Need Help with MUSICAL two channel amp...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Evan S, Mar 3, 2003.

  1. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2001
    Messages:
    2,210
    Likes Received:
    0
    As some of you know, I have recently reshifted my focus on two channel audio for the time being. I sold off my Anthem MCA-5 amp and my Paradigm reference speakers and am going for a better reproduction of two channel music. I am planning to change speakers as well to the 25th anniversary ACI Sapphires. The only components in my system that are remaining are my Anthem AVM-20 and Sony SCD-555ES.

    Here is my wish list for a new amp...
    Because I do plan to return to HT at sometime in the future (hence, the rationale behind my keeping of the AVM-20), I would prefer the amp to be SS, not tube. I would like it to be at least 125wpc, preferably 150. I'm not going to get into specs too much because I honestly don't believe in them all that much...I let my ears decide. But I want an amp that can play to loud levels without strain and still sound musical...full bodied, slightly on the warm side without sacrificing detail. I was hoping for suggestions and feedback. My budget would range from $1400-1800 for the two channels, and I would consider used equipment.

    On my audition/look-see list includes...
    Proceed HPA-2
    Parasound Halo A21
    Bel Canto Evo2 (may be out of my price range, even used)
    Odyssey Audio Dual Mono's

    Anyone have any other suggestions or feedback? I appreciate it.
     
  2. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2000
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    0
    I owned over 25 different amps and the best by far to me is the lexicon nt212 (bryston 3bst) It is full bodied, excellant bass, transperacy and detail all without being bright. To be honest the difference to my ears was amazing. I have it mated to nht 2.9 towers, aragon sounstage pre-pro, also have Projet Turntable and bottlehead tube . I actually have it for sale in the sale section for a steal of a price, I just got the 3 channel version of it so dont need the stereo amp..
     
  3. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would suggest either the Odyssey Dual mono's or maybe a used solid state McIntosh. Both have very similar sonic characteristics, and are a touch on the warm side with amazing bass. You can also find some used Krell KAV250a's for you price range, and these have even more oomph in the lower register, if that is what you like. I found the Proceed HPA to be little cold, and I think that the Bel Canto is about on the same level as the Stratos Monos, even though it costs much more. JHMO. Good Luck
     
  4. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2002
    Messages:
    1,741
    Likes Received:
    0
    Out of the list you mentioned the Proceed HPA2 is the best by far to my ears. Open, neutral, and very musical, not to mention the rock hard bass definition. Its however the most neutral of all you mentioned. If you are leaning towards warm amps you should definitly consider B&K amps they are warm and musical (just like tubes without the hassle) and are detail retreival champs and great value for the buck. Also Parasound amps are warm to and so are Rotel. Odyssey again is neutral in comparison. Krell KAVs are not to my liking and are slightly warmer but dull sounding and are nothing like the Krell FPBs (in case the name sounds tempting). Bryston again to my ears is dry and analytical sounding.

    The best thing you could do is try out the different amps in your system and that way you can have your ears be the judge, because no two people hear alike so take everyone's opinion with a grain of salt (incl. mine)

    Best of luck.
     
  5. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    425
    Likes Received:
    0
    Conrad-Johnson and Marsh Sound Design both make warm musical SS amps.
     
  6. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2001
    Messages:
    2,210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the quick responses guys!!! It was exactly what I expected with you all spanning the gamut of possibilities. I was simply looking for additional amps to audition that I may not have mentioned. You have provided me with that and I appreciate it.
     
  7. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    425
    Likes Received:
    0
    Have you thought about a nice integrated amp and keeping your HT and 2 channel systems separate if you have the room of course? I have one system now but plan to put together a 2 channel system very soon. Just a thought.
     
  8. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2001
    Messages:
    2,210
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  9. Mark Leitch

    Mark Leitch Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2002
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    0
    Classe is nice... if you want to get adventurous, you could try a tube hybrid (cheap on tubes, but enough warmth to stay musical). The counterpoint hybrids are nice if you know what you are getting... even the Anthem Amp2 SE is nice (I ran one for awhile... better than the MCA line which I also own), and you can buy new ones with factory warranty for around $1000USD.

    M.
     
  10. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2000
    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    0
    Classe would be a good option, I would guess you are thinking of the CA-100.

    Some other good solid state options would be:
    Monarchy Audio SE-100 Deluxe Monoblocks
    (These would be my top solid state choices for this dollar level)
    http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/frank08.htm
    http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/m...x_followup.htm
    Used for $800-1000

    McCormack DNA-1, 0.5, 2, 125 preferably a model with all the revisions, used for ~$1000
    http://www.soundstage.com/wrk_dna1.htm

    For hybrids:
    The Counterpoint suggestion above would be really nice as you can find say a SA-12 for ~$400.
    These can be upgraded as well by Alta Vista Audio.

    If you are at all interested in tubes some other suggestions would be:
    Quicksilver Mini Mite Mono's $900new 25W with push pull El-34's
    Sophia Electric EL-34 $1200new push pull 40W

    Both of these push out less watts than the recommended wattage level by ACI but I would guess they would do fine, except perhaps in situations where you are blasting some classical or rock, or loud movies. But in all those situations you could just crossover the bass with your Anthem which would relieve the amp of a lot of stress.

    I am not good with the whole dB level equations, but the chart on SMR list an 87dB efficient speaker being able to hit 102dB with 20 watts and 112dB with 200 watts. I have a 15' by 15' living room and when I pull out my SPL meter just to see what levels I am reaching my loudest listening levels are hitting 93db's on peaks. My speakers are 89dB and have 40W pushing them and I worry more about my woofers giving out then my amp clipping.
     
  11. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Evan, have you considered the PS Audio HCA-2? It's caused quite a bit of excitement. Here's an URL to a great "double review" from Stereophile that even compares it very favorably against the (more expensive) Bel Canto eVo-2 that I see is on your list, but the HCA-2 will be much more in your price-range. It's also a Stereophile "Class A" recommended component.

    http://www.stereophile.com/showarchives.cgi?729
     
  12. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2001
    Messages:
    2,210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rich, I HAVE considered this amp, but have heard mixed reviews. Do you have it in your system? Perhaps I can arrange a demo as I come up to Boston quite frequently and will be there on the 16th.
     
  13. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    0
    Evan, if you are looking for an amp on the warm side of neutral, I would not consider the PS Audio. I have heard three of these units, all with different equipment and different set ups, and each time I found it to lack the midrange clarity and upper register smoothness that I had found in amps from Krell to Classe to Odyssey. Actually, I found the amp to be especially fatiguing when listening to Miles Davis, as his trumpet kept ringing in my ears. Others may have had different experiences, but in each case I found the amp to be lacking. But who knows, you might want to audition it just for kicks, as I believe that if you buy from them direct you get a 30 day in home trial. Good Luck
     
  14. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2001
    Messages:
    2,210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Right now I am in the preliminary stages and will be demoing a lot of gear but I have to say that based on looks, warranty, word of mouth and an in-home trial, the Odyssey Dual Mono is in the lead.

    I again thank you for all your suggestions.
     
  15. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  16. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    425
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well of your choices the Bel Canto evo2 is the most tube like IMO except it doesn't doesn't have the liquid midrange of tubes. Good luck in your search.
     
  17. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    425
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh another great SS amp is Sim Audio.
     
  18. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 1999
    Messages:
    6,017
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've always heard that Classe is quite the warm side of neutral amp that you are seeking. I would suggest you find one of those. Proceed was very neutral to me. Then again I have never heard the ACI's so I don't know which amp is the best match.
     

Share This Page