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  1. #1
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    Need amp suggestions for around $3000-3300

    Hi again everyone,

    I had a thread a few weeks ago about a Bryston amp that I was looking at getting but I have been looking around more and decided that this may not be the amp for me.

    I am looking for a 2 channel amp that has between 200-300 wpc into 8ohm and I want to spend no more than $5000 Canadian (a little less if possible), I think thats about $3000-3300 American.

    I don't want to buy off of the internet if at all possible.

    I have looked at the Classe CA 201, Bryston 4BSST and the Musical Fidelity A308 (a little pricey)

    I was wondering if anyone had any other ideas for amps I should be looking at. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have a very modest Paradigm system right now with a Marantz reciever and this is my first plunge into "high fi". From here I plan to get some new mains and work from there. That is why I am looking for a powerful amp. I don't know what kind of speakers I will be upgrading to.

    My room is about 30' wide and 18" deep.

    Thanks,
    Waxx

  2. #2
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    Hmmm, if it were me I'd definitely have some idea as to what speakers I was going to get so I could match their demands and characteristics with the amp. For example, Martin Logan makes nice speakers and Krell makes good amps. However, put the two together and it's nails to chalkboard time (at least the ML Odyssey's in the system I heard was). The point is, try to think total system integration. There are soooo many choices in your price range besides the ones you mentioned. Why not add tubes to your list? There's the very well received ARC VS55 and if you can stretch a bit, a pair of ASL Hurricanes ($4K usd) that HP absolutely loved (if that's important to you). Now, say you buy the VS55 but later find out you love the sound of Quad ESL's. Brother, you're screwed and it's audiogon time for the amp.

    See what I mean?

  3. #3
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    Parasound Halo

    Their 250 watt 2 channel amp is nothing shy of incredible. Had one at home, and it got this tube guy excited. I have never had a better solid state amp in my system, and I have had quite a few over the years.

    You could spend a lot more money for a lot less amplifier.
    Space

    The preceding comments have not been subjected to double blind testing, and so must just be taken as casual observations and not given the weight of actual scientific data to be used to prove a case in a court of law or scientific journal. The comments represent my humble opinion which will range in the readers perspective to vary from Gospel to heresy. So let it be.

  4. #4
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    For speakers, I was looking at a pair of the new Paradigm Signature S4s. They have 350 watts long term power handling and are rated at 92db sensitivity. I was also looking at something from the Monitor audio silver series. Somthing along those lines.

    As for tubes, I can't be bothered with warm up time and tube biases and maintenence ect. I'm pretty sure I want solid state.

    That Parasound A21 is a pretty sweet looking amp. What does it retail for?

  5. #5
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    I think it retails at about 2k (dont know what type currency)

    If you live in canada, A&B sound carry parasound HALO stuff so go check it out.
    Although A&B is pretty much a chain store, you can probably talk 20-30% off the sales people there.

    Ever think about goin with 2 monoblocks? ...well i guess that might be expensive

  6. #6
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    For amps, I would seriously consider the used market. Audiophiles flip equipment often and you can save a bundle on relatively new gear.

    For that kind of cash, you might audition the Pass Labs X-250 (plus everything else under the sun) which is an excellent component and a better match for your Paradigms than Bryston, in my view. They are within your budget second hand. BTW, they run class A so get ready for a boost in your electric bill.

    Here's a look at it: http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ran&1082887868

    Jet

  7. #7
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    Hey at least during the winter you dont need an extra heater!

    BTW, you have mentioned what amp you want...but what preamp you have? That is an important factor also.
    Good amp but bad preamp could end up just as bad.

  8. #8
    RGA
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    First you have to decide on the speakers and put the bulk of your money into that. And when I say bulk I mean a good 80-90% when you're in the budget you're in. Have you actually heard those speakers? hat else have you compared them too. They had some initial bizz and no one seems to mention them - let's let Paradigm truly prove they can make a world class sounding speaker first. by all means if you've heard the Martin ogan Oddyseys the JM Labd Mezza Utopia's speakers from Von Sweikert, Audio Note, The B&W N802s - great - but let's get the speakers handled.

    Once you find a SYSTEM you really like take note of the amplification that was driving the system. If that's high sensitivity and tubes then that's what you get. You can take a great amp and a great speaker and have less than steller sound. High watts most certainly doesn't mean better - or even louder.

    Many tube amps BTW don't need to warm up beyond about 10 seconds and many bias themselves and have far superior build quality...don't make assumptions because the cheap tube ampsdon't offer these features...they have to give them up in order to put the money where it counts. And there are a number of terrific Pure class A Solid State alternatives.

    You can acieve higher SPLs with a high sensitve speaker and a 25 watt Sugden than you can with a 300 watt amp and those Paradigms if that's what you're after.

    Frankly if you're just in it to have lots of massive boxes to impress your friends when you "crank" it that's great. I'd far rather "crank" it and rattle windows and then tell your friends that you have a 10 watt amp...and they'll all look amazed that their Bryston/Classe Paradigm combo is a wussy system in comparison.

    Volume is ALL in the speaker design - and in many less sensitive models no amount of power is going to get the SPL's up to rock concert levels.

    Further there is no sane reason to buy a power amp new. The depreciation is so high and the amps will last 30+ years that there is simply no reason to buy one new.

    You have $5000.00Cdn for a power amp and what $4000.00 for speakers. Mate, your room is large why not look at the Martin Logan Oddysey which you can probably get for $8,000.00Cdn and a used Power amp...Bryston 4B or Classe or YBA. I have yet to hear a slim line design from anyone that can come remotely close to the quality of the Oddysey and no offense to Paradigm buut I seriosly doubt it holds the key that no one else does. http://www.martinlogan.com/odyssey_speaker.html# The Oddeysey does need an amp stable to 1 ohm and preferably not just a peak stability but continuous stability at 1 ohm. Bryston is probably mandatory or Krell.

    The B&W N802(which I think is their best other than the model Nautilus) can be had well into your budget(~8500.00Cdn) and is nice with YBA power amps among others. Buy used--- Certainly if surround sound is your bag it's certainly not a bad thing to have the same speaker that George Lucas uses right? http://www.bwspeakers.com/

    Frankly, if looks are not that important you should also be considering the Audio Note AN E line. Not has powerful but will certainly play loud and will offer up more intimacy and timbral accuracy and detail than most any other speaker. Likes lower powered amps too so you can buy a better version of the speaker with the money saved on power over quality amplifiers. http://www.audionote.co.uk/reviews/s..._17-07-2k1.htm

    There are so many speakers out there and my suggestion is to listen to as many SYSTEMS as possible. Find those that are stunning...then consider buying the entire set-up...with the power amp being the used part.

  9. #9
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    My 2 cents

    Topspeed has a valid point with matching amp & speakers, preamp as well. So should have some direction of where you are going in mind. With that said my first choice would be a Krell amp, I think the KAV 250x2 runs about $4k MSRP. Levinson would be another option but probably out of price range. Bryston would be on my list. Why did you scratch them? The Arcam FMJ series would be in your price and very good. They don't have your high power rating requirement though. However, they have amazing drive. Their 100w FMJ drives my Dynaudio Contour center just fine. I've seen their integrated amps drive Martin Logans easily. Primare is another good amp, I have less experience with them though.

    I've heard Parasound was supposed to be a good value. I haven't listen to them personally. I seem to remember the company having some problems awhile back, are they still in business? Under same management?

  10. #10
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    Amp for $5K

    Contact Klaus Bunge of Odyssey Audio and talk w/him about his Extreme Monos. They're in your price range and supposedly are great amps. Good luck.

  11. #11
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waxxiemann
    For speakers, I was looking at a pair of the new Paradigm Signature S4s. They have 350 watts long term power handling and are rated at 92db sensitivity. I was also looking at something from the Monitor audio silver series. Somthing along those lines.

    As for tubes, I can't be bothered with warm up time and tube biases and maintenence ect. I'm pretty sure I want solid state.

    That Parasound A21 is a pretty sweet looking amp. What does it retail for?
    From the Paradigm website regarding the S4:
    Sensitivity – Room/Anechoic
    91 dB / 88 dB
    Suitable Amplifier Power Range
    15 – 325 watts
    Maximum Input Power†
    180 watts

    Are we talking about the same speaker?

  12. #12
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    I've got to agree with RGA on this one. With the amount of money that you seem to have available and with the space in your room, you need to go out and audition some SYSTEMS instead of individual components. In your price range, I would personally NOT recommend fixating on Paradigm. There are other great speakers that might suit your purposes better. As for amplification, don't get caught up in the power hype. I just recently got a 40 wpc integrated amp that will blow away almost any higher power amp that you A/B. The make is the Audiomat Solfege Reference (www.mutine.com). This thing can make my Tannoy speakers absolutely window and ground shaking. I had the SPL going and I got it up to a couple of peaks at 113 dB without any distortions - at least I don't think there were through the ringing in my ears.

  13. #13
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    Try McCormack, Marsh Sound Design, Sunfire (by Bob Carver), and Classe.
    Remember, different isn't always better, but it is different.
    Keep things as simple as possible, but not too simple.
    Let your ears decide for you!

  14. #14
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waxxiemann
    I am looking for a 2 channel amp that has between 200-300 wpc into 8ohm and I want to spend no more than $5000 Canadian (a little less if possible), I think thats about $3000-3300 American.
    Here's another vote for RGA's suggestion: begin with the speaker choice first. The amplifier choice is then determined by what is needed to drive them.

    rw

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