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Power amp suggestions please

Headcoat

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Just playing with an idea here…. bear with me as I explain.

My set up is a little odd. As in, I use a Schiit Loki after the sources, source is selected via a Schiit Sys. Line level then goes from the Loki to either a Feliks Elise or a NAD C368 depending if I’m listening on headphones or speakers. I switch between the head amp and speaker amp manually i.e. disconnect one set of interconnects and connect the other, which is far from perfect.

The Feliks Elise is also a pre-amp. This has me thinking I could save a lot of hassle by losing the C368 and replacing it with a power amp that uses the Elise as a pre-amp. That would mean no need to switch interconnects between amps any longer!

I’m not keen on speaker switch boxes, so the power amp would need two sets of speaker connections; the amp drives a set of speakers in both the living room and the kitchen/dining room.

Ideally new, last amp I bought second hand has a left channel cut out issue which was there on purchase but I stupidly mistook for a streaming blip - that has put me off second hand purchases, I’m looking for power amp suggestions with two sets of speaker connections.

Fire away…
 

pmcuk

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I’m not keen on speaker switch boxes, so the power amp would need two sets of speaker connections; the amp drives a set of speakers in both the living room and the kitchen/dining room.
You may be asking an amp to do something it's not designed to do - unusual to have 2 sets of speaker connections. That's not to say you can't connect 2 sets of speakers to an amp, but it depends on the amp and the speakers. You may well have to have some kind of switch box - what does "not keen on them" mean? If you need different volumes for each room you may be better off with 2 amplifiers. Maybe a budget one for the kitchen. Take 2 connections off the preamp in that case - easier to use a volume control there. But again you may need a separate passive box to do that. This all needs thinking through, which is no doubt the reason for the thread.

Coincidentally I was reading up on the Pass First Watt F4 which can easily be cloned as a DIY build. The Feliks Elise would probably drive that beautifully so you could switch on the output of that. It would make sense, as you say, to just have amplifiers feeding the speakers rather than an amplifier with inbuilt DAC etc, since the DAC should really be upstream of the Feliks Elise.
 
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Headcoat

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You may be asking an amp to do something it's not designed to do - unusual to have 2 sets of speaker connections. That's not to say you can't connect 2 sets of speakers to an amp, but it depends on the amp and the speakers. You may well have to have some kind of switch box - what does "not keen on them" mean? If you need different volumes for each room you may be better off with 2 amplifiers. Maybe a budget one for the kitchen. Take 2 connections off the preamp in that case - easier to use a volume control there. But again you may need a separate passive box to do that. This all needs thinking through, which is no doubt the reason for the thread.

Coincidentally I was reading up on the Pass First Watt F4 which can easily be cloned as a DIY build. The Feliks Elise would probably drive that beautifully so you could switch on the output of that. It would make sense, as you say, to just have amplifiers feeding the speakers rather than an amplifier with inbuilt DAC etc, since the DAC should really be upstream of the Feliks Elise.

Thanks for replying. The DAC is upstream already, I don’t use the one in the C368, instead a Rega rDac is before the Schiit.

“Not keen on them“ means exactly that 😄 In fact, I do have a switch box and tried it but was unhappy - likely I imagined it was affecting the sound and couldn’t shake that thought.

In reality, I rarely use both sets of speakers at the same time. So, any issue with needing two pairs at 8ohms is pretty much negated. When I rarely use pairs of speakers both the volume tends to be set low and most amps wouldn’t struggle driving the two pairs that are connected at such volumes.

Just seems the Elise might be an excellent pre-amp, and that I can lose the hassle of switching interconnects between head amp and speaker amp.

Two connections off the pre to two separate power amps is an option. My concern was, and I may well be wrong, that this can cause issues for technical reasons I forget and am not sure I even understood.
 

Headcoat

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What is your budget?
Not sure. It could be anything from £500 - £1500. Dependent when I decide to go ahead. Very much asking as an open time frame question: no rush and would be able to spend more in a year say than now. All about options for now. Yes, let’s say anything up to £1,500.
 

Lurch

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Two connections off the pre to two separate power amps is an option. My concern was, and I may well be wrong, that this can cause issues for technical reasons I forget and am not sure I even understood.
I currently run 2 pairs of ICs and monoblocks off of my MFA pre. 1 set for my Nords (daily drivers) and the other pair for my IA MB845SEs which I leave turned off and then either swap SCs when I want to use the Icons or run the speakers bi-amped in hybrid mode. If your Pre/HA has 2 pairs of outs then I can't see you having any problem running 2 power amps and leaving the 2nd switched off when not needed.
As to which PAs, well the world's your oyster, but maybe something like an Arcam Alpha 8P for the kitchen and then something decent for the main system. If an 8P is of interest give me a shout as I have one here doing nothing (was my summer amp before I got the Nords) and the 8P is surprisingly good, well it shocked me from a price to performance aspect.
 

Jules_S

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The ability to run 2 sets of speakers is a feature more commonly found on Japanese amps, such as the Denons, Yamahas and (unfashionable, I know) Technics. There's a fair bit of love here for some the current models, that would be my starting point TBH if I was looking for something suitable

Edit: oops, apologies, just noticed you're after a power amp, not integrated. Unsure if there's a suitable model in the current ranges, but you may find something used. Again I know it's not considered a terribly fashionable brand, and I'm not speaking from experience, but I do know that Technics made a pre-power combo some time ago, and the power has huge VU meters on the front so of course it must be awesome... :ROFLMAO:

I suppose you could, if it fitted the budget, still go for an integrated that has a home theatre bypass function, where you are effectively ignoring the pre-section? Bit of a leftfield idea, sometimes they work!
 
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hifinutt

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i have an arcam a85 which has 2 sets of speaker outputs . its easily used as a power amp and sounds pretty good for the money. [ it can be used as a integrated OR a poweramp]
 
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hearhere

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I’m not keen on speaker switch boxes, so the power amp would need two sets of speaker connections; the amp drives a set of speakers in both the living room and the kitchen/dining room.
I'm not sure which speaker switch box you have but a decent one shouldn't adversely affect the sound, but you do need a pair of short cables linking it with your amp. I have a Beresford TC 7220 Mk 111 that is particular good as you can also use it with 2 amps as well as 2 pairs of speakers. It breaks before it makes, so is safe for amps and speakers and seems to use decent internal wiring. There's a used one here on eBay - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/373999404189?hash=item57141a049d:g:pRMAAOSwHcRiRVlg with a starting price of just £10.

Very few amps now have 2 switchable speaker outlet sockets. My Accuphase did but that's very costly and an old B&O one did too. Many amps such as the NAD M32 and M33 have twin outlets but you can't select them individually.

You also have to consider the impedance of the speakers as, if they start off as 4 ohms and you switch both on, the resultant load is only 2 ohms and this will damage many amps as it's almost a short circuit. If the speakers are both 8 ohms, less of a problem, but 15 ohms would be totally safe if connected in parallel to any amp.
 
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rabski

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An amplifier that can switch between two sets of speakers has exactly the same thing inside it as an external switching box. All that matters is the quality of the switch and the connections.

Personally, I wouldn't do either, as I'm not fond of excessive connections in the speaker 'chain'. However, if I had to, I'd build a switch box that could easily better what is usually fitted internally, because in an external box, there is likely to be more room for a decent quality switch.

A switch is a switch. Whether it's inside the amplifier case or in a box outside of it, it's doing the same job.
 
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Headcoat

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Taking account of what Rabski mentions re. switches, let’s move this on.

Suggestions for a power amp up to £750? No need for two sets of speaker connections.

Pre-amp will be the Feliks Elise. Speakers either Q Acoustics 3030i (88db and 6ohm) or Revolver Music 1’s (90db and 8ohm). The Q Acoustics are in a room approx. 20ft x 15ft. The Revolver’s mounted high up in a huge kitchen diner with high pointed ceiling.

Listening levels vary but especially in the kitchen diner I do sometimes turn the wick up.

So far I’ve been looking at the Schiit Vidar and Aegir, and the Marantz MM7025. The Aegir appeals but I think I may need more power?
 

karlsushi

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As with most hi-fi, power amps can be quite a personal choice, so you really need to audition.

I use an Elise as a headamp which it does a lovely job of. I had purchased it with the original intention of doubling up as a preamp too and whilst it is a lovely preamp with a nice smooth 'valvey' presentation, I would say it's not the most transparent preamp going (when you consider the cost). Consequently, it is just used for headamp duties nowadays.

If you are keen to use it as your pre, I would suggest going for a power amp with a bit of bite and attack as the Elise is quite a relaxed and warm sounding pre. Maybe something Class D?

The Elise also has quite a lot of gain (20dB), so you could probably get away with something reasonably low powered too.

I would arrange some demos from the usual candidates e.g. Arcam, Musical Fidelity, Rotel or something like that. Then maybe try a Hypex or icePower Class D power amp and see what floats your boat.

There are quite a few choices out there at £750 budget and hard to narrow down. Or take a punt on something from the Classifieds.
 
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Lurch

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Just playing with an idea here…. bear with me as I explain.

My set up is a little odd. As in, I use a Schiit Loki after the sources, source is selected via a Schiit Sys. Line level then goes from the Loki to either a Feliks Elise or a NAD C368 depending if I’m listening on headphones or speakers. I switch between the head amp and speaker amp manually i.e. disconnect one set of interconnects and connect the other, which is far from perfect.

The Feliks Elise is also a pre-amp. This has me thinking I could save a lot of hassle by losing the C368 and replacing it with a power amp that uses the Elise as a pre-amp. That would mean no need to switch interconnects between amps any longer!

I’m not keen on speaker switch boxes, so the power amp would need two sets of speaker connections; the amp drives a set of speakers in both the living room and the kitchen/dining room.

Ideally new, last amp I bought second hand has a left channel cut out issue which was there on purchase but I stupidly mistook for a streaming blip - that has put me off second hand purchases, I’m looking for power amp suggestions with two sets of speaker connections.

Fire away…
There's these just come up in the classifieds, A or B, or A+B speaker settings.
https://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum/threads/denon-poa-6600-power-amp-mono-blocks.108569/
 
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hearhere

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peter the butcher

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Not sure. It could be anything from £500 - £1500. Dependent when I decide to go ahead. Very much asking as an open time frame question: no rush and would be able to spend more in a year say than now. All about options for now. Yes, let’s say anything up to £1,500.
I had a very good PS Audio S300, if that is any good. Was in excellent condition when I PXed it at Fanthorpes in Hull the other week. They still have it, £999
 
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hifinutt

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Those old Denon monos are great amps (I had the POA 4400s) but they are very ancient. I bought mine used and resold them some years later in about 1990. I'd forgotten they had 2 pairs of switchable speaker outs
the op did say Ideally new, last amp I bought second hand has a left channel cut out issue which was there on purchase but I stupidly mistook for a streaming blip -that has put me off second hand purchases, I’m looking for power amp suggestions with two sets of speaker connections.

so might be a risk !
 
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hearhere

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the op did say Ideally new, last amp I bought second hand has a left channel cut out issue which was there on purchase but I stupidly mistook for a streaming blip -that has put me off second hand purchases, I’m looking for power amp suggestions with two sets of speaker connections.

so might be a risk !
I think you were unlucky or bought without an accurate description from the seller. I avoid eBay or other places where direct contact with the seller is difficult.

Over a period of a couple of year I bought several amps (and borrowed several more demo ones from dealers) in my efforts to find an amp that sounded as good as my valve monos after deciding to switch to ss.

I bought used amps from Accuphase, GamuT, NAD and Sanders and all were as good as new. They all arrived in perfect condition and performed perfectly and were later resold for virtually no loss once I'd decided on an amp to keep. Apart from the rather rare Sanders, all were bought unheard but from (in my opinion) trusted sources where I could converse with the seller. A also bought new but didn't keep amps from Benchmark and Micromega after reading over-enthusiastic reviews that led me astray!

Likewise I bought a fabulous pair of used Avantgarde speakers that I collected myself after a quick audition.
 
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DomT

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Taking account of what Rabski mentions re. switches, let’s move this on.

Suggestions for a power amp up to £750? No need for two sets of speaker connections.

Pre-amp will be the Feliks Elise. Speakers either Q Acoustics 3030i (88db and 6ohm) or Revolver Music 1’s (90db and 8ohm). The Q Acoustics are in a room approx. 20ft x 15ft. The Revolver’s mounted high up in a huge kitchen diner with high pointed ceiling.

Listening levels vary but especially in the kitchen diner I do sometimes turn the wick up.

So far I’ve been looking at the Schiit Vidar and Aegir, and the Marantz MM7025. The Aegir appeals but I think I may need more power?
If the Marantz sounds anything like my PM11S2 power amp section then it will be clean and punchy with deep yet tight bass. My PM11S2 compared to other amps like Luxman UX505 and Quad 909 is more neutral and linear sounding and compared to the Quad also obviously more transparent sounding. I can also recommend the Luxman and Quad 909 but it just depends on the flavour that you want but as I also own a pair of QAcoustics 3020s then I wouldn't recommend the Luxman nor Quad as they will be too warm sounding. I realise that the Luxman is well out of price range but I am just using it as a reference point for the Marantz MM7025.
 
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