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Thread: Thoughts on old school versus new amps?

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    Thoughts on old school versus new amps?

    The reason I ask this I had a older onkyo for years since the late 80s finally it went I bought a harman kardon hk 3490 the onkyo seemed to blow this new amp away even though the hk is 120 per channel where as the onkyo was 60 and to me the onkyo sounded better so I have looked into what some had said on here on another thread of mine and also went to a shop and listened to some new marantzs and even a new onkyo gotta say im not too impressed does not mean I cannot be impressed my friend has a carver 125 watt amp from the late 90s to me sounds better than the hk as well my cousin has a vintage pioneer that sounds great but its only 35 watts per channel any input could be helpful here and I have been looking at tube amps watts the difference in class a watts compared to others??????

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    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    There are so many variables and ways components can interact with one another. I am not sure if you are talking about a receiver or an integrated amp. When you say amp and I do not know the model numbers of your equipment without looking it up I am not really sure what you have. I also do not know your sources and speakers. A receiver, integrated amp or preamp and power amp can react differently with different speakers.

    I checked your profile and you have no equipment listed. The more information you provide the better answers we can give. Some speakers are hard to drive and some electronics do not have good power supplies to really drive a speaker. HK usually have good power supplies. Of course we also do not know how large a room you are trying to fill with sound and the efficiency of your speakers. Tell us more.
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    JohnMichael
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    got ya well I have right now polk monitor 50 series speakers which im not crazy about at all the hk is a integrated amp but so was my onkyo? I know these speakers suck but they sounded better when the onkyo was hooked up to them I have a pioneer pl 518 turn table I spin my wax with I bought a pair of psb t6 speakers but I didn't pick them up yet

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    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    In fact other than the advent of class D, amplifier technology hasn't changed all that much in the last 50 years since class AB solid state became predominant. There have been some improvements in the quality of components, (i.e. notably capacitors and integrated circuits). These improvement have improved sound and made components more affordable; (not necessarily better & cheaper at the same time).

    There have been sound difference in amps of every era, but in my strictly personal opinion the attraction for some the old amps -- and tube amps, old or new -- is the common preference for a warmer, somewhat "fatter" sound than is strictly accurate.

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    well if you had to pick the Harman kardon hk3490 or a old carver tfm 25 which would you guys choose I hear the carvers have a somewhat tubey sound

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    I personally would rather have the HK. Carver is mostly unreliable. As JohnMichael mentioned there are a lot of variables. The HK may be in a lower price range compared to what the Onkyo was in it's day. There's no blanket statement which is better vintage versus current amps. This could be a different story if you are talking receiver, today's receivers are mostly for home theater and most do not emphasize stereo listening or have to cut corners some where to meet a price, with home theater they cram a lot into a receiver. There are a few stereo only receivers but they cost. You might try looking around for some used Adcom which are generally a good value used. Same with Parasound.
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    I am looking on ebay for a used parasound classic

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    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Check out AudiogoN - The High-end Audio Community for used power amps. There are some good deals on Vincent, Cary, Arcam, Primare and Rotel amps under $1K right now. The Vincent monoblocks are a great deal. There is also a Belles Hot Rod 150A which is an excellent amp, better than a Parasound Classic.
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  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    John, did you buy an amp?
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
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    I did buy a jolida jd302b but the kid wanted me to pay outside of the audiogon website he seemed really shaky so im back to square one it seems he wanted me to do a money transfer that would've negated any protection I would've got but I do have my hk up for sale there why? did you see something somewhere I think to after I went and listened to a couple newer amps a Marantz and a rega and a block im not really sure if im digging the sound don't get me wrong they are not bad but im still comparing it to me old onkyo which my cousin got fixed for a mere 45 bucks lol I should've gotten it fixed lol I did stop by a friends house who has a carver tfm 25 I know many people here dismayed the carver lol but it did blow away the newer amps I did listen to that particular amp is 225 watts per channel at 8 ohms I thought it sounded great especially I wasn't sold on the new Marantz or the rega the block to me was the best sounding out of those 3 I asked my buddy if he had any trouble with the carver the only thing he had happen was one of the lights burned out on one of the vu meters he bought a spare on ebay for 15 dollars anyone want to make me a deal on the hk its listed on audiogon lol
    Last edited by john03; 01-11-2014 at 02:39 AM.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Give a listen to Parasound, Peachtree and Rotel amps. You could use the HK as a preamp for them. You might also want to consider an Emotiva amp.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

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    I haven't found dealers around me within a reasonable driving distance and I mean by that is 2 hrs each way is my cap on that would love to hear those though and just a note the carver did definitely blow away this hk in every way power and sound
    3 people agreed that was with me and the 4th is the guy that owned the carver im in no hurry so I will see if I can find a chance to listen to other amps as I just want to be happy at the end and not have to shop anymore for this stuff???? lol would rather spend time and money on wax

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    Very wise decision on the Audiogon thing.

    All amps do not sound the same as you are finding out, the Marantz and Rega would sound different from the Onkyo, I would suspect some warmer without the bass slam. If you want an amp that comes close to the Onkyo you'll have to listen to amps with similar character or design. The Jolida would have also been a shock to your ears. I can't imagine the Carver having the bass control or slam of the Onkyo although it may have played louder. The Parasound Halo gear is a good suggestion, as well used Adcom gfa-5500 or 555, Vincent Audio I think you'd also find would do the job. Still a bit expensive used but Bryston amps would be great, as well as used Krell integrated, both of these would kill the Onkyo. Although conservatively rated at 80 watts into 8 ohms Onkyo has a new Reference amp that looks good with a retro finish complete with power meters, it sounds good as well if you like the Onkyo sound.

  14. #14
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    Actually, take a look at the new Onkyo Reference gear, if you thought you might be interested there is a dealer in my area who has a demo unit he wants to sell but I'm not sure if he would sell the amp separate from the preamp, I can check though. The gear would have full warranty.

    Also, keep in mind what ever you listen to in a store will sound different in your own room and associated gear. The problem is to get the type of performance the vintage Onkyo delivered costs so much more today.

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    I found my buddies carver to be well rounded I did like it it was very clear as with my onkyo my onkyo was rated at 60 watts per channel I did listen to a new onkyo rated at 85 wpc again didn't like the sound of it I want to do this once I do want a tube amp for different listening moods and also a solid state
    I want to take a trip to Cleveland to see don better and listen to some stuff up there
    im just holding off to find what I could be happy with as it does stand right now the carver is ahead so far my friend has that tfm25 paired up with a carver ct 7 pre amp his speakers are Vienna acoustic mozarts he doesn't have to even turn it up at all to get power out of that thing I was a lil impressed is it the perfect sound I like not 100 percent but very tolerable I will try to find a dealer around here that has the amps you listed above also I do not know how the carver would sound paired up with my psb t6s

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    The Onkyo Reference is not the same as the regular line, I'll try to find a link, the amp retailed for over $2k. Will your friend let you hook the Carver up to your speakers?
    Onkyo M-5000R 2-channel power amplifier at Crutchfield.com

  17. #17
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    The Onkyo Reference is not the same as the regular line, I'll try to find a link, the amp retailed for over $2k. Will your friend let you hook the Carver up to your speakers?
    Onkyo M-5000R 2-channel power amplifier at Crutchfield.com
    Or with the same $2500 and a little patience you might just get a Pass Labs X150.5 on Audiogon.

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    yes ive already arranged that next week to hook up the psbs to his amp I have seen that onkyo you are referring to in ads etc need to find somewhere close enough to hear one

  19. #19
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    If you are wanting tubes, give the Vincent a listen. Audio Advisor has a 30 day money back guaranty.

    Vincent Audio - SP-331 Hybrid Power Amplifier-Audio Advisor
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
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    that guy with the jolida wants me to pay with amazon pay anyone know if I would be covered under any protection ????? on audiogon etc

  21. #21
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    If you can go to Amazon under the amp's model and the guy is listed under the "used" link as a seller you should be able to see his feedback and MAY have some protection through Amazon, you'll have to check. Otherwise, I would not trust this guy, why would he list on Audiogon then try to avoid their rules? Does he have any feedback onAudiogon?

    As an example, if I wanted to buy an item on Amazon, search for the model, you'll receive search results, click on the amp you are looking to buy, normally you will see Amazon's price, along with "new" & "used" prices where you can buy from other sellers. I doubt Amazon can sell Jolida but they still might show the amp from other sellers.

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    Parasound HCA-1201A anybody know about these?

  23. #23
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    It is supposed to be a good amp. I have a Parasound Halo A21, built like a tank and sounds great but I can't comment on the sound of the HCA.

    Discontinued Products > HCA-1201A High Current Mono-Block Power Amplifier
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

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    whats the advantage or disadvantage of mono blocks?

  25. #25
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    I have a HCA-750, it's not the last word in bass but the sound is very clean. It seems from prior posts clarity was a concern for the new amp, the Parasound would provide that. The 1201 should be a step up, typically monoblocks are companies better performers. However, a weight of only 12 lbs each seems pretty light.

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