Upgrading speakers...might need better amplification suggestions?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Darren_T, Aug 2, 2002.

  1. Darren_T

    Darren_T Second Unit

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    Hi,

    I'm considering upgrading my HT speakers and am thinking I might need better amplification to realize their potential. I currently have an Onkyo TX-DS 777 THX receiver that is speced at 100watts X 5. It's a great receiver. I have Paradigm Mini Monitor fronts, a cc-350 center and Paradigm Atoms for rear speakers. I have a DIY Tempest vented 15" sub. I'm not well versed in amplification and am by no means an audiophile. I'm just a guy that loves action flicks and can appreciate great audio whether it be HT or music. I've noticed and been told that as I get into the better speakers amplification becomes more critical because the speakers become more revealing and less forgiving of equipment flaws.

    I'm looking at B&W 604's 602's and matching center, the Dynaudio line, and DIY speakers.

    Can someone recommend a good 3 channel amp that won't break the bank? I'm thinking 500 bucks is what I'd feel comfortable spending at this time. I can easily afford more but the wife tends to wonder what the heck I'm doing when things seem fine with her if ya know what I mean. I figure I can run my surrounds off the receiver while taking the load from the fronts off the receiver with an improved amp to boot.

    Oh, also...in the semi-near future I'd like to upgrade to 7.1, not real soon but am keeping that in mind as I upgrade. Is there a way to do this other than purchasing a 7.1 receiver? Considering Marantz when that time comes. Want to be able to continue to utilize the amp if I get one though.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    Darren
     
  2. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    If I were you, I would get a seperate 2 channel amp just for your mains, and leave the rest of the amplification up to the Onkyo. As for a good 2 channel amp in the $500 range, I think your best bet is the Rotel Rb991. It just seems to do everything extremely well. While there are better amps for highs, asn some better for lows, IMHO nothing out there has the better combination or clarity, smoothness, slam, openess, imaging and power as the 991 for $500. Good luck
     
  3. Greg Haynes

    Greg Haynes Supporting Actor

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    Acurus A200 seems be a very popular 3 channel amp. It puts out tremendous power 200x3 and you can usually pick one up in the $500-600 range.

    Parasound is also a very popular amp on this forum. Its one of the reasons I got my Parasound 1205A. So many people love Parasound. Check out the Parasound 1500A for a great 2 channel amp. I believe it puts out 205x2.
     
  4. Darren_T

    Darren_T Second Unit

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    I'd love to hear opinions on the comparison of these external amps to my internal Onkyo amp. What kind of improvement should I experience by going with a Parasound, Rotel, or other. Assume 150 to 200 wpc. Would love to go 3 channel X 200 watts. How do these compare or best my Onkyo internal amp? I'm really new to learning about amplification and have an idea what the differences are between a good separate amp and a standard internal amp but I like to learn and would enjoy explanation from those who enjoy explaining [​IMG] .
    Darren
     
  5. Bob Marker

    Bob Marker Stunt Coordinator

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    Darren:
    My view may be different from others, but from my experience I'm not sure going with separate power amps would result in significant sonic improvement over the power amps in your receiver. As an example, I have substituted the cheap Pioneer receiver (cost: $100) I normally use in my modest home theater system into my music playback system and did not discern any degradation in sound compared to much more expensive integrated and separate amps I have used in this system. Speakers used in making these comparisons were Thiels which are similar in quality to the brands you are considering.
    Of course, its what you (and your wife) can hear that is important. If possible, I'd suggest you try to work with a local dealer to see if you can bring your receiver in to do a comparison of the sound of the receiver's internal amps with some of the power amps you are considering. (arranging to borrow the amps so you can make the comparison at home would be even better.) If you go this route, be sure to listen to the amps at similar volume levels to ensure a valid comparison.
    Good luck. Bob
     
  6. Pete Jennings

    Pete Jennings Second Unit

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    Darren, don't be surprised if you like the 602's with a sub as much as the 604's with a sub if you are crossing over at 80Hz (Unless you are really into to direct mode music). Even with the cost of stands it would save a bundle. 5 602's would be waaaayyyy cool!

    Pete
     

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