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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 06-22-2007   #31
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Default Re: WHO MAKES THE BEST AMP?

Smiles ..........take your Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors by the scruff of the neck and try and get your hands on a Mark Levinson No. 383 integrated amp ,if you have to go the integrated route -not so sure if still produced ,but sure you can pick up a good second hand unit (maybe from yr local ML dealer) . This will work for you .

I have changed to all Levinsons in my home theatre and currently using No's. 432 for L/R, a 434 monoblock for centre and a 431 for rears - have never looked back ! ( although I wud be curious as to what a bevy of Krell Evoloutions wud do for me !)
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Old 06-22-2007   #32
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Default Re: WHO MAKES THE BEST AMP?

You gentleman are terrific! Honestly would not have thought about Mark; on the McIntosh front, I can demo here I think - see they have three, the 6500, 6900 and 6300 -- same/different except for power? Yes I 'm not looking at the tubes as amazing as I bet they are.
What about Musical Fidelity?
Thank you!
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Old 06-22-2007   #33
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Default Re: WHO MAKES THE BEST AMP?

Amplifiers

Musical Design Amplifiers could easily fit into this discussion, although they never advertise so they won't get much play in any of the magazines or AV forums. John Hellig's amps complete well with anything 2-3X their cost.

He is a gifted designer that is not much of a marketer. He has a loyal fan base and stays busy enough through word of mouth.

His stuff is really worth an audition and I think you will find it perform to an equal level or better than some amplifiers in the 5-6K range
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Old 06-22-2007   #34
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Default Re: WHO MAKES THE BEST AMP?

I still love my older Levinson 336.

When I was deciding it came down to the 336 or a Pass 350.5. The Pass is a wonderful amp too - but I have wanted a big Levinson for a very long time and don't regret it one bit.

I prefered the 336 to the new 4xx amps that I listened to - which were all but the 436 and 433.

If you are considering Levinson - take some the older models for a test drive if you can.
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Old 06-22-2007   #35
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Default Re: WHO MAKES THE BEST AMP?

The comments made about recommending older Mark Levinson amps warrants further clarification. Older amps were first made under the direction of ML the man (until 1983) and then for 20 years, by Madrigal. Under the Madrigal years many well reviewed and internationally awarded products were produced--amplifiers among them. Harman International purchased Madrigal for the Mark Levinson brand (and its use in automotive OEM applications) in the mid 90s and 4 years ago, they decided to shut down Madrigal and move production, design, etc. to Boston integrated into their Lexicon facility. All of the managment, creative staff and "ears" of the company did not make the move. The current Harman team called HSG is "rebuilding" the brand using all new people, most of whom are "new" to consumer high end audio and its particular design processes and the market it serves. It is a new design team, marketing and management.

In the last 4 years, HSG has produced <<one>> ALL new product, the No. 51. The other products they have "introduced" have either previously been introduced by Madrigal or were completely or partially designed by Madrigal designers prior to the closing of the company.

HSG has yet to introduce an all new amplifier which they have created from scratch. If you are speaking about ML amplifiers, it would be more accurate to refer to them as either Madrigal designed ML amplifiers or Harman designed ML amplifiers. Thus far, only the former exisits, in addition to the early MLAS designs of the 70s and early 80s.

As with any new company, it will take some years to reveal their true design capabilities and products' competitive value. Thus far, in the first four years of this "new" company, there is little evidence upon which to judge their products' performance and value to this community. The brand may live on, but we do not really know its future.

Last edited by utbaa; 06-22-2007 at 11:46 AM.. Reason: typos
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Old 06-22-2007   #36
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Default Re: WHO MAKES THE BEST AMP?

IMO, amps can be as mysterious and elusive as high-end cables to the average audiophile or HT enthusiast. The often subtle, yet none-the-less real aural differences between amplifiers are often not realized on mid- and even hi-end systems. It can really take a critical ear with familiar source, speakers, and listening environment to best recognize sonic differences. Amp evaluations often follow "the weakest link" theorem where amps are isolated in the system chain.

I have owned NAD, and Sony ES and currently own B&K, Fosgate Audionics, and a Cinepro amp (anyone need an amp?) mostly multi-channel as I am primarily an HT guy now-a-days. They do have their own personalities, but no one in my listening circle other than myself would be hard pressed to discern their qualities, which ultimately is one man's opinion.

Inevitably, friends will ask how much a piece costs, which I reply, "the road to audio heaven is paved with opinions and Benjamins ($100s)." I am a firm believer that there is a definite audio advantage in buying separate amplification and pre-amp and often argue that a separates solution can be had for the same cost as a high-end receiver, especially if you are willing to do a little research and aren't afraid of using eBay and Audiogon. I don't even attempt to convert the "HT in a box" crowd who, when audio discussions arise ask, "What do you think of my Bxsx system. We love it." Great, I say, that's great for you if you enjoy it. Me? I wouldn't take it on a bet. But I also find that most people have no idea what equipment and performance can be had for the same dollars. They have never heard of Outlaw or NAD or B&K or Sunfire or whatever else might be on the evolutionary chain toward Bryston, Krell and Levinson. They just buy whatever BB and CC has to offer and go blissfully unaware of what they are missing.... sorry, back to amps.

One must also ask, in any audio system, what is really shining through sonically? Is the sound of the amp over-ridden by a more overbearing piece in the chain with greater sonic signature? How well is the piece isolated electrically? (In my case, despite having a Monster Cable HTS-5000 power conditioner, if the dimmer is on in an adjacent room, I can hear it through my amp.) And, what is it exactly that makes one amp sound <better> than another? I've read some cases where amps from the same company can sound very different. Is it the luck of the draw? soldering? circuit compenent differences (caps, transformers, circuit boards)? I'd be interested in hearing from those with technical input.
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