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Need Better Amp For Awesome Speakers

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Last year I got this amazing an amazing set of Paradigm Studio 100s plus a Paradigm powered sub to go with them. Currently I am powering them with a pathetic little Harman Kardon A/V receiver. The HK really sounds great when the volume dial is at about 8:00 - sweet, fat, musical, and not very loud. I have to crank the dial up near 12:00 to get a decent volume out of the S100s and when the HK gets that loud the sound really goes to pot. Feels like I have a Ferrari powered with a Volkswagen engine! I know there's all sorts of fabulous amps out there, but I broke the bank (for about the next five years) when I bought the speakers. I'm looking in the sub $1000 range. Anyone have suggestions? I found a used ADCOM GFA-5500 for about $500 which I am considering. ADCOM seems to be hated by a lot of purists, though admired as an audiophile brand by those who typically purchase Pioneer or Sony. Anyone have opinions about the ADCOM or suggestions for other amps to consider?

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WOW what a nice set of towers! I was listening to pair of those last week at my local dealer.

There is nothing wrong with adcom, but if you look you may find a nice used crown too. The sunfire above is also a sweet amp. Good Luck and if you don't mine post up some pictures of those towers.

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I will check these suggestions out thanks guys. Yes they are pretty sweet! I don't have a whole system worth of amazing audiophile stuff but I do have some great speakers. My wife has only complained about the money spent on them twice - I call that success! I will post a picture soon.

Anyone else have suggestions or opinions about the Adcom?

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Adcom is ok, the other gear that I posted up is on another level compared to adcom. Adcom is kind of "entry level" audiophile, if you know what I mean. Good stuff, but if you shop around, you will find better gear for the same money or a bit more.

Also, look at this carver:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/CARVER-TFM-55X-POWER-AMPLIFIER-TOTALLY-REFURBISHED-/140633962103?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item20be6ff677

Do a search for the carver tfm amps, they go from tfm 15 to tfm 75(as far as I've seen) I remember them being serious powerhouses, especially for the money that they get on ebay nowadays. Plus, swing needles!

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Also, if you are willing to wait for a few weeks, to a couple months( at most) your money would be best spent here:

http://emotiva.com/

EXTREMELY well, reviewed gear, I have the UMC-1 from them( surround preamp), and am wanting an XPA-2, but funds are a problem for me right now. They are between products right now, just finishing on their closeouts. The new line is supposed to come out very soon. They are routinely compared against gear that is 3-7 times as much money, and Emotiva usually wins. If I were you, and could hold out for a couple months, I would get an XPA-2, or spend a bit more and get a pair of XPA-1 monoblocks. Sometimes you can find xpa-2 used for around 600. Emotiva also has a 5year warranty on their gear that is transferrable.

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Those are some wicked speakers! I'd like a set in my living room!

Based on the specs, I'm sure any of those amps listed above will do. Never used any carver amps but I have heard good things about them. I had a Nad receiver that that was a powerhouse but I am sure that Nad power amp is a while different monster.!

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Humorously, when I first got the Studio 100s I thought there was something wrong with them. I actually bought Studio 60s first - next model down in the same line. They were nice but electric guitars were kind of harsh on them and vocals didn't really stand out either. So I took them back and got the 100s. When I unboxed the 100s the first thing I put on was "Babylon Sisters" by Steely Dan. Honest to God, I swear I thought the tweeters were blown or something. I called the store AND the manufacturer saying "there is something wrong with these, I got lemons here." Thank God I didn't send them back. Of course all that was really happening is that I had never heard the level of detail or clarity coming from these speakers and it was just a completely different experience. It was like having an entirely new CD collection. (No, I'm not a REAL audiophile - I sold that last of my vinyl in 1991!) I'm excited about the prospect of what the 100s will sound like with a new amp. I'm already planning out some listening sessions!

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It will truly be at another level when you get a good amp on those, especially compared to an avr. One thing you want to make sure of, is that whatever amp you choose is known for the ability to drive low impedance loads--2 ohms should be sufficient. The reason why is that a speaker is a dynamic load, i.e. an 8 ohm speaker doesnt always show the amp 8 ohms, it could show the amp 2 ohms at times, as drivers move in and out, the impedance changes, so that's why it's dynamic. I have noticed that generally, there is more of an issue with this on multi driver speakers like yours( and mine!). All of the amps that I posted up have a good capability to get to 2 ohms or better. This will ensure that as the volume goes up, that you don't lose definittion and sq in general( like you are now with the avr).

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Humorously, when I first got the Studio 100s I thought there was something wrong with them. I actually bought Studio 60s first - next model down in the same line. They were nice but electric guitars were kind of harsh on them and vocals didn't really stand out either. So I took them back and got the 100s. When I unboxed the 100s the first thing I put on was "Babylon Sisters" by Steely Dan. Honest to God, I swear I thought the tweeters were blown or something. I called the store AND the manufacturer saying "there is something wrong with these, I got lemons here." Thank God I didn't send them back. Of course all that was really happening is that I had never heard the level of detail or clarity coming from these speakers and it was just a completely different experience. It was like having an entirely new CD collection. (No, I'm not a REAL audiophile - I sold that last of my vinyl in 1991!) I'm excited about the prospect of what the 100s will sound like with a new amp. I'm already planning out some listening sessions!

WOW love the looks of those! You need to get lots of play time in to fully loosen them up to realize the detail they put out.

Right now is the time to buy another pair of those with the v7's coming to market, the place I visit has them marked down very low. I would have a pair myself, but with the purchase of the new building for our haunt I am playing it safe.

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Isn't that half the reason for owning a pair of speakers like these - to make others jealous?!! Dont' be too jealous because seriously, there is nothing else in my rig to envy. No parasound, macintosh, b&w, etc.

So I ALMOST hesitate to bring this up but I find the whole thing very interesting from a testing point of view. And of all the forums out there this one seems to avoid flaming and ridiculous rhetoric. So ... when I bought the speakers the guy at the stereo shop tried to sell me some expensive speaker cable. I know that from a physics/electricity point of view cable gauge does matter in terms of capacitance, so I have always tried to use copper as thick as is practical and can hear the difference between say 16 gauge and 12 gauge. Because I was skeptical the guy at the shop let me borrow a set of Audioquest speaker cables, I think they were Type 4 - 8 copper "bell" wires of about 20 gauge stranded together.

So my son and I did a careful blind A/B/X comparison between my traditional stranded 12 gauge cable and the Audioquest. First we listened carefully to each back and forth many times until I thought I could hear a subtle difference. Then we did a blind test. I was able to identify the correct cable 8 out of 10 times. I can't say the Audioquest was a ton BETTER but it was different and maybe a LITTLE better.

Wondering about the effect of the copper configuration itself, I went to the hardware store and bought a crapload of 20 gauge bell wire then twisted it into exactly the same configuration as the Audioquest cable. We did the same comparison and blind tests. This time my answers might just as well have been completely random because I couldn't identify the difference AT ALL. I mean NADA. My hardware store cable cost $1 per foot as opposed to $12 per foot for the Audioquest. When I reported my findings to the guys at the shop the response was "well yeah of course with that amp you're not going to hear the difference ..." I find it's very easy to listen with my eyes. And I certainly wouldn't criticize anyone for having expensive cables - I ended up going with a medium-price belden copper, bi-wired configured cable. But I'm not totally convinced that I can hear the difference between that and cheap cables with the same amount of copper.

Of course the guy at the shop was also telling me if I bought the Anthem amp/reciver I would really need a $400 power cord to go with it ...

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I buy all my wire and cables from monoprice. Is there a difference in wire, just price, pure copper is always the best. I have tried some very nice XLR cables and mono price XLR cables just to prove this to a friend who is into very high end names. He now buys all his wire from monoprice and all his power is MAC and Crown.

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The cable debate!

A little background first: I used to sell high end home audio in the late 90's. I have won trips based on my ability to sell high end cables/wires/accessories.

With that being said, here is my view:

When it comes to RCA cables, or any cable that carries a very low voltage signal- I say buy the one that offers the best SHIELDING. Reason being is that a low voltage(1-2volts) connection acts as a magnet for noise that travels along power wires. Similar to the idea that nature abhors a vacuum and wants to equalize pressures. Don't buy into the multi guage/time alignment/ other snake oil, base your decision on shielding alone. Also look for the wires that are directional, as the internal foil shield stops just before the destination plug, terminating a large amount of noise with it. Twisted pair construction also has merit to it.

Speaker cable:

no amount of silver/gold/titanium/ unobtanium that is in those wires will help your audio sound better. The only thing that matters is guage of the wire, and then only in higher power applications OR extremely long runs. Shielding is not so important here, as 1) the voltage is much higher(20 volts and up), and 2) the destination is a speaker, and not an electronic component that will take that signal and process/amplify it. If you go with the aforementioned 99.99% pure copper with adequate shielding on it, you will sound just as good as the $700/foot speaker cable. 14 guage is more than good enough for most home audio apps, even 200watt + amps, over common distances- less than say 15 feet. Longer than that, go with heavier guage.

$400 power cable:

LOL

The only thing I would consider on a power cable is the amount of shielding on it, as the power cable is the cause of the most noise in your system. The problem here is that the power cable carries 120 volts on it, the magnetic field it produces is quite a bit larger than the cable itself( this is how noise is created in your system). I dont know of any material that will inhibit the size of a magnetic field, that doesnt mean there arent any, I just don't know of them( lead maybe?). A power cable would have to be something like 10 inches thick-and all of that thickness would be shielding- to have some kind of effect on the noise in your system.

Any piece of gear that is sold in America today has a power cable that is of a heavy enough guage to handle the voltage and current demand of the gear. There is NO reason to upgrade this, unless you have modified your amp to produce more power. It will not magically align the electrons or any bullshit like that.

This is all my opinion of course, but my system is DEAD quiet, and I am using ~25 year old pro amps that have little to no noise rejection circuitry built in.

Edit: The stuff about how noise works and how it is associated with voltage is what I was taught in some basic electronics classes many years ago.

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Those audioholics articles are interesting. But to me the only relevant measurement is a blind listening test. I suppose build quality is important, although since I rarely touch or move my speaker cables once in place then decent build quality is enough, doesn't have to be military grade. But for me personally if I can't HEAR the difference in a blind test then capacitance, skin effect, inductance, jacket type, shielding, etc., really don't matter to me. I don't listen at extreme volume levels so I've never had a stereo system in which the noise floor was unacceptable. In my current system I really can't hear it at all.

Check out this ... it pretty much puts the power cable thing to rest for me:

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_11_4/feature-article-blind-test-power-cords-12-2004.html

I have been tempted more than once to take a $6 power cable to the store and see if the sales guy could tell the difference in a blind test. The thing is he always seems to have a reason why, for example, I couldn't hear the difference in the speaker cables - it's the amp or the room or the time in between songs or the recording or whatever.

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Build quality of wire to me is only important to make sure that the terminations stay on/don't break and that the sheath will not rot out or get brittle, that's as far as that needs to go.

Even if the salesman is convinced that there is no difference, he'll probably never tell you that lol. There is-- or at least was when I was selling-- a 50 percent commission on all accesories( wires, power strips and so on). That is a huge chunk of change, especially when dealing with a 400 dollar power cord!

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Of course I don't want to assume the worst of the guy at the shop but I'm sure there's some financial incentive at work. But I think this guy genuinely believes in cables like a religion. Any evidence to the contrary can be explained away because he is committed to the belief. He has expensive power cables on his computer at home! Not sure what that would accomplish.

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There are some people like that, and you will never convince them otherwise. Of course, it's a lot easier to justify buying those expensive cables when you are able to get them at store cost lol.

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There are some people like that, and you will never convince them otherwise. Of course, it's a lot easier to justify buying those expensive cables when you are able to get them at store cost lol.

Even though I have access to high end cables at 2 different places, I will buy cheap cables or make my own. There was an interesting thread over at SSA about RCA interconnects and shielding and different wire. I'll see if i can dig it up.

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http://www.soundsolu...__1#entry848517

That's the one. It's about DIY Interconnects. Guy wants to know about car audio, but the rules apply for home stuff.

The end result of that thread is that directional shielding is the main consideration, and twisted pair right behind it. Other than that, make sure your ends are good, and you are done!

Just like I said, it ain't magic people!

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