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twofires

Power amp(s) for Q700s, mains-earthed units need not apply

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Hi all.

 

I'm looking for a stereo power amp to replace a Rotel RB-991. The Rotel is going because, long story short, it's mains-grounded (3 prong power cable), and so is my HTPC. Adding a second mains-grounded component to my system, it turns out, introduces a loud ground loop hum that no amount of cable-swapping and re-configuring can tame. If I leave the PC off and listen to vinyl only, everything is fine - buuuuut that's not going to do, and so the Rotel has to go.

 

So, I'm looking for recommendations for a chassis grounded (2 prong cable) power amp, ideally with 150wpc+ at 8ohms, preferably rated down to 4ohms.

 

Some relevant info:

 

System

TV: Samsung 4k HDCP 2.2 thing that loathes handshaking with my AVR
AVR: Marantz SR6010
HTPC: custom built Windows 10 machine (mains-grounded)
Turntable: Technics SL1210mkII
Phono Preamp: Emotiva XPS-1
Speakers: KEF Q700s, Q600c, Q400, and Q300s at the rear

 

Budget

Up to $3500 for a good solution. This may mean higher RRP, depending on which stores I can source the unit from (some being more flexible than others with price).

 

What am I looking for?

150wpc+ into 8ohms stereo power amp (or comparable solution), capable of handling 4ohm loads, with a high enough damping factor that the bass is tight and snappy (like the Rotel). Unlike the Rotel, I need something without overly harsh or sibilant treble, and it absolutely cannot be something that is mains grounded. In my price range, that last proviso alone rules out: Rotel, Cambridge, Parasound, and Exposure. I'm sure they're all good amps, but they're not going to work for me.

 

What I'm considering

 

Emotiva XPA-2
Pro: heaps of power, good price, similar input sensitivity to Marantz power amps, suggesting it will work well with my SR6010, high damping factor
Con: no longer distributed in Australia so there's hundreds or dollars in shipping if it breaks, and there are many stories of them breaking, also, the blue LED aesthetic is a bit too early-2000s Nokia 8250 for me

 

Emotiva BASX A-300

Pro: cheap, could easily get 2 and bi-amp the Q700s and get better channel separation, high damping factor
Con: audio quality(?), no longer distributed in Australia so there's hundreds or dollars in shipping if it breaks, and there are many stories of them breaking, blue LED aesthetic

 

Marantz MM7025
Pro: cheap, could easily get 2 and bi-amp the Q700s and get better channel separation, guaranteed to play well with the SR6010, I know I like the Marantz sound, my preferred stockist is flexible with pricing
Con: barely more power than the SR6010 (if only one used, not sure about bi-amping), not rated to anything below 6ohms, el-core transformer (does this even matter?)

 

Marantz MM7055
Pro: more channels, guaranteed to play well with the SR6010, I know I like the Marantz sound, my preferred stockist is flexible with pricing
Con: essentially a 5 channel version of the MM7025, with all the same flaws, bi-amp likely not as good as with 2 MM7025s because it's a shared power supply and is essentially bi-wiring

 

Marantz MM8077
Pro: heaps of channels, guaranteed to play well with the SR6010, I know I like the Marantz sound, toroidal transformer, my preferred stockist is flexible with pricing
Cons: a lot of money for seemingly very little gain over the SR6010

 

Anthem MCA225
Pro: a tonne of power, especially into low ohms (rated down to 2ohms!), my preferred stockist is flexible with pricing
Con: a lot of money for the spec, 225wpc is at <1%THD, rather than a more listenable 0.08% (will this matter if the overhead is just for transients?), much lower input sensitivity than other brands (10kohms vs 22+) which may(?) mean a bad match with the SR6010

 

NAD C 275 BEE
Pro: good price, two sets of terminals for bi-wiring
Con: not much more power than the SR6010, reliability issues, harder and harder to find, low input sensitivity like the Anthem
 

Any thoughts or additional suggestions appreciated, especially from those with first-hand experience of any of the above equipment.

 

Cheers,

Simon

 

P.S. I'm not going to bother with ground loop isolators to bodge the Rotel into working, as it has other issues (massive draw on power up that occasionally trips the protection on my surge board, brightness, lack of remote trigger) that means it's ultimately better if I replace it.
 

 

 

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23 hours ago, twofires said:

 

 

Emotiva XPA-2
Pro: heaps of power, good price, similar input sensitivity to Marantz power amps, suggesting it will work well with my SR6010, high damping factor
Con: no longer distributed in Australia so there's hundreds or dollars in shipping if it breaks, and there are many stories of them breaking, also, the blue LED aesthetic is a bit too early-2000s Nokia 8250 for me

 

 

Cheers,

Simon

 

P.S. I'm not going to bother with ground loop isolators to bodge the Rotel into working, as it has other issues (massive draw on power up that occasionally trips the protection on my surge board, brightness, lack of remote trigger) that means it's ultimately better if I replace it.
 

 

 

 

Hi Simon

 

I have a XPA-2 and you can turn the blue leds off, see top left area.

 

XPA2back.jpg

 

JJ

Edited by Janjuc

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@Janjuc That's handy! I still have concerns about reliability and warranty issues now that Emotiva are distributing direct, but every little thing off the 'cons' column helps.

 

How do you find the XPA-2 generally? Any issues? What are you using for a pre, which speakers etc.? I have to admit, if they were still available here through a distributor (and $1799 rather than $2300) I'd grab two and never worry again. The issue is that if I have deal-breaker problem with it like I had with the Rotel... well, I imagine a trial would be expensive once shipping is factored in. 

 

As it is I'm leaning toward the Anthem MCA225 (or A2 if I can stretch to it), although I don't know if the low input sensitivity is going to cause issues. Any Anthem users here?

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Hi

I have had mine since 2011 and had no problems, had been using as main system until a few months ago, now I will be going to use it to power the fronts of a new HT setup I am about to purchase.

 

Also I believe that Audio Active have become the distributer in Australia

 

http://www.stereo.net.au/news/audio-active-to-distribute-emotiva

 

Audio Active
90 Bridport Street, Albert Park VIC 3206
Phone: +61 3 9699 8900
Mobile: +61 419 816 816
Website: audioactive.com/au        
....

 

JJ

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@Sir Sanders Zingmore The way I understand it, you can earth to the chassis, or you can earth to the mains (I'd have to hit the books to understand the hows and whys). All I know is that I'm after the former, as the latter causes issues with my system (as far as I can tell).

 

@Janjuc That is some good news (re: Audio Active)! I think that addresses all of my Emotiva concerns. Thank you!

 

Unless anyone has any other strong power amp opinions they'd like to share...

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Aaaaaand my hifi store of choice does quite a bit of business with Audio Active. This is great!

 

Now to cut back on vinyl to save for the dang thing. 

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   Hi Simon.

                     Before your spend up on new equipment I`d have a sparky look at your grounding for both the power point and the house.

                    The rotel shouldn`t trip the breaker, I use a 1098, ( 5x200w ) at times very loud with Movies.

                    I`ve never had that problem.

                    I have had earth hum through it with my Marantz AV7701, I tend to ignore it with movies but that's just me.

                   I had my sparky set a new ground spike an it helped a lot, not as a total cure just enough to ignore.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Cheers.                  Ian.                                                                                                                                                            

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Hi Ian,

 

To clarify, the Rotel is not tripping at the breaker, the insurge on power up trips the surge protection in the Belkin surge protector it's connected to if it anything else on the board is drawing power at the same time. I think it's a flaw in the design of the older Rotel series. I imagine the 1098 powers on more gradually, more like a modern power amp. Once the RB-991 successfully powers up the unit works as it should. I had the unit tested by Filatronics, and they said it was fine other than the gain being set a touch too high (which they corrected).

 

Cheers,

Simon

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Ah.

        I read it incorrectly.

        Seems a shame to get rid of the rotel.

       Anyway another couple to look at might be the Elecktra and the ones made in Tassie, Boulton I think.

       Best of luck.

                                          Cheers.             Ian.

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@Megawolf Thanks for the tips!

 

Not to worry, I'll make sure the Rotel is put to work SOMEWHERE. Weirdly, I saw a 1075 on eBay that is only 2-prong chassis grounded. Is that true of your 1098 also? Maybe they changed things up for the 10 series, and changed it back afterwards. Interesting.

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     No I`m pretty sure mines 3 prong.

                                                              Cheers.          Ian.

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Just realized that I made a mistake the amp made in tassie are Houlton not  Boulton.

             

             Cheers.    Ian.

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