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rrstesiak
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Crown XLS Pro and Class D Bargains

All:

I've come across what may be a seriously good amp designed for professional use at bargain prices using MODERN class D design: Crown XLS. (Some models are Crown XLS 1000, XLS 2500)..

They also have XLR and RCA inputs and programmable crossovers with digital display. Sweet. Though not the most elegant design, I can hide them if necessary.

Power for XLS1500:
775W, Stereo, 2 Ohms (per ch.); 525W, Stereo, 4 Ohms (per ch.); 300W, Stereo, 8 Ohms (per ch.); 1050W, Bridge-Mono, 8 Ohms; 1550W, Bridge-Mono, 4 Ohms;

The XLS1000 is only $229, and the better XLS1500 only $299??? For 525Watts/channel of 4 ohm slam or a still respectable 300W Stereo 8 Ohms. I could keep this amp and add another one for dual mono blocks if I also eventually get the Maggies I've been pondering.

Finally, here is an excerpt from a fellow audiophile's review with these pro amps in his home setup:

"I've been using a Crown XLS 2000 for the past 8 months to drive a pair of Tekton Lores.....do doubt its overkill from the wattage standpoint as the Lores are pretty efficient. The Crown, in conjunction with an Oppo 103 and a Parasound 2100 produces a wide and deep sound stage. The dynamics are really good with a very tight low end and smooth mids and highs."

I stumbled across these amps when reading professional reviews of the Musical Fidelity M1PWR solid state amp, with the review comparing it to his "REFERENCE" Crown XLS2500!!??

What I am looking for is more power and a deeper soundstage for my Creek Evolution 50A, rated at 55 Watts @ 8Ohm and 85Watts @4Ohm. I will be driving Epos Epic 2 speakers, rated at Amplifier compatibility: 20–120W.

So, I am expecting to get that perfect level of power I am just a little shy of currently with my Creek alone, and supposedly these have excellent sound stage depth... something I have been struggling with.

Anyone own any of the Crown XLS series for home use? Anyone audition these?

UPDATE: If I get this, I will get the XLS1500, one step up and only $299, because I have found the XLS1000 is inferior to its bigger brothers with only 97 dB SNR...
Here are signal-to-Noise specs for the XLS1500 and up:
Signal-to-Noise Ratio Rated as dBr to full rated 8Ohm power output (A-Weighted): XLS1500 > 103 dB

I find this compelling as my Creek is rated at 102 dB SNR.....hmmmmm...maybe this is a true diamond in the rough and the best amp bargain out there....it's getting exciting!

Thanks In Advance,

Ron

bierfeldt
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Last time I listened to them

Was in the Harman Store in Manhattan when I bought my Revels. Other than the very high end stuff which is driven by Levinson equipment, Harman uses crown amps to drive their in-store demo speakers. They sound good and agree that they deliver a big soundstage but they lack detail, particularly in the mid bass and lower bass compared to NAD, Rega or Marantz. Think about what it sounds like to listen to a turntable through a mediocre phono stage vs a good phono stage. Things that should be crisp, separate sounds sort of blend and get muddy.

rrstesiak
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bierfeldt:

Your reply is interesting...I am hoping maybe the crown amps you were listening to are older or lesser in spec than the XLS1500 and above... with the 103 dB SNR; which is 1 dB *better* than my Creek Evolution 50A!??

I know you are a fan of modern class D.... and if the newer crowns have improved on the detail, they could be giant killers.

Any other Class D amps in this bargain price and power range you can recommend that are known to have good soundstage width and DEPTH as well as clarity?

Respectfully,

Ron

bierfeldt
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Fair Point

It had to be a bit more than a year ago that I listened to the crown amps in the Harman Store and I can't say I know the exact model as they were in a Kiosk. That Harman store isn't that old - I would assume the amps were new when it opened and would be from 2013.

I can't say I know of another power amp in the $300 range. Certainly not one that Class D, will deliver 100w and sound good. Last time we visited this topic, I think you were looking at the MMGs which require more power and operate at a lower impedance than the Epos.

If you really want Class D, you could try and find a used Peachtree 220 though I am not sure how frequently people will be inclined to part with them. That amp is a great value, it was $999 new. It was discontinued in the prior 12 months so there is new inventory on eBay & Audiogon, but its about $1000. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard it driving the Peachtree D5s which are an awesome speaker for the money. How much is the power amp, the speaker or the setting, but I was impressed. Peachtree makes awesome equipment.

I can't think of another class D power amp in that price range. Most are in integrated amps. The next cheapest power amp I know of is a Rogue Audio for $1999 and an NAD for $2999.

For really good sounding A/B equipment, I would look at the Marantz MM 7025. It is $799 new, $599 refurbished from accessories4less and a very good sounding power amp for the money. I have the 8 channel version, MM8003. Surprising levels of detail, even in the mid bass and lower bass. I think it is one of the better sounding power amps for the money. The biggest problem is that it does not handle low impedance speakers well which is why I would not have mentioned it for the Maggies. If you have a speaker operating at 8 ohms, this is a really nice unit.

I have my MM8003 driving my home theatre and used it for about three months bi-amped to drive my Infinity Kappa 8.1s. It is as detailed as my old Carver Power amps and through my speakers that were $2K in 1994, I had a deep 3D soundstage. Again, how much is the speaker and how much is the power amp.

rrstesiak
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rrstesiak
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bierfeldt:

First, thank you for taking the time and sharing your experience and knowledge.

To clarify my goals, I am not after Class D per se.... I'm just rapidly forming an educated opinion that Class D has made huge strides these last few years in audiophile grade gear and seems to be quickly approaching traditional Class A/B amps for not only a fraction of the energy, but a fraction of the COST, which for now is a huge constraint for me.

So, even though I've managed to get a better 3D soundstage with my Creek 50A Class A/B recently, I think I can do a lot better and I think it is the reason for the lack of sound stage depth just by design and cost constraints. It is an excellent little integrated; I just want more depth of soundstage and a little more power if I can get it for say under $1000.

So my severe budget, and desire of more power have lead me ultimately to amps that employ Class D because I am guessing it's simply cheaper by intrinsic design. I also am exploring the possibility of buying two Musical Fidelity M1PWR amps, bridging them, and having pretty cool mono blocks capable of 100W into 8Ohm, and a respectable doubling into 200W @4Ohm! Having separate amps by nature is also excellent isolation and separation of channels, etc. and I am hoping a deeper and more 3D soundstage for under $1000.

I checked out the Marantz MM 7025 and if I do not get Maggies, it also looks good at a reasonable price. I am assuming you are certain it shares the architecture of your own Marantz and so can attest it throws out a good 3D soundstage? If so, that would be my #2 choice behind the $300 Crown.

Moving back to Crown, they haven't changed there design since before 2013, so the amp you were listening to was probably the design still being sold today. I did notice; however, they are introducing an update this June which is also geared more towards home audio as it has selectable input sensitivities to allow a lower powered consumer grade line level signal vs. the demanding 1.4v pro line level voltage. I also found a lot of positive feedback of people integrating these Crown amps into a home system and also confirmed with my local Guitar Center they have sold quite a few for stereo use. So I am on to something here... and at such a bargain and returnable I am going to just wait for the updated model in June that supports the lower consumer line level voltages.

Again, I really am class agnostic now and am just looking for bang for buck and soundstage and think I'm onto something here that will be a disruptor of HIFI possibly. (CLASS D).

If NONE of the above work, I did have the Rogue Sphinx on my short list when first looking at Integrated/Amps... it has good reviews..

If the Rogue is no good, then I will just save my money and get the known good Musical Fidelity M6PRX. It received an A rating here on Stereophile and I *know* will throw out an awesome soundstage and deliver respectable power even for Maggies if I end up getting them in the end.

So that's my entire strategy...I think we have similar ideas ... let me know if you have any other refinements or suggestions as well as your precise experience with the Marantz you recommended.

Thanks In Advance,

Ron

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The Marantz is Class A/B

That MM7025 lacks a monstrous power supply which is likely why it struggles with speakers below 6ohms and why it is less expensive. I have heard the exact model MM7025 a few times, but have not spent time with it the way I have the MM8003.

About 5 or 6 years ago, Marantz introduced an AVR 8003 pre/pro with an 8 channel MM8003 power amp. Not long after, they introduced an AVR 7005 that supported Dolby HD and DTS HD Master and included some improved streaming services. They also introduced the current line of MM 7025 and MM 7055 using the same circuitry as the MM8003. No one seems to need an 8 channel power amp and the 2 channel and 5 channel combo makes sense as it allow people to easily mix and match to get 5 or 7 channels and to bi-amp. I got the MM8003 for like $1399 new on clearance where I would have to spend $2k and needed more space for the 7025 and 7055.

I believe that the detail from the Marantz will be similar to that of the Creek, it won't be a step forward but it is 140w into 8ohms. The good news is, if you buy it from Crutchfield you can return it within 30 days if it doesn't deliver the sound you want it to. But, an I can't emphasize this enough, the Marantz will not drive Maggies.

Allen Fant
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Ron-

Ron-

strongly consider the Creek 100A and not the 50A.

michael green
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tuned vs stock

Hi Ron

My reports & reviews on products (working on a bunch of them now) may be accurate but I need to warn are not necessarily fair. I hardly ever use stock product now. What I do in comparison to plug and play would make most designers shreek. If you happen across many of my threads you'll see that one of the first things I do is get rid of the shipping proof version of almost all units.

Let me give you an example if I may (another wide sweep). Back when I started RoomTune, after the first show I was thrust into a 3 year tour that took me around the world 5 times and all over the states. How many rooms, how many systems? A blur, but I was booked solid, up to 25 shows a year and every stop along the way you could imagine. Picture 50,000 audiophile clients in that time buying RoomTune and it gives you a look into the "tuning revolution" as Tom Miiller from TAS stated it (great listener and super good guy). There were a few major changes that took place during that time. Not saying this was all me but a domino effect that moved as quick as anything in the industry past. One of them was a very simple move, which some put up a fight for a couple of years, but then once people started doing it, the blizt happened and now it's the norm.

On my tour one of the things I did, was take off the grill covers on speakers. Immediately the WAF was thrown in my face, but my come back was "what an excuse" and knew that the arguement that a speaker was design specifically to have a grill cloth was barely shy of a scam. "Looks vs Performance". Fortunately Celestion (home) and a couple others came out with speakers with no grills. In a very short time to follow it was the norm to remove grills. Another one (again with speakers) was nearfield listening. Audiophiles again drew their WAF card until myself, Audio Physics, again Tom Miiller (yes two ii's) Guy, Harry, Mike G, and I believe Roger (the man) Skoff, plus a few more said "lets get real about the speaker placement thing". Again this happened very fast as there were tons of audiophile clubs that were active at that time.

These evolutions have and always will happen. Someone does it, the audio community "kick and scream" someone else does it and the rest fall in line like Ewoks sooner or later, with the fights now being "who did it first". Quite comical actually. Fact is there were always serious listeners doing creative thinking but didn't choose to deal with the fads and need for notoriety (oh the male ego, what a beautiful escape).

Another thing I have suggested and done personally for many years is to get rid of the shipping armor after the component arrives. This is not something the industry has embraced yet, but will come in time or simplier designing will replace the heavy cases and tank designing, now past off as for the sound.

All this said, when something comes to me there is a serious listening session or two or 10, then the slow series of opperations begin (the labs I refer to). Step by step and very methodically I strip the component till I find the spot in designing that was probably the point of the designers "best sound" moment. Why don't you hear designers talk about this? Think about it!

Every product made has a "glory-day" in the proccess where the designer says "THAT'S IT, I DID IT". From that day forward the practical side of the product takes place and in almost all cases a big part of the sound is hidden within the phyiscal constraints. How much has been "covered" up (pun) the listener will never know, but if I went down through the list it would be easily over a hundred companies that I personally have disassembled, and number of product? Who knows. I have found only a very select few products that were designed for their sound to the very end. For the past 30 plus years you might say I've worked on giving products their very best performance conditions and environments to play with and in. This is why I don't play the "this is better than that" game. This is also why you will find a vast number of opinions on any particular product. Personally I believe many of them are extremely great musical machines, but if not in the best of conditions or even build, how will anyone know. Keep in mind that, who among these designers has enough time to tune their component to your setup and taste? "pre-tuned" ? That has run around the block a few times in the last 30 years, so I don't give it much more play than a marketing tool. In other words when you buy an electronic guitar and amp, that's it? It plays itself when plugged in? Nope, and stereos are no different. The industry is going to sell you the pitch that their stuff is ready to go, till the last high end audio company is standing. But I can tell you this, if there is a next audiophile chapter it will be divided into two parts. One being the extremely simple, the other will be a hobby of "doing". Just as you set a turntable, a tape head, and move speakers around the room, the hobby's next step is tuning. many already are.

So to answer the Crown 1500 question, yes I have played with it. How would I review it? At which stage of the opperation? Are you buying it for plug and play or to get the most out of it?

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

rrstesiak
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Allen:

I'm afraid that ship has sailed... I've been the proud owner of an Evolution 50A for several months now. Oh well. :)

mg:

Well written... you mention you've owned Creek... any interesting mods you could recommend to the 50A?

As for the Crown XLS 1500.... I'm looking to get more power out of my system; see above recommendation for the more powerful 100A... but it's too late for that!
As for where the AMP would be in my chain ...last.. using pre-amp outs from Creek 50A..so AFTER the Creek... or if I could temporarily patch together an attenuator after my DAC and before the Crown...removing the Creek entirely....

And I buy everything of course to get the most out of it...sounds like almost a loaded question.. either way..let me know if in your experience the Crown would resolve a deeper and improved soundstage. Or, would that be a step backwards with my system?

Best Regards,

Ron

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be back in a bit

Hi Ron

Have really enjoyed you being here. Got to do a session but will be back I hope later. BTW, if you ever put up something and I haven't replied fire me an email or hop on Tuneland. Sometimes I have time for here and sometimes it gets a little busy, but I sure have enjoyed this so far.

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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If you just compare the spec

If you just compare the spec sheet, the pro amp will look better almost aways. But I'll have to read the details to do not get mistaken.

The SNR will aways get better at higher levels. Was your creek amp measured at full power too?

Another spec to look deeper is the power measurements and the distortion levels. There is no free lunch here. When home amps gets the power output measured from 20-20.000 Hz with 0.01 % of distortion, Pro amps are usually measured at 1 kHz, and get higher distortion levels that are usually 10x bigger than home amps.

I can assure you that you will listen all this differences that I said above, but you need to be aware of those details.

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CROWN AMPLIFIERS

I have never heard a Crown amplifier that has true high-fidelity performance. Their niche is high power that is real cheap, with the corresponding mediocre sound quality.

The sound quality of the ones I have heard is strictly 3rd-rate.

I very much doubt that Stereophile will ever review or even mention Crown, because they are not suitable for home audio use.

You won't find a lot of Ford Fiestas or Fiats in Road and Track or Car and Driver magazines for the same reason; they concentrate on high-performance cars like Porsche, Corvette, Ferrari etc. ; not low-priced mediocre junk.

If you want an excellent power amplifier that is availble at a fairly reasonable price, I suggest the Musical Fidelity M6PRX, which I use to drive my power-hungry Vandersteen Treo speakers.

It gets a Class A recommendation from Stereophile. It runs $3500, and most of the other Class A listed amps are $10,000 and much more.

rrstesiak
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commsysman

Thank you for your direct reply. Sometimes a little directness is needed to correct one's course.

I respect what you say based on your many other intelligent and well thought out replies and again just thank you for the head's up and getting straight to the point that this approach is in fact barking up the wrong tree.

Respectfully,

Ron

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Crown XLS Pro and Class D Bargains

I have 4 Crown XLS2500 driving a pair of Magnepan 1.7 and a pair of Magnepan DWM. All 4 are in Stereo Bypass mode with only one channel in use. I connect an Oppo 105 directly to the amps with xlr balanced cables. The key is current into 4 ohm speakers that drop to 2 ohm at low Hz. Speakers cables are about 18". They sound better than my Rotel which was rated at 200 watts per channel into 8 ohm. I have not compared then to any high end amps though I can tell you that my speakers sound much better in my living room that at the dealers showroom with Macs. I usually listen to CD or files.

rrstesiak
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And such is the world of all things audiophile: seemingly constantly controversial~! This hobby keeps me on my toes.

I would suggest that since the Magnepans are notoriously "difficult" speakers to drive utilizing conventional stereo amplifiers, it is of no surprise that commercial amplifiers; though perhaps possibly lacking in sonics compared to their higher priced home audio brethren, when driving Magnepans their extra power shines.

If I still intended on purchasing Magnepan speakers, I would continue my debate on Crown. Since I have been able to achieve success to my ears with my existing setup; however, I consider the matter for me closed.

Dipole speakers still intrigue me though and at some point in my future I still plan on purchasing some; most likely Maggies.

Hopefully these posts will benefit others in a similar situation.

Thanks to all,

Ron

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You really have to listen for yourself

I know this is an old thread, but since I've begun looking at the Crown XLS1502, it has caught my interest.

The thing to keep in mind with HiFi is just how subjective it all is. The Benchmark DAC1 received numerous awards from all kinds of consumer and pro audio publications and is loved by many audiophiles, yet I've still read comments where audiophiles claim it "made their ears bleed". I've seen a similar situation with the KEF LS50 speakers.

So the point is that you shouldn't be too quick to rule out a product because someone says bad things about it. Also bear in mind that many audiophiles have a strange prejudice against pro audio gear, so they aren't always going to give those items a fair chance.

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Crown XLS series

I have been using the Crown XLS-1500 for two years as my main amp in a stereo only living room setup. I stumbled upon these amps after researching other hifi things and thought I'd give it a try. I was using large, expensive amps from Conrad Johnson,Kinergetics KBA, Sonographe, and a variety of tube amps. The Crown has replaced them all. My snobbier audiophile acquaintances are really impressed with the sound, but then invariably say something stupid like how good the rig would sound with a "real amp". There is no point arguing about this, but if you want to hear a spectacular amp for dirt cheap, give these amps a try. Neutral is the operative word. NO coloration, if you have stellar recordings and other gear, you will have stellar sound. Very revealing,crystal clear,and ample power to bring out the best in any speaker.They have been rock solid reliable for 2 years now and the fan hasn't come on yet. Aesthetically it does not look like a high priced audiophile amplifier, sound wise, I would put these amps up against anything. It doesn't "sound great for the money", it sounds great. Some use these only for subs, which is a waste when you hear what they can do for your mids-highs.
I'm using 2 sets of Infinity's in a D'Appolito set up in parallel at 4 ohms. The recommended power for each set of speakers is 2-250 WPC @ 8 ohms, The XLS puts out 525 WPC at that impedance (4 ohm)and handles the 18 drivers with ease.The sound is effortless, relaxed, powerful, and with instant dynamic changes. They will quickly reveal the quality of your source material and preamplification. Highly recommended.

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I have Crown XTi2000 and

I have Crown XTi2000 and Yamaha P5000s, P25000s. I like yamaha better they sound more dymanic for my ears. Also, the amp never get hot and no noise at all.

michael green
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looks vs prices vs sound

"My snobbier audiophile acquaintances are really impressed with the sound, but then invariably say something stupid like how good the rig would sound with a "real amp". There is no point arguing about this, but if you want to hear a spectacular amp for dirt cheap, give these amps a try."

Two amps mention, the crown and Yamaha, are great examples of how audiophiles many times confuse $$$ with sound quality. Over the past 5 years there are many amplifiers that have entered the listening world that are simply fantastic sounding and selling for far less than their high end audio counterparts. Audiophiles need to take a good look at some of these companies and realized that it takes 1/10 the cost (sometimes less) to build 1000-4000 pieces vs 25-100.

Not sure how long it is going to take $$$$ audiophiles to learn, but as for the rest of the world, technology marches on, gets better every day, and cost less every day. Less expensive no longer means cheaper, it means smarter.

Think about it, 20 years ago we were told the bigger and more it weighs and the more it cost, the better it sounds. Now we're talking about an amp weighing less than 10 pounds. The faster we open our ears, then eyes, then most of all minds, the faster we will joined the rest of high end reality. Some of us will hang on till the heavy tube TV's are removed from our houses and some of us will be sitting there with the best sound we have ever had.

I'm proud of the guys here that are listening before talking. I hope your voices are accepted.

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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wow Michael, I checked out

wow Michael, I checked out your website. Love the room treatment, is there minimum treatment can be done for my stereo instead whole room wood? I think this is not enough information as I typing.

My house is really small so I combine both system. Home theatre and audiophile audio system separate, I like to trap sound or sound diffuser but don't know where to start.

Size room 24 length , Width 18, ceiling 12. It's quite good size but only location I can put my stereo.

Thanks

michael green
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your room

Hi JVINHJ240

Here's my email michael@michaelgreenaudio.com if you want to send me some pics of your room I'll do up a basic diagram for you to look at.

If you want, you could join TuneLand and we could start your own thread, then walk through your setup step by step. I'll show you the different ways to do things, some free stuff you can do yourself and other things to fit your budget.

Minimum treatment in your case would be a TunePak plus 2 extra EchoTunes or RT Squares.

12' ceilings, I'm guessing your walls are plaster?

Once I take a look at the room design and layout, we can make a plan that fits your listening. We're wrapping up AXPONA tomorrow, so once that posting is over I'll have time to get back to doing room layouts, including the ones from the show. I'll be happy to jump on yours at that time if you would like me to give you a hand.

Glad you got a chance to visit TuneLand! We have a lot of fun with the forum and touring.

michael green
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http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

rrstesiak
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Hi-Fi Disruptors

All:

I think this topic has received significantly more feedback than I anticipated and so will keep it open. I will also expand it to *any* pro audio amps vs. hi-fi.
If anyone else has any observations of pro gear at reasonable prices disrupting this hobby, this is the place to share!

Thanks to all who have participated thus far and welcome to those who have experience with Crown or other pro level gear for home hi-fi use.

Kind Regards,

Ronald R. Stesiak, PhD
National Science Foundation
Computational Neuroscience

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Amazing bang for Buck...

First of all, I am not an audiophile pur sang. I love good audio reproduction but there are limits to my budget.
My venture into pro audio was about getting the best clean sound for as little money as possible. Further on, I like my surround system loud - so power needs to delivered instantaneous and with full control. And I want it to be dependable. I was fed up with consumer gear failing every two year or even earlier.

So I tried a full pro gear setup. I never had a system with this amount of headroom. And a massive grip on the speakers. The damping factor of these amps are massive. The power handling is massive. I will not go back to consumer gear. Apart from the turntable pre-amp, I use an old Arcam for that. If a little accuracy needs to be given up, then, that is something I am willing to trade.

For the amount of money, you will be hard pressed to find a better sounding system. You can opt for the Behringer A500 amps, they are a/b class but lack speaker protection.

Major downside: if the recording is bad, it will show. Bad mastering, high compression, it will show. I did not notice much lack of detail in the mid bass to be honest. Most fun I have with these amps are during home cinema sessions.. The vulgar display of power is just too addictive. They do not perform too well at low power. If you have very sensitive speakers they may not be the best choice. They love to be driven. The fans rarely turn. And if they do, they are inaudible (lower noise than my bluray player). Also, I connected everything through XLR.

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amps

I find talk about how amplifiers sound strange. I have a Denon AVR that cost 600 and a Marantz reference integrated amp that cost 3000. At normal listening levels, they sound identical. Power amps do not "sound like" anything, in my opinion. I realize I'm in the minority on this. And I also admit I could be wrong. (I often am)

noway
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Some pro amps that I've tried

Some pro amps that I've tried:
QSC RMX series: stock fan too noisey for home use.
QSC PLX series: stock fan too noisey for home use and this is arguably the quietest QSC series.
Yamaha PX series: fan a bit too noisey for me but may be ok for some. Quieter than the QSC PLX.
Yamaha P-series (ie. P3500S, P7000S, etc.): okay for home use.
Crown XLS Drivecore series: okay for home use. Bit of hiss thru sensitive speakers.
Bryston (various): cooling by heatsink: okay for home use.

Canadianwalker
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Crown Xls 1500

I have been using a Crown XLS 1500 for a few years now. It drives a pair of Kef LS50's and is being fed by a TEAC UD-301 DAC with it's volume control and balanced connections.
I am constantly changing amplifiers between a classic Sansui integrated amp (very good), an ADCOM GFA-5500, a class D pioneer elite, among others. I used to build my own tube amps and have heard many. The Crown is a very interesting unit. Once broken in and warmed up, its actually excellent. The dynamics are in a class above all the other amps. When someone says an amp "kicks" or has "pace" etc I think they mean what this amp sounds like. I have only had one amp, a HUGE Kenwood, with massive transformers and high voltages, that clearly sounded as though it was unlimited in power in a similar way. I have had Conrad Johnson tube amps, Dynaco tube amps, Heathkit tube amps, Sonic Frontiers tube amps etc and very few actually sounded "live" in dynamics. The Kef's seem to really like the 300w per channel. It's quiet with no hiss or fan noise. I've only had the fan come on a couple of times in years of use and that was when it was very hot inside my listening room AND I had it sitting on a particularly toasty preamp. After I started using the TEAC directly, the fan never came on again. I love that lack of heat in my small non-air conditioned room.

The amp seems very neutral, neither warm nor cool. It doesn't sound "sweet" on poor recordings. For instance, I can't imagine listening to older cd's (earlier than say 2000). They so noticeably lack dynamics and are not even close to as nice sounding as anything recorded or remastered in the last few years that I can't bring myself to rip my older discs. I should mention that the Crown sounds best with the level controls set to 1pm (your mileage may vary). I took some time to find the schematics of the Crown and found the volume control is actually affecting the amp's feedback loop as well as attenuating the input, so it sounds different depending on the level control setting (there has been much confusion on this point).

I would recommend that anyone with a difficult load to drive, or who just wants to enjoy "different" for a very low price, give the Crown's a try. You might find the stunning dynamics irresistible.

burlingamedad
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Crown XLS 1002 and Emotiva A-300 BasX Amplifiers

Thanks to all of you who have posted in this older thread. I wanted to add an update with a recommendation for a new amp that has recently come available -- the Emotiva A-300 BasX amp. I ordered it, and a Crown XLS 1002 from Amazon and tried them with a new pair of Magnepan MMGis.

My test setup -- FLAC files played into a Dragonfly D to A converter, into my old Macintosh MA6100 (for the preamp), and then sent via the pre-amp output to the Crown and to the Emotiva into Magnepan MMGIs.

First, the Emotiva is BEAUTIFUL -- the build quality is top notch. It also sounds great. It powered the MMGIs well, and in comparison to the Crown, I might say it had a little more warmth -- that is, perhaps a little less treble than the Crown, but that difference was small enough to be well within the margin of error category of difference. It had more than enough power for the Maggies in a living room that is 15x25, with 8 foot ceilings. For $400, it is an incredible bargain, and for those who prefer Class A/B, it is perfect. The downsides are, it is LARGE and HEAVY compared to the Crown, which is 1/2 the depth, and 1/2 the weight. If I were displaying my amp in my living room -- the Emotiva would be the clear winner over the Crown, or a lot of other amps. I very much recommend you try one.

On the Crown. The XLS 1002 is also a fantastic amp -- especially for the price. It is powerful and very clean -- no noise to be heard, plenty of power. As others have mentioned, it has a configurable high pass filter that you can use to roll off low frequencies -- the MMGIs really "don't" have decent bass (in my opinion). I found myself turning up my bass control to get any low end into them. I ended up with a sub coming in around 80hz, and that combo worked well for me.

Note: if you can afford it, I would recommend getting the higher powered Crowns. With the bass turned up slightly, playing at about 90db on my iPhone SPL meter in my living room, I could get the Crown XLS 1002 to start clipping (or rather, the limiter would start activating). That's pretty amazing given the Crown can do 350 watts into 4 ohms -- the MMGIs seem to be able to take more power than 350 watts, and since I am considering the larger 1.7s, I figure I will need more power. I have just ordered a XLS 2002 which puts out 650 watts into 4 ohms, which, at $499 from Amazon, is also a bargain (1/3rd of the lower end audiophile class D amps I was considering -- like the Nord Acoustics Hypex-based ones).

Thanks to all of you for writing in with your experiences -- this information is highly valuable.

Nitro
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Crown xls, 1500 2500

Hey you guys i have run 2 2500 and a 1500 for 8 years. I run sound for live bands in local gigs, clubs, bars. These amps have never failed me. The clarity, reliablity has been amazing. If you do your home work, research, and match speakers with amps, (ohms, wattage, impedance,) you cant go wrong. Im not the loudest but im damn sure the cleanest, clearest, according to fans of the bands. If your ringing evry ones ear drums then your doing something wrong. I seen bars clear out becsuse sounds was way to loud for listening. Bar tenders coouldnt even hear a drink from clients. Criwn amps yep diamonds for dure im duper please with those babies

audioarchitech
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I replaced the fan in my QSC

I replaced the fan in my QSC PLX3002, SO much quieter, almost silent. Part I used was a SAN Ace 80 109R0824M402 (24V 0.05A). I'm sure there are a few other options out there but this seemed to match up the best, rated at 29.3 CFM and 23 dB. The stock Panaflow fan was rated at 24V 0.3A and somewhere around 32 CFM and 35 dB. Just plug in some XLR-RCA adapters and Unbalanced RCA jacks ready to go. Enjoy!

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