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Amp suggestions for klipsch f-2s

 

New member
Username: Shankarc

Post Number: 1
Registered: Nov-15
hi - i am looking for some suggestions here. i have a set of klipsch f-2 (synergy series) floor standers that i bought several years back in india. back there, i used these with nad 325s. this was the best i could go for at the time with the budget and the options i had. now after moving countries, i left the nad behind (being a 220v device). i am looking for a good amp that would go with the klipsch, and at that, one that would also go with a speaker upgrade at some point (dont know what that will be). it sure needs to be a step up from nad+klipsch. i do not have much experience here and most am a dire straits/mark knopfler listener, with some of the other usuals thrown in (pf, eric clapton, some blues and reggae, classical). like rich sound that i can feel physically. any suggestions? thanks!
 

New member
Username: Shankarc

Post Number: 2
Registered: Nov-15
budget ~ usd 1000 or less.
any suggestions for good customer-friendly audio shops in the south bay area would be very useful too!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18105
Registered: May-04
.

Virtually any amp with only a handful of watts can drive the Klipsch speakers. Due to their high electrical sensitivity spec, they are frequent partners with small five watt class D amps.

Decades prior to the current Klipsch management team's occupation of Klipsch as a company, Paul Klispch had said, "What the world needs is a good five watt amplifier." The resurgence of single ended triode vacuum tube amplifiers and the introduction of the Tripath class D amplifiers made that possible. Other chip based amplifiers have also filled that niche in recent years. Several companies are building low wattage "single ended" tube amps today. Any would be sufficient with the Klipsch speakers.



How much wattage you might actually require is still a function of the source material's dynamic range plus the size of your listening room and your tastes in volume levels. Most Dire Straits fans are not head bangers. Unless you are a fan of Mahler or Wagner, your tastes in classical music will likely not be a problem for a lower wattage amplifier.

Of course, when you upgrade from the Klipsch, your wattage requirements may change dramatically. There are, however, a good number of high efficiency loudspeaker systems being sold today which can thrive on low wattage amplifiers. If you know you will upgrade from the Klipsch at some point, then it would be wise to plot a strategy for such a path before you invest in another amplifier.

Unless you care to abuse your equipment, the average mass market and low end of the high end solid state amps will be far more wattage than the Klipsch actually require. 50 watts into the Klispch would seldom stress the amp at all. As I said, there are several excellent choices for "audiophile" quality speakers which can work well with just a handful of watts. Personally, I would put 50 watts as the max power you should need in most rooms. Put your emphasis on quality rather than quantity.

None of that though actually describes the music reproduction quality of any specific amplifier. It only says there are few amps you could select which would be a poor match for the Klispch in simple electrical terms. And that there are other alternatives to the Klipsch which will still perform well with lower wattage amps.



The entire Klipsch line is comprised of a group of speakers with a fairly strong personality and that personality tends to be what you perceive first and foremost when a Klipsch is used in any system. Pairing it with the somewhat laid back personality of the NAD would not have been my first recommendation but then I never heard that system in your room.



What about the NAD/Klispch set did you not like?

Keep in mind it is seldom the amp or even the speakers you are most attuned to in an audio system.

It is the room and it's acoustic thumbprint which dominates the over all character of the music reproduction.

Certainly, if you did nothing to position the speakers to provide the least amount of room interaction, then you heard the room.

If you did nothing to tame the room sound, then you were listening primarily to the room and not so much the system.

If you intend to again not do your homework and the basic work required to position the speakers and to treat the room to achieve superior acoustic properties, then you will have much the same results as before though the new sound will simply reflect the character of the current room and the position of the speakers within that enclosure.



Which amp you choose is somewhat irrelevant at that point as the character of any amplifier will be so insignificant to the sound of the speakers pairing with the room that most amps will simply succumb to the weight of the latter.

No doubt a "better" amplifier will not make so much of the lesser qualities of the room and speakers but neither will it shine.



Therefore, ...

What did you not like about your previous set up?

Did you do anything to make the set up work in your favor?

Do you intend to do something about your current room situation to improve the quality of the music reproduction you may achieve in this set up?

If the answer is you do not intend to help the system, what exactly do you expect?



.
 

New member
Username: Shankarc

Post Number: 3
Registered: Nov-15
hi jan - appreciate the detailed and candid response. definitely relate to some of things you pointed out. i can try to set some context here - i am only interested in two channel stereo, and that too only for music. i have all the usual constraints - wrt budget, room acoustics etc etc. what i am trying to do is to see how best to narrow down on a few things that would work best given the constraints.

it was the same many years back when i got the klipsch and the nad. i did audition them along with other options and clearly there were others that seemed to sound much
better but were out of reach. i liked the klipsch in some ways - it definitely stands out and like you mentioned has this signature personality. musically it shines more in some places than in others (higher frequencies). went with nad as it seemed like it dampened things a bit to strike a balance, with some of the other amps the bias seemed to get even worse. and i believe that this made me tired of listening to certain kinds of music after a while. of course, these were the things that i noticed much later.

i did try many things - tried to position the speakers, that had a definite effect and settled on what was practical. also tried different cables. even gave in to some preposterous sounding suggestions (i was told that cables have "orientations" and that i should follow the "arrows" on the monster cables etc) - the cable experiment did not make as big an impact, beyond a point - settled on good copper wires. did the other usual things with "toe-ins" and such. i believe i got a decent stage, although i do not know if that was the best i could have gotten out of this set up. but i guess the brightness, fatiguing aspects always made me think of a new set of speakers at some point. also, the bass response i should say. with the same source, i found that this set up was not resolving certain sounds that were coming out clearer in comparable systems - but i cannot blame it entirely on klipsch as those set ups also had a different amp.

so now, when i have the opportunity, i am trying to look for an amp that would serve me for the klipsch and beyond. i want to go check out arcam; was also thinking of rega and will audition them. but i have heard enough about the hum with the rega and that does not appeal to me a whole lot. but they have a good enough reputation that i will surely give them a listen. i think i will also try something other than a nad now. marantz? i dont know. limited time, only so much that i can commute for auditions, and i have waited long enough after the move to rig something up :-)

the carpeted rooms here should probably sound better compared to the concrete homes back in india when things tend to get more boomier and need some treatment.

i was trying to see if there were options i could look at beyond arcam and rega (and may be rotel), perhaps some lesser known ones that would "match well" (i know a lot of it is subjective, but hey, just comparing notes here, no buying without auditions) with the klipsch for now and would continue to have a good life once i get a new set of speakers in. not hung up on any particular brand, as long as it comes from a company that is serious about the quality and support. and am not interested too much in all sorts of functionality even. my sources are mostly going to be a cdp (need to buy this as well, earlier this too was a nad) and an ipod (no vinyl but in a while, that too, yes). no headbanging music. even with the old system, i'd rarely go beyond the 10 o'clock position. more interested in more details even at lower volumes. music interests ranges from classical (mostly orchestra, some south american woodwind, the classics and indian classical too) to rock of the ds/pf/ec types. really like mark knopfler and his music/songwriting.

thanks, and happy holidays!

-shankar.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3277
Registered: Oct-07
The BABY of the Parasound line might work, as well. That is 125x2 for power.
Model is the A23.

The ONE mitigation to what Jan said about a 'good 5 watt amplifier' is that speakers are NOT the same as when Klipsch made that statement. Due to the advent (onset?) of inexpensive 'watts', speakers are no longer constrained to be a totally benign load for the parterning amp. And designers KNOW that. Some speakers which might feature decent sensitivity are hamstrung by OTHER factors (Reactance) which place demands on the partnering equipment.
I do NOT generally believe that Klipsch falls too far into that category, being intended for mainstream useage.

The Parasound was shown recently at T.H.E. Newport with KEF speakers. Even the LS50 model was Very Well received, indeed.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18106
Registered: May-04
.

The holiday weekend is quite busy for me. Give me a while to supply another response please.

Though, quite honestly, you seem to know the right names to audition.

How large is your current listening room? How much flexibility in speaker position do you have available?


.
 

New member
Username: Shankarc

Post Number: 4
Registered: Nov-15
Leo - parasound (actually halo) is definitely one I am going to check out, will see if I can audition the one you referred to too. Thx!

Jan - no worries, pl take your time. The NAD I had back home in India was c315BEE. It's definitely useable. Has an intermittent issue with going to the protection mode sometimes, but I can always get it out of that and then it chugs along nicely NAD support in India is not much to write home about.
Happy Holidays!
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3278
Registered: Oct-07
So Sorry.
I realize you need an integrated. The HALO integrated from Parasound is about 2500$US. Way over budget and I doubt any are on the used market. A VERY new addition to the line.
Other names to consider would be Marantz and Cambridge Audio. BOTH make decent integrated amps.

If you'd consider TUBES, it is possible a JOLIDA would work. I suspect a pre-owned could be had under budget. I have ZERO idea as to model or new cost.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18107
Registered: May-04
.

"The ONE mitigation to what Jan said about a 'good 5 watt amplifier' is that speakers are NOT the same as when Klipsch made that statement. Due to the advent (onset?) of inexpensive 'watts', speakers are no longer constrained to be a totally benign load for the parterning amp. And designers KNOW that. Some speakers which might feature decent sensitivity are hamstrung by OTHER factors (Reactance) which place demands on the partnering equipment.
I do NOT generally believe that Klipsch falls too far into that category, being intended for mainstream useage."




While it is true the concept of "watts are cheap" audio gear is a direct result of the public's greater acceptance of both mid-fi equipment and a shift to (cheaper to produce/cheaper to ship) solid state gear capable of much higher on paper wattage than most tube based counterparts, the issue of electrical pairings between amplifier and speaker load became more apparent as speaker designers seemed to no longer communicate with amplifier designers. Add in the rise of the audio journalist in the mid to late '60's forward and the non-engineering based writer was capable of pushing designs in directions which weren't always best for the music.

That's hardly a recommendation for only engineers assessing music reproduction equipment however as many strictly objective, measurement only based opinions of music reproduction equipment can easily miss the mark of anything more complex than does an amplifier measure the way the manufacturer claims. Measurements only tell us so much, and virtually nothing of value, when it comes to the issue of whether someone will enjoy listening to music with "that" component in the system.


The idea of "mainstream" audio and whether a component speaker falls into that category has little to do with this IMO. And whether a speaker is intended for the mass market or not has virtually nothing to do with the load it presents to an amplifier.



Looking specifically at the Klipsch line, horn loaded drivers are higher efficiency systems by nature than are direct radiators due to the "acoustic transformer" function of the horn loading.

Unfortunately, horns have a (somewhat well deserved) reputation for less than flat frequency response, poor time and phase alignment of the signal and uncontrolled resonances which add an edge to the music unless those resonances/distortions, along with the less obvious issues, are highly and effectively controlled.

On the plus side of horn loading, much of the filtering which you would see in a direct radiator design's crossover filter is being performed by the acoustic transformer nature of the horn itself. Horns limit both the high and (particularly) the low frequency performance of a driver thus reducing the amount of parts needed to electronically shift frequencies between various drivers. Simpler crossovers tend to make for simpler loads for the amplifier. Not always, but commonly.

That does not mean all direct radiator designs are difficult for an amp to drive, just that horns have certain benefits to go along with their minuses. Horns, by their nature, tend to beam sound patterns into a room. In many ways, that is why a designer might choose to use horn loading; to exclude sound from certain areas of a venue and to very intentionally place it in others.

Unless you understand how a horn controls the dispersion of the driver, they can add a very distinct "personality" to the music. That personality can be one which overrides the rest of the system and begins to be the dominant sound of the system. With any such component or speaker in the system, the sound of that component/speaker begins to quickly lead the listener to hear only the personality of that one part of the system. For many more discerning listeners, that is the exact opposite of what they desire.

This "personality" test is by no means restricted to horns (or any individual design type for any component/speaker) but is commonly a trait of lower cost horns. Here the "mainstream" Klispch speakers tend to fall into the "high personality" type products which a music lover might care to avoid unless they have the ability to extract the better values of the design and to not play up the "mainstream" parts.



Horns are, first and foremost, highly directional devices intended to place sound in a certain area and exclude sound from other areas. Off axis performance of a horn loaded driver is measurably worse than that from a wide dispersion direct radiator.

Again, a good and a bad feature when you understand it.

By sitting off axis to a horn loaded system, you can (somewhat) reduce the "glare" of the horn in most cases. A bit like overly bright headlights passing you in the night.

You will also tend to reduce the reflected sounds which dominate wide dispersion direct radiators as horn loaded sound is not initially being directed at the (near field) side walls. Horns, in general, require fewer room treatments for early reflections than do direct radiator type systems. Their general dispersion pattern suggest they will often do best when placed closer to the short wall and firing into the length of the room. That suggestion, of course, only addresses the upper frequency response of the system.

Unfortunately, off axis performance from most horns is less than ideal due to the previously mentioned resonances and the ragged frequency response of the overall system as you move away from its on axis sound quality. So, once again, there are good and bad issues with horn loaded drivers.

One thing to keep in mind though is horns do not work with the generally accepted rules of speaker set up meant for wide dispersion direct radiator types.

Since horn loaded systems are rather rare in high end audio, there really are no rules for set up which exist as far as I have seen. IMO the horn loaded user must depend on their overall knowledge of acoustics and their instincts for good music reproduction. (The exceptions to this would be those fully horn loaded systems which specify their "correct" location in a room.)



Then there is the problem of mating a direct radiator type woofer with horn loaded upper frequency drivers. Without a horn loading the low frequencies, that portion of the spectrum tends to operate very much like most other "mainstream" loudspeaker designs. However, to achieve a total system efficiency similar to what can be achieved in the horn loaded upper frequencies, it's very unusual to see a bass driver that is not placed in a simple vented enclosure when we are discussing the mid-priced market.

Simple vented enclosures as a whole can easily be described as "boom boxes" full of thumpy, out of phase, comb filtered, out of time, overly resonant sounds not exactly qualifying as "detailed" response.



You can experiment with stuffing the ports of such speakers with, say, socks which will alter the bass alignment of the enclosure/system. The problems though, typically, are the result of less than stellar out of box driver performance from the driver which really cannot be remedied by the end user.

Vented enclosures tend to create rather unusual load problems for the amplifier though as acoustic "impedance" isn't always so simple as it seems on paper and changing the design's goals after the fact might only increase these issues in relevance to your choice of amplifier. Certainly, how the driver/enclosure loads into the room would change dramatically if you altered the speaker system's alignment. So, give and get once again.

It costs you nothing to experiment, though, keep in mind it is only an experiment and not a permanent fix to the larger issues of a "mainstream" loudspeaker.


Careful placement of the horn loaded system in a room and mindful (near field) listening seat location can make up for some errors in the overall design of the system. Room treatments are almost a necessity for such designs, at least in the bass region. Bass traps required for smoothing the room response are the largest and most obtrusive types of room treatments found at a reasonable cost and still can have little real world affect beneath about 200Hz.

Digital manipulation of the overall room sound is possible, though, at an obviously increased system cost and complexity.



As you have apparently decided, speaker replacement is probably your best choice despite a few "good" qualities found in the "mainstream" Klipsch designs.



Your music tastes would seem to favor a rather simple amplifier/speaker set up.

Can you provide a bit more information about your tastes in music? Not in regards to the artists you prefer but more to the way in which you perceive and take in music.



Do you regularly attend live music performances? If so, how often? What's the typical venue?

Are you familiar with the sound of un-amplified instruments? Do you attend symphonic performances?

What's your favorite concert/performance of the recent past? Can you tell us why?

Can you define in a few words just what your musical (and audio) priorities are when listening to reproduced music?

Where do you get your information regarding the current audio marketplace? Magazines? Internet based writers? Catalogs?

How do you intend to go about your auditions? Are there available audio shops you can visit?

Would you describe yourself as a "subjective" or an "objective" listener/buyer?



Thanks.



.
 

New member
Username: Shankarc

Post Number: 5
Registered: Nov-15
wow Jan, ok, i think going by these standards, i am probably not even
a "cro-magnon" :-)

1. don't get to go to musical performances now. i love music at home :P but i have been to some concerts back in india when i was a student that were awesome (indian classical music). these were typically open air - both instrumental and vocals. i suppose in those, the emphasis was more on the musical virtuosity of the maestros rather than the sophistication/fidelity with which the sound was rendered to the audience.

2. i am familiar with the sound of some un-amplified instruments. would try and attend symphonic performances but have not had a chance to do so yet.

3. favorite concert - hmm..not sure if you are going to find this relevant. but every year, in the coastal town of Puri, in eastern India, there is a musical festival - actually it is both music & classical dance and is known as the famous Puri festival. that's the one that made a big impression for me - for the expressionism displayed in the classical dance as much as the music, and the ambiance - it is the collective experience of all three rather than the individuality of music. and it can be very moving.

4. musical taste/priorities - my music is mostly digital, so the source is typically a cdp or my ipod. like the convenience and i find it good enough. i'd like to explore vinyl soon. i remember some early experiences with vinyl and have often thought that there is something missing in digital music. but i don't have a turntable/records right now. i like percussion, string and woodwind instruments. my fav - guitar, violin, cello, drums, flutes/pan flutes, and just sometimes, for the right kind of music, even an accordion. in vocals, i typically prefer a baritone. can't stand the shrill/shrieky types.

5. information is typically from internet/word-of-mouth, or actually at dealerships. the closest good dealership i came to know of recently is near SFO (Pacifica).

6. what kind of a buyer - objective when it comes to narrowing down to a few options - then subjective when it comes to the final pick. don't mind stretching a bit to err on the side of caution, since mistakes can be very expensive. so usually i wouldn't spend much time with unknown brands etc. i am possibly missing a bit there, but that's understood.

thanks for your indulgence!

-shankar.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18109
Registered: May-04
.

OK.

So, you sit down in front of an unfamiliar speaker to audition amplifiers. What are you listening for as the audition progresses?

You pass judgment on that amp.

The salesperson brings in a second amp for audition. Both amps are familiar lines, both with adequate power and in's/out's and equal in price.

Objectively, they are similarly spec'd on paper. Same speakers, same music.

Remember, the room is primarily what you are hearing if there are no room treatments.

A simple A/B comparison.

How do you decide which amp you prefer?



.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3279
Registered: Oct-07
Jan, it would appear that as you go UP in the price of the speaker, that LESS attention is paid to the partnering amp, the implicit assumption being that if you can afford THIS speaker, you'll also be able to afford the appropriate amp. Who the HECK came up with that 1ohm (!!!) Scintilla? Did ANYONE give any thought to the amp needed?

IOW, I generally agree about speaker designers and amps designers not speaking to one another.

Speakers intended for HT use are only rarely 4ohm. Speakers in that market are also almost without exception 'easy' to drive with few killer impedance minima or large phase swings.
As the intended selling price rises, it would appear that speaker designers FEEL less constrained to build to an amps ability.

And as usual, there are exceptions all over the place. Although for the life of me, I can't imagine a 200$ each speaker lasting long in the market place if it needed an amp capable of acting as a battery charger in its spare time.
 

New member
Username: Shankarc

Post Number: 6
Registered: Nov-15
Some dealers will let you take the amp home. In the worst case, you can take the speakers along with you. The one I have in mind has klipsch ref speakers at hand so you can get some idea.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3280
Registered: Oct-07
Finding such a home-demo dealer is a good thing.
When you say 'south bay' are you in SF or LA?
I can maybe help if you are in the Southland (LA)
in your search for a real hifi shop. I live somewhat
further South and even in this largest of small towns, have
several places to go for auditions and real help.

If you are in LA? You could also get with the LA Audio Society who
are a real good bunch.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18110
Registered: May-04
.

Shankar, is that your response to my last post?

Even if the speakers are the same as your own, or they are what you are thinking of buying in the future, you are in uncharted territory when you're in a dealer's showroom. The only constant you would have would be the speakers are somewhat familiar to you as you have heard how they perform in your own room. Nothing else in the system is the same and the room plus the position of the loudspeakers within that resonant enclosure remains the largest factor in how a system performs.

If you are listening in a demo room filled with other speakers, two things become an issue.

1) None of the speakers are positioned for their best performance. Certainly, if, as most salespeople don't bother to do, the speakers are not pulled into the room to a position where they stand a reasonsable chance of decent performance, you are wasting a lot of time on this sort of demo.

Most showroom speakers are completely out of position as they are lined up like little soldiers along a wall or multiple walls. A few speakers may be set up to favor, say, stronger bass response by placing them closer to corners but that's about it for set up.

2) When you have any other transducer in the room with the speakers you are auditioning, you are, in effect, listening to every speaker in the room. Loudspeakers present pressure waves to the room environment and, just as walls and windows flex with bass response, every other loudspeaker responds in kind to the pressure waves produced by the pair of speakers you are auditioning. A room full of loudspeakers is sort of like a room full of poorly planned passive radiators.

This makes it even more difficult to isolate the character of the single active loudspeaker pair when doing auditions in a demo room.



Even if you are allowed the loan of a pair of speakers for the weekend, now you're auditioning the system with an amp and some speakers you're not completely familiar with. Yes, you can decide you either like or dislike the results but that in no way says much about the performance of the components.

If your initial speaker position has not been established as "best" for the new speakers, then you are sort of shooting blind. If you don't have some priorities in mind with which you judge music reproduction, then how do you set up the system in the first place?

And that was really what I was after with my last post.

How do you listen?

How do you judge?

What are your priorities?

What are you willing to do without on a budget?



This is the "qualification" portion of any decision making process. A good salesperson should be asking these and similar questions. If they do not, then how can they possibly give any direction to their suggestions other than selling the same thing to everyone over and over whether it best suits them or not?

The more you prepare for this decision making, the better prepared you will be to make decisions in the showroom.



Otherwise, quite honestly, there simply isn't sufficient distance between most of today's better components to concern yourself with. You could simply go to a store and point to a few things to load onto your credit card and into your trunk and go home. Once you get back to terra familiaris you could make virtually any combination of components and speakers sound OK. System matching is out the window.

Look at the basic way today's audio reviewers go about their business. They tell you how happy they were with most any component under review and then they get down to comparisons of how a drum sounded for about ten to thirty seconds in one track of one recording. They tell you one thing had slightly more air or was slightly less dry during this specific song. Dynamics were a bit more pronounced in the conclusion to one selection. That's kinda reviewing BS.

All that says to me, they really have no issues with any equipment and most gear is satisfactory as long as you don't play the songs they thought sounded better for a few seconds on another recording. Plus you have several pairs of cables to swap in and out and this and that; tubes, racks, CD players, DAC's, etc to exchange to make the system into what you like. And, probably, you don't have that recording anyway so you're pretty safe.

That all boils down to most anything you piece together will be OK.

So, what are we after here? What are you after?

Are you looking for directions on how to match a system by way of each component/speaker characteristic? Or, just what to buy that will be OK with your Klipsch for now and OK with whatever speakers you might buy in the future?

We can go any way you want but one will mean you need to think a bit more about the process.



.
 

New member
Username: Shankarc

Post Number: 7
Registered: Nov-15
leo - i am in cupertino. the dealer i was talking about is blue moon audio, in pacifica, near sfo.

jan - i am just exploring amp options for my existing klipsch speakers and was looking for suggestions there. since i started the thread, based on the discussions here and my research on the next and by talking to a dealer or two - i am thinking of arcam, rega brio, rotel/marantz, roughly in that order. i will also check out parasound halo, which as leo mentioned is above the budget i set aside for this. to the extent i can, i will be pairing the prospective amp with my speakers in all auditions, and wherever possible, will try getting that done at home so that the room aspects are also factored in. at that point, it is just a subjective thing and i will go by what i like the most (+ other aspects like leaving some headroom for future, as in when i get the speakers upgraded etc).

i can relate to all the other aspects you mentioned too - reg positioning, room acoustics, presence of other speakers/vibrating systems in the vicinity of the test systems, may be even how far along each component is wrt the breakin point etc. but frankly, i am not sure as to these contribute to the 1st or the 2nd order effects or are they really zeroth order? truth be told, even if i go right down to all the details, my ears would probably be incapable of resolving anything by the zeroth order effects. so i basically tend to go follow a few basic ideas - get the direction right (i.e. the basic component match - mostly based on reviews, own experience, whether there is enough power, connectivity options, for speakers whether book shelf or floor standing, build quality/support assurance etc etc) and then identify a few to option and get the listening conditions as close to my world as possible - and then go pick the one that i like the most. i have not really tried any room treatments but i can also say that my room is still not acoustically bad - i sort of know what a "dead" room feels like - there's enough stuff around to keep the acoustics at a certain level. by experimenting, i can see that i can get zeroth order effects by looking at speaker positioning though..so there i try to strike a balance between the sound quality and practicality. it helps that my speakers are front-firing.

this is only the second time (since my klipsch+nad days from years ago) that i am out to buy an audio component and thought that i'd sound the experienced folks on here out on the options. also because i have more viable options here (in the US) than i ever had in india.

really appreciate all the comments and questions, definitely helps to get an idea of the overall "parameter space", even if i can effectively check out only a small region of it. i just want it to be the most relevant region (given my own limitations).

next week should be good when i get back to some listening!

-shankar.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18111
Registered: May-04
.

You sound as if you are running for political office.

Good luck.
 

New member
Username: Shankarc

Post Number: 8
Registered: Nov-15
How discerning, thank you!
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3281
Registered: Oct-07
In Home Audition is an obvious good way to go. That way, ALL other factors while perhaps NOT optimum are at least the same from test to test.

If you can Do Without an integrated, the Parasound P5 preamp and A23 power amp can be had for >2000$.

Just MY opinion, but I'd personally rate Rotel the bottom of the list you gave, with a possible addition of Cambridge Audio who make a comprehensive line of goodies.
 

New member
Username: Shankarc

Post Number: 9
Registered: Nov-15
Thx Leo. How would you compare parasound p5+a23 vs halo? Purely going by the sound quality? I did get to check out all the amps I talked about but not the p5+a23 combo. Really liked halo the best with Arcam coming a second and then the Rega brio. Didn't get to check Rotel/marantz.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3282
Registered: Oct-07
The P5 is the well regarded successor to the P3 preamp. It has bass management w/both high and lo filters which are defeatable. It even has tone controls, also switchable.
Reviews are generally favorable with ONE minor glitch being the DAC section is not up to seperates standards. I use it for the optical feed from the small dish receiver and as such, it provides wonderful TV sound. The music feeds are very good, as well. The preamp also provides a selection of balanced Ins and Outs to compliment the 'normal' single ended. I will use the balanced when I go to active crossovers. Switching is ALL relay, so not 'instant', but rather a slight but perceptible delay and some 'clicking'.

The A23 amp is the baby brother to the A21 and as such shares much design / voicing. Both are products of the John Curl philosophy. The A23 is less than 1/2 the cost of the '21 but has a high degree of dynamic headroom and and is very well paced. I have 2 of these, ONE for each of my panel speakers. The intent is to later go to an active biamp using a MiniDSP crossover. That will, in effect, net me as much as another 3db of amp power, apparent.
The other decent 'feature' is input level controls AND a 'jumper' so you can take ONE input and using a short RCA cable (I use 18") run from the channels OUTPUT to the other channels INPUT. So, for my biamp needs, I don't need ANY splitters, the amp takes care of it for me.
The Downside? Don't expect 50$ each WBT speaker binding posts. Don't expect a 200$ power cord. Don't expect to impress the guys with Pass Labs or Krell.

This is pretty much the SAME preamp as in the Halo integrated while the amp section falls mid-way BETWEEN the other stereo Halo amps.

Both pieces I reference ARE in the Halo Line. Just not at the Apex, but rather QUITE affordable and for all they do well, a very good value, as well.
Fit and finish are good especially for the price. So far? 100% reliable and terrific sound.
 

New member
Username: Shankarc

Post Number: 10
Registered: Nov-15
Thx Leo. Just to close the loop on this, after all the auditions, I finally went in for halo integrated and am quite happy with it. A clear step up from what I had before, and also (to me) seemed to have an edge over the other amps I tried.

Appreciate all the comments and questions and discussions on this forum!
-Shankar.
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