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Should I Buy This Amp?


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Hi all - Looking for some wise and sage advice. I have a Denon 3300 (105wpc x 5) driving Forte fronts, KV-3 center, and SS-1 rears (until maybe some RS-3s take their place). I have an opportunity to buy a dealer demo unit of a Harman-Kardon Signature 2.1 Amp for $500 (specs at http://www.harmankardon.com/productlines/displayspecs.asp?id=26&cat=amplifiers )

The reason I'm asking is not because I am dissatisfied with my Denon. It's just that I've read about high-current amps and how they can bring things to life. This HK is a 100amp amp. Do you think there would be a noticeable difference using this as the amp and the Denon as a pre-amp? BTW, the owner's manual says this unit is not designed to operate in bridged mode. Would I be better off saving my money and getting an amp that CAN be bridged?



(my last post under this handle -- don't want to be a No Lifer!!!)

This message has been edited by dougdrake on 06-17-2001 at 12:07 AM

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Hi Doug,

The things that have been audible to me in SS amps have seem to be affected by damping factor, headroom and recovery from clipping. I had one amp that was slightly brittle, but ususlly when loud (slight clipping?). Of those, factors the power supply affects recovery time and maybe headroom with some speakers. It's one of the primary design parameters in a high current design (as is extra or high current transistors in the output stage). With Klipsch speakers, loud is 1 amp or so and 100 watts is 3.5 amps/channel, so, even is your Klipsch had weird low impedance or phase shift between the voltage and current curves, a so-called low current amp would rarely be taxed. Damping factor is often audible. Going from 60 to 800 was readily detectible. The amps ability to recover from clipping is usually audible, too. Clipping usually occurs when the power supply is exhausted (rail voltage exceeded by output waveform, I think). If it is slow to recover the amp will continue to distort after the cresendo. I have a cheap receiver that does that.

My Parasound amps carry very high current ratings, but have no information about the conditions under which the amp will flow that amount of current (1 ohm for 1/2 second and 1000 Hz?). I think a "high-current" amp out to put out at least 1.75 times the 8 ohm clipping power at 4 ohms (if not 2x like Ohm's Law predicts). Mine don't, they run about 1.5 like the H-K you're looking at.

You won't know if it sounds better untill you try it, but I doubt the high-current part of the design will sound different in your case. I'll bet you'll hear the damping factor first.


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John - Thanks for the reply. Not sure I followed all the technical stuff (remember, I was just in Hope for comic relief Smile.gif). But I do recall a thread about damping, and high numbers being better than low numbers. Wonder how to find out what the damping numbers are for this amp? I picked it up anyway (has a 30-day return) so I'll plug it in and check it out against the Denon. It might be going back to the dealer.


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Doug....you really did it....you're now DougDrake2....that's so funny that you didn't want to have "no life" tagged to your name.

Lets see how long it takes you to get to DougDrake3.....LOL


Home Theater System:

Klipsch Quartets - mains for both systems

Klipsch KV3 - center

Klipsch KG.5's - rear surrounds

Klipsch KSW12 subwoofer

Denon AVR-1601

Music System:

Adcom GFA-555 Musical Concepts Modified

NAD 1600 Pre/Tuner

Sony C-67ES CD Player

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