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List of amps that double as stereo amps - Page 3

post #31 of 47
Well I can surely recommend my current setup. Mapletree Audio Ear + HD , used both as Headphone and pre-amp. In fact many of the good doctors offerings can serve as at least a pre-amp, if not maybe all. Very rich detailed sound from the EAR, a joy with Grado's.

This is then feeding a NAD C3XXX series integrated amp. Much more of a speaker amp than for headphones. But still an excellent HP amp on the NAD. And it has no problem with those other headphones that don't use a 1/4'' plug Excellent power and sound at one of the best prices in the market.
post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkweg View Post
Isn't 15w a bit on the low side? I would never buy an amp unless it had at least 30w per channel into 8ohm.
15w is plenty for my Stax (earspeakers) transformers. Also have run some efficient speakers on the desktop and they sound very good. Plenty of tube amps out there with low wattage that sound very good...
post #33 of 47
A friend of mine used to have 240w per channel Crown amp. I'll take that any day over a 15w tube amp.
post #34 of 47
Thread Starter 
Updated. Again, thanks for the input, guys. Now listing under "integrated" "Pre-amp" "Power amp" categories to avoid confusion. Again, the purpose of this thread is to list any headphone amps that can double as any amplifying component in a part of a 2-channel system.
post #35 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkweg View Post
Isn't 15w a bit on the low side? I would never buy an amp unless it had at least 30w per channel into 8ohm.
With due respect, I can't quite agree. What's commonly referred to as the 'best integrated amp ever' by many audiophiles is Kondo's legendary Audio Note Ongaku, which is only 25 wpc. Let me preface this, first of all, by saying that I have no prejudice against high-power SS amps, as I also listen with a modded 150 wpc Plinius 8150. But my 28 wpc Leben CS600 will have the Plinius beat when it comes to soundstaging or holographic imaging, as well as pure tonality. My speakers are not particularly sensitive either, rated at 86 db. But matched carefully with sensitive loudspeakers, even the flea-watt tube amp can sound great.

It's all a trade-off. My tube Leben will not thunder in the bass region in the final movement of a Mahler 2nd or crunch out Mastodon's 'Leviathan' like the Plinius. Yet the Plinius falls short of the Leben when it comes to capturing the subtle dynamics of the music or the intimacy. The ineffable flow of the music is also captured better with Leben...

Meaning, it's all about building your system & matching components and speakers. You can have a 3 wpc 2A3 tube-based amp driving a 100+ db Goto horn-based system, and it will rock the f*&^ out, as well as sound more like real, live music than any mega-wattage SS amp. (On the other side of the token, a DartZeel SS power/pre combo that I heard is as lovely and as musical as the top of the line tube amps, too.) There's no hard & fast rule in audio, IMHO.
post #36 of 47
Man, I'd love to get my sticky little fingers on your Leben 600.
post #37 of 47
post #38 of 47
Thread Starter 
Thanks, zotjen. Included the link in the OP.
post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostmusic View Post
With due respect, I can't quite agree. What's commonly referred to as the 'best integrated amp ever' by many audiophiles is Kondo's legendary Audio Note Ongaku, which is only 25 wpc. Let me preface this, first of all, by saying that I have no prejudice against high-power SS amps, as I also listen with a modded 150 wpc Plinius 8150. But my 28 wpc Leben CS600 will have the Plinius beat when it comes to soundstaging or holographic imaging, as well as pure tonality. My speakers are not particularly sensitive either, rated at 86 db. But matched carefully with sensitive loudspeakers, even the flea-watt tube amp can sound great.

It's all a trade-off. My tube Leben will not thunder in the bass region in the final movement of a Mahler 2nd or crunch out Mastodon's 'Leviathan' like the Plinius. Yet the Plinius falls short of the Leben when it comes to capturing the subtle dynamics of the music or the intimacy. The ineffable flow of the music is also captured better with Leben...

Meaning, it's all about building your system & matching components and speakers. You can have a 3 wpc 2A3 tube-based amp driving a 100+ db Goto horn-based system, and it will rock the f*&^ out, as well as sound more like real, live music than any mega-wattage SS amp. (On the other side of the token, a DartZeel SS power/pre combo that I heard is as lovely and as musical as the top of the line tube amps, too.) There's no hard & fast rule in audio, IMHO.
Well, I guess it depends on the listening levels one prefers but it is generally recommended to buy an amp with a bit more power then you actually need to avoid driving the amp into clipping stage. If you listen at low to moderate listening levels then 25w is fine but not for me. I have two amps I use and one is 60w per channel and the other is 75w per channel. Even those can not drive large speakers like that old Crown 240w per channel could though.
post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkweg View Post
Well, I guess it depends on the listening levels one prefers but it is generally recommended to buy an amp with a bit more power then you actually need to avoid driving the amp into clipping stage. If you listen at low to moderate listening levels then 25w is fine but not for me. I have two amps I use and one is 60w per channel and the other is 75w per channel. Even those can not drive large speakers like that old Crown 240w per channel could though.
How much power you need from a speaker amp depends on the following factors:

1. The sensitivity rating of your speakers
2. The impedance curve of your speakers (not the nominal rating, but the actual performance curve)
3. The size of your room and how far away from the speakers your listening position is
4. How loud you like to listen.

For example, in my family room, I use a 650 wpc Sunfire amp to power my large B&W speakers. My listening position is about 12 feet from the speakers, and the room is fairly large. I like to listen at about 80db average, with short peaks to the 95db level or so.. I surely do not use all 650 watts, but it's nice to know they are there.

However, in my office, I use a 5wpc tube amp. I sit 3 feet from the speakers, which are smaller and more efficient. In the office the average level is more like 65-70 db at the most. The tube amp sounds glorious.

As an aside, I have heard those Crown PA amps used as stereo amps before and thought they sounded awful! Thin and chalky. There are plenty of real music amps that can deliver a lot of power.
post #41 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkweg View Post
Isn't 15w a bit on the low side? I would never buy an amp unless it had at least 30w per channel into 8ohm.
You can get by with fewer watts than you might expect. I switched from a 45W amp to a 3W amp recently. It doesn't shake the room, but at lower/moderate levels, I don't notice any loss. The 3W Moth is sweeter and magical on the AMTs. I don't need anything more and the room is considerably cooler when I run a fleawatt.

I think much of the watt fetish comes from the marketers slapping gigantic numbers on the sides of boxes in the stores. They taught the consumer to look for the big number as a sign of "quality" in an amp. Most of those with giant numbers cheaped out on the power supply and there are all sorts of tricks manufacturers use to pimp the numbers. Some will even run the tests in a room below freezing just to keep the amp from overheating while they push it for the biggest number possible. Plenty of other sneaky tricks are used, too.

So the number on the side is not necessarily the amount of watts you're going to get. Judge an amp by its power supply - that's what costs money and where real quality comes from.
post #42 of 47
Thread Starter 
Skylab is correct. You can't generalize the amp-speaker matching with a blanket statement like you need 25 wpc at least not to clip, even without considering sensitivity/impedance of the speakers. It would be a ridiculous task to drive Skylab's B&Ws, for example, with some 300B SET amp putting out 8 wpc. But with 98db+ sensitivity speakers with flat impedance, I assure you the volume will be loud enough to drive you out of the room. As I said, my Harbeths are not the ideal mates for the Leben, at 86 db sensitivity, but due to its easy load (flat impedance), I listen to my music plenty loud enough for my tastes, can do Wagner and the early Kinks without any need to apologize...

The reason why some tube aficionados also insist on fewer watts, is that they believe that it's the first couple of watts that are the most critical to getting that pure musical sound. This is a philosophy that is embraced by a lot of SS manufacturers, too. For example. My Plinius runs pure Class A for the first 2-3 watts, then kicks into AB, as do a lot of other quality amps I've seen. Again, there's always a trade-off... with SS, you do get better bass control & resolution in general, but IME, flatter soundstage and musical sound that is less unbelievable, in comparison with live music. This is because with a SET amp, for example, it leaves in even and odd ordered harmonics, which helps in the simulation of hearing 'live' sound. SS amps do not do this. Some tube guys also disdain push-pull amps b/c they leave out even-ordered harmonics. SS campers would call these harmonic orders 'distortions.' It's ultimately a subjective judgment, but let's think about how we hear live music. These harmonics are present in every environment in which we hear music live, as music is experienced organically, communally, in halls or stadiums or cafes, as opposed to in clinical environments.
post #43 of 47
For the Preamps list, the Grace m902 would be a good addition. It's basically a direct competitor with the Benchmark DAC1 Pre. And the Grace is available with a remote control, which the Benchmark does not offer.
post #44 of 47
I'd like to second the opinion that modestly powered amps can drive many speakers quite nicely under the right circumstances. I use a first gen SI T-Amp to drive my PSB Stratus Minis, which are NOT efficient. The T puts out about 3-5 useable watts, which ain't very much, especially considering that the SMinis are rated at 87 dB into 4 Ohms.

But I have them in a nearfield placement about 3-4 feet from my desk, and they sound just fine with the T. I can't shake the floor, obviously (couldn't if I wanted to, anyway; I have sensitive neighbors), but the combination sounds fine at low to moderate volume.

More to the OP's original point, what about the Travagan's Red and Green? I've been drooling over all three of the Travagans and I've been wondering how they would do for a bedroom system, both as hp amp, and driving modest (full range, maybe?) speakers. Anyone think this is a good idea? Again, I don't need high vol levels.
post #45 of 47
Klipsch Forte and other Klipsch speakers are rated 98db@1watt/1meter, they supposedly sound good with tube amps.
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