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Recommend me the best stereo amp under $1000?

Wavez

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I have a PS Audio stellar s300 right now that I'm considering replacing with one of these new Class-D Hypex or Purifi based amps.
The PS sounds good to me, but it seems I could sell it and get something slightly better for the money.

My speakers are rated for 150w @ 4ohm, and 88db sensitivity.
I'd prefer a silver, full size chassis, but can live with anything else.

Any recommendations for around $1000 or less (could maybe stretch my budget a bit). Also, if some new module is slated to come out soon that may be worth waiting for, let me know. Thanks in advance, I've been reading about these modules for hours and my head is spinning! I could use more experienced advice.
 
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Wavez

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What model are your speakers?
Depending on which side of the pinned you are: @boXem | audio or @Buckeye Amps will have you covered
I'm in the US, and my speakers are B&W Matrix 2 Series 2: https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/bowers-and-wilkins/matrix-2.shtml
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paulbottlehead

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You definitely don't need 150W with those speakers. An amp that's about 50W/8 and 100W/4 would be more than enough. There's a lot of love here for class D amps, but you really have a lot more flexibility.
 
D

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I've got a @boXem | audio Purifi amp and it's outstanding. But they're European so perhaps @Buckeye Amps (USA) would be simpler in this case.

You should be able to afford a decent hypex build from either (that said, I haven't checked). The Purifi modules measure better than the Hypex do, but most of the differences are likely beyond the abilities of human ears.
 
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Wavez

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I wouldn't mind a more powerful amp just to future proof for any other speakers I have down the road as well.
You definitely don't need 150W with those speakers. An amp that's about 50W/8 and 100W/4 would be more than enough. There's a lot of love here for class D amps, but you really have a lot more flexibility.
 

f1shb0n3

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Amir’s review of Stellar S300 shows good performance, only potential concern being noise with sensitive speakers, but if you don't hear it means that's not a problem for you. Power will be sufficient for your speakers and probably most future upgrades. If you are suffering from a serious case of upgraditis (as we all had at some point) make sure to evaluate if the upgrade actually provides a benefit by doing a proper voltage-matched A/B comparison. That's the objective audiophile way :)
 
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Wavez

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I'm aware I probably won't hear a difference, but the more I hear about PS audio, let's just say I'm not a huge fan of the company. Also looks like I could pocket a couple hundred dollars difference vs the equivalent Buckeye amp.
 

Shazb0t

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If you're thinking of selling it and picking up a @Buckeye Amps Hypex or Purifi stereo amp for less money then I think that makes total sense. That's what I'd recommend you do, especially if you can cover the cost of a new one by selling your PS Audio amp. Personally I'd go for the NC502 because I like having its mix of performance/power. But certainly the lower powered Hypex and Purifi will also perform well.
 

tvrgeek

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Just keep your existing amp. You're unlikely to hear a difference.
Maybe, PS adds their own buffer which has their "added sonic signature" Maybe snake oil advertising or maybe added distortion which may or may not be pleasing to you. Certainly the un-molested Purifi and Ncore will be technically cleaner, measured as such herein, but sonically preferable? Only by living with one would you know for your ears, real or imagined. It is still your satisfaction that matters.

Have you played with small changes in eq? +/- 1 dB marching across the band. I find solo female voices to be the most obvious to "correct". Play them at a realistic level, as if the person was in the room with you. My personal experience with your B&W's is they are way too bright. You may be blaming the amp on an EQ problem. Less than 1 dB between 3 and 4 K can make a huge difference in the sound. Try it.

If you can't borrow a candidate amp, save up for better speakers. Yours are excellent, but the best speakers out there are still terrible relative to electronics. Don't ask me what the best are, as I can't afford even one step higher than my own and I can hear faults with speakers costing ten times as much.

Let people tell you what they hear, not what you will hear.
 

dlaloum

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Reports from other B&W Matrix2 owners, are that they tend to like more power than is immediately apparent - probably due to crossover related phase and impedance load...

In the UK people have paired them with some success with (now vintage) Quad 606 / 707 / 909 current dumping amps - should be available under US$1000 quite easily...

I would suggest opting for amps that provide 100W to 150W rms (or more) into 8 ohm... and which get close to doubling down into 4 ohm and then into 2 ohm.... the last spec is the most telling - and amp that is 100W at 8ohm should be around 400W into 2ohm.

Most amps don't even quote 2 ohm, and many will either self destruct with that kind of close to short circuit load - or they will self protect and shut down.

So any speaker with a difficult load (crossover!) - check amp specs (or review measurements) of output capabilities into 2 ohm loads.

Given reports of good results with the 100 to 150W range amps - typically you would be looking for an amp that can put out between 350 and 550W rms into 2 ohm.

Due to similar issues with my speakers (Gallo 88db/wm, impedance drops to 1.6ohm) - I have run them very successfully with Quad 606 / 707 (140w/ch rms 8 ohm) and with Crown XLS2500 Drivecore (the latter is completely over the top at 1200W/ch into 2 ohm.... I don't "crank" them - not into overly loud... but it works great, and at the time cost me less than $300 used.

Key thing is to make sure that whatever amp you choose is rated down into 2 ohm .
 

paulbottlehead

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The weird thing about all this is that the speaker manual for those says 6.5 ohms minimum.

I'd say find a fun integrated from around the same time period as the speakers.
 
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Wavez

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My b&ws are definitely a bit brighter than neutral, though much less bright than the modern b&w speakers I've heard recently. I'd love to experiment in with eq more, but it's not possible in my current setup. What I did instead is run everything through a Don Sachs tube preamp (ASR collectively gasps ), which smoothed out the high end really nicely, and I love the tone it imparts, at the expense of a higher noise floor. And if I want to listen to a bare neutral system I have nice studio monitors in my studio.
 

ahofer

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March Audio p252. Works for me.
 

drewdawg999

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I just got the March Audio P502 and it's fantastic. Outstanding clarity and resolution. Actually seems to be out of stock atm on their website but maybe you can nab a deal on a used one like I did. You'll be future proofed to drive any loudspeaker, like my inefficient Vandersteens and Maggies.
 

tvrgeek

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The weird thing about all this is that the speaker manual for those says 6.5 ohms minimum.

I'd say find a fun integrated from around the same time period as the speakers.

Not weird at all. It is a conventional dynamic speaker competently designed. Not terribly efficient but the suggestions one needs a 2 Ohm cheap PA amplifier is a bit off the mark. That gentleman has a unique drive problem the OP does not. As much as a PA amp is not exactly hi-fi, it probably beats a Quad 303 by a mile!

Too bad the "purists" drove features like tone controls off our systems. Fortunately, JDS and Schiit make outboard quite reasonably.
I moved to host based and do my small tweaks with EQ APO which allows that narrow Q testing. Shame as I have listened to several newer speakers that may be very nice, if one just had a good old tone control. But the boutique stores are too worried about using a level to adjust the speakers on their spikes and fighting the fire hose they use for cables.
 

tvrgeek

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I just got the March Audio P502 and it's fantastic. Outstanding clarity and resolution. Actually seems to be out of stock atm on their website but maybe you can nab a deal on a used one like I did. You'll be future proofed to drive any loudspeaker, like my inefficient Vandersteens and Maggies.
I keep hoping I hear a bad word about them to save me the cost, but alas, no luck. :)
 
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