Need advice on affordable stereo amplifier

  • Thread starter Fishbowl Dominc
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Fishbowl Dominc

Audiophyte
I'm new and don't know a lot on home audio systems... What brands are good, what are priced reasonably, etc... Basically I was looking for a stereo amplifier that can power my custom made full range 3way passive crossover stereo system that is sitting on top of my home computer desk...

Some other information that might help:
*4ohms each channel(my current setup)
*130-200 watts rms (higher the better) per channel
*Budget range 100-500 dollars
*Preferrably rack mountable
*Decent specs... >200 damping factor, <.5% thd at rms, >100 db stn ratio, w/o cooling fans or w/ fans but quiet

Any advice would be greatly appreciated
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Home equipment doesn't come rack mountable. That puts it squarely into the pro audio range.
That said, Crown XLS1502 should meet your asking. It has fans but would only operate at the highest loads.
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic Ninja
yeah given your relatively low budget and rack mounting you are rather limited. If you can forget the rack mounting a nice used Adcom might fit the bill
 
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Fishbowl Dominc

Audiophyte
this is what I'm powering... I can switch between aluminum or silk tweeters if I want. The 6.5" mid-bass woofers and 5.25" mid-range woofers are in seperate sealed enclosures. The mid-bass woofer alone can take 100 watts RMS...
 

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Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
You didn't specify whether you were looking for an integrated amplifier (preamp + power amp) or just a power amp.

In my opinion, for desk top use, you don't need 130 watts to drive your speakers. The recommended one below will give you a peak output of 140 watts on a 4 ohm load.

It's an affordable stereo integrated amplifier from a reliable brand selling at under $350. It comes with a remote control. You can get it from Crutchfield or Amazon:

 
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Fishbowl Dominc

Audiophyte
You didn't specify whether you were looking for an integrated amplifier (preamp + power amp) or just a power amp.

In my opinion, for desk top use, you don't need 130 watts to drive your speakers. The recommended one below will give you a peak output of 140 watts on a 4 ohm load.

It's an affordable stereo integrated amplifier from a reliable brand selling at under $350. It comes with a remote control. You can get it from Crutchfield or Amazon:

Not sure I need a preamp... I running off my sound blaster ZxR rca line out to TRS 1/4" connectors on my current amplifier. I know it outputs more voltage than a standard sound card... as of now I am running them off an EP2000 amp that I got long time ago for 300 dollars when the dollar wasn't worthless. Seems to run fine ATM. But the fan noise a little too much, so that's the main reason I getting a new one. Plus, I'll be using the EP2000 in bridged mode to power my 2 12" subs if I want to have some extra bass.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
Not sure I need a preamp... I running off my sound blaster ZxR rca line out to TRS 1/4" connectors on my current amplifier. I know it outputs more voltage than a standard sound card... as of now I am running them off an EP2000 amp that I got long time ago for 300 dollars when the dollar wasn't worthless. Seems to run fine ATM. But the fan noise a little too much, so that's the main reason I getting a new one. Plus, I'll be using the EP2000 in bridged mode to power my 2 12" subs if I want to have some extra bass.
Then the Crown XLS 1002 is probably your best option taking into account your planned budget:
Several of the members here use Crown amps and the fans don't normally run unless they drive the amp to very high levels. At very high levels with this amp, you will blow your speakers first.

Crutchfield give you the option to return it within 60 days if you're not satisfied.
 
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Fishbowl Dominc

Audiophyte
Thanks for all the advice.

There is also another version of the crown amp, the Crown Audio XLi 800... I have a feeling it's a Class AB (don't think they sell on crutchfield)


Any opinions on sound quality between the class D and class AB... I've always heard that class AB amps sound better or more natural... I don't know if that's just another audiophiles' predisposition...
 
witchdoctor

witchdoctor

Full Audioholic
Thanks for all the advice.

There is also another version of the crown amp, the Crown Audio XLi 800... I have a feeling it's a Class AB (don't think they sell on crutchfield)


Any opinions on sound quality between the class D and class AB... I've always heard that class AB amps sound better or more natural... I don't know if that's just another audiophiles' predisposition...
The ONE feature that will consistently make an amp sound better is built in room correction, like the Martin Logan Unison amp, $300 on their website.
 
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fmw

Audioholic Samurai
Not sure I need a preamp... I running off my sound blaster ZxR rca line out to TRS 1/4" connectors on my current amplifier. I know it outputs more voltage than a standard sound card... as of now I am running them off an EP2000 amp that I got long time ago for 300 dollars when the dollar wasn't worthless. Seems to run fine ATM. But the fan noise a little too much, so that's the main reason I getting a new one. Plus, I'll be using the EP2000 in bridged mode to power my 2 12" subs if I want to have some extra bass.
You could disconnect the fan. It isn't necessary for the modest current used in home audio.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
Thanks for all the advice.

There is also another version of the crown amp, the Crown Audio XLi 800... I have a feeling it's a Class AB (don't think they sell on crutchfield)


Any opinions on sound quality between the class D and class AB... I've always heard that class AB amps sound better or more natural... I don't know if that's just another audiophiles' predisposition...
You've heard some inexact info. All well designed either class AB or Class D amplifiers, sound the same provided they are operating within their designed limits.

The newer XLS series amps are using the Class D output topology and are renowned to perform well. They don't heat as much, as the Class D design is very efficient compared to the Class AB one. That explains why their fans don't usually turn on with normal use. This is why I suggested the XLS 1002.
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Not sure I need a preamp... I running off my sound blaster ZxR rca line out to TRS 1/4" connectors on my current amplifier. I know it outputs more voltage than a standard sound card... as of now I am running them off an EP2000 amp that I got long time ago for 300 dollars when the dollar wasn't worthless. Seems to run fine ATM. But the fan noise a little too much, so that's the main reason I getting a new one. Plus, I'll be using the EP2000 in bridged mode to power my 2 12" subs if I want to have some extra bass.
Well that's a power amp you've got, seems you're doing fine with your sound card....why not just change the fan out to a quieter one if it still works otherwise and save the money? Altho if you need to use it as a sub amp then you're still in the market I suppose. I have several of the XLS amps, very quiet, and the one in my bedroom is only about 8 feet from me, the ones in the living room are a bit further away but never any fan noise issues for me....seems the XLi has been reported with noisier fans IIRC (and is class AB, the XLS is class D, and no, it doesn't make a difference particularly). At your budget I think the XLS would work well (and I'd get the 1502 or above, better snr spec than the 1002)....
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
Well that's a power amp you've got, seems you're doing fine with your sound card....why not just change the fan out to a quieter one if it still works otherwise and save the money? Altho if you need to use it as a sub amp then you're still in the market I suppose. I have several of the XLS amps, very quiet, and the one in my bedroom is only about 8 feet from me, the ones in the living room are a bit further away but never any fan noise issues for me....seems the XLi has been reported with noisier fans IIRC (and is class AB, the XLS is class D, and no, it doesn't make a difference particularly). At your budget I think the XLS would work well (and I'd get the 1502 or above, better snr spec than the 1002)....
The XLS 1502 is over his planned budget. IMO, it's also way too powerful for his bookshelf speakers.

Someone has to sometimes make compromises.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
The XLS 1502 is over his planned budget. IMO, it's also way too powerful for his bookshelf speakers.
He may have to go used at his budget in any case. $530 seems a going price for a new 1502 these days, tho. Good sense in use of the volume control can help out with the power in any case....I've used mine on a variety of speakers with varying power handling capability without issue.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
this is what I'm powering... I can switch between aluminum or silk tweeters if I want. The 6.5" mid-bass woofers and 5.25" mid-range woofers are in seperate sealed enclosures. The mid-bass woofer alone can take 100 watts RMS...
You can power those speakers with anything you want, and it will make not a wit of difference.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
The XLS 1502 is over his planned budget. IMO, it's also way too powerful for his bookshelf speakers.
1502 has a bit better spec than 1002 (like snr), and it's on occasional sale for $500. Even at its current price, it isn't far from OP's price point.
Not sure I need a preamp... I running off my sound blaster ZxR rca line out to TRS 1/4" connectors on my current amplifier. I know it outputs more voltage than a standard sound card... as of now I am running them off an EP2000 amp that I got long time ago for 300 dollars when the dollar wasn't worthless. Seems to run fine ATM. But the fan noise a little too much, so that's the main reason I getting a new one. Plus, I'll be using the EP2000 in bridged mode to power my 2 12" subs if I want to have some extra bass.
a) EP2000 was introduced back in 2010. Due to inflation, it would be worth about $408 in today's dollars. So not worthless.
b) If you're bothered about fan noise, you could just fan-mod the amp and save a heap of "worthless" dollars. See instructions here:
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
1502 has a bit better spec than 1002 (like snr), and it's on occasional sale for $500. Even at its current price, it isn't far from OP's price point.
I agree with you about the slight price difference. However, are you telling me that you would hear a -100 dB compared to a -106 dB SNR? If -100 was that bad, do you think Crown would have released the XLS 1002 on the market as is?
 
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