Uh oh, Amp time again,

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  • AndrewM
    Senior Member
    • Oct 2000
    • 446

    Uh oh, Amp time again,

    Well, since I got such good advice the last time I asked questions about an amp here at HTG I figure why not come back for more. Right now I've got an Anthem MCA 2 (series 2), which I'm quite happy with. But it's time to move to the next level (or a few levels up). I've also got a small 20w Class A amp that I picked up used locally here and I must say that it does sound good, but it seems to run out of steam when the volume starts moving north. So here's a few things I'd like to stick to.
    Figure around 200watts per channel into a 4/5Ohm load, I don't really need that amount of power, but more just sounds good to me. The amp will be hooked up to a Focal Aria 7 TLR speaker system so a "brighter" sounding amp is probably not a good thing here.
    I'd like to have a nice big Class A amp, but I'm open to other topologies.
    I'd like to keep the budget under $2000, and I'm open to used stuff.

    So what's available, any recommendations?

    I've done a little hunting on Audiogon to see what's available (a lot actually), and a few things that have caught my eye are Classe, Krell (found some older KSA100's in my price range), Aragon, pass labs (pretty rare, lower power)...probably a few others I'm missing. I've seen Jon mention Ayre, but I haven't found to many of those for sale...any other recommendations?

    Andrew
  • Lex
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Apr 2001
    • 27461

    #2
    Used amps are like used cars. Everybody wants em, and there's a few good ones to be had.

    I like the Aragons, a rare Proceed, Krell maybe. But then you think, well, it's what sounds good with your speakers that matters and the fact your concerned about brightness tells me to approach this with caution. you might also consider Rotel or Parasound, but fairly warm amps with new prices within your grasp. I like my Parasound 1500A 2 channel amp that's 200 watts per channel to 8 ohms, and 315 per channel to 4 ohms. It runs a 4 ohm load nicely. Also has volume pots, nice binding posts, and is solid built.




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    Comment

    • KennyG
      Moderator Emeritus
      • Sep 2000
      • 745

      #3
      I side with Lex on the Aragons, I'm going to eventually own a 8008X3 and that's it, I wouldn't even think of any others.
      For a used price of about 16 or 1,700 there just aren't any better, it's only 3 channels, but once you own one, you won't be thinking of upgrading.
      The 8008X3 (or 8008st, 2 channel) can compete very well with the Krells of the world, and at a better price.
      I have never heard Proceed, but if you have and like them I know where there's a big 3 channel unit for about 2,300...give me an e-mail if your interested.
      Kenny

      Comment

      • JonMarsh
        Mad Max Moderator
        • Aug 2000
        • 15209

        #4
        Well, I'm practically a one man Aragon fan club, so in the range you're considering, a used 8002 might be good.

        Another possibility that turns up now and then is a used Ayre V3, an all FET design with inductor input power supply; there are mods done by the factory since the orignal introduction, so you'd want to check the status of it.

        Conrad Johnson solidstate is another possiblity; a smooth sound, not bright or hard, but fairly transparent.

        The ideal thing would be to audition anything you consider in your own system, but when you're shopping in this territory, that's tought- of the used Aragon's I've bought, the nearest one came from Sacramento, CA, about 100 miles away.

        Classe and McCormack are other ones to consider, but getting the power you want at that price might be difficult.

        If you want to calibrate your ears to what is possible in that power range with solid state, try to find a dealer carrying Ayre or Passlabs- listen to the Ayre V5, and the Passlabs X150. But be forewarned- you may well like what you hear. Too much.

        Regards,

        Jon




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        Comment

        • AndrewM
          Senior Member
          • Oct 2000
          • 446

          #5
          Keep the recommendations coming, here's a short list of stuff that I found on Audiogon...

          Mccormack DNA-1 Revision A (price reduced) Amp-Solid $2000.00
          McCormack DNA-225 Amp-Solid $2200.00
          MCCORMACK DNA225 200/200 POWER AMP Amp-Solid $1695.00

          krell kav 500 home theater amp Amp-Multi $2200.00 (not a big fan of the kav series)
          Krell KSA 250 Class A classic Amp-Solid $2500.00
          Krell KSA80B Amp-Solid $1750.00
          KRELL KSA-200 200 wpc Class A Amp-Solid $2250.00
          Krell KSA100S Power Amplifier Amp-Solid $1850.00
          Most of the Krell's are really old, the KSA series ended in what, 1992...

          Ayre V3 Stereo Power Amp Amp-Solid $1695.00

          Aragon/Acurus 8008X3 three channel 600 watt amp Amp-Multi $1500.00
          Aragon 8008BB dual mono 200wpc reduced!!!!!! Amp-Solid $1650.00
          Aragon 8008BB Dual Mono High Current Amp Amp-Solid $1800.00
          Aragon 4004 MKll Classic solid state Amp Amp-Solid $800.00

          Classe CAV-75 Black/Perfect/reduced Amp-Multi $900.00
          Classe' CAM200 Amp-Solid $900.00 (monoblock, so I need to buy another one)
          Classe 151 150WRMS power amp Amp-Solid $1600.00
          Classe Twenty Five 250 WRMS power amp Amp-Solid $1800.00
          Classe' Cav-150 Silver (new 03/2001) will consider trades! Amp-Multi $2450.00

          Mark Levinson 27.5 Amp-Solid $2300.00
          Mark Levinson No. 23 200 watts per channel Amp-Solid $2095.00
          Levinson #23 200w power amp Amp-Solid $2200.00

          Pass Labs X150 Amp-Solid $2495.00

          Plinius SA 100 Class A Silver PowerAmp Amp-Solid $2050.00
          MCINTOSH MC 300 CLASSIC POWER AMP Amp-Solid $2500.00
          Parasound HCA 3500 Power Amp Amp-Solid $1200.00

          Of course all of these are used, I'm waiting to hear back from Classe to find my nearest dealer, Pass Labs closest dealer is about 450miles away so no audition for me. I'll have to see about some of the others, some of the Classe stuff is about in my range for a new piece, but a little under my wanted power requirements, although with those effecient speaker I can bend a little on the power side.

          Thanks everybody and keep them coming.
          Andrew

          Comment

          • pf
            Member
            • Oct 2000
            • 83

            #6
            Andrew, I know the guy (Advanced Audio Tech) in NY who distributes Plinius. Not too long ago he offered to send me an SA 250 for audition. In fact, I still got all the pamphlet/review/spec sheet for all the Plinius products he sent me.

            Let me know if you are interested and I can hook you guys up. I think they carry three year warranty on their stuff.

            PF

            Comment

            • Nate-Dogg
              Junior Member
              • Sep 2000
              • 20

              #7
              I think you're looking at some great amps!

              My number one suggestion would be to get a used LLANO Trinity amp. I recently picked up the small A-100 and it is a major change in mt system.

              As you may know the LLANO is a hybrid amp with a tube stage and a 100 watt Class A dual mono solid state output stage.

              If you're looking for warm sounding musical amps I think Classe or the Mccormack DNA's would be great. Although it's been said that the DNA-125 sounds better than the 225.

              I would try for the brands I mentioned !

              Comment

              • Bob
                Senior Member
                • Jul 2000
                • 802

                #8
                Andrew,
                I am not familiar with your speakers, so that makes about anything I say worth exactly.02 cents at best. However, I have owned lot's of amps, many that are on your list. Two things I can comment on that are probably worth more than two cents, Krell makes great amps but are not for someone that is trying to add warmth to a speaker system, and if you are only concerned about HT get the most power for the lowest price. If you listen to a lot of music, then the nueances of your amp will matter but, not for movies. Right now I have three different amps in my system, Theta Dreadnaught, Jeff Rowland 112, and a Aragon 8008 BB. I listed them in order of sound quality for my tastes in my system. I have had Audio Research, Krell, Classe, Jeff Rowland Mono blocks, Sunfire, and I have a home made SET amp. I only list these to let you know that I have listened for long periods to a verity of amps that, used, would be around your price range.
                Now for my two cents as to what you might want to buy. First choice, if you can possibly find one, any of the BEL amps. Chances of finding one used is somewhere between slim and none. A new one often takes a 6 month wait. BEL amps are favorites of audiophiles including good old HP of The Absolute Sound. These amps are around $2000 and I did a direct comparison to my Rowland amp and the BEL was the winner, listened to them on Audio Physic Speakers which are a bright sounding speaker. Second choice, Rogue amp. Another great sounding amp that can tame bright speakers. I personally am considering a pair of Rogue mono blocks myself. I never thought that I would go back to tubes but, in direct comparison with my Dreadnaught the Rogue consistantly gets my attention, at a fraction of the price.
                Good luck.

                Comment

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