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Behringer A800 Stereo Amplifier Review

LTig

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Now I would like to buy a pair of b&w 603 s2 anniversary, [..]
Regarding the mediocre objective performance of some B&W speakers you might think about this again.
 

Saabale

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Yes I've just watch the amirm review. Now I'm sad. I've listen a few speakers, like kef q750 and wharfedale evo 4.3. I find the b&w very interesting ...but maybe I was wrong. Driven by Hegel -> rubbish drive rubbish.
So where do I find suggestions to buy a new floorstand speaker in that price range? Any tips? In Europe.

Regarding the mediocre objective performance of some B&W speakers you might think about this again.
 

LTig

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Yes I've just watch the amirm review. Now I'm sad. I've listen a few speakers, like kef q750 and wharfedale evo 4.3. I find the b&w very interesting ...but maybe I was wrong. Driven by Hegel -> rubbish drive rubbish.
So where do I find suggestions to buy a new floorstand speaker in that price range? Any tips? In Europe.
If it needs to be a passive speaker look for Elac. I think @amirm has measured a bookshelf speaker with good results.

  • The Q750 has only one active 6.5" woofer (the other two are passive) so won't be as powerful as it looks.
  • Both the Evo 4.3 and the ELAC Debut Reference DFR52 have two 5" woofers which roughly compares to one 6.5" woofer.
  • The 603S2 has two 6.5" woofers which roughly compares to one 8' woofer.
I'd rather recommend to go for a 3-way active speaker with an 8" woofer like the Kali IN 8. If you add the budget for the power amp you don't need to buy to the budget of the speaker the choice may be larger.
 

Saabale

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If it needs to be a passive speaker look for Elac. I think @amirm has measured a bookshelf speaker with good results.

  • The Q750 has only one active 6.5" woofer (the other two are passive) so won't be as powerful as it looks.
  • Both the Evo 4.3 and the ELAC Debut Reference DFR52 have two 5" woofers which roughly compares to one 6.5" woofer.
  • The 603S2 has two 6.5" woofers which roughly compares to one 8' woofer.
I'd rather recommend to go for a 3-way active speaker with an 8" woofer like the Kali IN 8. If you add the budget for the power amp you don't need to buy to the budget of the speaker the choice may be larger.
Thanks. Yes I know kef trick... And 5" woofers for me isn't enough so I think I'll exclude elac.
I was sure I will buy Adam tv8 some months ago...happy to know this 3-way active that surely sound better than 2-way with 8".
Maybe I'll open another thread we are ot!
 

hansik

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Thanks. Yes I know kef trick... And 5" woofers for me isn't enough so I think I'll exclude elac.
I was sure I will buy Adam tv8 some months ago...happy to know this 3-way active that surely sound better than 2-way with 8".
Maybe I'll open another thread we are ot!
I don’t think there is a rule that 3-way sounds better tha 2-way. Everything depends.
 

LTig

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I don’t think there is a rule that 3-way sounds better tha 2-way. Everything depends.
3-ways have lower IMD and may not suffer from serious directivity problems without waveguides.
 

EdTice

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One volume control per channel? Changing volume is going to be fun!

Responding to an old post because I can't believe this wasn't answered and since I just bought the amp and may end up bumping this thread anyway.... Per the fine review (TFR), the volume knobs have detentes to make them function more like a stepping control even though they are pure analog. Uh.. its a gain control, not a volume control. Volume should be controlled by your processor mixing board.


Gain control is used so you can build ideal gain structure for your situation. It's actually the reason I bought this amp is so that I can fuss with the gain structure to run the AVR closer to full-bore without losing my hearing.
 

arn

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Somebody tried the bridge via the speakon? If i understand well, can i use the existing cable on the channel b without any channel crosslinking (like at the banana)?

After the naim xs on my medium sized 10” monitors the a800 was really impressive - big, dynamic, “live” sound. now i try an ahb2, which is great, but not from every aspect like it more - be honest i expected more for the 20x price. If i wont keep it, i want to try the a800 bridge.
 

EdTice

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Somebody tried the bridge via the speakon? If i understand well, can i use the existing cable on the channel b without any channel crosslinking (like at the banana)?

After the naim xs on my medium sized 10” monitors the a800 was really impressive - big, dynamic, “live” sound. now i try an ahb2, which is great, but not from every aspect like it more - be honest i expected more for the 20x price. If i wont keep it, i want to try the a800 bridge.
The manual is completely silent on this. The only way to be sure is to set it up and measure to see if you are getting the full power that you expect while bridged. But I have no idea why you would want to use bridged mode if audio quality is your goal. The amp can put 400 watts into 4ohms without bridging and you get 32/40db of gain (depending on whether input is balanced or unbalanced). I run mine significantly attenuated.
 

arn

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The manual is completely silent on this. The only way to be sure is to set it up and measure to see if you are getting the full power that you expect while bridged. But I have no idea why you would want to use bridged mode if audio quality is your goal. The amp can put 400 watts into 4ohms without bridging and you get 32/40db of gain (depending on whether input is balanced or unbalanced). I run mine significantly attenuated.

The only reason, this is the cheapest amp to try out these things, how does it effect the dynamic working of the amp. It could be useful experience for more expensive amps.

I think this is the only clue… but what does it mean? Just which pins are connected?

AAA74491-F220-4549-A5EF-C67314F081FD.jpeg
 

EdTice

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The only reason, this is the cheapest amp to try out these things, how does it effect the dynamic working of the amp. It could be useful experience for more expensive amps.

I think this is the only clue… but what does it mean? Just which pins are connected?

View attachment 175878
Yeah so my guess for bridged mono is that one connects the input to channel B and then uses the red terminals for bare wire. But for the speakon connectors, I have no idea. Sorry I can't be helfpul.
 

EdTice

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The only reason, this is the cheapest amp to try out these things, how does it effect the dynamic working of the amp. It could be useful experience for more expensive amps.

I think this is the only clue… but what does it mean? Just which pins are connected?

View attachment 175878
Of course I still don't see what is to be gained here. To put 800 watts into 8 ohms you will need 80 volts of output which is a full 32db of gain from 2V in. Good news is that this amplifier can provide that. (It can actually put out 40db of gain against unbalanced). What are you using as an input source? And do you have speakers that can handle such a thing? Are you driving a passive subwoofer?
 

arn

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I am curious, what changes in the sound (over the obvious parameters), i do not need 800 watts.

my current setup is adi2, ahb2, klh5
 

EdTice

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I am curious, what changes in the sound (over the obvious parameters), i do not need 800 watts.

my current setup is adi2, ahb2, klh5
Well then we already know what will happen. You have speakers with a recommended amplification of 200 watts. If you compare the Behringer to a Benchmark amp costing 3x as much you will have more noise and distortion. Likely not that noticeable at low volumes. If you use the amp bridged, both of those will increase. But you'll be able to put out 4x the rated power of your speakers. They will sound great right before they get damaged. I don't think I want to be a further part of this.
 

arn

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Well then we already know what will happen. You have speakers with a recommended amplification of 200 watts. If you compare the Behringer to a Benchmark amp costing 3x as much you will have more noise and distortion. Likely not that noticeable at low volumes. If you use the amp bridged, both of those will increase. But you'll be able to put out 4x the rated power of your speakers. They will sound great right before they get damaged. I don't think I want to be a further part of this.
I can compare just the a800 and the ahb2, what i have. In the eu the ahb2 costs 20x more, and technically the ahb2 is better, sonically i prefer the a800 in this setup, i wont keep the ahb2.
 

EdTice

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I can compare just the a800 and the ahb2, what i have. In the eu the ahb2 costs 20x more, and technically the ahb2 is better, sonically i prefer the a800 in this setup, i wont keep the ahb2.
Comparing the two and deciding whether the ahb2 is worth the extra money is a good plan. But the way you are trying to compare them doesn't make sense. You want to compare the amps in their best sounding configuration. You don't want to go out and intentionally make them sound bad and then do the comparison.

I think that you may need to learn a bit about gain structure in order to do this. The ahb2 has a gain from 9-23dB depending on where you set the switch. The Behringer A800 can go from (about) 9dB to 32dB depending on where you set the dial.

Are you running the ahb2 in bridged mono? If you are, that would mean you have two of them. Stop doing that and send one back!

I did notice that, from the Benchmark specs, the amplifier seems to do as well or better in bridged mode. This is interesting because it's unusual. Most amplifiers don't work as well in bridged mode. I can't find specifications for the A800 in bridged mode but, unlike the unusual benchmark amp, you are going to be losing audio quality. But, more importantly, if you run the Behringer at 40dB of gain vs the benchmark at 23dB of gain, you are going to be sorely disappointed. In order to save your ears, you will have to run the DAC or preamp at such low power that it's SINAD will be poor mostly due to the noise floor.

This could quickly turn into a lesson on gain structure which makes no sense as that stuff is already available on the internet and Google is your friend. But it remains that, if you want a meaningful comparison, you need to set them up properly. And they are different amplifiers with different characteristics. If you lack the desire or ability to get them setup correctly, the results will only show which amp sounds better when somebody doesn't bother with a proper setup.
 

arn

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I am really happy, that you try to tell me which works well in my system :) I played enough with the input/output sensitivity combinations, the adi2 also can drive in four different levels, and every dac/amp output/input combinations sounds different.

The ahb2 is a very nice sounding amp, but i think it fits better to smaller highend montitors with smaller dynamic resolution (eg kef ls50). If I do not have the a800, i am a happy ahb2 owner now, but the a800 showed it’s weakness, i would expect a better amp from every aspect for this price, not just from the distorsion, noise, etc aspect. It drives my speakers similar than my naim ab amp, just less colored and more refined.

Probably the class d is the better choice here, i will go on this way. Try out more refined class d amps or just keep the a800, it has a really transparent, live, cheerful sound.

This is an underrated amp, it wont show too much, if you try to put similar level components, it needs a really good source and high dynamic resolution speaker (medium, big monitors with 10-15 inch woofer) to show its potential, anyway it will sound crappy.
 

EdTice

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I just ordered my second A800. Per the marketing material for this (and most Behringer amps), there is "SmartSense Impedance Compensation" blah blah blah. Does anybody know what this actually is? Not that it matters, I'm happy enough with the amp to order a second one. It drives my Linn Keilidhs such that it looks easy. I'll probably get flamed for this but the Linss driven by this amp sound as good as the JBL 530s driven by my Denon X3600hs internal amplifiers!
 

hansik

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I just ordered my second A800. Per the marketing material for this (and most Behringer amps), there is "SmartSense Impedance Compensation" blah blah blah. Does anybody know what this actually is? Not that it matters, I'm happy enough with the amp to order a second one. It drives my Linn Keilidhs such that it looks easy. I'll probably get flamed for this but the Linss driven by this amp sound as good as the JBL 530s driven by my Denon X3600hs internal amplifiers!
Dont worry, mine sounds very very similar to my ncore nc252mp with JBL 9320. I ordered 3 of them for 155€ per piece. Unbeatable value.
 

Andysu

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View attachment 43258

Its distortion products are capped to -80 dB which is what we see in A800. Eliminating those power supply components sharply improves SINAD which is relative to sum of noise and distortion:
I don't like the harmonic frequency distortion it vexes me.
Behringer EPQ 304 quad 4 ch amp has some chronic harmonic frequency distortion that vexes me and I may change the amps for my JBL HF horns eventually as hearing the harmonics vexed me so much last night.
 
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