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Amp for Kef R300's?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

About to pull the trigger on a pair of Kef R300's. Only issue right now is that I am completely stumped on an amp to pair them with. I've looked anywhere from $1 to $2k and I just get more and more confused. Do I really need to spend $2k on an amp? I will be using a Peachtree Dac-IT to mate my PC to amp.

 

Any recommendations? Inputs?

post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiml3ss View Post

Do I really need to spend $2k on an amp?

 

 

No, you don't. You can get high-quality sound at all sorts of price points.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiml3ss View Post

I've looked anywhere from $1 to $2k and I just get more and more confused.

 

What do you get confused about?

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yage View Post


No, you don't. You can get high-quality sound at all sorts of price points.


What do you get confused about?

Thanks for the reply.

Well, I've read so many opinions that seem to suggest that an amp is an amp and that it shouldn't affect the colorization of the signal and other tell me that they swear they can tell the difference between a $200 and $2k amp.

Then people say that certain amps pair better with certain speakers. I guess what Im just confused with the overal landscape of deciding on an amp.

I also never know how to scale wattage of an amp to what a speaker recommends. I'm not planning on throwing parties with this setup but probably will use it for more quiet listening sessions.

All I want is a basic amp that gets the job done. Eventually I'll probably convert the setup into a fullblown 5.1 surround system but for now it will be 80% music and only 2 speakers.
post #4 of 9

Well, let's start with determining differences in sound quality between two amps irrespective of price. Audioholics.com, which I consider to be the most objective (perhaps at times bordering on simply being close-minded) site on audio, certainly has left the door open to the argument that people *can* hear differences:

 

http://www.audioholics.com/education/amplifier-technology/the-sound-of-an-amplifier

 

It also provides a good primer and discussion on what technical details of an amplifier's design influence sound quality and whether (or which) measurements correlate to perceived sound quality.

 

Personally, I've heard differences in amps - I've brought in my integrated for a head-to-head comparison against an Ayre AX-5 and I could definitely tell a difference. Now is that difference going to translate to my system in my room? I don't know.

 

I also don't know if it's worth the $10k MSRP for the AX-5 - but that's a different question entirely.

 

Now for scaling amplifier power, let's look at a handy calculator:

 

http://www.crownaudio.com/elect-pwr-req.htm

 

The dynamic range of a compact disc is about 93 dB. If you sit 3 m away from the speakers and want the amp to reproduce the full dynamic range of a CD with the R300's without clipping, then the amp would have to output about 57 W. Let's say that KEF was a little optimistic about their sensitivity rating for the speaker and it's actually 85 dB. Then you'll need power output of ~113 W. If most of your listening is done at moderate volume, say around 75 dB SPL, then you can get by on a measly 2 W.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yage View Post

Well, let's start with determining differences in sound quality between two amps irrespective of price. Audioholics.com, which I consider to be the most objective (perhaps at times bordering on simply being close-minded) site on audio, certainly has left the door open to the argument that people *can* hear differences:

http://www.audioholics.com/education/amplifier-technology/the-sound-of-an-amplifier

It also provides a good primer and discussion on what technical details of an amplifier's design influence sound quality and whether (or which) measurements correlate to perceived sound quality.

Personally, I've heard differences in amps - I've brought in my integrated for a head-to-head comparison against an Ayre AX-5 and I could definitely tell a difference. Now is that difference going to translate to my system in my room? I don't know.

I also don't know if it's worth the $10k MSRP for the AX-5 - but that's a different question entirely.

Now for scaling amplifier power, let's look at a handy calculator:

http://www.crownaudio.com/elect-pwr-req.htm

The dynamic range of a compact disc is about 93 dB. If you sit 3 m away from the speakers and want the amp to reproduce the full dynamic range of a CD with the R300's without clipping, then the amp would have to output about 57 W. Let's say that KEF was a little optimistic about their sensitivity rating for the speaker and it's actually 85 dB. Then you'll need power output of ~113 W. If most of your listening is done at moderate volume, say around 75 dB SPL, then you can get by on a measly 2 W.

Excellent response! Thank you.

Very informative. I didn't realize that wattage varied so much depending on the distance and listening levels.

I actually was initially looking into the Ayre AX-7e for some time but decided that dropping $2k at this point (in the future, perhaps) isn't worth it. I've read that some people prefer going the route of pre-amp and an amplifier instead of integrated. I'm hoping sometime down the line I can pick up an Audiolab M-DAC and pair it with some sort of solid amp. Again, just spitballing at this point. My mind is full of so many audio products. tongue.gif

I know this is very subjective and probably isn't something I should ask but you seem to know what you're talking about. If you were purchasing the speakers I am getting (or anything around $2k i guess), which direction would you head? Again, this is probably a stupid question to you due to all the externalities.

For a budget integrated amp, it seems like the Yamaha a-s500 is universally praised for its cost to performance ratio. The Rega Brio is another step up price wise and seems to be praised as well. I think at this stage, I really can't go wrong in my selection of amps from all the research I have done. The issue is just pulling the trigger and getting done with it... until the upgrade bug comes around again. wink.gif
post #6 of 9

I can certainly understand that the number of options you have is both a blessing and a curse.

 

The one thing I suggest is to visit a lot of hi-fi stores in the area that carry the speaker you're interested in and listen to the amps they have on hand with the R300s, if you haven't done so already. Also make use of companies that have liberal return policies (such as Audio Advisor, Music Direct, or Emotiva) so that you're paying only shipping costs if you don't like an amp rather than suffering from buyer's remorse in the hundreds of dollars.

 

Once you've heard a few setups, you'll eventually zero in on your musical tastes. Your ears are the final arbiter, so don't let conflicting reviews (mine included) dissuade you from purchasing a component that you've found to be musically satisfying.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Great advice. Since I don't have the time currently to visit any hi-fi shops, I took your other advice of ordering units from vendors that have good return policies. I decided on a UPA-200 power amp from emotiva and I'm going to be using my newly purchased audiolab m-dac as the preamp/dac. This should be more then enough power for the r300s and it allows me to pick and choose when I get the itch to upgrade. smily_headphones1.gif
post #8 of 9
I want to share my experience with R300. 

I had a tract of Matrix X-Sabre -> Dh Labs Pro Studio RCA - CA Azur 640a v2 -> Qed Revalation -MA Rs6 and a had lack of organisation at Midrange and oversupply in HF which in dynamic music frequently become a mess... Given an advise that MARs6 is a kind of weak chain in my system I..

I switched to R300. Thats completely incredible sound. After some warming up and swithing to biamping and that became fantastic one. Biamp gave some additional detail in HF and midrange. Now Im even not sure whether I should spend money to replace CA Azur 640A v2. 

I also use MA RWS12 sub, which is a good complementary to my system, but since it is walnoot color (R300 is glossy black, which i picked up at $1200 new) im considering to change it for some new sub. The problem is that the price for MA RWS12 sub second hand is max $500, so that would be hard to find the same good performance in 1k and even in one 1.5k.

Any suggestion ?
Edited by Gibalok - 11/18/13 at 1:11am
post #9 of 9
Ended up with Exposure 3010s2. Good pair with Kef r300.
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