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Thread: amp help

  1. #1
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    amp help

    I am currently doing my research to eventually buy a power amp for my speakers. I own b and w dm602s3 speakers and therefore have narrowed my research to rotel amps. As I am on a budget, but want to buy something I that will suit my needs for a long time, I have considered the 1050,1070, and 1080 which put out 70, 130, and 200 watts respectively. The 1050 would be most cost effective but I wonder if it would give me enough power and I figured with it being bridged I could always purchase another one in the future and have monoblocks. I tend to listen to my music fairl loud and that is the reason I am abandoning my denon massmarket receiver (2801) which of these amps will be the best one for me. I thought the 1080 would be a bit overkill at 200 watts do you agree. If the 1050 is enough power for me I would opt to buy that because it lists at 400 dollars. Any other budget amp reccommendations are welcomed. Thank you.

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    The decision will have to be yours but to answer your question, 200 watts is not overkill. Especially, if you like a louder listening volume. You want your amp to have reserve power and to maintain a clean signal at louder volumes, it takes power, amongst a few other things, to do this.

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    what other things matter? Would you say 130 watts from the 1070 is enough?

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    You want an amp to have a good power supply, good reserve which is usually a large capacitor bank, I also like high current design which is best for good bass and control. You'd have to listen to the 1070 to see how it does when called upon to deliver power. The best thing would be if the store would allow you to bring one home for audition.

    You can't really go by the power rating, I had a Krell integrated rated at 150 wpc where the power seemed endless and I have an Adcom rated at 125 wpc that's beefy for the price but gets pretty wooly at loud levels. A clean sound at loud volumes will require power. It's also better to have too much power than not enough. Not enough power kills speakers more so than too much power. If you call on an amp to play at a volume it's not able to do it will distort, called clipping, and that causes damage.

    I don't know how you feel about used gear but www.spearitsound.com has a Soundstream 200 wpc used for $349.00. They also have some Marantz 125 watt monoblocks for around the same price. Or, if it's in your budget they have a Bryston 3B, I believe rated at around 125 wpc, at $849.00. The 3B is one of those amps where 125 wpc will sound quite a bit more stronger than it's rated power. There would also be other good deals on www.audiogon.com

  5. #5
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    add a Parasound Halo A23 to your list. Costs about the same as a Rotel 1070, but the Parasound is way better, it should also drive your speakers flawlessly...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

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    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  6. #6
    Ajani
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    I agree with Mr. Peaboody... more power is generally better.... You can probably do just fine with the 1050... but you won't have the bass control and ability to play as loud (cleanly) as with the 1080....

    I used to own a 1080 and absolutely loved it....

    @ Basite - interestingly enough, I sold my 1080 to a guy who had a Parasound Halo A23... cuz he prefered the 1080.... so I think it's just really a matter of which one sounds good to you....

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    I hear the parasound is a tad bright. In what way is it better than the rotel. Would you still say its better considering i have b an w speakers.

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    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    I hear the parasound is a tad bright. In what way is it better than the rotel. Would you still say its better considering i have b an w speakers.

    Given that Rotels is a good product too, and they're a good match with B&W...

    but Parasound has more defenition, more real power, a more defined sound. I wouldn't call them bright, just slightly more to the neutral side, where Rotel is more on the warm side.
    I have no idea on how they match with B&W though...



    to Ajani: yeah tastes can indeed differ, maybe he didn't like the parasound, or it wasn't a good match with his speakers...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

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    Agreed, Rotel is a very laid back sound where the Parasound would have more attack or liveliness to it. It's a matter of what type of sound you would prefer.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Agreed, Rotel is a very laid back sound where the Parasound would have more attack or liveliness to it. It's a matter of what type of sound you would prefer.
    I am interested in Parasound pre-amp and amplifier since you say it's better than Rotel. Can you suggest me some good model ? I like to listen to defined, live, and bright sound (rather than laid back). Thanks

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    No one has carried Parasound in my town is a few years so I'm not familiar with the models any more. I know the Halo series gets good rap. I can't remember if you wanted new or used, off the used market an Adcom gfp750 preamp with a 5500 or 555 power amp would be a great combo. The 750 was designed by Nelson Pass as well as those power amps. He designed the first 555 but I believe he says Adcom did some mods to versions after that but the basic design is still his. I have a 5500 and like it a lot. If new you might also consider the Krell 400xi which runs about $2,500.00 new. It's an integrated but will out perform separates in that range.

  12. #12
    dr bud
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    b w and rotel are partner companies and a good match.you will like having more power with those speakers because of there efficiancy.you will get a fuller more accurate sound.

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    Since buying the 1080 the bass picked up largely in accurancy however I still use the sub. Transparency increased and imaging sky rocketed. Overall resolution is higher with a much lower noise floor, all for 600 bucks!!!!!!!! Can anyone reccomend a good preamp, preferably inexpensive meaning under 400, unless you think upgrading my source ( marantz 3002 dvd/cd player) would be a bigger benefit. A guy wants to sell me a ps audio power punch cord for 30 bucks and says it wil make my cdp play better is it worth it?

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    My cd playback improved in quality by a good measure with upgrading my power cord and one like the PS Audio for $30.00 is a steal. If you buy it I'd recommend rotating it around to other gear to see if there is improvement, if so, keep your eye out for other good deals if budget don't allow for new. What I noticed is a much quieter background and things sounded more smooth or natural.

    What are you using now for a preamp? Adcom or Rotel either one would be in your budget used. I hear preamps aren't Rotels strong point but there is also something to be said for synergy. I hate to even guess how Rotel and Adcom would mesh.

    Take a look at this baby: http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ube&1206987294

    or, from dealer: http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ube&1208304402

  15. #15
    Ajani
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    For system synergy, I'd get the Rotel RC1070 (New $500)

    but if I was going to experiment I'd try out the Creek OBH22 (New $500)... The Creek is a passive preamp (which really intrigues me, since that means it 'should' mess with the signal far less than other preamps)

    Both should be available for $400 or less used...

  16. #16
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Passives

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    For system synergy, I'd get the Rotel RC1070 (New $500)

    but if I was going to experiment I'd try out the Creek OBH22 (New $500)... The Creek is a passive preamp (which really intrigues me, since that means it 'should' mess with the signal far less than other preamps)

    Both should be available for $400 or less used...
    Passive preamps can work well. I used an Adcom GFP750 for quite while with very good results. It's important, however, that the output impedance of the preamp should be low and the input impedance of the power amp be high. A ratio of 1:10 is considered minimum with 1:100 being preferable. Keep interconnects short.

    I've hear good things about the Creek from several sources.

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    I've been kicking around maybe trying another preamp in my second system. I looked at the OBH22 and the output impedance is 20kohms, isn't that rather high? I went to CJ's website to see what my preamp's output impedance was but they don't give it, they just say it's low. I thought I read some where that a tube preamp especially should have an output impedance of 500 ohms or less. I haven't researched this in some time, am I getting my figures confused?

  18. #18
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    What do you call 'passive' pre-amps?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    Since buying the 1080 the bass picked up largely in accurancy however I still use the sub. Transparency increased and imaging sky rocketed. Overall resolution is higher with a much lower noise floor, all for 600 bucks!!!!!!!! Can anyone reccomend a good preamp, preferably inexpensive meaning under 400, unless you think upgrading my source ( marantz 3002 dvd/cd player) would be a bigger benefit. A guy wants to sell me a ps audio power punch cord for 30 bucks and says it wil make my cdp play better is it worth it?
    You can't miss this pre-amp: Rotel RC-1082 (excellent match to 1080). This one has 2 pre-outs: one to 1080 and the other to your sub.

  20. #20
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Dunno, seems high

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I've been kicking around maybe trying another preamp in my second system. I looked at the OBH22 and the output impedance is 20kohms, isn't that rather high? I went to CJ's website to see what my preamp's output impedance was but they don't give it, they just say it's low. I thought I read some where that a tube preamp especially should have an output impedance of 500 ohms or less. I haven't researched this in some time, am I getting my figures confused?
    22kohms seems awfully high: I double check that. My former Adcom 750 in passive mode was about 600 single-ended or 1200 balanced as I recall. I think my Sonic Frontiers LINE 1 (active, tube) is in that range too. No a probem for me given my Monarchy SM-709 Pros are 100kohms.

  21. #21
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    What do you call 'passive' pre-amps?

    a passive pre is actually an attenuator...

    an active preamplifier, well 'preamplifies'. it gets the input signal from the source, amplifies it to a certain level so the amp can work with it. (basically).

    but a passive pre gets the signal from the source, and it just gets attenuated, there is no extra power involved. The only power going though the pre is the one it gets from the source.

    passives can be fun and good too (especially in the more simple setups, with not too much gear in the system...). It more keeps the acoustic signature from the source too ...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by basite
    a passive pre is actually an attenuator...

    an active preamplifier, well 'preamplifies'. it gets the input signal from the source, amplifies it to a certain level so the amp can work with it. (basically).

    but a passive pre gets the signal from the source, and it just gets attenuated, there is no extra power involved. The only power going though the pre is the one it gets from the source.

    passives can be fun and good too (especially in the more simple setups, with not too much gear in the system...). It more keeps the acoustic signature from the source too ...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Sort of like connecting a CD player directly to a power amp? I was listening to some Dyn's with an Accuphase power amp connected directly to an Accuphase CD player via balanced connections at a dealer in Geneva. Volume control was done via the player.

  23. #23
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    I saw the spec for the OBH22 on Needledoctor's website. I thought it was an odd rating as well. I'll have to see if any other sites give the same.

  24. #24
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Long and boring, but here goes...

    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Sort of like connecting a CD player directly to a power amp? I was listening to some Dyn's with an Accuphase power amp connected directly to an Accuphase CD player via balanced connections at a dealer in Geneva. Volume control was done via the player.
    Yes, although there are system specific gotchas. Back in the Jurassic audio era when I was young and vinyl ruled the earth, preamplifiers were absolutely necessary for two reasons: RIAA equalization and lots of gain. A typical preamp required about 50 db of gain in order to step up the tiny 3-5mV signal to feed the usual 2 volt input sensitivity of an amplifier in a relatively noise free manner. It was usually done in two separate stages with a common 30 db phono / 20 db line split. The line stage was used for tape and tuner. As a point of reference, amps usually have only 20-26 db of gain. 50 db is not twice as much as 25 db - it is more like 200 times as much on a voltage level.

    Today, however, most CDPs output 2 volts directly. My GamuT CD-1 has a 4 volt output (+6db). In the solely digital world, line stages are now used for input switching and impedance matching. The superb Audio Research REF 3 line stage, for example, has only 6 db of gain for single ended inputs. I became the accidental attenuatorist when I got the GamuT.

    At first, I ran it through my Audio Research SP-9 MKIII preamp. I bought that unit because of its high gain (67 db) required to handle my Dynavector MC cartridge. While the CD input had reduced gain over the other high level inputs, it was still to much. I couldn't use much of the volume control's range and maxed out around 9 or 10 o'clock. Hmmm. Coincidentally, I built a DIY attenuator box using the very best Radio Shack parts I could acquire for $15 to use in my office system. Just for grins, I decided to try it out on the main system. Holy $hit! This dual mono unit that cost less than one of the ARC's knobs sounded cleaner and had better separation (wider soundstage)! Afterwards, I built a second attenuator box this time using precision DACT stepped attenuators, JPS Labs wire, and Cardas connectors in a nice JC-2 looking slim box which is what I use today. I use the preamp solely for the phono source and swap interconnects to the amp when I need to change.

    In my vintage system, I have what I think to be an ideal concept: a DAC having its own analog tube output and gain controls. It is a 90s vintage Manley unit I purchased used. Similarly, I have to swap interconnects to switch to the phono pre. Since it does not have a line stage (but does have low output impedance and gain controls), it cannot fully drive the amplifier. Which is ok, because it gets loud enough.

    The bad news about attenuators is that you must match gain and impedance. You need a low output impedance source driving a high input impedance on the amp. Additionally, cable capacitance comes into play otherwise you get a low pass filter. It must be exceptionally low. My main system is an ideal match with the GamuT's 4 volt / 75 ohm output driving 10k attenuators into 133k ohm amps using 80pf ICs. It doesn't always work that well. Many CDPs have a more standard 600 ohm output while many SS amps have a lowish 10k or 20k input impedance. Such a match would likely involve some compromises.

    rw

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Yes, although there are system specific gotchas. Back in the Jurassic audio era when I was young and vinyl ruled the earth, preamplifiers were absolutely necessary for two reasons: RIAA equalization and lots of gain. A typical preamp required about 50 db of gain in order to step up the tiny 3-5mV signal to feed the usual 2 volt input sensitivity of an amplifier in a relatively noise free manner. It was usually done in two separate stages with a common 30 db phono / 20 db line split. The line stage was used for tape and tuner. As a point of reference, amps usually have only 20-26 db of gain. 50 db is not twice as much as 25 db - it is more like 200 times as much on a voltage level.

    Today, however, most CDPs output 2 volts directly. My GamuT CD-1 has a 4 volt output (+6db). In the solely digital world, line stages are now used for input switching and impedance matching. The superb Audio Research REF 3 line stage, for example, has only 6 db of gain for single ended inputs. I became the accidental attenuatorist when I got the GamuT.

    At first, I ran it through my Audio Research SP-9 MKIII preamp. I bought that unit because of its high gain (67 db) required to handle my Dynavector MC cartridge. While the CD input had reduced gain over the other high level inputs, it was still to much. I couldn't use much of the volume control's range and maxed out around 9 or 10 o'clock. Hmmm. Coincidentally, I built a DIY attenuator box using the very best Radio Shack parts I could acquire for $15 to use in my office system. Just for grins, I decided to try it out on the main system. Holy $hit! This dual mono unit that cost less than one of the ARC's knobs sounded cleaner and had better separation (wider soundstage)! Afterwards, I built a second attenuator box this time using precision DACT stepped attenuators, JPS Labs wire, and Cardas connectors in a nice JC-2 looking slim box which is what I use today. I use the preamp solely for the phono source and swap interconnects to the amp when I need to change.

    In my vintage system, I have what I think to be an ideal concept: a DAC having its own analog tube output and gain controls. It is a 90s vintage Manley unit I purchased used. Similarly, I have to swap interconnects to switch to the phono pre. Since it does not have a line stage (but does have low output impedance and gain controls), it cannot fully drive the amplifier. Which is ok, because it gets loud enough.

    The bad news about attenuators is that you must match gain and impedance. You need a low output impedance source driving a high input impedance on the amp. Additionally, cable capacitance comes into play otherwise you get a low pass filter. It must be exceptionally low. My main system is an ideal match with the GamuT's 4 volt / 75 ohm output driving 10k attenuators into 133k ohm amps using 80pf ICs. It doesn't always work that well. Many CDPs have a more standard 600 ohm output while many SS amps have a lowish 10k or 20k input impedance. Such a match would likely involve some compromises.

    rw
    That sure was detailed, and perhaps a bit to much info to process at one time, aka sensory overload na, i grasped most of what was said. But that really was your life story right there nice! haha
    Could you explain what the heck RIAA is?
    When you talk about jurassic era and the need for lots of gain, is that due to the low output of TT cartridges? and thus the need for high gain pre's (in fact phono stages)?
    Other than that I get confused with resistance in connections. But no worries, i won't ask for further explanation.
    Lastly, you mention attenuators. Those are passive pre's, right?
    Cheers
    AA

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