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Reasonably priced amp recommendation

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#1
Hey all! I've been really enjoying reading the reviews on this site. I've learned a lot!

I've been tossing around the idea of buying a 2 channel amp. Part of the reason is to lessen the load on my AVR, part of the reason is "just cause" :) The Benchmark AHB2 looks fanstatic, but is way out of my price range. The Emotiva A-300 is more my price range at the moment, but it hasn't been reviewed here. Is there a good amp around the price of the A-300 I should look at, or do I really need to step up to the ncores and benchmarks to get something decent?

I have a Denon AVR-X3300W AVR. Since it hasn't been reviewed here I can only guess to how good its amp section is. I also have no idea how good the line outs are on it. If the line outs aren't much better quality than the built in amps, I don't imagine buying a better quality amp will do much for me. If the Emotiva didn't measure better than my AVR then it would be a waste of money. I don't mind getting something if it's a reasonable price and a step up from what I have, so I figured I'd pick y'all brains and see what you think :) I have Revel F35 speakers and I'd like to get the best of out of them that I can.
 

Putter

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#2
Hey all! I've been really enjoying reading the reviews on this site. I've learned a lot!

I've been tossing around the idea of buying a 2 channel amp. Part of the reason is to lessen the load on my AVR, part of the reason is "just cause" :) The Benchmark AHB2 looks fanstatic, but is way out of my price range. The Emotiva A-300 is more my price range at the moment, but it hasn't been reviewed here. Is there a good amp around the price of the A-300 I should look at, or do I really need to step up to the ncores and benchmarks to get something decent?

I have a Denon AVR-X3300W AVR. Since it hasn't been reviewed here I can only guess to how good its amp section is. I also have no idea how good the line outs are on it. If the line outs aren't much better quality than the built in amps, I don't imagine buying a better quality amp will do much for me. If the Emotiva didn't measure better than my AVR then it would be a waste of money. I don't mind getting something if it's a reasonable price and a step up from what I have, so I figured I'd pick y'all brains and see what you think :) I have Revel F35 speakers and I'd like to get the best of out of them that I can.
From Audioholics review:
Denon AVR-X3300W Preamplifier Measurements

One thing I really love about Denon receivers is they NEVER skimp on their preamp out circuits. Like past models, the AVR-X3300W had an ample amount of drive. I measured a whopping 4.5Vrms unclipped output, which is more than double the voltage needed to make virtually any amplifier reach full rated power.


I'd say using the preamp outs is a good idea. AFAICT there isn't an AV receiver that won't benefit from auxiliary amplification. I have the 3300 and have to say it run warm/hot even using the preamp outs. In fact I even added a laptop fan atop the receiver which has kept it running cool. As for the source of extra amplification, I've used older AV receivers with separate preamp and power amp sections. In my case an NAD T748 which was given to me and a Harman AVR80 which was $50 used because it only had Dolby Surround.

Since your budget is likely higher than mine (and it's unlikely AV receivers will fall into your lap:D, separate power amp(s) are likely the way to go. I wouldn't get to stressed about minor differences in distortion since most amps are essentially transparent when operated within their power limits.
 
OP
lonewolf
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Thread Starter #5
I'd say using the preamp outs is a good idea. AFAICT there isn't an AV receiver that won't benefit from auxiliary amplification. I have the 3300 and have to say it run warm/hot even using the preamp outs. In fact I even added a laptop fan atop the receiver which has kept it running cool.
Good to know I'm not the only one using a laptop cooler on top of their AVR,. Keeps everything nice and cool :) I don't know how clean the pre-outs are on my AVR. If they aren't very clean, getting a good amp might be wasted.


what is your budget, $$ wise ? would you buy used ?
I was looking at the Emotiva A-300, which is about $420 US right now. I don't have the budget for something like a Benchmark or Ncore, but somewhere around the A-300, or a little more, would be up my alley. I don't mind used although it's extremely hard to find used in the area I am in.
 

digicidal

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#8
It's a little higher than the A-300, and likely not too fantastic an amp measurement-wise (though certainly not bad either) but the PA-1's I have in my office are quite competent... even when I let them loose (after everyone else has gone home for the day).

Should measure quite similarly to the PS Audio S300 amp - but only costs ~$630/pair (vs. $1500 for the S300). Won't look quite as nice, but for >$800 in savings I'd say almost anyone could get over that difference. ;) Of course, this all depends on whether you're biased against Class-D, so if that's the case then disregard my post.
 

anmpr1

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#9
Hey all! I've been really enjoying reading the reviews on this site. I've learned a lot! I've been tossing around the idea of buying a 2 channel amp. I have Revel F35 speakers and I'd like to get the best of out of them that I can.
If you like to build something, this seems to be a pretty good deal. It may not have enough huff for your speakers, though. Not sure it can be easily bridged.

I thought about ordering one, just to do it. But it would wind up in my closet with a lot of other gear I have no use for.

https://www.akitika.com/akitikastore.html#GT-102K
 

RickSanchez

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#10
Isn't there a low power mode that can be used with the pre-outs?
The AVR-X3300W has what Denon calls "Eco Mode". The marketing copy from Denon isn't super helpful on what Eco Mode is actually doing, but I personally found this thread helpful:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-r...86-denon-s-eco-mode-what-does-do-exactly.html

From post #6 of that thread:
Response By Email (NJ Customer Service & Support) (10/11/2016 12:08 PM)
Hi Michael,


When ECO Mode is used, voltage for the amp stage decreases about 1/3 and amplifier stage energy loss decreases about 1/6 compared to ECO Mode being OFF.

It is recommend when using external amplification to leave ECO Mode set to ON. This will reduce power consumption to less than 70W.
When using ECO Mode ON at lower volume levels (under 45 Absolute) power consumption is about 1/2 as compared to leaving ECO Mode OFF. This is useful if using the AVR at night and you do not want to disturb others.


When using ECO Mode Auto, the circuit will control the power supply voltage by a relay. If the volume level is more than 45 Absolute the circuit will cut off. If the volume is less than 45 Absolute the circuit will switch on automatically. If listening at the threshold level (45) you will hear the relay clicking on and off frequently. Voltage for the amp stage does not change here, so power consumption would be the same as normal.

Thank You,
D+M Custom Install
Anecdotally I've read that Eco Mode can reduce operating temp by 10-15 degrees F.
 
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