Solid-State Power Amp Adventures

Discussion in 'Power Amps' started by purr1n, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    At this point, I am super skeptical that any of these power amps will actually be better than the Crest CA2. For example, partimeaudiophile said the Khartagos used as monoblocks were a good "mid-tier solid state reference." I mean, WTH is that supposed to mean? I know the expectations of the members here. To me, the words "mid-tier" or "good for home threatre" a big warning signs. There's got to be fantastic power amps below $1200.

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    HIGH POWER AMPS

    CLASS A (I Gotta Feeling)

    Hegel H2
    Bright but a step above the rest. Extremely competent in all aspects of sound reproduction and actually exceptional in many areas: bass extension and texture, soundstage size and imaging precision, microdynamics, transients, and smoothness.


    CLASS B (Not Bad)

    Schiit Vidar
    Solid, extremely competent. Slightly warm tone. Class A+ bass, but not as immediate, expansive, and resolving from the mids on up as the gear above.

    Vincent SP-331
    Not in the same class (A) as the above. Less refined, less precise, less extended, flatter microdynamic shading. Euphonic presentation from tube bloom for better or worse.


    CLASS C (Entry Level)

    AHB2
    Really split on this. Does some things extremely well (grip, control, transients, blackness) , but also some things no so well (textures, plankton, and soundstage)

    Crest CA2
    Neutral. Meets basic competencies, but to channel @MikeMercer, I'm just "not feeling it" all the time.


    CLASS D (Dubious)

    NuPrime STA-9
    Nothing especially wrong, but Insipid.

    D-Sonic M3a 1200S
    Insipid and congested.


    CLASS S

    Sheng Ya SP-993
    Has its moments, but stupid hot and heavy. Harsh and flat. More competent than the A23 below, but also more annoying. Wife "hated" this, and she's not a hate kind of person.

    Parasound A23
    I'm not sure I would even use this for HT.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    FLEA POWER AMPS

    CLASS E (Elite)

    Pioneer M-22 (vintage)
    All it took was the first few seconds of the Graceland CD for me to realize that it was a better amp than the Hegel. The presentation is slightly different with the Hegel being sharper and more incisive with its attacks, vaster sound stage, and more volume at the extremes. However, the M-22 blew away the Hegel terms of microdynamics and plankton, and even slightly surpassed it with macrodynamics. Surprisingly, the M-22 was also clearer sounding than the Hegel, despite the Hegel destroying everything else before it in terms of clarity (Crest CA2, Vincent SP-331, NuPrime digital abomination, Parasound A23, etc.)

    CLASS A (I Gotta Feeling)

    AliExpress / eBay Hood 1969
    TBD
     
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    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
  2. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Old Threshold stuff? Mark Levinson ML-11? Adcom 555? I'm curious as Vidar delivery date starts slipping. Maybe pickup a used Crown 1200 as they seem to make a lot of folks happy. Just some suggestions—never heard any of these.
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I never cared for the old Adcoms although I have not heard the CFA-555 specifically. The Emotiva line is muddled. There is the lower cost BASX line of amps, then there is the "betterer" X-series Gen 3. Except that the X-series Gen 3 uses switchers for the power supply. I'm not against switchers. The Linn LK85, LK100, and LK140 were good amps that used switchers - but the better Linn amps like the LK240 and Klout used linear power supplies with hefty transformers.

    At this point, I am only trusting opinions from people who can tell at me of at least two or three shitty current in-production amps to avoid.
     
  4. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    What about DIY?
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Pointless for several reasons: 1) Most people can't or don't want to DIY, we want to serve the general community, not 2% of it; 2) DIY can potentially be more expensive: explosions, tools of the trade, chassis work, parts not purchased in bulk; 3) DIY approaches are not necessarily better. Designers who do things on a amateur basis may take too much pride into their creations, unlike designers who do this on a professional basis and may be more willing to trash stuff that didn't sound good and start over. Of course there is the opposite argument that people who design stuff on a professional basis care more about money than good sound or are restricted to a budget.
     
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  6. ak2angel

    ak2angel Acquaintance

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    IHMO old current-dumping Quads are also worth a look. Cheap, reliable and plenty of power (they even don't break when you short the outputs!). Easy to service and modify too, as schematics are readily availble, and at worst, one can always send back to Quad service center in Huntingdon to repair. The only downside is that they are very picky of preamps (odd sensitivity, low-impedance input) and looks quite ugly.
     
  7. beemerphile

    beemerphile Friend

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    I hear that the new yuppie-spec Range Rovers are so elegant that they even have a leather seat under the hood for the mechanic to ride in.

    As far as vintage amps, I am cured. I bought a couple and had them professionally re-capped and checked out. One year later - no right channel on one of them. I have wandered into the Class D forest like a child to see if I can get what's left of my ass burned off. If my Nuprime experiment back-fires I will build my own Hypex NCore amp - it is DIY dumbed-down to idiot-resistant levels. If that fails, I may take ice picks to my eardrums.
     
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  8. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    Out of curiosity @Marvey, which of the Adcoms have you heard and how old were they when you heard them? I've always enjoyed the GFA-555/5500/565/5802 (with a strong preference for the 5802), but the rest of their lineup is either just okay or horrible (later HT offerings). All of their amps seem to have a lot of push connectors inside instead of hardwiring, so either rewiring or just periodic contact cleaning can make almost as much of a difference as a re-cap. I've found them all to sound a little lackluster unless they're set to run hot toward the upper limit of the recommended bias settings.
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Was probably the 555. It was in the 90s. 555i or ii or xiv or 540, 545, 535. I get all their numbers mixed up. Never adjusted bias on them. Just heard in showroom or borrowed for a few days from dealer.

    Update: It was the 555. Pretty sure. Too solid-statey nasty sounding for my tastes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  10. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    The 5802 is far smoother than the others fwiw. You still might not like it, but I'd venture to guess you'd like it better (especially properly serviced).
     
  11. mrflibble

    mrflibble Friend

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    Metrum have a power amplifier coming out soon called Forte. Looks intetesting:

    http://www.criticalsound.co.nz/products/metrums-forte/

    Audio-gd have the Master-3 power amp, but that costs over $1600. No idea what it sounds like.

    The Schiit Vidar should rock, all being well - fingers crossed :)
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    FYI. Ordered a Vincent SP-331 based on a few conversations. Also borrowed a Hegel H2 which is like out of this world good. I want to make sure the Vidar has serious competition. Mini-review on Hegel tonight. Maybe.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  13. Aklegal

    Aklegal Almost "Made"

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    :) You are well above that ~$1000 range with the Hegel. That amp is probably worth it though. I have been trying to get my hands on a H360 or H200 myself.
     
  14. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    What is this www.orfas.org? Are you seriously saying a multi thousand dollar amp is the only way to go? I know what you're trying to do here :p
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Oh shit. No idea it cost this much. Not sure if it's worth the new price, but used seems good, even though it's still crazy expensive. Mini-review forthcoming later tonight. Jotted down some notes and ideas.
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    And BTW, I also got in a Vincent / Sheng-Ya SP-993. 70lbs. 50W Class A. 300W Class AB. Damn this thing was heavy.
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Moved to a separate thread. Someone remind me not to do five sets of pull-ups, four sets of push-ups, two sets of sit-ups, and four sets of curls before the day I am to pick up 50-70lbs power amps.

    So this is what we got in the house:
    1. Vincent / Sheng Ya SP-993
    2. Hegel H2
    3. Crest CA
    4. Parasound A23
    5. (expecting) Vincent SP-331
     
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  18. jelt2359

    jelt2359 Friend

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    I've been using a Hegel H20 with my HE6 for about a year now. Since it's coming from across the pond I figure it generally isn't as popular an option with the HE6 as the Pass's and Krell's. But I like it quite a bit. A buddy also bought the older H200 based on my recommendations. Glad to hear you think the same!
     
  19. spwath

    spwath Collegiate hijinks master

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    Solid state?
    But the Vincent SP-331 has toobz...
     
  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Outputs are solid-state.
     

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