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Theta Intrepid amp?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MiltK, Jul 6, 2001.

  1. MiltK

    MiltK Stunt Coordinator

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    Has anyone heard the Theta Intrepid 5-channel amp that came out earlier this year? It would match up great with my Casa Nova pre/pro (on order) but I was wondering whether the 100 watts per channel spec was enough to drive a M&K home theater setup in a ~3300 cubic ft. room. How would this amp compare with other multichannel amps like Bryston 9BST, B&K Ref 7250, Parasound 2205AT, Classe CAV-75, etc.
    My audio system includes:
    M&K S-1C mains
    M&K S-125 center and surrounds
    SVS sub
    Sony DVP-9000ES dvd/cd player
    BEL interconnects
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    "I not giving her the shot - you give her the shot!"
     
  2. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi. I've had the Intrepid for a few months now. It is hooked up to an EAD Ovation+ and is driving Proacs (moderate sensitivity - 86). As far as sonics, I can tell you that it makes the other amps I've had in my system seem second-rate (Acurus, Anthem, Odyssey). It throws an absolutely first-rate soundstage, and has what I guess you'd call a liquid mid-range, that betters the valved Anthem Amp One I used to own. Bass seems good, but the proacs are crossed-over to a sub-woofer, so the intrepid really isn't doing much below 80 hz. As far as power, I have a slightly smaller room and have had no problems whatsoever. Be warned, though, that I listen at about 10 db below reference level. Bottom line - if your speakers are relatively efficient and/or you cross them over to a sub, the Intrepid should provide more than adequate power (it doubles to 200 w/channel at 4 ohms). Basically, it is a lower powered version of the Dreadnaught.
     
  3. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    Forgot to mention a few things
    The Intrepid will sound most like Classe out of the amps you mentioned, as the designer of the circuit for theta's amps is from that organization. Betters the Parasound and B&K in every conceivable way in my admittedly limited experience. The Bryston is a worthy alternative, but can be a little bright on some systems - possibly on M&K speakers? Actually, this isn't a stab at the Bryston - it's just voiced extremely neutral and meshes better with soft-dome tweeters IMO. Try going to that audio store right off 59 - they sell Brystons - and compare it to the Theta at Audio Concepts.
     
  4. MiltK

    MiltK Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Chris,
    Would you have some specs on the Intrepid? Are the wattage ratings using FTC standards (i.e., 20Hz-20Khz all channels driven)? What about peak-to-peak amperage, dampening factor, etc. These things aren't listed on the Theta web page.
    Thanks a lot!
    ------------------
    "I not giving her the shot - you give her the shot!"
     
  5. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    Milt, I'm not sure about those specs. I will try to find out and let you know.
     
  6. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I believe that this amp is actually made by Ayre (www.ayre.com) for Theta but no one is supposed to know that.
     
  7. MiltK

    MiltK Stunt Coordinator

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    Ayre makes Theta amps???
    Does anybody else have experience with the Intrepid?
    ------------------
    "I not giving her the shot - you give her the shot!"
     
  8. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Milt: Since you mentioned that space and, since you are considering some expensive amps, money, is of little concern, you might check out the Parasound HCA-3500 amp while you are at DAV looking at the Bryston amps. Three of these suckers will, IMO, outperform any of the amps you've mentioned so far. They have also been discontinued by Parasound and so price might have come down a bit from their previously sky high price. Also, the Parasound should be a good match for your M&Ks and they also allow for an upgrade to a center rear speaker should you eventually desire.
    If you decide to buy something from DAV, make sure you come prepared to deal. They WILL move on price.
    Good Luck, and enjoy the hunt!
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    Take Care,
    merc
     
  9. mctague

    mctague Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't know about Ayre building them, though I was told by the local dealer the Ayre amp designer was behind the dreadnaught.
    I wonder/suspect that this amp is based off the new, 2-channel 100watt modules for the dreadnaught.
     
  10. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    I believe that the guy who designs Ayre (I can't remember his name) did have a lot to do with the design of the Dreadnaught and the Intrepid, although Theta manufactures their amps in-house. I don't know the price differences between the two, but I'd guess around $2000 (I know the Dreadnaught is $6000, so $4000 for the Intrepid seems about right).
    If I were you, I'd be inclined to pony up the extra bucks and go for the Intrepid. First, the M&Ks, while small and relatively efficient, will benefit from the added power. Your speakers are on the bright side, and the higher power of the Dreadnaught will help them sound a bit smoother. Also, dynamics, soundstage, control, etc. will most likely improve, even if you cross your speakers over at 80hz. Second, the Dreadnaught will have better resale, as most people going for high-end separates will want 200x5 as opposed to 100x5. Since you're spending a substantial sum on the pre/pro and the smaller Theta, you might as well spend a little more and not have any regrets.
    As far as other amps go, forget the B&K and Parasound. They are good amps and offer a lot of bang for the buck, but they are in a class below the Theta. The Bryston is quite bright and harsh in my opinion, and that's the last thing you want with your M&Ks and movie soundtracks. I'm not a big Bryston fan, as they lack refinement, but they can work with very warm speakers (like the PSB Goldi). Classe' is warmer than Theta, but their older CAV-75 and CAV-150 are not quite as transparent as the newer Thetas. The new Classe' 200x5 multichannel amp will probably best the Dreadnaught, but it's around $7500.
    You mentioned you eventually wanted to go to seven channels, and so I offer this: What about getting a Dreadnaught with three 200wpc channels for the fronts and four 100wpc channels for the surrounds? Since the rears don't require as much power and their sound is less critical, 100wpc would be more than enough.
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    "Home is where the theater is!"
     
  11. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    quote: As far as other amps go, forget the B&K and Parasound. They are good amps and offer a lot of bang for the buck, but they are in a class below the Theta. [/quote]
    I'm sorry but I just have to disagree with Justin on this one. Possibly he is not familiar with Parasound's HCA-3500 amplifier or maybe he knows something about the Theta amps that I do not. Either way, other than the appeal of having an amp with the Theta name on it, I cannot honestly say that I could recommend it over three of the 3500s. I do like the Theta amps, but I loved the Parasound 3500. Additionally, the Parasounds are a PERFECT match for your M&Ks for the same reasons that Justin does note.
    Anyone who knows anything about John Curl knows that the 3500 is his crowning pride... the amp that was built according to his design of a perfect amp. Check out the Features and Specs for yourself at Parasound HCA-3500 .
    Anyway, regardless of what we say here on HTF, make sure you just try these amps out for yourself and buy the one(s) that YOU like the best.
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    Take Care,
    merc
     
  12. MiltK

    MiltK Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the replies all.
    John, I checked out DAV over the weekend as well as Audio Concepts. The only amp I was able to listen to was the Bryston (sounded great with NHTs). Didn't see any Parasounds on display there but there was a nice set of Wilson Watt Puppies. [​IMG] They had some Aragon Palladiums out as well but I didn't get a chance to listen to them. [​IMG]
    Anyway, I've listed to the Dreadnaught (hooked up to a Casablanca) at Audio Concepts with a set of Aerials and it was a transcendental experience. [​IMG] Unfortunately an Intrepid was not on display anywhere. If the Intrepid was anything like the Dreadnaught, there would be no question about getting it (I really don't want to spend the 6 g's on the Dreadnaught). I was told that the Intrepid doubles it's wattage into 4 ohms so I don't believe power should be an issue with the efficient (90db/w/m) M&Ks I think.
    Anyway, I've read good things about the high-end lower powered 5-channel amps (e.g., Krell KAV-500, Bryston 9B-ST, Classe CAV-75, etc.) that led to my interest in the Intrepid. According to the pundits, these guys tend to be more revealing and transparent than the high-powered monster amps like Parasound, Sunfire, ATI, B&K, and their ilk. Can anyone here confirm this and speculate as to why?
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    "I not giving her the shot - you give her the shot!"
     
  13. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Milt: one man's transparent and revealing is another man's harsh and tiresome... it all depends on your tastes and your other equipment. To me, Parasound tends to be a bit warm sounding, but with your M&Ks, it may tend to match perfectly with their metal tweeters. The ATI 2505 monster, on the other hand, sounds very transparent to me and was a perfect match for my Mirage M-3si towers which emphasize the upper bass area. I do like the Theta dreadnaught, but it would just kill ME to spend $6K on an amp. Still, if you are already spending alot on a pre-pro and intend on upgrading your speakers in the future, IMO, your amp is as important as your pre-pro. If I were you, I'd take the Dreadnaught home to try it with your speakers and other gear. If you like what you hear, buy it and don't look back.
    Whatever you decide, have fun during your hunt!
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    Take Care,
    merc
     

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