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ajones82's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: Apr 10 2021 - 11:58pm
Power Amp for Dynaudio Contour 30 and 25C

Hi fellow audio fans,

I currently have the following equipment:
Arcam AVR 850 which delivers 180W / channel at 4ohms
Front Left/Right: Dynaudio Contour 30 (300W 4ohm)
Center: Dynaudio Contour 25C (300W 4ohm)
Surrounds are Polk and an Infinity Sub.

I understand that Dynaudios are power hungry speakers and really start to sing with high power so I'm wondering if my Arcam is enough to drive the Dynaudio Contours.

I am looking to maybe upgrade to a Parasound A31 amp, maybe a Bryston. Looking in a 3500 range for the 3 channel.

What do you guys think ? Will it improve the sound of my 3 channels ?

I also want to add 4 SVS Prime Elevation speakers for my Atmos speakers as I am currently running a 5.1 and will be going 5.1.4 way. So I'm thinking of adding a 3 channel amp as mentioned above and adding another 2 channel amp for the 2 atmos speakers, was looking at a Parasound NewClassic 2250 v.2.

I know people report that Gryphon, Pass Labs and Simaudio pair really well with Dynaudio but those are just very expensive for me at this time.

Thanks for all the help!

Old Audiophile
Old Audiophile's picture
Last seen: 1 week 19 hours ago
Joined: Jun 15 2017 - 7:34pm
Two Cents Worth

Here's two cents worth of advice on this:

I'm not an expert in surround systems, AVRs or anything else, for that matter. I've always been and probably will always be a strictly 2 channel guy. That being said, I can offer this as food for thought based upon my experiences shopping and/or listening to speakers over the years, including Dynaudio.

When it comes to 4-ohm nominal load speakers, even very efficient or sensitive ones, they do, indeed, sound better (IMHO, of course) when fed more power but "power" as defined by the current an amplifier's power supply can deliver; not WATTS, per se.

Here's a hardcore example for 'ya: I did several hours of critical listening recently to a pair of Aerial Acoustics 6T (4-ohm nominal load design) played with a McIntosh MC275 and McIntosh pre-amp (can't remember pre-amp model number). Those are outstanding speakers and truly sounded sublime with that big MAC stack. Immediately afterward, in the same shop, same room, same everything, I listened to those speakers again with a McIntosh MA5200. Those Aerial still sounded fantastic but not as fantastic as with that big MAC stack and this was immediately and instantaneously obvious. You didn't have to be in critical listening mode and you didn't have to be an audiophile to hear the difference(s). The MAC MC275 is rated at 75 WATTS into 2 channels (likely more because MAC tends to rate conservatively, I think) whereas the MA5200 is rated at 100 WATTS (likely, at least, 130 into 8-ohms and anywhere between 160 to 200 into 4-ohms, according to independent bench-testing). The MA5200 didn't have any problem driving those Aerial but they clearly performed better with the additional current that big MAC stack could bring to the game, so to speak. I've been told by those much more knowledgeable than I about this stuff, that an amplifier that doubles its 8-ohm output into 4-ohms is a good indication that it likely has a very good or robust power supply. Good luck!

BluesDog's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: Mar 17 2020 - 6:59am
Outstanding Choices

This is a great problem to have. The Parasound A31 sounds like a great way to address reconciling more current to your main 3 speakers for music and sound. Keeping your very good Arcam 850 as a preamp/receiver is efficient and saves money. Freeing up your main 3 channels will ease the load and spread the remaining wealth for your Arcam receiver. Full blown separates for 11.1 channel sound will costs some coin.

Try to see if it is possible to hear the Parasound with your Contours for critical listening. Talk to someone experienced about what would be system matching options. Another 3 channel amp is the Anthem MCA 325. On paper it may not be as good as the Parasound but who knowa, might sound great with your particular setup. I also think the Parasound 2250 is a good choice for Dolby Atmos expansion. The SVS Elevation speakers will play down to 55hz which few affordable Dolby Atmos addons can say. High up onwalls is better then top of speaker addons without putting holes in your ceiling for in ceiling.

Speaking of SVS, you might want to take a look at their space efficient subwoofers after you come up for air from climbing Mt Amplifier. The SVS SB-3000 is a sweetspot in their lineup but the new SB-2000 Pro is very potent and gives you much control and flexibility with the control app. I have found sealed subs to be noticeably better for music then ported subs while still providing plenty of home theater weight for movies.

Let us know how your quest plays out

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