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  1. #1
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    Recommended pre-amp & power amp to go with Boston Acoustics T-830?

    I am a college student, soon to be using Boston Acoustics T-830 speakers. I'm a newbie to the audiophile world. I'm into jazz/downtempo/lounge music. Can you guys recommend me a pre-amp and power amp to go with my T830s? What am I looking for exactly, in a pre-amp and power amp? What other things do I need to go with the system? I don't want to spend more than $150 if possible.

    T830s: 15 - 100 watts, 90db sensitivity, 45Hz-20kHz 3dB 1~8" woofer, 1~3" mid, 1~1" dome tweeter. I don't really know what all these things are, but I'm reading up on them now.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    You won't be able to buy a separate amp and preamp for $150 even if you go the used route. I would recommend a 2ch receiver like an Onkyo or Harman Kardon or even better, a used vintage marantz or sansui receiver.

    http://www.us.onkyo.com/model.cfm?m=...s=Receiver&p=i

    This is the new 2ch receiver that I would buy-

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._Receiver.html

    or this if you can swing it-

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._Receiver.html


    check amazon, you may be able to find used or refurbished models for less.


    Amazon also has a decent universal DVD player that has decent CD and excellent SACD playback for $79 that used to sell for $450. Its the Yamaha DVD-S1800. I just bought one to use only for SACD play.
    Last edited by blackraven; 03-17-2010 at 01:18 PM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    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
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  3. #3
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    Ok I just realized that I am going to be looking on craigslist... what things should I look for in my receiver or pre-amp+amp? I will look for those models listed above... I currently can't find them in my city.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Forget about the separate amp and preamp for that price even on craig's list or ebay. You will get a broken piece of junk. You may want to try www.audiogon.com

    www.vanns.com has that Onkyo tx-8255 receiver on sale for $189.

    And Accessorys for less has a refurbished one for $149 and the more powerful tx-8555 for $199. I would try and swing for the 8555 if you can. The more power will alow for more demanding speakers in you ever decide to replace the Bostons. But the 8255 will do just fine if it fits your budget better.

    Here's a good price on the HK 3390-

    http://www.google.com/products/catal...wAg#ps-sellers
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    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

  5. #5
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    On Craigslist look for Adcom separates but as BR said you probably won't get them for less than $150.00. Maybe the preamp. Almost any stereo Onkyo receiver would rock. Some of the vintage Sansui, Pioneer or Kenwood would work. Also, check the "musical instruments" for pro amps like Mackie. I saw a 300 watt amp in excellent condition for $150.00. If you got a CD player or other source with variable output you really wouldn't need a preamp. Or you could get by until saving up more funds. A powered mixer from the likes of Gemini might work as well. Some Mackie take bare wire but careful with pro gear as most use 1/4" plugs (like on end of guitar cable or large headphone jack .

    It shouldn't be too hard to find a decent receiver for under $150.00 but I agree with Blackraven if some one had separates for that I'd be leary. If you don't mind the extra confusion of surround features people are dumping older HT receivers to update to more current decoders, connections etc. You might also find the built in DAC useful.
    Mark Levinson #512
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    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
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  6. #6
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    Which would you guys buy given the current options? Haggling a bit is an option, I think!
    Here are my options:
    -- Sansui Seven - Asking price $220 - (The tuning display is a bit dim on left side, FM indicator light is out. Minor surface scratches to wood veneer, one quarter inch surface chip on the bottom of the back right side. Still works great, the price might be firm on this one.)
    -- Onkyo TX8511 - asking price $125 (I think this receiver will only work for 2 speakers) Used ~50 hrs or less, great condition
    -- Onkyo TX-SV515 Pro II 5.1 - asking $50, used for 7 years works without any issues
    -- Onkyo Tx-DS575X - asking $105 excellent condition

    With respect to price/quality, which would you guys get?

  7. #7
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Go with the Onkyo 8511. It has limited hours of use on it and plenty of power to handle most speakers, especially if you like to crank it up loud. In this case with going the used route and the fact that you have limited funds, I would go for reliability If you are going to need more than 2 channels then go for a multi channel AVR. I prefer a dedicated 2ch receiver if all you are going to do is listen to 2 ch music.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    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

  8. #8
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    I would suggest buying a second hand (perhaps vintage) integrated amp on e-bay/craigslist or wherever you can get a hold of one.

  9. #9
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    heres an amp....dont know much about it. http://www.amazon.com/Pyle-2x75W-Ste.../ref=pd_cp_e_1


    frechmon
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MF XRAY v8 /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/ Creek OBH MK 2/Canton Vento 830.2

  10. #10
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    Actually, for that price you can buy a Trends TA-10.1 integrated amp (which you can convert into a power amp). Unless you want to blast the entire floor with sound it will do the trick very nicely. Here's a review by 6 moons:
    http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/trends/ta10.html

  11. #11
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Actually, for that price you can buy a Trends TA-10.1 integrated amp (which you can convert into a power amp). Unless you want to blast the entire floor with sound it will do the trick very nicely. Here's a review by 6 moons:
    http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/trends/ta10.html
    Those look like PMC speakers in that one picture.


    frenchmon
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MF XRAY v8 /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/ Creek OBH MK 2/Canton Vento 830.2

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon
    Those look like PMC speakers in that one picture.


    frenchmon
    PMC speakers usually have the opening of the transmission line at the rear of the speaker. Could be an older model I suppose...

  13. #13
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    If you can swing the money, go for the HK 3390. It has a preamp out so that if you ever want to buy a separate power amp you can still use the preamp section of the HK. And here's a nice user review or the HK. By the way it also has a phono preamp so that you can use a turn table. I think it also comes with a Remote control. With its warmer tone i think that the HK will be more forgiving with inexpensive speakers and cd or dvd players that can sound harsh or too bright.

    http://www.amazon.com/review/RIYGZG3JYWCW2

    Here's some for sale on EBay. http://catalog.ebay.com/Harman-kardo...iver-/71136084

    And here's one for the more powerful 3490-

    http://catalog.ebay.com/Harman-kardo...&_qi=RTM629593

    If you still cannot afford it go with the Onkyo 8511.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    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

  14. #14
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    What CD player would I use with this? I forgot to mention that I need a CD player as well... and also something that I can plug into my macbook. And BR, are you sure the 3390 will be better? It only has 80 watt output as opposed to the Onkyo's 100 watt output.
    Last edited by nirama; 03-22-2010 at 05:33 PM.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I think you are splitting hairs with 80wpc and 100wpc. And I really can't say which is better except for the tonality of the receivers. If you can swing it, I would go for the 3490, it will allow for more flexibilty in the future if you upgrade to more demanding speakers in the future.

    Here's links to their features. It looks like the Onkyo 8511 is rated only for 8ohm speakers and the 3390 can handle 4 ohms so it probably is a more robust amp.

    http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?m=...s=Receiver&p=f


    http://www.harmankardon.com/EN-US/Pr...ls.aspx?PID=HK 3390&accT=1&tsT=0&ovT=1

    And here's the 3490-

    http://www.harmankardon.com/EN-US/Pr...ls.aspx?PID=HK 3390&accT=1&tsT=0&ovT=1





    As far as a Cd player, since you are on a tight budget, I would consider this Yamaha DVD S-1800 on sale at Amazon. Its a universal player that plays CD's, SACD, DVD's and DVD-A. It used to sell for $450 a few yrs ago and can be had for $79. I just bought one to use in my reference system for SACD play which is excellent. For a budget system its a steal.

    http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-DVD-S18...9316782&sr=8-1
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    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

  16. #16
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    HK used to rate their receivers hilariously low. If this one holds to that tradition that 80 watts will definitely rock and you won't tell the difference from the Onkyo 100 which will also be a respectable 100 watts. Either would be a good way to go. If you can look at the Onkyo before buying that would be a big strong point in my book.

    Blackraven wasn't there a sonic character you didn't like about that Yamaha and going to relegate it to your kid's room? Aside from that it sounds like he needs a USB input for the computer. I didn't offer anything on that as I don't know of any cheap.
    Mark Levinson #512
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    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  17. #17
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    Thanks everyone but especially BR and Peabody, I wish I could rep you or something. You both have been really helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    HK used to rate their receivers hilariously low.
    What does this mean?

    Also, if I buy the 3490, I will be running a 120watt receiver into 100watt speakers. This is completely fine, right? And will the 3490 be TOO good for my speakers? I've read that you don't want to put too good of an amp into speakers that aren't good enough. However, the 3490/T-830 combo could be good; I just don't know because I am not experienced enough with good sound systems.
    Last edited by nirama; 03-23-2010 at 12:01 AM.

  18. #18
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    The Yamaha S1800 is serving very well as an SACD source in my system. On first use it was "in your face" sound wise. Over the last couple of weeks most of the very forward sound has gone away. At the $80 asking price it's a steal.
    ARC SP9 MKIII preamp,VPI HW19jr, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1 head amp, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts
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  19. #19
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    HK used to rate their receivers hilariously low. If this one holds to that tradition that 80 watts will definitely rock and you won't tell the difference from the Onkyo 100 which will also be a respectable 100 watts. Either would be a good way to go. If you can look at the Onkyo before buying that would be a big strong point in my book.

    Blackraven wasn't there a sonic character you didn't like about that Yamaha and going to relegate it to your kid's room? Aside from that it sounds like he needs a USB input for the computer. I didn't offer anything on that as I don't know of any cheap.
    Mr. P. That yamaha player sounds great in SACD and average on CD play on my reference system. Eventually it will go to my son when I buy the Oppo BD-SE later this year.
    But as a budget player I think it would do well. I found the std Cd play a little grainy and lacking a little depth. But its in my revealing system and in a less revealing system it should be fine.

    What Mr. P was talking about with the HK being rated low, its that many companies under or over rate the stated watts per channel. Harman Kardon is one company that tended to way under rate the actual wpc. They may list the power as 80wpc when in actuality it may be 100-110 wpc. In any event, the HK has a high current power supply and is rated at 45 peak amps which is nothing to sneeze at.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    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

  20. #20
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    And the 120 watt capabilities of the 3490 would be completely compatible with the T830s? (T830s do 100 watts max) The receiver won't harm the speakers at all or vice versa? Do I even need this powerful of an amp.. I am just using this for personal listening at home... to relax and lounge around to. Which should I go with? The 3490 still? I do plan on upgrading my speakers eventually.
    Last edited by nirama; 03-23-2010 at 02:56 PM.

  21. #21
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    You should be fine with your choices as long as common sense prevails.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  22. #22
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I don't think that you would be able to tell the difference in sound between the 3390 and 3490. I like to have more power in case I plan on up grading to speakers with low sensitivity ratings that are difficult to drive. If you plan on upgrading in the future and like to play music loud then go for the higher power. But don't lose any sleep over the matter. 80wpc is plenty of power.

    And you won't hurt your speakers with the 3490.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    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

  23. #23
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    But I don't like to play my music THAT loud... my typical listening setting on my ipod is about 1/4-1/3 of the way up on the volume. Never more than 2/3 of the way up. So 3390? Or still the 3490. God sorry guys.. I'm so indecisive.
    Last edited by nirama; 03-24-2010 at 12:39 AM.

  24. #24
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The 3490 has a docking port for an IPOD and it has 1 digital input which the 3390 does not. So the 3490 is more versatile. If you can spare the extra cash go for the 3490, if not then go for the 3390 or Onkyo and don't look back. Its not that hard of a decision. Sound wise you won't notice a difference!
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    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

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    The 3490 has a docking port for an IPOD and it has 1 digital input which the 3390 does not. So the 3490 is more versatile. If you can spare the extra cash go for the 3490, if not then go for the 3390 or Onkyo and don't look back. Its not that hard of a decision. Sound wise you won't notice a difference!
    Thanks. I'm going to buy the 3490 and not look back twice.

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