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Old 02-15-2008   #18
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kennyt's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,422
Default Re: Amps for dummies

Tubes vs SS is one of the older arguments in audio.

I like tubes, but live with SS.... For HT, I agree fully tubes are just a little too warm (read for the room) for me, especially living in florida where my A/C runs most of the year. Now, I have heard of folks intentionally using tube amps up north for the winter..... Five or seven little space heaters would keep the garage HT cozy in say Vermont.

I guess it is clear tubes DO generate heat, and the higher the wattage the more the heat. HT does require more dynamics and offen more power so more heat from appropriate tube amps.

Now, that said tube watts vs SS watts aren't quite equal as tubes and SS amps clip (read put out white(?) noise as distortion) at max levels very differently.... But I am only starting more controversy.

Ah Moose, we are only leading you astray.....

FWIW If I were you, I'd build the HT with the guts you have and add pieces one at a time, see what you think. If you upgrade the fronts in the Paradigm line and it sounds great, you are done! If you want more power for cleaner sound, you might opt to add one or more amps, you could even start with a two channel amp if two channel music is more important, or add a good multichannel amp, or a combo of both (as I and Enoch said, watch amp matching!)

FWIW I think one of the best SS amp bargains around are the Proceed HPA series. Jerry and I still use these in our reference rigs and they really get you 90+% of the performance of the Mark Levinson amps for way less money (typically the HPA-2 sells for ~$1,500 and HPA-3 for ~$2,200) making you able to power all five channels for typically less than $4K. These amps are rated at 250 wpc, but tend to bench test to 325+ and are what I used for the Studio 100 review. They are a great match and as I said, you could add the two or three channel amp for the front pair or trio and add a surround amp as you grow the system...........

OK Moose, I should warn you. Friends of mine keep track of how much I have talked them into spending..... My shopping problem doesn't just affect me!
Ken Taraszka, MD
Associate Editor
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