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  1. #1
    Forum Regular
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    Apr 2003

    "pro audio" audio amps vs. home audio amps

    What is the difference between the "pro audio" amps that you usually find at musical equipment stores and home audio power amps. I recently hooked up a pair of Ashly amps to my Carver speakers because they appear to be built like a tank and put out a lot of watts. The sound was ok. I notice that these high wattage amps can be had for a lot less than a comparable home audio amp. Is is a matter of quality(sound) vs. quantity (watts)?

  2. #2
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by ismael223
    Is is a matter of quality(sound) vs. quantity (watts)?
    There are a few other differences. Pro amps must live in a more hostile, frequently mobile environment. They must offer the best watt per dollar quotient, greater fault tolerance, ability to drive exceptionally low impedance loads (as encountered by driving lots of PA bins), be compact and lightweight (which means most are Class H and use fans for cooling) and today offer remote computerized control. While many sound fine, they are not known for their ultimate sonic performance. But then neither is a pickup truck known for its handling acumen. I owned a Crown amp a while back. Powerful, reliable (I inadvertently shorted a screwdriver to one of its speaker terminals - it shut down and came right back up), but not the last word in sonics, unless you use them to drive subwoofers where they work great.

    Different priorities for different applications.


  3. #3
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    Anywhere but here...
    Pro amps are used differently than those made for homes. That gives them a different set of priorities. They'll be in large rooms filled with people talking, and in many cases screaming. They need to be moved often and could be dropped or have liquids spilled on them. They need to be loud, durable, and cheap to replace. They don't need to be as refined as home use amps. So they usually are not.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  4. #4
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
    Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications
    I spent some time with this Crown amp, which I believe is the most basic they offer:

    I own a few more expensive amps that don't perform any better. I think if you had some very expensive, and very amplifier fussy speakers you might be compromising, but for a lot of people, a solid, reliable pro-amp is probably a better sounding, and more affordable option than some basic stuff from the likes of NAD, Arcam, Adcom, Cambridge, etc.

    I have too many amps right now, but if I was starting all over again I wouldn't hesitate to buy one.
    In my limited experience, I find the sound quality is actually better than a lot of home amps in the sub $1000 price range - but you start throwing in Bryston, PS Audio, Krell, etc, and an 800 watt pro-amp still won't have the finer, subtle details...they just get more powerful, not really much better sounding.

    For a lot of people though, it's probably a better option.

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