• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

DIY Floor Speaker - Help Me Choose a Stereo Amp

WeBuild4Life

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2023
Messages
26
Likes
15
Hi All,

I will start by saying I've read every review regarding Stereo Amps on ASR and I think I am having a bit of choice paralysis. It may be a bit of chasing the wrong stats as well.

Here is my Criteria:
1. Either a stereo unit, or two mono that can drive 250-400watts a channel.
2. Around the $1500USD range
3. "Sounds great!"

I will be:
1. Building and driving the Elsinore Loud speakers which are ~92db across the entire frequency range.
2. Using A90d preamp, which is hooked to a D90le.
3. Wiring everything via balanced connection.

Right now I think I am looking at the NCX500 but I am iffy about class D? I think I want to stay in A/B but I am researching why/why it doesn't matter.

https://www.nordacoustics.co.uk/product-page/nord-one-ncx500dm-mkii-dual-mono-stereo-amp

(side note... is it worth upgrading to the https://www.nordacoustics.co.uk/product-page/nord-one-se-nc1200dm-stereo-amp? I am over budget but could just wait a bit before buying it.)

My issue with these are class D.

Originally, I was looking at the Vidar 2, but apparently this is not measuring that great.

The LA90 looks promising, but my issues are petty
1. I already run the topping a90/d90 and want diversify my hardware bit.
2. It may be "too dry" I like that for headphones but really want to have an enjoyable speaker system.
3. I don't love the looks
4. I feel I need more power (I don't but yeah, stick with me here).

What I feel I want is a chunky big amp like the Vidar 2, but something that doesn't measure poorly. I am not sure why, those big components make me feel like it sounds better, but obviously we know that isn't the case.... or is it?

Some other choices I looked at:
1. https://emotiva.com/collections/amps/products/xpa-dr2
1a. I really like this on paper, but Amirm measured insane levels of distortion, but he said it may or may not be audible. No clue with Class H is good/bad.
2. https://www.crutchfield.com/S-Z5mIYICYAAM/p_313A23PS/Parasound-Halo-A-23-Silver.html
2a. I have a friend who likes Parasound but he got dealer pricing, and there isn't much info about them. Deff on the low power side.
2b. I Can get this for $1440. 20% off! Reviews on here seem to say it's pretty good. But not enough power? maybe enough??

Some Closing comments:
1. If I am wrong about needing this much power let me know, and if you could direct me to why I'd appreciate it. Everything I've read does mention you want as much overhead as possible. I do plan to drive these speakers LOUD (louder than comfortable) just to show off occasionally and maybe for parties if I move these to my great room. So having power on tap is important to me.
2. Do I really need A/B? Is class D "good enough" can you even hear a difference? Class H??
3. The LA90 seems good, but I am worried that it will sound too dry. Is this even a thing? Am I thinking like someone who buys silver cables?

Thank you all, I appreciate it!

@staticV3 feel free to take a read if you don't mind :).
 
Last edited:
OP
W

WeBuild4Life

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2023
Messages
26
Likes
15
When you say "sounds great!", what do you mean? Are you looking for an amp that is accurate, or are you looking for something with a touch of euphonics?

Jim
Hi Jim, it really is a hard thing to answer. My biggest complaint with most setups I've heard (like at today's expo) was that the mid range was muddy, as was the bass, and that the timber of instruments didn't sound all there. There was a haze over most of these systems, like it wasn't fully resolved and like pianos sounded artifical, not real. Sound stage was never an issue. I do not mind tones that are warm, but if I wanted to add coloring I can just EQ. In that regards, the topping is probably the best and I can artificially change the sound if if I want.

A harder question to answer is: If the LA90 measures so great, why would I choose a Parasound A23+, or a vidar 2 (if it measured better) or the Class D Hypex chips? Is it just different cuts of steak that all taste great, but some may prefer the ribeye and others the filet?

Thanks!

Edit: Heard back from my vendor for topping stuff they can give me 10% off my order (due to a previous issue with another order). Makes it $1600 for the pair.
 
Last edited:
OP
W

WeBuild4Life

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2023
Messages
26
Likes
15
The effects you heard could easily have been bad acoustics. That's the main reason to listen to speakers at your own venue.

Other than that, I think you're right about the ribeye vs. filet. If you wish, you might ask Joe Rasmussen for his opinion; it couldn't hurt.

Good luck! :)

Jim
I have gratefully talked with everyone over on the DIY forum and I think this is going to come down to a matter of live and learn.

I am partial to the topping as of this moment, but that may change in the AM! haha.

Just wish we had parasound measurements.

Actually, I did find them here but I am not sure how to read this:


"Power output at 1% THD+N: 191.9W @ 8 ohm" so 1% THD at max power, vs the LA90? I am not sure how to read Amirm's graphs to compare.
index.php
 

Waxx

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
1,866
Likes
7,422
Location
Wodecq, Hainaut, Belgium
If you go to a Ncore or Purifi based amp (even the old series NCore) the class D does not matter anymore. Take this from a tube amp lover that was also very hesitant to go to class D. You won't have the harmonic distortion (but from your post i think that is not what you're need) but for the rest they don't have the issues that older or lower quality class D amps have. So i would say, take the plunge and go for an Ncore build like that Nord Acoustic or one of Boxem of Audiophonics (whatever is easier or cheaper to get, they all are more or less the same technically). Those are on a level you won't hear it's class D, and they sound a lot like the better class AB amps while being cheaper per watt, more efficient and cleaner in sonud. The only reason not to go there would be if you want some harmonic distortion or have speaker that need a low damping factor. But the Parasound or the Topping LA90 won't give you that neighter.

I have an Audiophonics now, standing next to my class A amps in my main rack driving some MLTL speakers i made myself and they are great and sound musical, not sterile. The more powerfull models can fit your budget.
 
OP
W

WeBuild4Life

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2023
Messages
26
Likes
15
have an Audiophonics now, standing next to my class A amps in my main rack driving some MLTL speakers i made myself and they are great and sound musical, not sterile. The more powerfull models can fit your budget.
So this Audiophonics is great. I did like the Nord stuff but was too expensive to me for those class D modules (nearly $900 more bc of conversion). Looks like Audiophonics packages the same stuff in a more conservative chassis for a much lower price! Measurements are great too, and my friend said I might as well try the Class D stuff.

Looks like this will be a great contender.
 
OP
W

WeBuild4Life

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2023
Messages
26
Likes
15
Ended up buying the AUDIOPHONICS LPA-S400ET Class D . Thank you everyone. Hope to enjoy it soon!
 
Top Bottom