Tyson

    Tyson Stunt Coordinator

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    Per Curt (the designer), the LeAmp will support peaks of 304 watts at 4ohms. This is peak wattage, not continuous, but just to give you an idea of how loud that is, assuming you have 87db sensitive speakers & are listening at around 85db continuous (pretty loud), and a 20db peak comes along, the amp will easily support it. In fact, it would support close to 112 db before it hit clipping on a peak or transient. As for what is supported continuous, assuming those same 87db sensitive speakers, you are looking at around 106 db. Of course the size of your room, and the distance from you to your speakers will influence ultimate db levels possible, but you get the idea - these guys will play loud.
    Of course, with a monster 250 or 300 watt amp, you are looking at SPLs in the 112db range, continuous, but really, who listens that loud? The sense of authority, grip, and power that some amps have does not come from their wattage rating, but rather how well the amp delivers those first 50 watts or so, how much "peak power" it has in reserve, and if the power supply will support the demands made on the output devices. nOrh seems to have focused their efforts & $$ in to these areas, rather than build a huge monster amp that looks good but doesn't offer much better performance in the real world.
    I, like everyone else, am in the initial stages of breaking in the LeAmp, and there are some things I hope continue to improve. But right now, even in stock form, it is so far above other amps in its price range, it is not even funny. It does (at the moment) have soft highs, but I am going to DC couple them in a while, which is supposed to increase the "bite" in the treble & open up dynamics even more. If DC coupling does open the highs & anchor images in the soundstage more, I think nOrh really will have a total giant killer on their hands. For the moment, I am holding off on the "giant killer" designation & going with "excellent for the $$".
    Dang, I seem to have rambled on quite a bit again here. Sorry, I am not a good enough writer to make shorter posts & still convey what I mean. I will try to condense more in the future (but can't guarantee I will be successfull) :)
     

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