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Simple question -- Is Behringer A800 'inferior' for 'high end' speakers like LS50 Meta? Or is it 'good enough'?

rongon

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I was lucky to pick up a Behringer A800 amp on super-sale for very little money, about a year ago.

I have a hoard of smaller passive speakers, including Snell Type J-III (ca. 1990), Sonus Faber Concerto (ca. 2000 version), JBL Studio 530. I also recently purchased a pair of JBL 308P Mk2, which I regret buying (muddy in the mids).

I want to get a better pair of passive speakers, perhaps a pair of ELAC Debut Reference DBR62, or even a pair of KEF LS50 Meta.

I've noticed that the A800 has a crisp, sort of 'electronic' sound to it compared to the tube amp I was so fond of 20 years ago. Perhaps I have bad taste and I like rolled off highs and added 2nd harmonic distortion. Could be.

My listening room is small, my volume needs are low, I don't need low bass below about 50Hz. I sit about 4 feet from the speakers, so pretty much nearfield by home audio standards.

OK, so the questions:

1) Is the humble Behringer A800 capable of driving a difficult speaker like KEF LS50 Meta, or will the A800's shortcomings limit the results?

2) Is the Topping PA5 II or the 3E Audio board a major step up in sound quality from the A800? Is the A800 a rougher, more 'electronic' sounding amplifier than those? Or have we reached the point of diminishing returns with amplifiers? Does it matter that the A800's 19kHz/20kHz IMD sidebands measured at -70dB while the PA5 II's IMD sidebands measured at -100dB? Can anyone actually hear that difference? A800 SINAD is 77, PA5 II SINAD is 105. Is that audible? Does that have anything to do with smooth sounding treble, clear sounding midrange (voices, violins, etc.)?

3) Do I really need hundreds of watts of power from the amplifier to drive LS50 Meta or similar difficult speakers? I figure the real issue is for the amp to be able to source enough current into 2.5 ohms without current limiting at sustained output levels of 5W to 10W into the speaker. The rest is headroom. The A800 was shown to be able to deliver over 200W continuous into 4 ohms. Does that infer that it can easily supply 5W into 2.5 ohms without current limiting?

Since the 3E Audio board and the Topping PA5 II look so superior to the Behringer A800l, it got me thinking that they might sound obviously superior in real life. But do they, really?
 

fpitas

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fpitas

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I doubt the A800 will be a problem. Your speakers and room will, like usual, be the limiting factor.
 

DVDdoug

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The A800 was shown to be able to deliver over 200W continuous into 4 ohms. Does that infer that it can easily supply 5W into 2.5 ohms without current limiting?
Yes.

...But I like that you used the word "infer" because you can't always know what an amplifier is going to do under unspecified or untested conditions. ;)

If you are "current limited" you'll get proportionally less power at lower impedance/resistance. (If you are voltage limited you'll get proportionally more power with lower impedance.)

Power (Wattage) = Voltage x Current
Power = Voltage squared / Resistance
Power = Current squared x Resistance

With normal program material you won't have continuous maximum power at the frequency of the speakers minimum impedance... You won't have continuous maximum power, period.
 

ErLan

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Per my experience (kef ls50 + A800) the A800 is well capable to drive those speakers with no limitations. As mention before quality will result from room, displacement, eq, and for me, a subwoofer.
 
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rongon

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"It's Ohm's *law*, not Ohm's recommendation, or Ohm's suggestion!"

Right, it was that ASR review of the A800 that got me to whip out my credit card, so I could have a decent baseline amp to work from.
It was being unloaded for only $200 new. 200+ watts per channel for $200?? I couldn't resist.

I've had a Hafler P1000 class AB amplifier for the longest time. It makes 'only' 50 watts per channel, but it has nice heatsinking and looks to be well made (in the USA, even). When I swap that amp in place of the A800, I hear a slightly 'warmer' presentation with somehow 'softer' high frequencies, but also more 'mud' in the midrange (fast drum fills sound a bit muddled, male vocals sound a little fatter, bass sounds a bit looser). I think the A800 actually sounds better overall, but it has more of an 'icy' sort of 'electronic' edge to the highs. However, these are exceedingly minor differences, and are far overshadowed by the differences between the various speakers.

I wonder if someone will come along saying they can hear obvious differences between a lowly A800 and the new budget SINAD champion PA5 II... That would ruin my day.
 

AltoVariago

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I own a pair of LS50 in a secondary setting. First I was driving them with a NAD D3020, then I switched to a Powernode n130. The quality of the sound increased greatly. I also tried other very expensive amps I have in my main rig, I can tell you that these speakers are very revealing.
 

BDWoody

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I wonder if someone will come along saying they can hear obvious differences between a lowly A800 and the new budget SINAD champion PA5 II... That would ruin my day.

Of course they will. Just ask for actual evidence. No one will have anything but claims...

Relax and enjoy.
 

fpitas

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I wonder if someone will come along saying they can hear obvious differences
This is Audio Anecdote Review. Right?

/;)
 

mhardy6647

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This is Audio Anecdote Review. Right?

/;)
Yup.
That's why we see the Jaw Dropping Panther on the best products.
:D

I have heard rumors that @amirm has been haunting eBAY searching for a "Literally Wiped the Floor with" Panther -- but these are anecdotal and cannot be substantiated. :cool:
 

phoenixdogfan

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For the longest time I drove my OG LS 50's with a Behringer A500 (the A800's predecessor). It puts out around 125 WPC into 8 ohms. Cost me $160 on sale on Amazon. It was fine. When I bought LS 50 Metas, I moved my OG LS 50's and the A500 to surround duty, and put together a Purifi Eigentact Eval 1 from parts for the L-R. I suppose I maybe kinda notice the sound seems smoother, less gritty, but I'd be hard pressed to maintain that's the amp's doing, rather than the speakers, the additional of dual SVS SB 2000 subs, and the upgrade to Dirac Live Bass Control multichannel.

Bottom line is I think you can enjoy the Meta LS 50's with the A800 for years, and if you get the upgrade itch, you will probably find a way to repurpose it.
 

kemmler3D

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Based on Amir's review of the A800 you're going to have to stress test the amp to hear any problems. I think it's possible in theory you could pick out the IMD or THD if you specifically set out to do so, but by the same token, it will probably be essentially impossible to pick out any problems in normal listening conditions.
 

NoMoFoNo

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Refreshing to see threads like this in an audio forum, wherein the OP hasn't been flooded with "those LS50 Metas won't truly shine until you feed them with XXX".
 
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