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Power Amp for use with Wilson Sabrinas on $3k Budget

Urushi

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I want to buy a new amp to replace an Anthem MCA50 I have been using with my Wilson Audio Sabrinas. My budget is 3k. I need something that has an auto on/off feature. What would you recommend? I am not sure I need an integrated amplifier. I currently run the MCA50 off of a Sonos Port.

The Wilsons have 4ohms impedance. The MAC50 supposedly does 265w to all channels at 4ohms.
 
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Urushi

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I definitely like the size of the a23+. Is there something nicer in a similar form factor (but also $3k). I wonder if there is a place that would let me demo it at home.
 
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MasterApex

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I would get new AHB2 or used Levinson 333.
The AHB2 has sufficient power to crank up 802D3 to 95dB without clipping.
 

Matias

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MasterApex

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If thermal not an issue and "life-like" dynamic reproduction of life recording (SACD) classical music is priority, I would avoid Class D Amp.
It compressed the sound dynamic compared to good amp like AHB2 or Levinson.
If it is just used for home theater movie and thermal is a challenge, a good high-end Class D is a good compromise.
 

NTK

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If thermal not an issue and "life-like" dynamic reproduction of life recording (SACD) classical music is priority, I would avoid Class D Amp.
It compressed the sound dynamic compared to good amp like AHB2 or Levinson.
If it is just used for home theater movie and thermal is a challenge, a good high-end Class D is a good compromise.
Uh-huh!
 
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Urushi

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The Benchmark AHB2 is $3K. It doesn't have anywhere the power output of the Parasound gear although it has incredible specs and tested here at ASR very well.
This looks nice too. The unit is really small. Does a class A amp use a lot more power? I'm just curious because my electric bill is like $800 already.
 

Doodski

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This looks nice too. The unit is really small. Does a class A amp use a lot more power? I'm just curious because my electric bill is like $800 already.
It depends on the class A amp you are looking at. Some will draw lots of power just sitting there quiescent and others not so much.
According to Benchmark. "Unlike power-hungry class-A amplifiers, the AHB2 achieves a power efficiency that rivals that of a Class D (switching) power amplifier."

Benchmark's specs for the AHB2:
  • 100 to 120 VAC +/- 10%, 8 Amps, 50 - 60 Hz
  • 220 to 240 VAC +/- 10%, 8 Amps, 50 - 60 Hz
  • Idle Power Consumption = 20 W
  • Standby Power Consumption < 0.5 W
 

nerdoldnerdith

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What is the limiting factor of the MCA 50 that you are trying to overcome? That is a very nice amplifier.
 

dfuller

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Does a class A amp use a lot more power?
Yes - it burns a ton of power idling because the active elements conduct all the time and the idle current draw is quite high. Plus, the efficiency is terrible (i.e. it uses a lot more power than it puts out and wastes the vast majority as heat). To me this makes them unsuitable for power amps, but for line level or lower voltage amps (i.e., mic preamps, phono stages, active preamps, and so on) they're actually a pretty good solution.
 
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Urushi

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I tried the Parasound a23+ and unfortunately the MCA50 was noticeably better to my ears and the ears of those I tested it with. I am not sure why but the MCA50 was less muddy and had much more punchy bass than the Parasound a23+.

So I am still searching for an amp. I think I could make the new MCA525 Gen2 work if I had too but I still would prefer 2U vs 3U.

The Benchmark is interesting but I am wondering if it is not enough power?
 
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Urushi

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What is the limiting factor of the MCA 50 that you are trying to overcome? That is a very nice amplifier.
No limiting factor. Another room needs the 5 channels and the room with the Sabrinas only needs 2 channels.
 

Slayer

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I tried the Parasound a23+ and unfortunately the MCA50 was noticeably better to my ears and the ears of those I tested it with. I am not sure why but the MCA50 was less muddy and had much more punchy bass than the Parasound a23+.

So I am still searching for an amp. I think I could make the new MCA525 Gen2 work if I had too but I still would prefer 2U vs 3U.

The Benchmark is interesting but I am wondering if it is not enough power?
I'm with you on the Anthem MCA amps, i chose mine over parasound amps also ( I do have a Parasound Pre i kept)
I've tried and went through a few amps over the last 40 yrs or so and Anthem has just been the cleanest neutral sounding amps in my experience.
I have been so impressed, I just sent my MCA 30 in to get a full recap after 20 years off hard duty. Should be back to me any day. I was shocked how reasonable the repair price was. I gave them the ok to go through and repair anything that might need to be done. For less than $250 it will be just like a brand new amp again.

So if your needing a new 2 channel amp, why not stick with Anthem. Get either their new top dog STR or the MC 225. Either will be stellar in performance.
 
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