What are some good 3-channel amps?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert_Z, Feb 14, 2003.

  1. Robert_Z

    Robert_Z Screenwriter

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    I am looking to upgrade my HT by adding a power amp. I have decided not to buy a 5-channel amp. Instead, I will go 2 or 3 channel. I figure 3-channel is better since the center is so important in HT, and I don't see the need to overpower the rear speakers. Can I get some recommendations for good power amps at $750 or less, new or used? Thanks. The amp will be mated with a Denon AVR 3802 and an Energy AC-300 and a pair of C-5s.
     
  2. John-Tompkins

    John-Tompkins Second Unit

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    One that comes to mind is the Parasound 2003 its 200 watts X 3 and has a nice warm sound, it can be had for about 800.00 on the used market. Others would be the acurus 200 X 3 for about 600.00 used, chiro c-300 one just sold on audiogon for 450.00 and origianl retail was 1500.00 and is class b, rotel makes a 200 watt 3 channel rb-993, b/k makes the 4430 200 x 3. Hope this helps
     
  3. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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    Adcom GFA-5503.

    Might be cheaper to buy a 5 channel amp and just run three channels...

    $0.02
     
  4. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Robert- You might want to try a search in that I remember others asking about 3 channel amps too. With that being said, I heavily recommend Acurus, either the older 200x3 or the newer A200x3. Audio mag reviewed the original 200x3 a few years ago. They got something like 315 W into 8 ohms, and 515 W into 4 ohms. "200" x 3 indeed! [​IMG] And the A200x3 was reputed to be 25% more efficient into reduced ohm loads.

    If you're interested, I could get you a copy of that review and a few others represntative of their amps. Just do an email or HTF message thing to me.

    I have had Acurus amps for going on 6 years now. 100x3 (with a Nakamichi PA-5AII), then a 200x3, then 2 200x3's for a 6.1 system, then 2 A200x3's, and a few months ago I just jumped to 7.1 via 1 A200 plus 1 A200x5. When I switched, I looked at Rotel, B&K, Anthem, ATI, and Parasound. I was happy enough with Acurus that I stayed with them.
     
  5. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

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    Earthquake Cinanova
     
  6. John-Tompkins

    John-Tompkins Second Unit

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    I actually owned some of those amps I listed, I owned the chiro c-300, rotel rb-993, parasound 2205 (same as 3 channel amp) and currently own a lexicon 312 (3 channel version of thr bryston 3bst). My favorite is my current amp the lex. 312 but I bought it at 1100.00 used so its a little over you price range, My second favorite would be the parasound 2003 no doubt, it goes GREAT with either neutral or slightly bright speakers (perfect match for energy speakers imo)
     
  7. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    If I could only find a Parasound HCA-2003A. It was only made for one year (1998), and I'm not seeing any on the used market.

    In my situation, it would be to upgrade an Outlaw 950 + Parasound HCA-855A (85x5) to 7.1, and matching amps would be nice. How much difference in sound would I see between the Parasound and one of the other brands?

    [edit] Of course, none of the three (Parasound, Acurus, and Adcom) look to have integrated 12V triggers like my current amp does.

    --Mike
     
  8. Robert_Z

    Robert_Z Screenwriter

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    What is the significance of a 12V trigger?
     
  9. Tom-K

    Tom-K Stunt Coordinator

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    I have (2) Carver 753x. 3x250 watts. I am very happy with these. I've seen some on e-bay a while back. I paid $550 a piece new from Onecall when Carver went belly-up. Since then I've seen several sell for around $900 on Ebay. They seem to be very reliable, as I have ran 2 channels into 4 ohms, while running one channel (subwoofer)into a 2 ohm load.
     
  10. Eric A

    Eric A Second Unit

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    On Audioweb there is a Chiro C-300. Please send me a PM and I will tell you what I talked him down to. Very attractive amp that is class A/B at 140wpc x 3. It has 10 output devices per channel, used Wima and Wonder Caps, has a 1.2KVA transformer. The 5 channel version was designed first and then the 2 channel and 3 channel used the same transformer, chasis etc and deleted circuit cards. Below is a review on the amp.

    The rave reviews for the CHIRO by Kinergetics products are becoming commonplace! Earlier this spring, Stereophile Guide to Home Theatre compared the Chiro processor to the Proceed PAV, and found the Chiro C-800 better than the PAV at half the price! The Chiro C-200 amp was compared not to the similarly priced Acurus, Rotel, NAD, and B&K, but instead, to the Lightstar, Threshold, and Rowland amps which sell for up to six times the price!!!

    Audio Adventure just recently completed testing the Chiro C-200, which we believe is the best sounding power amp under a grand on the market. Apparently so do they! Tony Rago wrote, "It's against the odds! A $998 amp can't sound this good! But its true - the Kinergetics Research CHIRO C-200 is a bargain priced amp that performs way beyond its means. Can you get better sound from an amp costing under $2000? Don't bet on it." "After burn-in, the C-200 did astonishing things, such as big bad bass - and not at the expense of pitch definition. Even more surprising was the resolution. The high resolution will let you hear the differences when you change components or cables, or make small adjustments in speaker placement, etcetera". No improvements were as noticeable without the CHIRO amp! This very powerful amplifier was like a beam of light on the sonic picture. To sum up this amp's handle on the low end, it kicks butt!" As far as the overall balance, the reviewer had this to say, "This amp provides an open sound. Music had air and palpability. Once burned-in, the Chiro C-200 was warm and inviting, almost tube-like in its ability to relax without imparting edginess. Low level detail was excellent. Listening fatigue refused to set in, even after long listening sessions, even with CD's." Here I'll take issue with the author - I find the best digital front ends (like our own Audio Alchemy DDSPRO > DTIPRO32 > Audio Logic Model 34) is simply put, on a par with the best vinyl based systems. "To hear the natural openness, we tried classical music. Acoustic space just blossomed. Similarly, the sense of air in the hall was virtually real. The C-200 brought out the dynamic potential and spaciousness, and oh, those crescendos!". The heartbeats in DARK SIDE OF THE MOON were deep and resonant. After an extensive session listening to On The Run, the "TIME" will blast you awake! This rock war horse really came alive with this amp."

    In conclusion, "This is a product that excels at a price you can't afford to pass up. If you're in the market for a power amplifier, take a listen at the nearest CHIRO by Kinergetics dealer. But first make sure the demo unit is fully broken in and that its hooked up to respectable equipment! Then - want to bet you won't fall for the C-200? Nah! It'd be like taking candy from a baby!" Gee, I get the feeling this guy was really impressed! Remember, Chiro makes this amp not only in two channel guise, but they also have three and five channel versions available. All are THX rated, all use exactly the same circuitry, and they are all incredible values in the entry level high-end arena. The C-300 is $1495, and the C-500 is $1995.
     
  11. RussKon

    RussKon Stunt Coordinator

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  12. Robert_Z

    Robert_Z Screenwriter

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I think my finalists are Rotel, Parasound (5 channel) and Acurus. Can anyone tell me what a 12 volt trigger is and what it does?
     
  13. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    A trigger is a lead running from the receiver/pre-pro to the amp that turns the amp on when the source is turned on.

    I've also seen amps that turn on when a source is detected. I've also seen power units (like my Panamax 5300) that will take a trigger, and use it to switch power outlets (which you can then use for amps without triggers).

    It just means the you don't have to either leave the amp on all the time or turn in on manually.

    --Mike
     
  14. JerryIII

    JerryIII Stunt Coordinator

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    Michael,
    I have a Parasound HCA2003A and love it. I can assure you that the "A" model has a 12V trigger.


    Jerry
     
  15. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    Robert,

    I can tell you from first hand experience that the Chiro is a significantly better amp than the Acurus. It also has the trigger input. The only negative aspect is that Kinergetics is no longer in business. I would still strongly consider it.

    -rob
     

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