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mark1101

Solid State amps known to sound good with Klipsch

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Anyone who has used Klipsch speakers with various amplifiers knows they do not all sound the same........and some are simply down right not compatible with Klispch.

 

This thread is meant to be helpful by mentioning solid state amps that you KNOW sound good with Klipsch speakers.........and perhaps provide your experience about the amp or amps you mention.

 

 

I have always loved and preferred the tube sound with my Klipsch speakers.  But as I got into more complicated systems that required multiple amplifiers it became impractical to have tubes in all the amps.

 

I gravitated to using tube preamps and solid state amps that closely replicated the tube sound as a fall back.  I can't say enough about how beneficial this experience has been.  No tube maintenance (except the preamp)........."almost" tube sound.

 

I have been using vintage McIntosh MC-250 (50 w/ch) stereo amps and MC-2100 (100 w/Ch) stereo amps with excellent results.

 

These were McIntosh first generation solid states with circuit designs that were very similar to tube circuits (biasing, phase splitters, push/pull, transformers / autoformers).

 

I had them rebuilt by DeWick in Tennessee.................same as you would a vintage tube amp (power supply and audio path updates).

 

If you find and MC-250 / MC-2100 that is operating properly and has been brought up to date...........these are a very good match to Klipsch speakers.

 

You can find these amps in original or close to original condition on ebay and other places and have them rebuilt.  It's worth it to go this route as well if you wanted.

 

By the way...........nice to have solid state forum now.

Edited by mark1101
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Guest David H

I agree, the MC-250 and MC 2100 are great. In fact most Mcintosh SS amps I have heard are good. However there are a few exceptions.

 

Other good ones include the Pass First watt,  Classic Sansui G9000 and the original NAD 3020.

 

I am sure there are a lot more good amps to choose from. I would like to audition some ICE power.

 

Dave

Edited by GotHover
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If you find and MC-250 / MC-2100 that is operating properly and has been brought up to date...........these are a very good match to Klipsch speakers.

 

I have both, and agree 100%. 

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The right preamp is just as important as a good amplifier choice, some combinations are great and some are not so much.

 

Got a bright amp ? Choose a warm sounding preamp to take the edge off.

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I have been dying to try a pass amplifier...

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My present go to ss amp is a trusty ATI AT602.  It provides pretty much textbook performance for a modern ss class ab amp, great specs, solid into low impedance loads, input sensitivity/gain controls (an essential feature when using high sensitivity speakers IMO), and 12v trigger.  It's my "keep me honest" amp when not messing with tubes.  It just amplifies, adds nothing, get's out of the way of the music.  

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Sunfire made in the USA before Carver sold it.   Haven't heard the newer ones.  They even have a choice between voltage or current outputs, which give a more "tube like" sound.

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The old Yamaha series, M 50-M85, Acurus and some of the Carver amps have worked well in my system.

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I like the straight line with gain paradigm. I use two amps both have been best using one to drive the highs the other to cover bass. I am suprised I have a great mix because I thought it'd sound "off". My first preamp picked up a hum in one channel so the second with better electronics adds nothing. Trn up the treble and it is very easy to set it right and the same with bass. Didn't think Klipsch needed bass tweaked but on some music a small turn of the bass knob and bass is perfect same with treble. My first preamp Iam going to try and change some of the electronics myself. The hum might be a transistor needing better solder.

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SS Amps with my Khorns:

  • Best ever with Luxman L580 integrated amp (c. 1982).  A very clean, detailed, rather tube-like sound, an honest 100 w.p.c., and the most versitile tone controls ever, with turnover frequency selectable (3 choices each with both bass and treble), plus 70 Hz or 150 Hz "bass boost " switches, rumble cut switches, etc.
  • Current system uses two NAD C-272 power amps 150 w.p.c. on the front three channels (2 Khorns & one Belle), and one of the surround channels, fed with Marantz  AV7005 pre-amp processor.  Sounds good, but no match for the Luxman
  • In the past, McIntosh SS C-28 preamp feeding various power amps.  Good, but the right phono channel kept cutting out, despite several repairs.  It turned out this was the Achilles's heel of that model.

p.s.:  I always wanted a MC 2100 in the '70s, but never quite got one.  I heard them sound very good with JBLs, including one otherwise harsh JBL.  Also, I believe it was MC 2100 that powered a comparison of the JBL Paragon and Klipschorns I heard.  McIntosh sounded good with both.  Khorn slightly better than Paragon, IMO. 

Edited by garyrc

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I have been dying to try a pass amplifier...

I to would love to try either Passlabs, or First Watt.
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I'll agree that McIntosh SS sounds great with Klipsch. I recently heard a system a friend bought - Heresies, MC-2105, C26, and a MR-74 tuner. It looks good and sounds smooth and sweet. And, he only paid $400 for everything because of a divorce sale.

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I have been dying to try a pass amplifier...

I to would love to try either Passlabs, or First Watt.

Exactly...

Truth been known, I am extremely happy with the bel canto class d's I run currently. I wish some of you could hear just how good these sound in combination with what else is going on in my current system. Good recordings are very tactile and fluid, bad recordings are barely listenable.

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I have been dying to try a pass amplifier...

I to would love to try either Passlabs, or First Watt.

 

I've built 3 Firstwatt amps and all 3 sound excellent with Klipsch speakers. There are some deals to be had on some used ones at Reno Hi-Fi with 3 year warranty (if you are not into DIY) especially the M2. I have not heard one but they are supposed to sound good with horns. The cost is a little high but the resale on a Firstwatt is high also if and when they come up on ebay. 

 

http://www.renohifi.com/FirstUsed/FirstUsedInStock.htm

 

Case in point of a 25 year old Pass amp on ebay right now

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/111740279298?_trksid=p2060778.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

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The interesting thing about Nelson Pass and his First Watt products is the journey that you take to understand what he is offering and why he is doing it.  If you haven't noticed, he's a consummate communicator/DIY teacher.  Just understanding his FW product lineup that he's currently supporting is a lot of fun and very intriguing. 

 

I've only had and listened to an F3 (for which I am the third and probably final owner), but I can tell you that this amplifier does everything that I wanted it to do (lots of slew rate/crisp cymbals, extremely clean and detailed, very transparent sound) and nothing that I didn't want it to do (...well, more on that subject in a future SS thread).  It runs fairly warm but I've had no trouble running it in my listening room year round, even when it's 107 degrees (F) [41.7 degrees C] outside. 

 

Make sure that it has plenty of air around it - not in a rack or under any other components.  This is class A at its finest, IMHO.  It's outstanding on the K-402s/TADs (...again, IMHO).  I'm not sure how it would sound on stock Khorn or La Scala, which would pull considerably more power out of it, but for my use, I can't think of a better sounding amp.

 

Chris

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