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Crown 4|300N Amplifier Review

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 14 7.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 68 36.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 94 50.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 10 5.4%

  • Total voters
    186

Bartl007

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I have a CT8150 I am using at the moment and I find it to be quite good… and fanless.

I think your bar of 60dB is too low IMO. It seems to me it depends on a few things..
-How much of the SINAD (THD+N) is noise vs distortion. Noise is easy to hear.
-Listeners volume level. If you are listening at low volume, Low SINAD just isn't going to matter much all. Put a SINAD of 60dB that is noise dominated at reference level, it can certainly be a problem
-Sensitive speakers-put a SINAD device of 60dB that is dominated by noise on some highly sensitive speakers, can be a problem
-Room-Some people listen in a noisy environment like a living room with a high noise level. It is going to be hard to notice. However, many have went to a lot of trouble to have a very low noise floor and in these rooms noise can be very noticeable. For example in a well designed theater room, you can have 16 speakers, some within 3-5 feet. Hearing noise during quiet passages is not what you want to hear.
Does a device need to have a SINAD of 115dB to be transparent for everyone's use? No. But a SINAD 60dB in many circumstances will not be audibly transparent.
The beauty of using professional amps in a home theater/residential setting that many in this thread are overlooking is the availability of input voltage attenuator knobs. Few if any amps marketed towards residential/HiFi use have the ability to optimize gain stage at the amplifier level. Optimizing the source output voltage with the amplifier input voltage is a total crap shoot in most cases.

In my setup I use an AVR with user adjustable output voltage - set it as high as possible for undistorted ouput (thanks to the testing done by Amir)- then dial back the voltage with the input voltage attenuator knobs at the amplifier to eliminate any noise floor issues using high sensitivity speakers (in a room built for low noise/~NC20).
 

mhardy6647

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Just an observation: I am surprised & intrigued by the subcurrent of anti-pro-audio hardware evaluation running through this thread.
This site and its owner seem to have tested way more professional & "prosumer" equipment since I've been paying attention to it than any other "hobbyist" type hifi website of which I am aware.

Which is absolutely fine by me, FWIW (although seemingly not so fine for some other folks).
 

pseudoid

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Just an observation: I am surprised & intrigued by the subcurrent of anti-pro-audio hardware evaluation
Since I haven't been surprised and/or intrigued; would it be unusual -- here at ASR -- to request naming names to support your observation?:p
I also prefer industrial-grade hardware (with some limits)...
 

sjshuck

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Been lurking here for a couple years but made an account just to say thanks for reviewing this. I had toyed for a while with the idea of picking up the non-N version of the DCi 4|300 as a solution for a fully passive 2.2 system, since it has gone on eBay for as little as $700 here in the US. But I think I'll pass on account of the fan noise.
 

pma

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thanks -- I sort of assumed as much, but it just wasn't clear to me, and the issues around heat dissipation smacked of AB...
From these two measurements it is absolutely clear that it is a class D amplifier, poorly behaving class D amplifier.

78DFB795-074A-4F4D-A765-C2D3D2FDF859.png


99EE08E0-6C8D-4A64-A2A8-BB57D2C96B78.png
 

dlaloum

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I have a CT8150 I am using at the moment and I find it to be quite good… and fanless.

I think your bar of 60dB is too low IMO. It seems to me it depends on a few things..
-How much of the SINAD (THD+N) is noise vs distortion. Noise is easy to hear.
-Listeners volume level. If you are listening at low volume, Low SINAD just isn't going to matter much all. Put a SINAD of 60dB that is noise dominated at reference level, it can certainly be a problem
-Sensitive speakers-put a SINAD device of 60dB that is dominated by noise on some highly sensitive speakers, can be a problem
-Room-Some people listen in a noisy environment like a living room with a high noise level. It is going to be hard to notice. However, many have went to a lot of trouble to have a very low noise floor and in these rooms noise can be very noticeable. For example in a well designed theater room, you can have 16 speakers, some within 3-5 feet. Hearing noise during quiet passages is not what you want to hear.
Does a device need to have a SINAD of 115dB to be transparent for everyone's use? No. But a SINAD 60dB in many circumstances will not be audibly transparent.
Quite a few of the amps I have owned and / or heard have S/N of over 100db but SINAD in the 70's. I agree that S/N of worse than 80db would be unacceptable. - Hence it is important to be able to seperated THD from N... I don't mind a few harmonics peaking in the -70's db, I very much mind a noise floor anywhere near that!
 

HornBoi

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It looks like JBL Synthesis have their own branded version of the 8x300w and 4x600w versions of the Crown DCI amps. Only strange thing is that they did not include a DANTE input so it would match the digital multichannel output of their AV Preamplifiers. (It's possible to get a DANTE -> BLU-Link converter). I have 3x Crown DCI 2|1200n driving JBL M2 as LFR in my home cinema, this sounds great :)
 

pseudoid

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...(It's possible to get a DANTE -> BLU-Link converter).
Wouldn't this Crown Amp really need 4 of those converters?
Such add-on converters may cause latency and audio performance hits, that are already hovering around 16bit quality.
 

jhaider

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Wouldn't this Crown Amp really need 4 of those converters?
Such add-on converters may cause latency and audio performance hits, that are already hovering around 16bit quality.

BSS BLU-DA transcodes I think 32 or 64 channels from Dante to BLU-Link.

I am a little surprised JBL Synthesis hasn’t replaced those amps with the Dante variants, or added the Dante ones as additional models, given the processor I/O. Crown offers DCI in both interfaces.
 
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Been lurking here for a couple years but made an account just to say thanks for reviewing this. I had toyed for a while with the idea of picking up the non-N version of the DCi 4|300 as a solution for a fully passive 2.2 system, since it has gone on eBay for as little as $700 here in the US. But I think I'll pass on account of the fan noise.
I've used a lot of Lab Gruppen E4:2's amps. They had noisy fans. So, at the cost of £12 each, I swapped them out for whisper quite ones. I was paying second hand £110 for a Lab Gruppen E4:2 giving me 200 watts into 8 Ohms. Stack 6 of those to give me 12 channels for part of my Trinnov movie system. Go Pro all the way if you can. I've tested this against a Crown XLS and another amp. Using it for movies, can't tell the difference at all. It does not matter what it measures what matters is can you hear a difference.
 

HornBoi

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Wouldn't this Crown Amp really need 4 of those converters?
Such add-on converters may cause latency and audio performance hits, that are already hovering around 16bit quality.
Looks like Dante have 192KHz/32bits/channel, and BLU-LINK have 256 channels of audio at 48kHz, and 128 channels at 96kHz, both at 24bit. Soundweb London BLU-DA have a Latency of: 11/Fs [[email protected], [email protected]] for BLU-LINK and 0.15ms-5.0ms for DANTE. I think you only need one converter if you keep it below 256/128 channels of audio.
 

Archaea

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That's fine for PA, but not for the home listening purposes when you sit 1.5m - 2m from the speaker. I thought ASR was dedicated to home systems, not to PA systems. Have I missed something?
I use a pair of the 8|300N in my home system and like them quite a bit.

Hard to find 8x300 watts of reliable power (tested and true like Crown) in very many other vendor options. The cooling fans aren’t of any concern with my rack door (smoked window) closed. Why do I say reliable Crown power? Look in the amp closet of your local Church or club. Oftentimes you’ll see decades old Crown amps that just keep going and going with no maintenance whatsoever. Covered in dust, fans clogged — they don’t care. They are workhorses.

I’m glad Amir tested this line. I’m pleased with the results I see, and have been happy with my 8|300N amps. I did buy mine refurbished which helps makes more palatable initial cost.
 

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I use a pair of the 8|300N in my home system and like them quite a bit.

Hard to find 8x300 watts of reliable Crown power in very many options. The cooling fans aren’t if any concern with my rack door (smoked window) closed. Why do I say reliable Crown power? Look in the amp closet of your local Church or club. Oftentimes you’ll see decades old Crown amps that just keep going and going with no maintenance whatsoever. Covered in dust, fans clogged — they don’t care. They are workhorses.

I’m glad Amir tested this line. I’m pleased with the results I see, and have been happy with my 8|300N amps. I did buy mine refurbished which helps makes more palatable initial cost.
The point is, that is the express purpose of these amps... For cinema usage !! Unfortuantly a lot of snobbery exists in the hifi world. The amps are probably better built as they are usually manufactured for install purposes ( where things are put in and left on for 10 years ). I doubt most people could hear any difference betweeen this amp and a 'pro' amp. I'd rather use stuff in my cinema that is used by the professionals.
 

Chrispy

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The point is, that is the express purpose of these amps... For cinema usage !! Unfortuantly a lot of snobbery exists in the hifi world. The amps are probably better built as they are usually manufactured for install purposes ( where things are put in and left on for 10 years ). I doubt most people could hear any difference betweeen this amp and a 'pro' amp. I'd rather use stuff in my cinema that is used by the professionals.
Let alone most consumer amps....
 
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Let alone most consumer amps....
It's early... I meant consumer amps.... See, this is what happens when you have a 20 month old boy flying past you on his scooter... You loose concentration :-0

I did take him into my cinema yesterday ( at low volumes ), putting someone so young infront of a 3.5m wide screen and 18 speaker Trinnov system... Let's just say he was transfixed !
 

Chrispy

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It's early... I meant consumer amps.... See, this is what happens when you have a 20 month old boy flying past you on his scooter... You loose concentration :-0

I did take him into my cinema yesterday ( at low volumes ), putting someone so young infront of a 3.5m wide screen and 18 speaker Trinnov system... Let's just say he was transfixed !
Lucky kid!
 

srm51555

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Thanks for reviewing this!! I have had the 4|300N for about 5 years now running some DIY M2's. Not sure if this was covered but the DSP is analog in this unit and will need full input signal strength for the DSP to work properly, i.e. no preamp. I use the EC-V volume control which eliminates one more thing in the chain. Also the DSP is not as featured as a BSS standalone unit. The best thing about this amp is that it's part of a total system Crown/BSS offers with other items that can be added, but your also kind of stuck if you want to try other amps.

Support for the amp was good as well when I called BSS and Crown on the specifics on this amp. If my memory serves me right, I think this line of Crown Amps was chosen over the i-tech amps for home use by one of the designers for their M2.
 

Archaea

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One point of note I recently discovered. These amps are HEAVY on idle power draw.
In the manual it says these 4|300N draw about 120 watts at idle.

My 8|300N read just over 200 watts each at idle with my killawatt. In standby, it’s just 1 watt, but takes over 10 seconds to wake up from standby, so sleep mode is unusable for cinema or real world home theater use.

Since I have 2 of the Crown 8|300N, that’s just over 400 watts just for being turned on.

This made me measure my other amps that are in use in my HT system out of curiosity:
4x Behringer iNuke DSP 6000 - 54 watts each idle (220 watts total)
Behringer NX3000D - 34 watts idle (used for 12" tactile direct mounts subwoofers)
Crown XLS 802 - 28 watts idle (used for buttkicker advance)

In just my amplifiers alone - I have nearly 700 watts of idle power draw...
The rest of my rack with my processor, and bluray player, and streamers, and minidsp, and all in idle are about 110 watt.

So just turning my audio system on draws about 800 watts!!!
Turn on my Epson LS12000 projector and you've added significantly more.


@amirm , maybe idle power draw is something you should add to your amp testing bullet list?
 
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Bartl007

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One point of note I recently discovered. These amps are HEAVY on idle power draw.
In the manual it says these 4|300N draw about 120 watts at idle.

My 8|300N read just over 200 watts each at idle with my killawatt. In standby, it’s just 1 watt, but takes over 10 seconds to wake up from standby, so sleep mode is unusable for cinema or real world home theater use.

Since I have 2 of the Crown 8|300N, that’s just over 400 watts just for being turned on.

This made me measure my other amps that are in use in my HT system out of curiosity:
4x Behringer iNuke DSP 6000 - 54 watts each idle (220 watts total)
Behringer NX3000D - 34 watts idle (used for 12" tactile direct mounts subwoofers)
Crown XLS 802 - 28 watts idle (used for buttkicker advance)

In just my amplifiers alone - I have nearly 700 watts of idle power draw...
The rest of my rack with my processor, and bluray player, and streamers, and minidsp, and all in idle are about 110 watt.

So just turning my audio system on draws about 800 watts!!!
Turn on my Epson LS12000 projector and you've added significantly more.


@amirm , maybe idle power draw is something you should add to your amp testing bullet list?
I typically just turn off all the amps in the rack when not in use from the trigger out of my AVR using the Furman cn2400s :


Works great and prevents Inrush current from tripping breakers during start up as well.

I believe multiple crown dci/N amps can be daisy chained together using the sleep switch trigger on the back of the amp, though I haven't needed to use it with the above
 
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