Looking for new stereo power amp

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by dpd, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    My old POOGE-II power amp (modded Hafler DH-200) lost the right channel the other day. I haven't gotten it on the bench to determine the cause (no visible kablamo's) but, if the Hitachi power mosfets puked, I'm probably SOL.

    What's a good quality, neutral-sounding, 200 WPC amp these days? I can't put multi-K$ into this, either (got a kid starting college next month...)
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Look at the high-current Rotel amplifiers. Great bang-for-the-buck in a fairly 'serious' amp.
  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    There are so many amps out now... Last time I went amp shopping, I think it took me 8 months to finally pick one. I picked a really obscure amp in the end but lots sounded good.

    Not knowing your taste, it's hard to recommend one. So i'll just say that there are a ton of reasonably priced amps on the market.
  4. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    @John - I look into the Rotel - forgot about them last night when I started looking.

    @Michael - I'd appreciate a quick list if you wouldn't mind. As long as it's solid state and reasonably neutral, I'll take a look. I've been out of that part of things for so long, I can't remember the last time I read a good stereo mag (Absolute Sound, Stereophile, etc).

    Audiogon didn't seem to have much, nor eBay on the used side. Haven't searched here or over at GearSlutz yet. Any other places to look if I go for something used?
  5. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    You're not too far (maybe)... I just saw a used Rotel 1080 at SoundForum (SoundForum.net - A store - not a forum) in Lake in the Hills, IL this afternoon.
  6. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    any thoughts on these?

    NAD C272 (seems to have a good supply - output keeps going up as the load drops)

    Emotiva XPA-2

    ADCOM GFA 5500

    Parasound Halo A23
  7. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    I decided to just fix the old, POOGE'd DH-200. Found some new power FETs (Exicons), decided to add an AC RFI line filter to the chassis and am replacing all the driver transistors with matched sets.

    Best part? I dug up an old, unused DH-200 chassis I had in the closet and am finally rebuilding the amp into a pair of mono-blocks. I'll have 2X the power transformer and 7x the power supply filter capacity. That will improve the dynamics and ought to eliminate the crosstalk.

    I'm photo-blogging the whole thing and will post a link once I get the 1st amp complete (just waiting for the hookup wire back-orders to show up...)
  8. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Very cool. Looking forward to the pics.
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Glad it worked out!

    I just thought I'd add a little bit even though the situation is clearly a non-issue any more...

    I have a Rotel amp, a Hafler and a B&K. Ultimately, the B&K is what I use to drive my mains. With a new pair of speakers (I just picked up some Focals), I tried them all out again and still wound up preferring the B&K. Happily, I got the B&K from Audiogon for around $400 for a 2 channel, 200wpc with balanced and unbalanced line ins.

    The Rotel is a darn good amp. It's far better than its price would indicate. Overall, the B&K was a bit smoother and definitely more dynamic (really only noticable when the canons fire in the 1812 or similar...)

    I've also recently tried the Halo (Parasound) and really liked it as well as a NAD which was surprisingly great.

    I guess the moral of the story - even modestly priced amps nowadays are quite good and any should serve most people - even mastering studios - quite well.

    For people looking for that last 5%, none of the amps I mentioned will do, but if 95% is good enough, they'll all fit the bill.

  10. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    wow - Jeremy, that's great info. It's been so long since I've played the stereo game... I've been waiting for some teflon insulated wire from a guy; gave up last night and ordered it from a different source and it shipped today, so I should be building the 1st mono-block this weekend.

    Just dumped another wad of cash today with Audio Research to re-tube my SP-9 Mk II preamp. I just wish it had a calibrated volume control (it's a detented type, so I just cal'd it with a SPL meter and a K-System metering plugin). I feed it with a Benchmark DAC-1 and the SP-9 still sounds great.
  11. DonGrossinger

    DonGrossinger Active Member

    I just upgraded to a set of the Bel Canto RefI monoblocks & love them.
    Lots of power & just as uncolored as you'd want.
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Wiping drool from chin. ;-)
  13. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    BC's got some nice stuff. Still having "digital issues" with my DAC3, but they're being very helpful in trying to bring it up to (my) specs. I guess it works well under typical demands... But I digress...

    Nice amps though - Good call.
  14. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    Nice! Beyond my budget....

    Finally got around to wiring the 1st chassis today. Got the AC and rectifier + filter caps done. Goes on the Variac tomorrow to see if it powers up OK, then take a look for power supply ripple on the scope.

    Did a stupid thing when I was pre-wiring the FET heatsink module - got it backwards! (RATS) I was using the old right side module as a guide and just realized tonight that the module needs to go on the left side of the chassis. Gonna have to raid the lab at work to see if I can still find the resistors I need.
  15. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    Amp #1 is ALIVE! Ran it at full power under load for a good while tonight - 154 Watts into 8 ohms. No oscillations noted, no notable waveform distortion (dang - should have run the FFT on the scope...).

    Amp #2 is underway. No BelCanto's..... but, dual-mono still beats stereo any day.

    Here's the link to the photo album from Amp #1:


Share This Page