New 2-Channel Power Amp

  1. _Spanky_
    It's been a LONG time since I've been around here or researched audio stuff so please bear with me. I've been rocking my Sony TA-N55ES amp and JBL L19A speakers for years now and still really enjoy them. However, I have been using them more like computer speakers as my computer is my primary entertainment device. Now, I'm looking at migrating to a TV in a home theater type setup. I'm an American so getting up to physically rotate the volume button is totally out of the question :) Actually, it's not bad but with so many different sources at so many different gain levels (on a smart TV) makes it a difficult task.

    I'm looking at getting a decent 2-channel amp with remote. I came across the Sony STRDH190 which is definitely lower end but has the simple features I want. I just want remote control 2 channel audio, no fancy receiver source switching. Bluetooth is a great touch as well. One thing that concerns me is that the manual states 1% THD. That seems excessively high and I couldn't get a hold of a Sony rep to confirm that.

    Does anyone have any recommendations? I'd like to keep it under $200 since I'll be selling my TA-N55ES and paying for it with that but wouldn't be against spending more. I'll be getting a dedicated DAC so no need for that, just RCA inputs.

    Thanks.
     
  2. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    What you're looking for isn't a "power amp" but a receiver, that way you can have everything plugged into it using a digital connection, plus thy use digital volume controls. A "power amp" is just a power amp - it won't even have a preamp circuit, like the First Watt F5.

    Check out the NAD D7050 if you have the same sort of digital outputs that can work with it all at the same time. Otherwise there's the Onkyo TX-8270 with HDMI inputs, plus Network input so you can access files stored on a NAS.
     
  3. _Spanky_
    Thanks for the reply. I think power amp still applies, that's what the front of my current one says; "Stereo Power Amplifier". Receiver is a more modern term, however I'm not needing the typical home theater receiver features. I don't need (or necessarily want) digital inputs or switching. Just analog RCA in and I'll get a dedicated quality DAC to output the digital from my TV to RCA for the receiver. I'll only ever have the one source, my TV. It's possible but highly unlikely that I'd get a DVD/Bluray, probably more likely that I'd get a game console but I believe I can still pass-through digital from HDMI to digital out on the TV. That's something I'd figure out well down the road. My point for not wanting input switching or digital in is to get a quality stripped down amp and not pay for features I don't need. HDMI and network isn't something I'd want at this point. Analog in will do just fine and Bluetooth would be nice but isn't mandatory.
     
  4. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    And I'm saying you need something different from what your current equipment does. The TA-N55ES is a power amp with gain controls, it's not even an integrated amp with a full preamp stage much less a preamp stage with several inputs.

    You need a receiver so you can have several inputs including digital inputs.


    The Onkyo TX-8270 and NAD D7050 are not HT receivers, they're only sereo receivers, ie two physical channels. And instead of paying for most HT receiver features, ie, a DSP and a multi-channel DAC (which on older flagships meant four or more stereo DAC chips) they just give you a better amp section than a similarly priced HT receiver.


    The thing is if you want a remote, you're going to have to go with a bigger brand 2ch receiver, since 1) remotes nowadays typically work with digital volume controls and 2) the smaller brands making "power amps" will only just literally give you a power amp. Emotiva doesn't even put gain controls on their power amps, and only have one integrated amp (that I don't think even has a remote).

    One alternate option is an AudioGD DAC-HPamp-Preamp unit that can work with their remotes, like the NFB-29, and then use its preamp output to control the signal being fed to the TA-N55ES. Upside to this is that if you're happy with how the 55ES drives your current speakers, then this won't change; downside is that getting the NFB-29 costs more than just getting the NAD 7050 or Onkyo TX-8270.

    Oh and the NAD and Onkyo still have analogue input if you really insist on a separate DAC.


    Well if you get any of those other things the HDMI input on a stereo Network Receiver is something that doesn't restrict you to making sure your TV needs to have optical output to a DAC or the receiver, which can go away soon because of HDMI 2.0 ARC. That means that later on either you have the console hooked up through the Network Receiver then passing on the video to the HDTV, or directly to the HDTV which then only passes audio down to the Network Receiver via HDMI 2.0 or newer.
     

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