KEF LS50 Amplification - Crown XLI2500?

F

funbobby

Audiophyte
#1
What's the general consensus on Crown pro amps for "audiophile" applications, especially the Class AB XLI series with the large toroidal transformers (rather than the XLS series Class-D amps that use DSP)?

If they are highly recommended and fantastic bang for the buck, would the XLI2500 be overkill? Since the LS50's seem to really love lots of power, would getting one each be overkill? What about the XLI1500?

If there is better out there and these aren't recommended, what would be options that really bring the most out of the LS50's?

I got a pair of LS50 for $900. While I could get amps like the Benchmark AHB2, NAD M22 or the like for around $2500+, or amps like Peachtree Nova150 or Rogue Audio Sphinx and the like for about $1500, isn't there a general rule that you should put the bulk of your money into speakers rather than amplification? If so, it would seem like spending 50% to 250% more on amps for $900 speakers may not make that much sense.

Then there are amps like the Outlaw M2200 monoblocks, NAD BEE series amp, Outlaw RR2160 receiver, etc. under $1000...

What would be the best route to take? Wouldn't I be better off putting in another $2K into much better speakers than into an amp for the LS50's?

Lastly, what about the LS50W? Would that maybe be the best, most optimal option for the least amount? I hear great things about it because it's specifically tuned amplification for the LS50, as the engineers intended. But I worry about the reliability issues I've read about them... and I'd like to keep the speakers for longer than 5+ years, so it concerns me that the electronics could fail at some point.

Thanks in advance for your experienced input!
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
1,045
#2
Those speakers can't handle more than 128w/106dB if KEFs specs are to be believed. Also, there is no such thing as "power hungry" speakers, at least not that I've ever seen quantified. At 1 meter, they require 1w to produce 85dB.
What AVR/Receiver/Pre-Amp are you using? How far are you sitting from them?
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
858 8 1
#6
Pick up whatever amp you like and run the speakers you got for a good while. Then try other speakers so you know what you might be giving up or gaining.
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
932 2
#7
What's the general consensus on Crown pro amps for "audiophile" applications, especially the Class AB XLI series with the large toroidal transformers (rather than the XLS series Class-D amps that use DSP)?

If they are highly recommended and fantastic bang for the buck, would the XLI2500 be overkill? Since the LS50's seem to really love lots of power, would getting one each be overkill? What about the XLI1500?

If there is better out there and these aren't recommended, what would be options that really bring the most out of the LS50's?

I got a pair of LS50 for $900. While I could get amps like the Benchmark AHB2, NAD M22 or the like for around $2500+, or amps like Peachtree Nova150 or Rogue Audio Sphinx and the like for about $1500, isn't there a general rule that you should put the bulk of your money into speakers rather than amplification? If so, it would seem like spending 50% to 250% more on amps for $900 speakers may not make that much sense.

Then there are amps like the Outlaw M2200 monoblocks, NAD BEE series amp, Outlaw RR2160 receiver, etc. under $1000...

What would be the best route to take? Wouldn't I be better off putting in another $2K into much better speakers than into an amp for the LS50's?

Lastly, what about the LS50W? Would that maybe be the best, most optimal option for the least amount? I hear great things about it because it's specifically tuned amplification for the LS50, as the engineers intended. But I worry about the reliability issues I've read about them... and I'd like to keep the speakers for longer than 5+ years, so it concerns me that the electronics could fail at some point.

Thanks in advance for your experienced input!
Well for one like Ryanosaur stated what are your speakers specs? How much RMS can they handle. What does it take to get them to hit reference levels? What's there limits? There tuning point when do they roll of?

How far back do you sit? What's your room size? All these questions and more need to be answered before you think about amps

Too big a room and any speaker will sound like crap no matter what your driving them with. If the speakers not up to the situation extra power won't help

Amps don't change the sound. They just if they are a good amp allow the source to be reproduced accurately at higher levels. But only if the speaker can really handle it.

That's why you need to really know your speaker and the room before you decide to go with amps.

Your right to think of investing more money into better speakers rather then amps since amps don't change the sound if one is needing to add amps to make the speaker sound better you might just be better off investing in better speakers first.

I've been there it's a slippery expensive slope to head down

An amps an amp most amps when not pushed to there limits sound relatively the same. I've used pro amps and home audio amps and liked them all just fine. Couldnt really tell the difference. Although I go with Emotiva right now over the pro amps just the Gen 3 is lighter to move around runs a bit cooler and sounds just as good as any other amp that's built well. The pro amps require A bit more finesse and work to integrate into a home audio setup. I get too lazy so I stuck with the Emo but the Crown amps sounded great

Id love to try Monoprice but man those beasts get heavy don't want to lug them around. A lot of your least expensive options you listed such as outlaw audio would more then fit the bill if they are needed
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
858 8 1
#8
I believe I can hear slight differences in amps. It's certainly not the profound differences I hear between various speakers and subwoofers, but I swear it's there.

I like what I like, and perhaps there's a good bit of psychoacoustics at work but it makes my enjoyment that much better when I can afford it. Of course it is a personal values thing, most importantly. If it means more to me than another to have certain equipment, that translates to almost every spending level (the lowest garbage excepted, that's never a good use of money.)

If someone likes a $20,000 amp, they can easily afford it, feel they can hear the difference and it brings their enjoyment of their music that much better, who am I to judge? The office system I have with $5k worth of gear (spent under $3k) and my first "higher end amp" looks and sounds glorious to my ears and mind. Does it sound that much better than a $150 pair of JBL bookshelf speakers, a $50 Lepai amp, and a Speedwoofer? Perhaps incrementally so but it brings me nearly as much joy to look at it as it does to listen with it.

Of that list, I like the sound of the warmer NAD (C356 or 388) BEE amp together with the neutral sounding LS50's.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Seriously, I have no life.
Ratings
7,394 19 6
#10
What's the general consensus on Crown pro amps for "audiophile" applications, especially the Class AB XLI series with the large toroidal transformers (rather than the XLS series Class-D amps that use DSP)?
I believe the general consensus is that most people don't want to use ANY KIND of pro amps for their audiophile systems.

For people who have actually used pro amps in their systems, I believe the consensus is that it doesn't matter whether it is class A/B or class D when it comes to sound quality. And the sound quality of these pro-amps is significantly comparable to audiophile amps.

I've compared the Crown XLS and Yamaha PX3 vs other audiophile amps. I don't think there is any significant difference in sound quality. However, I still cannot convince myself to replace my Yamaha MX-A5000 or ATI AT2005 amp with any pro-amps even if they sound identical. :D

However, I would take the Yamaha PX3 over some popular consumer amps that some people have considered to be "audiophile".
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
Ratings
3,000 18 1
#11
If they are highly recommended and fantastic bang for the buck, would the XLI2500 be overkill? Since the LS50's seem to really love lots of power, would getting one each be overkill? What about the XLI1500?
Gross overkill, unless you're looking to do something like this. A competent 100wpc amp will deliver all the juice the LS50's can realistically handle.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,764 11 6
#12
Gross overkill, unless you're looking to do something like this. A competent 100wpc amp will deliver all the juice the LS50's can realistically handle.
I gotta agree with Steve81. I heard these speakers one afternoon at my house. A friend had brought his pair. We plugged them in, using my 200 wpc B&K amp, and compared them to another pair of small 2-way speakers I have. I normally listen to those 2-ways with an older 100 wpc amp in a bedroom upstairs. The LS50s were very nice sounding, but they certainly did not need a 200 wpc amp, or more. Any amp that delivers an honest 100 wpc will do well.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
1,045
#14
More important: is there a topical ointment for that?

I honestly don't have a problem with them, but i think its a mix of affordability and huge numbers. I looked up one random dealer site that was selling the XLI dude was interested in and the wattage rating they emphasized was the bridged mono into 4 Ohms! :eek:o_O:rolleyes: Not stereo into 8 ohms. *shrugs I can only imagine what would happen to those poor KEFs if each one got juiced with that much!
 
JerryLove

JerryLove

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
687 2
#15
I believe I can hear slight differences in amps. It's certainly not the profound differences I hear between various speakers and subwoofers, but I swear it's there.
It's likely imagined; but it's not impossible.

Amplifiers can behave differently when, for example, capacitance is high. Some work fine, others catch on fire, most are somewhere in-between.

IME: there can also be issues with speakers have very low ohm dips and rapid swings in resistance. I had trouble getting good sound out of my B&W 801s with most amps and I suspect the time they spent below 2ohm likely to blame.

So yes, it's possible for limitations or issues with the amp to affect sound. It's not *supposed* to, and I'd consider it uncommon/edge case, but it does happen.
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#differences
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
932 2
#17
I know for myself in my experimenting phase it was largely about low cost. Compared to more conventional home theater gear. Low weight on the Crown XLS and small size and they run so cool and usually at least for me quiet. And they put out a lotta power for what you pay. A lot.

They take some work and know how putting them into home theater tho. So the lazy side just went back to using home theater amps

But the pro amps sound really good though
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
858 8 1
#18
We'll turn the other cheek as long as it's only slight. :D
Well, to my ears I'm hearing more detail and the LS50's seem to behave smoother (less brilliant yet still excellent highs) with the 100w/ch NAD M10 than they did with the 60w/ch Bluesound Powernode 2. I might think it's the difference between the M10's ESS Sabre DAC and the Powernode 2's Burr-Brown PCM5122 DACs, all DAC's sound the same too, right?
 
JerryLove

JerryLove

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
687 2
#20
Well, to my ears I'm hearing more detail and the LS50's seem to behave smoother (less brilliant yet still excellent highs) with the 100w/ch NAD M10 than they did with the 60w/ch Bluesound Powernode 2. I might think it's the difference between the M10's ESS Sabre DAC and the Powernode 2's Burr-Brown PCM5122 DACs, all DAC's sound the same too, right?
These are both streaming players. There's a lot more room for things to be different between the two.

Is it a bluetooth connection? Is there a bandwidth or CODEC difference that's creating a different bitrate choice?

It's *still* most likely not a difference between the two devices; but when you are discussing the entire chain from streaming receiver to speaker terminal; there's far more room for difference then when just discussing amp.
 

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