Rotel or B&K amp for Paradigm surround AND NAD amp for Paradigm fronts - crazy?


New member
Username: Ianrvd

Cambridge, Vermont USA

Post Number: 1
Registered: Aug-09
Hi all -

I am currently (and happily) using a single NAD C272 to power my Paradigm Reference Studio 100 v.4's

My center (Paradigm CC-590 v.4), side surrounds (Studio ADP-590's) and rear surrounds (Studio 20 v.4's) have been powered by a NAD T955

A HSU VTF-MK3 plus Turbo is used for cinema/LFE channel (other speakers set to 'small' for cinema)

Pre-amp/processor is an Anthem AVM 30

PROBLEM: T955 has a recurring problem of one channel going out (affected block/bank has varied on each occasion). Internet searching has uncovered similar reports from other users. Also discovered is that the predecessor, the THX925, also has exhibited this problem. I am thus suspecting that this amp has an inherent design flaw, and no number of replacements will solve the problem.

My C272 works flawlessly, and I am quite pleased with its mating with the Studio 100's for 2-channel listening (classical/orchestral, jazz)

The T955 is the only 5-channel NAD amp currently available, and is in my comfortable price range ($1000 and below).

SO ... I am considering the option of using a different manufacturer for the 5-channel amplifier/driving the center, surround and rear channels ...

Current research has suggested that two amplifiers in a similar price range to the T955, and currently available USED on Audiogon, might fit this specific application:

Rotel RMB-1075
B&K AV125.5

The current favor would seem to be to the Rotel ... especially if the amp is dedicated to the 'cinema' channels. Discussions on eCoustics and elsewhere laud the surround/cinema performance of this amp.

Am I foolish to think of mixing amplifier brands in this situation?

Any feedback/discussion would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks -

- Ian Campbell
Cambridge, VT

Gold Member
Username: My_rantz


Post Number: 2453
Registered: Nov-05
Ian, I have different brand amp/receiver-processor for multi-channel and HT. I use an MFA5 (at present with a Parasound pre-amp) for 2 channel music and to drive the main speakers for HT and hi-rez surround.

Personally, I don't see any problem or any dramatic reason sound-wise in mixing those brands for your set-up.

Welcome to the forum.

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 662
Registered: Jul-07
My only caution would be that Rotel and NAD have quite different "house" sounds. If you like the NAD sound, you might not appreciate what Rotel does best. Just something to keep in mind.

Gold Member
Username: My_rantz


Post Number: 2454
Registered: Nov-05
My take is that Ian is using his C272 for music. I think the sonic differences between the amps will matter little for movies imo. Unless the multi channel is being used for serious music listening I can't see it matters too much. It was never a real problem for me mixing NAD and Marantz or MF and Marantz even for surround music.

However, if you can get a dealer to let you audition in your home then you can make a more informed decision - one based on your own ears and not that of others which can sometimes lead to disappointment.

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3460
Registered: May-05
B&K is a better brand as far as build and reliability than Rotel, and it should be better sonically as well. It's house sound is far more similar to NAD than Rotel is.

A B&K may also better the NAD amp.

Sound characteristic preference is another thing though. I like Rotel with your speakers better than NAD and your speakers. I'd probably prefer the Rotel with them over the B&K, but that's just hypothetical as I've never heard B&K paired with Paradigm.

To make a long story short, try them out at home if possible. There's no one right answer.

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13323
Registered: Dec-04
I like what I have heard from B&K, but limited.

A nice deep blues on B&W 603's, and all was good
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