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Amplifiers (Mono, Stereo & Multi-Channel) Go on a power trip talking about everything to do with power amplifiers.

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Old 02-15-2008   #13
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Cool Re: Amps for dummies

Moose,
You are asking about 'how much' power.....
Most receivers play the numbers game when it comes to amp rating per channel. There are differences in multi channel amps vs. receivers w/ multiple channel output.

Take a separate multi-channel amp and they can meet the rated output in all channels driven over the 'entire' band width (20Hz-20KHz).
Very few receiver can match that.

Therefore a 125 watt multi-channel amp will outperform the same rated receiver. There are exceptions – but very FEW.

Then add the current capability separate amps have over receivers... this is the dynamics-the ability to really slam you one moment-then hear the pin drop the next. In the meantime, the sound stage does not get compressed and the sound remains pristine and coherent ........

Adding more - the receiver has to supply power to other components. The amp has to just keep cranking it!!!

Also, I have also noticed a separate amp will show up and shine when listening to music at lower volumes. The sound will have the all of the characteristic (dynamics, fullness, airy, engaging, etc) of high volume but at a lower volume levels.

Receivers can not touch that ability.

Therefore it is easy to see why the Denon 5308 is really big and one of the few that challenge the need for seperates.
But if you swing by the denon web site – they just started selling separates again. I wander why?


What changes the playing field is the digital amplifier. As they gain more engineering time, they will make there way into receivers. That will be interesting…

Last edited by Roger-Ram-Jet; 02-15-2008 at 04:21 PM..
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Old 02-15-2008   #14
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Default Re: Amps for dummies

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Originally Posted by Enoch View Post
This is true. I do the same thing myself. However I find a non-linear discconect between the two amplifier sections as I increase or decrease the overall volume on the system. The mains increase or decrease at a different decibal/watt rate than the other three speakers. Nahmean?
Enoch,

You said a lot there! This is one of the reasons I usually use identical amps for all channels. I have found this problem even with different amp by the same manufacturer. It is something most people are completely unaware of, and thank you for reminding me of this (it's been years since I used different amps)

Moose,

How much rated power is somewhat (NOTE somewhat) irrelevant. What matter is how much current your amp can deliver, think the old $30 car EQ/amps that came rated for 400 wpc, they might have even been able to meet the criteria for getting that rating, but I bet a good 100 wpc amp would have better sound. Wattage is rated on a strict criteria, this has been utilized by the like of Bob Carver making his amps the way he does he gets huge rated power outputs, but I personally can tell you my Mark Levinson 433 (200 wpc x 3) WAY outplays the Sunfire 7400 (400 wpc x 7) and if you think about it, how can an amp really deliver that much power from a 15 amp line (a 15A line only delivers a little over 1800 watts)?? This is why on the big Anthem statement amp, there are two power cords that both need to go to different 15 A lines or the amp will not have enough input power to generate the true rated output power.

Then you get into the issue of headroom. How much reserve is there in the power supply and for how long can it do it? Less headroom, less ability to cover large dynamics clearly.

We haven't even touched on the difference between tube and SS amps yet.....
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Old 02-15-2008   #15
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Default Re: Amps for dummies

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Originally Posted by kennyt View Post
We haven't even touched on the difference between tube and SS amps yet.....
That was something I was wondering about.
Are tubes good for 7.1 (or whatever .1) or are they more for 2 channel audio?
Also do tube amps require tube pre/pros or can they be used with SS or my receiver?

Last edited by TheMoose; 02-15-2008 at 06:20 PM..
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Old 02-15-2008   #16
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Default Re: Amps for dummies

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Originally Posted by TheMoose View Post
Are tubes good for 7.1 (or whatever .1) or are they more for 2 channel audio?
Also do tube amps require tube pre/pros or can they be used with SS or my receiver?
Well, I've heard them in 5.1 channels with all Manley mono's, but by the end of the day the room was so hot it was intolerable.

Tubes can be mixed and matched with SS, most people would err on the tube pre, SS amp as the tubes last much longer in a pre than power amp.
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Old 02-15-2008   #17
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Default Re: Amps for dummies

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Originally Posted by TheMoose View Post
That was something I was wondering about.
Are tubes good for 7.1 (or whatever .1) or are they more for 2 channel audio?
Also do tube amps require tube pre/pros or can they be used with SS or my receiver?
Tubes can be used on whatever set-up you want. The problem with tube amps is that over time as the tube deteriorates, so goes the quality of sound. You can drop a good chunk of change replacing tubes as well. Also, the other big problem is serious heat dissipation.

Tubes are just not very practical for 5.1 or 7.1 HT.
Most people use them for 2 channel.

Tube amps also slightly taint the true sound of your source material, but some think it is in a good way. My favorite description of tube amp sound is "honey-baked-goodness."
Tube amps deliver a warm, rich sound that most people can easily hear especially when you A/B with solid state.

If you have not auditioned tube amps, I encourage you to do so. It's an experience well-worth having.
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Old 02-15-2008   #18
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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!
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