Solid-State Power Amp Adventures

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

  1. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,843
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Home Page:
    No problem. AIO I mean power/pre/dac (with a coax input at minimum) -- ethernet/wifi would be nice because then I don't need to buy another Pi device and my better half can use her iPhone to stream.

    Speakers are custom floorstanders ~90db and 4 ohm nominal. Low-level listening 95% of the time.

    Seems most of the units I've been considering have tone control which is really nice because I can trim the lowest bass frequencies. Advantageous from a noise-transmission standpoint in the condo, and also I could theoretically place the speakers closer to the wall without massive bass bloat.

    Looking at this amp as a bandadge solution and intend on selling in a couple years once we're outta here so don't feel like spending more than ~ $1,500 CAD. Used is certainly an option.
     
  2. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2017
    Likes Received:
    6,087
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Canada
    If it has Ethernet/Wifi, does it need to be a Roon endpoint?
     
  3. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,843
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Home Page:
    That would be ideal but not mandatory. Again eliminates the need for a Pi device if possible.
     
  4. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2017
    Likes Received:
    6,087
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Canada
    Was thinking about this. Not much else I can come up over Yamaha and Marantz if tone controls are required - although if you get one with Roon you can use the parametric EQ.

    Other potential options - Hegel, NAD, Simaudio Moon. Should have asked though, how much are you looking to spend, and are you only looking new or consider used?

    Edit: Actually the Denon PMA xxxxNE stuff has tone controls and DAC I believe.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
  5. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    Likes Received:
    5,255
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    NOVA
    Home Page:
    I know it doesn't have an integrated DAC, but I had about a week and a half audition of a Marantz PM-14s1 several years ago. My guess is that there isn't a lot of difference between mid-level Marantz gear house sound, so take this for what it is. Going on memory, the PM-14 had a good mildly relaxed treble presentation without missing out on detail, and good soundstage breadth and cohesiveness, but not great depth. Macrodynamics were okay, but I was driving less efficient B&W bookshelfs. Microdynamics were pretty good but overall it wasn't as compelling a presentation as what I owned at the time (Cayin-Spark TA-30, very, very similar to PrimaLuna's current EVO line). The tube integrated had more "there" there. Just trying to help triangulate.

    Also, what about Rag2, fully loaded?
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  6. pechelman

    pechelman Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2019
    Likes Received:
    58
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    In addition to the fully loaded rag above, there's stuff like a bluesound power node, ps audio sprout, and the naim uniti atom, but that last one is over budget even when used most likely.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  7. artur9

    artur9 Rando

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    8
    @msommers I recently acquired a used T+A Cala for around your price point. If it's powerful enough for you the clarity it delivers is outstanding. The speakers it is driving aren't capable of much bass so I cannot comment as to that.
     
  8. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,638
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I picked up a Yamaha a-s3200 recently.. It's a mosfet amp but to me is quite resolving, plenty of power and very refined sound to it. Wife liked the aesthetics (sigh) thus why I picked it up but, damn it's a great all in one and the phonostage is better than expected.
     
  9. mkozlows

    mkozlows Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    Likes Received:
    484
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Hopefully this isn't too off-topic for this thread, but I've been looking for a decent, not-too-expensive five-channel amp for home theater purposes. "Three Vidars" would actually be a not terrible option, except that I couldn't easily find a place to put three of them, and it'd be more involved getting them set up without a 12v trigger.

    So the ATI-built Monolith amp mentioned here -- $1500 for the five channel version -- seems like a plausible choice. Thoughts on that, or other suggestions? Emotiva? Something else?
     
  10. ogodei

    ogodei Headphone Heaven Gatekeeper

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,084
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Chicago
    Monoliths run super hot in my experience.

    I have Emotiva running 11 channels for home-theater purposes, no complaints at all. I've heard their prices have been creeping up tho.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  11. SineDave

    SineDave Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Likes Received:
    934
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Home Page:
    I'd personally pick the Monolith over Emotiva at the moment - just based on value and a more over-engineered design. Emotiva has been charging more due to tariffs as their stuff is mostly sourced in China, and their quality is not quite what it used to be based on recent reports.

    I would avoid Outlaw audio like the plague given recent issues with service.

    On the home theater front, I like ATI, D-Sonic (this is what I own), Emotiva (quality issues lately so be somewhat cautious), Anthem, Marantz and Wyred4Sound. If you're looking for a budget option that is getting buzz lately, check out the amps from OSD Audio.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 3
    • List
  12. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    713
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I am running a very old Emotiva MPS-1 (the big guy with the full 7 channel big cards) and it's being fed from the XMC-1 - I only do 4K and 5.1 audio - so it's not needed to go with the crazy RMC or XMC-2 even. But my 2-Chan is the same. RSP-1 / RPA-1. I was caught up in the whole Mark Schifter stuff and bought into the Onix and AV123 stuff. I actually still enjoy all of it and have no desires to change anything.

    Oh - @SineDave - The CX finally showed up with Robert this week. I've got 2 more weeks added for the calibration!
     
  13. monacelli

    monacelli Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,715
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    The Land of Enchantment
    Thoughts on the QSC RMX 850

    I picked up a QSC RMX 850 a while back as a stopgap while I re-cap my Adcom 535, or potentially shift gears toward Aegir. I've had it in my system for long enough that I feel like I understand its character, so I figured I would share some impressions. For background the RMX 850 is a pro amp that does about 200 WPC into 8 ohms. It's a Class AB design, but don't let that fool you. It does not sound like an old school Class AB amplifier. It also has a noisy fan that must be replaced for home use (pretty cheap and easy to do).

    My system:
    • Speakers: Tekton Lore Reference (I will post thoughts eventually. These offer stellar price/performance, but you have to be *super* patient in dealing with Tekton directly)
    • Amp: QSC RMX 850 (compared to Adcom 535)
    • Sources: Audirvana => JDS OL DAC USB Edition (AK4990), Modded AT-LP120 => AT-150E cart
    • Preamp: Freya S, usually in Nexus mode (X4)
    Overall impression: The QSC RMX 850 is best viewed as a tool for reproducing audio in live sound applications. It offers ample clean power at an affordable price. Its presentation skews toward the clinical/analytical/slightly sterile side of things. If you're a fan of the Benchmark sound, or the measurements-first audio philosophy, you will probably love it. If you prioritize tonal and harmonic richness, and tend to prefer designs that don't use much global feedback, this is not the amp for you.
    • The RMX uses 5532 opamps for summing/buffering and voltage amplification, with a discrete output stage on the back end. Unfortunately, instead of using a local loop in the voltage amplification stage, the designers elected for 70+ dB of global feedback instead (makes the spec sheet look better at the expense of engagement).
    • I rolled the 5532's, which frankly kind of suck. The OPA2134 is better across the board, but doesn't transform the overall presentation of the amplifier. Stay away from the OPA1662 in this circuit; I tried it and ran into stability problems.
    • The best way I can describe the sound of the RMX is like a Class D amp with improved coherency (lack of digititus). It's linear, neutral, decently resolving but ultimately not a ton of fun to listen to.
    • My Adcom 535 is sort of the polar opposite. It's derived from a Nelson Pass design, so the output stage runs mostly in open loop. It's got kind of an incandescent glow, mellow and tastefully dark. Skews warm but not too much, a bit of bloom in the bass.
    • In comparison to the 535, the RMX is more resolving, more neutral, clearer, but the engagement factor is missing. Listening to music on the RMX is sort of like inspecting it under the light in a doctor's office. You can see everything, but it's not always pretty.
    • The RMX offers improved bass control. I prefer the low end on the Adcom, but it is tighter and cleaner with the RMX. Now that I've heard both, I want the best of both worlds. The resolution and control of the RMX, but the tonality and engagement of the Adcom.
    I don't want to exaggerate the coldness and slightly sterile nature of the RMX. It's not horribad, I just don't really want to listen to it. I will say, if you have colored sounding speakers that skew toward warmth on their own, then the RMX may be a better match. But I strongly recommend against pairing the RMX with neutral/uncolored (or bright) speakers. I suspect it would turn into a cheese grater with RP-600M's or the new LS50 Meta's. Having owned Class D amps in the past, it's striking how close QSC was able to make a Class AB amp sound to Class D (mostly without digititus or solid-state nasties, provided that you roll in something like the OPA2134). Whether or not that's a compliment depends on your own personal preferences.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 5
    • List
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
  14. uncola

    uncola Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    536
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Oahu, Hawaii
    so I've had a few class d amplifiers in my time.. ucd, iceedge, ti3255, digital amplifier company maraschino.. just got some Orchard Audio monoblocks that use gan transistors. large step up from all of the previous ones and the first that close the gap with my class ab kismet monoblocks.. just wanted to give them a thumbs up in case anyone was shopping for class d
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 8
    • List
  15. Metro

    Metro Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,227
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I'm curious about the ATC P1 Pro amplifier. Anybody have experience with it? It is a hefty 150W/ch AB amp made in the UK by ATC and recommended for driving their passive monitors. It is about half the price of Hegel H20 and I wonder if it has similar level of performance. The consumer (non-Pro) version has the same specs and was Stereophile Recommended Class A in 2015.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
  16. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,616
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    Paging @Psalmanazar ...
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
  17. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,750
    Trophy Points:
    113
    ATC is awesome. The amps are awesome but a ton of money and they look like two of the plate amps in a nice case. The 300w one is even juicier. I mean how can you go wrong with the amp unless you hate MOSFETs?
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  18. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,404
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    San Diego
    So much money, who makes a reasonably priced dual mono MOSFET amp these days?
     
  19. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,217
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Not terribly priced for a commercial product of this quality.

    [​IMG]

    Looks like good solid construction but not overly complex.

    Working on the low side of industry standard, I suspect. 5x markup. You could make something similar from a classic AB mosfet design

    AB100

    Ultimate 100

    Griddle amp

    USSA series

    There are many designs floating about that have stood the test of time and are highly regarded. The 100W designation is typically determined by rail voltage and most of these designs can be scaled with minimal additional cost. This should be DIYable for close to $700. Depending on how you build and where you source the chassis
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 3
    • List
  20. pechelman

    pechelman Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2019
    Likes Received:
    58
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Depending on how much power you need for your speakers and if you are willing to solder, you can build one of Nelson Pass' amps using pcbs and a chassis from diyaudiostore for under 1k no problem, even with full dual mono. Handful of pages back is an aleph j done this way.
     

Share This Page