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What are some good NEUTRAL sounding 5-channel amps? (1 Viewer)

Kevin Alexander

Screenwriter
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Apr 17, 1999
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I am not a fan of what many of you describe as "warmth" in an amp. To me, a rolling off the highs which results in a dull, midrange-heavy presentation on movies and music is a bad thing to do. I want an amp that won't color the sound to a brittle brightness, nor dull it to an uninspired slumber, just a neutral to SLIGHTLY bright (I'll take that anyday over the warmth that many like) presentation. What are my options?
 

Shawn Solar

Supporting Actor
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May 12, 2001
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I would suggest anthem amps. I had a anthem mca2 compared to a rotel rb985thx. the anthem was exactly how you like them. bit forward on the the nuetral side. the rotel would tilt to the warm side. I like a little warmth so I kept the rotel.
 

Kevin C Brown

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Aug 3, 2000
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I recommend the Acurus A200x5 (200Five). I've had Acurus amps for maybe 7 years now. Various iterations of the 100x3, 200x3, A200x3, and now the A200x5 plus an A200 for a 7.1 setup. I've had them paired with Def Tech and now Vandersteen. I find them very neutral and accurate.
 

Al B. C

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Apr 25, 2002
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Sunfire Cinema Grand.

Some people tend to think thay are a little bright, but I think they fit your description to a tee.
 

Phil_DC

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Jul 20, 2002
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I would check out The Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II, here is a quote from http://www.sunfire.com/cinemagrand.htm

"The Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II has two output options: current source for a warmer, more open tube sound or voltage source for all the tight response this awesome solid state amplifier can deliver" I don't know of any other amps in existence that give you a choice between two sounds.

These amp are some of the best in-fact I have a Sunfire Cinema Seven on order hopefully it will be here by the end of the week.
 

Craig Robertson

Supporting Actor
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May 12, 1999
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while ati makes great amps, i would say they are more on the brighter side than neutral. i've been living with a 1505 for the last several years, very happily i might add.
i'll second Kevin's suggestion for the Acurus/Aragon amps for neutrality. they are very musical and an excellent value to boot.
 

Kevin Alexander

Screenwriter
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Apr 17, 1999
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I would love to have another Acurus A125X5 (once owned), but they are hard to come by right now. The biggest mistake I ever made was selling that amp.
 

dpippel

Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems
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Kevin - I'm currently using a Sherbourn 5/1500A and have stacked it up against a Parasound HCA-2505A and an Acurus 200Five in my system. I'd definitely NOT characterize the Sherbourn as warm in any way. In fact I found it to be the most neutral of these three amps, as well as the most dynamic. In my opinion you an't go wrong with the either the 5 or 7 channel version of this piece.

FYI, in light of your comment regarding your old Acurus, check out this 125x5 up for sale at AudiogoN for $700.
 

John*K

Stunt Coordinator
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Oct 20, 2001
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The Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II has two output options: current source for a warmer, more open tube sound or voltage source for all the tight response this awesome solid state amplifier can deliver
I'm not sure I understand what that means. What is the distinction between "current" and "voltage" source? :confused:
 

MikeTz

Stunt Coordinator
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Mar 7, 2003
Messages
146
I would recommend Bryston amps. The pros and cons are as follows:

Pros:

Neutral
Fast
Dynamic
Excellent bass control
Will drive a near short circuit (they'll drive any speaker)
20 year warranty
Excellent customer service
Built like a tank
Wonderful sound

Cons:

Price (You gotta pay for the pros above)
Will kill a constant upgrader (Brystons sound great for the whole 20 years - no reason to upgrade)
Power requirements (they require a load of current - got a 20 amp outlet?)
Heat (need to keep it in a ventilated area)

I've owned Bryston amps for over 20 years and they sound great. About 15 years ago my house was struck by lightning and my Bryston amp was damaged. Bryston not only repaired the amp, they upgraded it to the latest configuration, paid for shipping, and called to see that it was functioning properly. Try getting that from your average amplifier company. Bryston amps are high quality and so is their service. By the way, all great high current amps have the same cons.

MT
 

RichardHOS

Second Unit
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Mar 11, 2003
Messages
454
Coud someone explain how various solid state amps that all measure flat to with +/- 1dB to 20kHz+ can be warm, bright, or neutral?
 

Jim Mohr

Auditioning
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Jul 29, 2002
Messages
9
>> Could someone explain how various solid state amps that
>> all measure flat to with +/- 1dB to 20kHz+ can be warm
>> , bright, or neutral?

I believe it is because it is NOT the AMP per se, but the AMP in concert with the reactive load (speakers) it is driving, that makes the difference. So the real question is how a particular AMP makes a particular set of speakers sound (to YOU BTW!) Settle on the speakers that have the greatest appeal ... THEN find the AMP that make them sound the best to you. Speaker/Amp matching is an audible phenomena. Higher efficiency speakers seem to be more susceptible.
 

Chu Gai

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2001
Messages
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While a speaker's load does have a reactive aspect, it's not 100% reactive and most speakers tend to be more resistive. However the load is important when considering the amp's stability and linearity. It's when the capacitance dominates at the higher frequences that amps can get into 'trouble'. I'm not so sure in those situations I'd call an amp forward or bright...maybe ailing?

However the 'AMP in concert...' has some validity if the output impdedance of the amp was sufficiently low as to also cause it to act as an 'equalizer', the shape of the equalization being that of the speaker's impedance curve. But that tends to be an issue in solid state only with very low output impdedances such as the few that are out there that go with the old 'any negative feedback' is the work of the devil.

Course you cold always pick up a Crown, Mackie, Carvin, QSC, etc. and never have to worry about any sort of reactive thing or speaker impedance. That's not very audiophilish though.
 

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