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Hey all,

I'm looking to buy a new amp for our studios pair of NS-10s and was wondering where to look without breaking the bank. We are on a pretty tight budget at this time and while others have suggestion Bryston and the likes, it is unfortunately out the question at this point. Is there an affordable amp that will do the job well? What is everybody else using on theirs?


Studio Manager
Whitehouse Productions

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RemyRAD Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:00

Look into a Peavey. Go for the power for the headroom. Plenty of used ones floating around. They'll work. I've actually liked the sound of some JVC consumer receiver/amplifiers. Nothing less than 40 W per channel and more if you can get it. Yeah, Yamaha amplifiers also.

I use all of the above except for the Peavey substitute Peavy with Crown DC 300 A type II.
Mx. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Fri, 07/27/2012 - 11:09

You know... I never thought about powering a pair of NS 10's from a pair of Macintosh tube amplifiers? Probably because I only have a single channel Macintosh tube amplifier? They are so warm, rich and flabby that they may actually complement those horrid sounding Yamaha's?

I forget what brand of toilet paper Bob Clearmountain used on his NS 10's? I know I personally like the Charmin Strong but not necessarily on my speakers but up my ass. And that's all because they are too naturally too bright. Not my ass where the sound don't shine. LMAO whoops! Now I need some Charmin.

Thankfully at least my audio doesn't stink
Mx. Remy Ann David

kmetal Sat, 07/28/2012 - 00:29

yesa t shirts work in an emergency pinch, but, thats more for the woods than the studio. I can only imagine the atrocity of the auction title 'bob clearmountain used tissue', $1k?anybody.
jokes aside i looked at your studio site and it looks like ya got some good things going on. Were you using an amp that stopped working.? If your already used to a setup's sound, and like it, it could be better to just fix it, and get used to the repair. If it's a new setup, all i can say is try some recommended stuff at your place till it's 'the one'. Having not used anything beside the halfler amp on the ns-10's, i'd personally just start smiling over the idea of a tube based power amp on any speaker. But blind tests are where its at, you just know what one you like better, usually right away.

audiokid Sun, 07/29/2012 - 21:14

I'll chime in too, makes me want a new amp!

More headroom the better for any speaker I say. I sold a Bryston 2B years ago because I was a moron and have been kicking myself ever since. First and foremost, they are quiet and choice for recording studios, then to add, have plenty of headroom and great detail across the spectrum. A 3b would be even better.

That would be my choice and/ or a glorious McIntosh indeed Remy ... , always lusted over those ( do they come in stereo?), or as Dave mentioned, an old Rotel would be wonderful, always wanted one of those too.
Peavey and Yamaha are workhorses, had plenty of those but I personally wouldn't use it for anything I wanted fidelity with but in a pinch... I've also got by using a Dennon home stereo when times were not so good around here.

I need a new amp for my Tannoys. Blew one up using a crap amp years back lol. What are you using or have you lusting over for yours Dave?

My G.A.S is getting amplified :)

RemyRAD Sun, 07/29/2012 - 23:07

My main monitor amp is my old vintage Crown DC 300 A type II. Followed by a audiophile tricked up Hafler. Yamaha, Kenwood and that single Macintosh MC 30. I don't think they came in stereo? They are too large and heavy for just a single unit. So you would purchase 2. Though my friends Macintosh 2100 transistor amplifier must have weighed over 60 pounds? Unfortunately he lost that amplifier in a fire when the studio burnt down. He dearly misses that amplifier. Another amplifier I have that I enjoyed was the Pioneer Spec2 but it is in need of service. It was made available to me at an incredible bargain. While it was clean and solid, it never wowed me all that much. Accurate, sure. Impressive, not so much so. It's remained in a box untouched for the last few years. I really keep thinking I should get it operational again. Though I never felt that it had the punch of the Crown. Certainly though, power to spare. I've also pondered obtaining a second Macintosh MC 30 to go with my single unit? It's so warm, so full and no 30 watt transistorized amplifier could ever compare, ever, not in a million years. All I have to do is sell some other junk to be able to afford a second. Not easy to find but certainly not impossible to find. It's dreamy sounding. Would rather have had it been a 60 W version for control room purposes. I've considered utilizing the single unit as the center driver for a surround sound application/control room configuration but I'm not really there yet. Not in any serious way. The secondary control room is which I have running on a Sony fairly high-end consumer surroundsound amplifier. And that's powering a couple of KRK's, B & O's and JBL 4408 full range speakers and no subwoofer. Not enough room for my JBL L-19's which also need new woofer suspensions since they have rotted out along with the ones on my 4411's. Ouch! The cost of replacing the suspensions are almost as much as replacing the drivers themselves. There's a reason why God created duct tape. So they don't quite move like they used to and I don't consider them to be a precision source anymore LOL. Those were just relegated for home entertainment and enjoyment.

Swimming in speakers.
Mx. Remy Ann David

pan60 Mon, 07/30/2012 - 11:27

RemyRAD, post: 391976 wrote: my JBL L-19's which also need new woofer suspensions since they have rotted out along with the ones on my 4411's. Ouch! The cost of replacing the suspensions are almost as much as replacing the drivers themselves. There's a reason why God created duct tape. So they don't quite move like they used to and I don't consider them to be a precision source anymore LOL. Those were just relegated for home entertainment and enjoyment.

Swimming in speakers.
Mx. Remy Ann David


Same boat with some of my JBLs.
I am still hoping to get some butyl rubber surrounds for mine.

My Macintosh amps are some of my most favored.

Davedog Mon, 07/30/2012 - 20:39

I use a three digit serial number Crown D150 for my passive Tannoy System 8's. Its the oldest D150 Crown I've ever seen. I've owned quite a few over all the years...Sounds great BTW. One of these days when my "friend" returns my old Hafler I'll dual amp the Tannoys with the Crown on the tweets. My Hafler was a first year KIT! Yeah, thats how that company started. Kinda like Heathkit only a little higher up the food chain in fidelity.

audiokid Mon, 07/30/2012 - 20:58


I helped build, install the sound and then DJ'd a dance club years back. We only played 45 RPM long play vinyl. Its when I was first introduced to high end masters and tracks before they were cut down for radio etc. Some of the long play 45's sounded amazing. We fitted the club with Crown amps and all JBL. The bass was amazing. We used 6, 18"
front loaded JBL, mids and 2445 highs. Wow was how it all sounded. The specs on them were the best of all the amps we looked at. I later took part of that system on the road and started a techno duo. We used all JBL, all front loaded but used Carver, Yamaha and Bryston. Nothing compared to the Crowns for bass.

Davedog Tue, 07/31/2012 - 01:08

I've owned a couple of P.A.'s. My little 4-way was all JBL speakers and mostly Crown power. A pair of 4530's for sub, 4560's for low/mids, 2395 lens with 2440 drivers for upper mids and a couple of potato mashers for tweets. Crowns for all the power except the subs which was a BGW 750. TDM crossovers and an old beat to death PM1000 Yammie. Symetrix compressors and Yamaha Rev7's. It was a small but very very good sounding system. You could throw a grill cloth over it and swear you were listening to home theater speakers. It was all short throw so it worked well in smaller venues.

I kinda miss that sort of thing but not enough to ever want to move that kind of weight around again.

KurtFoster Tue, 11/06/2012 - 20:56

i can't get old amps worked on in my neck of the woods.

i take them to the local "studio tech guru" and he looks at me like i am coming from mars. says they're too old to fix .... no parts support from the manufacture /out of business.

somthing like a new crown or qsc ... passive cooling 200 watts @ 8 ohms.

RemyRAD Wed, 11/07/2012 - 10:40

I understand there are those Crown DC 300 amplifiers that supposedly, can't be repaired due to discontinued parts? Lead? Feels like lead but it's all beefy iron and mostly from that single gargantuan transformer on the back. Because you needed a huge electromagnetic field to transfer huge power to your speakers. Now we have class D. Huge amplifiers are now quite lightweight. Basically a modification of a computer switching power supply as the power supply and as the amplifier. So your old DC 300 may in fact be nothing more than a doorstop? And it used a very early integrated circuit chip, might be like trying to find a original Neumann U-47 tube? I haven't heard of any good retrofit modifications? At least any that you'd want to use? Though it might be fine for driving a hysteresis synchronous capstan drive motor for an old analog tape recorder?

It's really hard to find those brand-new parts for your Duesenberg.
Mx. Remy Ann David

mberry593 Wed, 11/07/2012 - 11:29

I need a new amp for my Tannoys.

I am very happy at home with a Bryston 4B driving my Tannoy DMT 10s although a 3B would probably be adequate.

I have built 4 (television) control rooms using Brystons to drive Tannoy DMT 12s & people were happy with the results.

To get back to the OP's question, I have always used Bryston 2BLPs for NS-10s. A lower cost alternative might be to find a used Crown D75 on ebay...try to get one with the black face and the stepped level controls. Even cheaper might be an old consumer Adcom GFA-535 on ebay.

I have also used a 3-channel Yamaha E492 as a power amp(again cheap on ebay) successfully with Tannoy Saturn home-style loudspeakers.

The idea of a tube Mac driving the NS-10s makes me uncomfortable. I agree that it sounds like a good match BUT remember these things are not supposed to sound accurate or good....they are, like Auratones, just a well-known reference.

btw, I have purchased 27 Bryston power amps in my career and not one has ever caused any problem either to themselves or to the attached speakers. I can't say that about all of the power amps that I have installed over the years. The big point about them however for me has been the convenience of the VCA option that allows a remote DC pot to control the level.

RemyRAD Wed, 11/07/2012 - 12:16

Well, I said what I had, not what I actually wanted, a BrysTon. So you did this after we all split from NBC? I don't remember seeing any of those amplifiers around NBC? And we certainly couldn't get Scott to get this one for KYS? Did you do that for Fox? It's been so long since we've talked.

Now Mike unlike myself, knows his stuff better than I do. I come from a different angle. We're very lucky to have Mike here. And he also knows I'm just a hack. But it's all art and rock 'n roll and I like it, like it, yes I do with the occasional operatic recording thrown in for good measure.

Really I'd rather be recording contemporary country. Maybe next lifetime?
Mx. Remy Ann David

mberry593 Thu, 11/08/2012 - 15:02

RemyRAD, post: 395826 wrote: And he also knows I'm just a hack.
Mx. Remy Ann David

For the benefit of all of you here on the forums, in addition to his obvious recording skills, Remy is a world-class network television audio engineer.

Me? I was a world-class network television empty suit manager. I can write dumb memos, do stupid Power Point presentations and waste time in meetings with the best of them.

Also, yes I was part of the team that built Fox News back in 1996 but let me hasten to add that I am registered independent (or no affiliation as we say here in Maryland) and my leanings are to the liberal side.

Once again, I go off-topic. Mods: please forgive me.

RemyRAD Sun, 11/11/2012 - 00:52

I forget which Hafler I have? I think it's a 220? I got it from one of the NBC directors, who was an audiophile. Supposedly it's all synced up with specialized everything inside? I also have the matching Hafler preamp which I rather like. All discrete transistors stuff. I've gone back and forth between that and my Crown but crappy alloy RCA inputs, makes me want to open it up and stick something sensible in place of that? No rackmount ears for it either. Just these big passive heat sink fins. Not as heavy as the Crown. I've just never trusted the outputs of his power amplifiers. Back in the DynaCo days, anything less than 4 ohms or greater than 16 would take them right out. This really have the other technical guys that Media Sound really baffled trying to use them for their headphone system. I ended up completely redesigning the entire headphone system with proper break out and load resistors on those SCA 80/120's, for all four control rooms and studios. So I just sort of keep it as a backup to the Crown.

I like stuff better that doesn't blow up easily.
Mx. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Sun, 11/11/2012 - 18:55

No question whatsoever, Hafler's sound good. They just weren't built with much output protection, so not a dealbreaker. Unfortunately, they won't necessarily survive simple, small, mistakes. I would imagine his later amplifiers like these, should have had a little more robust output protection? One would hope?

I haven't given mine a chance to blow out.
Mx. Remy Ann David

KurtFoster Sun, 11/11/2012 - 19:01

I have 3 Haffler's and two of them have left channels that are fried. and i can't find anyone to repair them. i have searched nation wide and the only place i can find is in LA. shipping would be more than the amps are worth .. problem is there are none of the "field replaceable" cards available since Haffler went out of business.

RemyRAD Sun, 11/11/2012 - 19:26

Yeah, when those amplifiers fried, they fried. He did some weird stuff by wrapping a wire around a output capacitor as something of an inductor? And then the entire output section goes unstable. And all because perhaps those output capacitors have gotten old?

I've done the wackiest things with my Crown from an open circuit, to driving an Ashland or,Bodine, capstan drive motor on a Scully or, Ampex, to a dead short. Almost nothing kills these things!

They're probably not originally from this planet? I know I'm not.
Mx. Remy Ann David

Davedog Mon, 11/12/2012 - 00:05

Both of my original 220's and both 500's survived many a day in the Oregon weather in the PA rig. All were from the 'kit' era. I still have a 220 from that set if I can ever get it back from its loan program. I always fused the speakers. Nothing works quite like a little 6 amp 250 volt cartridge fuse in the back panel. Saved a lot on speakers over the years when I had a bunch of Phase Linears in the rack. Or Flame Linears as we called em......but they sure sounded good.....There used to be an old TV repair man in my neighborhood who also took in high-end stereo gear and would even dig into your console ...a REAL electrical engineer fella...His phrase for Crowns was this "Voltage in equals voltage out"....he said you could drive em all day at 70volts. They didnt tell ya that in the brochures.

anonymous Sun, 12/16/2012 - 11:38

Just stumbled onto this thread, realize it's been here awhile but figured I'd chime in anyway.

I chose Hafler several years back after I had a monitor "shoot out"... I was lucky enough to have a friend who worked at a music store at the time and he let me bring several models home to try.

It's a bit vague now, don't recall every model I tried - there were more than just a couple...

I do remember trying an abortion by Alesis called the "Mattica". It had a strange, "phasey" top end, as well as a slew rate/damping factor thing that was disconcerting, because the bass frequencies were really slow to recover, hanging around ... like they were gonna order pizza and strippers.

The two that I finally narrowed it down to were The Hafler Transnova P1500, and a Crown DC. In the end, merely from a price standpoint, The Hafler won.

I've had it now for about 15 years, never had a problem with it.

As far as the NS10's... I have them, I've cooked through them many times, but I was never a fan of using them for extended mixing sessions... to me they were just too fatiguing. Just my personal opinion.

These days, I'm monitoring through two different pairs of NF's, both passives...depending on my mood, LOL....the first pair are Alesis Monitor One's, and the second is an ancient pair of JBL 4406's. I can mix for much longer periods of time though both pairs without burning out and they translate just fine to other playback systems.



anonymous Sun, 12/16/2012 - 11:43

DonnyThompson, post: 397802 wrote: As far as the NS10's... I have them, I've cooked through them many times, but I was never a fan of using them for extended mixing sessions... to me they were just too fatiguing.

They're best classified as grot boxes. They are not a reference speaker. Especially not placed sideways with or without Mr Clearmountain's special-brand toilet roll. Just goes to show you how nuts and sheep-like a lot of people are.


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KurtFoster Sat, 07/18/2015 - 18:35

deal is you really can't find anyone to service the Haffler P series amps or the Trans Novas .... i looked. there's one old guy in LA that can do it but it's not worth it because the shipping will kill you. if anyone can find somebody to work on them i have 2 Trans Novas that have one side blown .... i would let them go cheap, but again the shipping is gonna murder you.


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