need an amp, $1000 budget....

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Mitul_Patel, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. Mitul_Patel

    Mitul_Patel Auditioning

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    Hi all,

    second post here, trying to get advice on my stereo.

    I used to have a 5.1 system consisting of B&W DM601 S3 fronts, LCR60 S3 center, and DM600 S3 rears with a Velodyne SPL-800II subwoofer. While I thought this is what I wanted, it was not. The setup was great for movies, I really enjoyed it, but when it came to music, it wasnt what I wanted.

    I took the B&W's back to the dealer I bought them from and took advantage of B&W's trade up program, and got myself a pair of B&W 704's. When I move into a house (probably next summer/fall), I will build a 5.1 system based off of the 700 series speakers from B&W.

    well, this leads me to my question. I heard the 704's at the store from a Rotel RB-1080 200x2 amplifier, and they sounded great. but of course, I dont have this kind of power at home, so I want something with power. I have no problems with buying the Rotel, its in my budget, but I was wondering what else is out there for that price. The store that I bought all my equipment from (great store, really nice owner, I would love to give him more business), also sells Marantz, Pioneer, and McIntosh.

    My preamp will be a Marantz SR7500, DVD/SACD/DVD-A is a Marantz DV6400 and I will continue to use the Velodyne subwoofer.

    Suggestions are appreciated, just not familiar with home audio so everytime I hear a suggestion, its usually for a product I never heard of before.
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    How about some used MA700s? Check Audiogon, you can get a pair for around $600 and that will give you 200wpc ea. I just checked and there are a few on there, as well as 500s. The 500s might even be enough for you too. Don't be fooled by the 500's 125w rating, those watts are truly just for the one speaker it is supplying. I'm running my 4 Ohm mains with MA500s fed from an SR8300 and it's plenty of power.

    BTW, you are not allowed to list your gear in your sig.
     
  3. Mitul_Patel

    Mitul_Patel Auditioning

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    Sorry about the sig, I didnt read the rules obviously, took care of it, thanks.

    what are MA700's? I've seen people use two amps to power a pair of speakers, is this a common practice? I thought it would be easier to do one amp for both, but for the price, I'm not opposed to two.
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    They are monoblock amplifiers, or 1 channel amps, so 1 amp per speaker. There's nothing wrong with a 2ch amp, but price vs performance, I've found monoblocks can be a great option. I didn't mention also that because they are Marantz amps, they are easily controlled (turned on and off) by your receiver via the RC-5 output, rather than a 12v trigger (which I think the 7500 already has though).

    The possible downside is, you have one more power cable compared to a stereo amp.

    MA700
     
  5. Mitul_Patel

    Mitul_Patel Auditioning

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    Any info on why Marantz doesnt have any mono or 2 channel amps in there current line up?

    I contacted the person that has the pair of MA700's listed, just wanted a few pieces of info. They are quite different looking, kind of like UPS surge protectors.

    Thanks for the info, I appreciate it.
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I have no idea why they don't have any "normal" monos any longer. They stopped making them after the MA6100, which was about 2 yrs ago. They do have a much higher end one still, the MA-9S1, which is $7,500 MSRP....not exactly the same category [​IMG]
     
  7. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

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    I would highly recommend against the MA700. I bought 3 of them thinking they would power my front 3 channels...even my wife thought they sounded dull and lifeless in comparison to a Denon receiver! I resold 2 and relegated the 3rd to a bedroom system subwoofer.

    Mint used or demo B&K Reference would be my first option. The Rotel is also highly regarded in that price range....if you like your dealer its a good choice.
     
  8. Mitul_Patel

    Mitul_Patel Auditioning

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    Thats what I am fearing, buying something online and not being able to demo it first.
    B&K? What kind of price am I looking at for a 150-200 x 2 channel amp from B&K?
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Well, you chose a Marantz receiver for a reason, so the amps will sound very much like the receiver already does.

    Most of the sound comes from the receiver, not the amps, so I wouldn't blame them. It's funny that you should say that too, because I've always felt that most of Denon's receivers sounded flat and lifeless (not just saying that either).
     
  10. Mitul_Patel

    Mitul_Patel Auditioning

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    You are right on that, the reciever should dictate the overall sound I will get.
    The only amp that I would buy from my local dealer is the Rotel. There are a couple other places that sell some nice stuff, one being B&K (checked prices, its too much for me right now) and the other has Anthem.
    I have heard some good things about Anthem, but mainly on there pre/pro, nothing on there amps. I called the dealer up and he told me that the best price he can give me over the phone was $1099 for the MCA-20 2 channel amp, but that if I came in, I can get a better price. They have the amp in stock and I can demo it (too bad I can't demo it with my B&W's). I might go there to take a look, what do you guys think, is the Anthem MCA-20 worth a look over the Rotel RB-1080?
     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Realistically, I don't think you could go wrong with any of those amps. I would go audition the MCA-20 for sure, at least you'll know what you're comparing then, but you should also use a receiver that is about the level of the 7500 if possible, not a $2K pre/pro. If they carry Anthem, then you will probably be listening to Paradigms, which sound somewhat different from the B&Ws, so that has to be taken into consideration as well. Take your own CDs too.

    Also, if you're happy with your dealer, I'd say just go for the 1080. When future upgrade time comes around (and it will), it's always a benefit to have rapport with a shop.
     
  12. Mitul_Patel

    Mitul_Patel Auditioning

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    You're right. I think I might go and take a look at the Anthem stuff, I've never seen it in person, so I want to see it. But I think I might just get the Rotel, the dealer always treats me great, I have no problem treating them the same.
    I'm just afraid that I will get that upgrade bug again, you know, buy the Rotel amp and then want the Rotel pre/pro, and the Rotel CD Player, and the Rotel....you get the point.
    I love electronics, my wallet doesn't though.

    BTW, should I think about looking into good interconnects, for connecting the amp to the reciever, and possibly from the DVD player to the reciever? I'm using a mixture of cables, from Audioquest and Monster. Its all from the low end lines, nothing expensive, but the cables work fine right now.
     
  13. Vincent_S

    Vincent_S Second Unit

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    I don't have any experiance with seperate amps but I recently purchased some cables from www.boldercables.com (m-80 speaker cables and a digital coax) and the build quality on these are fantanstic and they sound great. Wayne is a very good guy to deal with, plus he has a return policy if you don't like them. And no I am not affiliated with boldercables in any way.[​IMG] Just a very satisfied customer.
     
  14. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

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    NAD S250, $999 new from saturday audio with full factory warranty, 125 watts x 5 or 200 x 2.

    You will not find a better new multi channel amp for that price.
     
  15. Mitul_Patel

    Mitul_Patel Auditioning

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    Thanks for the suggestions on boldercables. I was looking to spend $150 on a 1 meter rca and a pair of speaker cables for the 704's. Do I really need to be in the couple of hundreds for cables?
    I heard NAD is good, I just dont have a dealer in the area to demo anything from them. I think i will just stick with Rotel for the amp. For now, I think I will get the RB-1080 for the fronts. I might move into a house next year, and if so, will then turn this setup into a 5.1. I will probably end up getting the matching HTM7 center and 705 bookshelves for a complete 5.1 system, and use a Rotel RMB-1066 for the center and surrounds (bridge the amp, 150x3).
    My other option, dont get the RB-1080 and save up for the RMB-1095 (200x5) since I am going to be doing a 5.1 eventually.
     
  16. Robert Hoffman

    Robert Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    Do what I did, buy the 1095 used for $1200.
     
  17. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  18. Mitul_Patel

    Mitul_Patel Auditioning

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    Thanks for the suggestions again John. I checked those cables out locally, there is an Audioquest dealer, but I held off on them because the ones I wanted were expensive. That site has great prices, have you ever ordered from them before? I'm not big on buying stuff off the net, had a few bad experiences.
     
  19. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    They have excellent customer service, and I would be ordering more of those guys from them if I needed any more cables or some ELS3s. [​IMG] There was a problem with the order, and they called me within an hour, and shipped it out right away. They are here in Ca, so I actually got my cables the next day!

    I use AQ for most everything, I'm quite happy with them. The Diamondbacks are very good too, but for ~$10 more, the CQ is better. I had the original Corals too, and these guys are basically the same thing at half the price. You won't get a ton more performance when moving 2x up in price in their line. The differences are smaller as you move up the food chain, but that's pretty normal in interconnects. IMO, these are a great value.
     
  20. Mitul_Patel

    Mitul_Patel Auditioning

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    Thanks again John, you have been more than helpful [​IMG]

    I got the 704's today, been listening to music all day (tried out some dvd's as well). I am very impressed with the sound, even though I am using just my reciever, I know I will be blown away by the performance with a powerful amp.

    This audio stuff, so addicting, yet, so fulfilling [​IMG]

    The Rotel RB-1080 is high on my list, great amp and great dealer (I'm not one to buy used). Friend of mine works at a car audio store (he owns it), one of his distributors sells Sunfire, he might be able to get me into a Sunfire amp for dealer cost, what do you guys think? Never heard much from Sunfire, but my friend says they are a really, really nice company, made by the same guy that makes Carver (Bob Carver?). There is a 2 channel amp, 300x2 I believe that he's going to check the price on.
     

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