Can someone help me choose an Amp or Receiver for my Athena AS-F2s?
Aug 24, 2010 at 10:18 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6


100+ Head-Fier
Sep 8, 2007
Just ordered a pair of Athena loudspeakers (floorstanders) from ebay, and I can't wait to get them. I jumped on a deal, however, and have not yet chosen an amplifier or receiver to pair with them. As a long-time headpone enthusiast (and very new to speakers) I turn to you for help.
The Athenas (found here: have 250 Watts power handling. I don't really understand exactly what this means. Most amps that I have looked at only go up to 100 W (and the very expensive ones 110-130).
I'm considering some receivers and integrated amplifiers. I'm inclined to think that because I will only be listening to two channels, I should stick to stereo amplifiers and receivers. I can't spend over $400.
I'm considering the:
Onkyo A-9555
Onkyo A-5VL
Onkyo TX-8555
I've heard about many others (Yamaha, HK, NAD) but haven't been able to find something from these within my budget and with the same power handling as these Onkyos. I have probably overlooked a lot of contenders, though, and welcome more suggestions (please!).
So.. first question - is 100W always better than 85W? The A-9555 is 85W, but twice the price as the TX-8555 (100W).
And - Is an integrated amp better than a receiver for my needs?
Aug 24, 2010 at 11:49 AM Post #2 of 6
I found a NAD 326BEE refurbished for $399. It is only rated for 50Wpc.
This is the crutch of my problem - Will 50W be enough to power the speakers that I have? I failed to mention that they have a sensitivity of 93dB.
I'm sure that 50W will be enough - but the real question is, will the improvement in sound quality I get from going with a higher-end amp like a NAD outweigh the benefit of the 95W Onkyo A-9555 (which has itself gotten very good reviews as a budget hifi amp).
Aug 25, 2010 at 5:17 AM Post #3 of 6
Damn, I've been looking for those speakers for ages. How much did you get them for?
Remember that power handling isn't everything. Even 50 watts is plenty of power for those speakers, 93db is very efficient.
Aug 25, 2010 at 8:09 AM Post #4 of 6
$200 shipped on ebay. I haven't gotten them yet, though, so I don't want to jump the gun before I have a chance to try them out!
I'm planning on blasting them. I understand that 50W would be enough, but would it be more than enough, even if I was playing them at high volumes?
Aug 25, 2010 at 6:06 PM Post #5 of 6
Thats one hell of a price for those speakers.
The thing about receivers is that manufacturers tend to fluff the power output of their receivers. The reason they do that is that the only thing that the thing most consumers look for is the wattage output as an indicator of sound quality. This is why just about every amplifier you see at Best Buy or chain electronics store will have an advertised output of 100 watts/channel. In reality, their true power output is probably a lot lower than what is advertised. Assuming your room is reasonably sized (not concert hall sized), I still believe that the 50 watt RMS continuous output on the NAD amplifier combined with speakers that have a 93dB efficiency can easily play past hearing damage levels.
This is a good read on power ratings for amplifiers.
Aug 25, 2010 at 6:36 PM Post #6 of 6
50 watts from NAD is plenty for speakers with 93db.
I would throw in the Cambridge Audio 640A which can be had used for about $250 (it also has a pretty good headphone out). I like used Carver integrated amps which you can on Craigslist for as little as $100 if you're patient. I once found an old Carver for $35 from someone 2 miles away. I hooked it up after listening to my Cyrus integrated for the prior year, I couldn't believe how much better the Carver sounded- up, down and sideways better. I should have never sold that thing!

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