With all the chatter and varying opinions on getting an external amp for a HT/music system, and having a surplus of holiday funds, I thought it was time to see what its all about. I guess that's part of being an audioholic, experimenting with new gear just for the fun of it.
Unpacking and pre-setup:
When you first lay your hands on the P2500S you realize the quality is well above the consumer level, hey it's pro audio, so it should be! The weight, quality of the knobs and overall build appearance is top notch with all the indicators you need and not much more. Before getting this baby fired up I needed to make two RCA to 1/4" TRS cables and used a set of Neutrik NP3C for the job which are very nice connectors. So after a few minutes at the soldering station and a quick double check of the connections with the meter, I wired it up and was good to go.
Using Yamaha's YPAO, I setup the P2500S attenuators to match the output that my AVR previously produced to within about 1/2 a db. This corresponded to a attenuator setting of one level less than 3db, it's not labeled but I gather its 2db, on the amp. The rest of the YPAO settings remained basically unchanged and I ran through the distance, level and PEQ curve settings to confirm. Note I didn't compare every PEQ setting, just the general visual curve the OSD showed. Post calibration I listened for any additional noise that might have crept in but none was detected. I also listened during the amp's power on/off transitions and thankfully there is no "bump" to the speakers.
This is the highly subjective part that I tried my best to provide accurate, unbiased feedback .... if that's even possible. For these tests I listened to my Energy RC-70 fronts alone (music), with the sub (music) and finally with the sub and surround speakers (music and movies). I also had my trusty SPL meter in hand just to verify the SPLs were in my normal listening range. During the tests I also kept an eye on the clip indicators on the front panel and never noticed them light up.
Using a fairly wide assortment of music, both in genre and quality, I sat down for a fair number of hours of semi-critical (but enjoyable) listening over the past week. While I "feel" there might be a slight change related to mid-lower frequencies but there really isn't enough of a difference worth noting and I couldn't put my finger specifically on what was different.
I tried two BR movies so far with the P2500S in place, Tron Legacy and Terminator Salvation, both of which I find have very appealing DTS-HD Master sound tracks and have watched more than once ... ok, maybe too many times. I did tend to feel there was a positive improvement in the louder more dynamic scenes. Once again I had the same impression during the more active Terminator Salvation scenes, like a bit more drive was available. I really don't know for sure but maybe this effect has more to do with the transition to all channels being driven and the P2500S can deliver a faster response but that's a big guess.
So what is the end result of adding 14kg 250W amp to my system? At the end of my trials the results were pretty much what I expected, there definitely was no night and day difference in my setup. Sure there might be some situations that warrant looking at an amp but I'm just not seeing any reason to get one for the average HT/music setup. While I'm going to keep the P2500S hooked up for now, I may repurpose it later on for a 2nd zone or a standalone 2.0 music setup, time will tell.
What Receiver are currently using? power output?
Did the P2500S fans ever come on and if so were they silent?
Are the power/signal indicator lights annoying or subtle?
Thanks for the review
Pre: TAS Processor Eq: DCX 2496 Power: Ebony 4x250, Behringer EP4000, A500 Source: Sony DVD Front: Tag 2.6 Center: n/a Rear: Yamaha NS-225 Subs: Whise 624
I'm using a Yamaha HTR-8063 (basically a rebadged RX-A1000) which has a 20Hz-20kHz 105W output.
The 2500 only has one fan and there is no sound from it at all. Standing right in front of it after hours of use it's completely quiet, not even positive if the fan came on but I think I felt an ever so slight draft out the back one evening. Also, temperature wise, the unit has only ever gotten "warm" and mainly on the right side of the unit.
The LEDs on the front are fairly bright, a fair bit brighter than the LEDs on the DSP1124 which is sitting on top of the amp but I don't find them distracting. I have the amp sitting directly to the left of my plasma TV and I didn't even noticed it was there when I watched a movie last night. They do provide a slightly tinted cover (I haven't put that on yet) that goes over the attenuators and signal/clip LEDs but not the power LED.
Your conclusions are quite common.
IMO what could change the sound is the preamp. Inside avr usually are not the best, you should try a more capable one.
Thanks for the input but I'm very happy with the setup as it is. The avr specs are well beyond my hearing and/or needs so I don't see any reason to go with a preamp.
Thanks for the review man, found it very helpful(: