Amp Suggestions for HT3s?

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earsfirst

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Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« on: 8 May 2009, 03:53 am »

I recently purchased some used HT3's (thanks BRM!) and a Manley Shrimp preamp. I'm sure this combo has the potential to make me very happy, if I can find the right amp.

Following are the amps I've tried so far and my nutshell conclusions. No offense intended by blunt judgments, please assume "IMHO" prefix as needed:

 - Hafler DH-200.  Purchased in 1982 and still ticking. Performed well with B&W DM7mkII for decades, provides some measure of detail and bass extension, but insufficient clarity for HT3s and underpowered at 100 wpc.

 - Bel Canto Ref. 1000.  Ample power, lots of bass slam, decent midrange, but devoid of high end detail. Is this typical of class D?

 - Bryston 4B SST2.  Solid build, muscular, well-controlled bass, good detail in mids & highs, but sounds a bit dry, sometimes edgy or aggressive.

 - AVA Ultra Double 550.  (Thanks for the loan Marty!).  Nearly ideal. Mids and highs are nicely resolved and very musical. I only wish it had a bit more bass impact.

-----

Anyone know of an amp that combines the mid/upper response of the AVA UD550 with the low end of the 4B? With 250 wpc or more? For $5000 or less? Or is this just my version of The Amp that we're all looking for?


oneinthepipe

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #1 on: 8 May 2009, 04:53 am »
Maybe the AVA Insight 440, Double 440, or Double 440H.  I think that the Insight amp might have a bit more in the bottom end, especially when paired with the Insight+ DAC.  (If I am wrong, I will hear about it very soon.   :o   )

Oh, for $5000.00, you could purchase two AVA Insight Double 440 or Insight 440H amps and an Insight Phase Inverter Bridge to drive the amps in mono, which will give you 1000 watts per channel of tight, defined, fast, deep and powerful bottom end with glorious mid-range and soaring and transparent top end.  I never heard anyone claim that the bottom end in the Insight amps was lacking, and, with the HT3's bass extension, you will have enough power to demolish your house without ever leaving your listening chair.

joelmilr

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #2 on: 8 May 2009, 07:20 am »
Hi
My speakers aren't even here yet (HT2-TL) but I have been researching the amp issue for some time. There is a guy on Audigon that has the HT3's and is overwhelmed with a monblock amp designed and built by Paul Weitzel at TRL - today they are called the Samson monoblocks - here is the link. Get in touch with him. He was more then happy to help me out.
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ramps&1221697287&read&keyw&zztube=research=labs

And here is the link to the site of TRL products as well.
http://www.tuberesearchlabs.com/index.htm

I own their CD modified player and love it - good luck !!
Joel

DSK

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #3 on: 8 May 2009, 08:47 am »
...And here is the link to the site of TRL products as well.
http://www.tuberesearchlabs.com/index.htm ...
I can't believe they sell $140k amps and have such a lame website. One small photo of each product and zero information with it.   :scratch:

joelmilr

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #4 on: 8 May 2009, 09:04 am »
Listen to their products - and trust your ears. Then the lame site won't matter as much.

DSK

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #5 on: 8 May 2009, 09:20 am »
Listen to their products - and trust your ears. Then the lame site won't matter as much.
I trust my ears just fine thanks. However, if a manufacturer can't provide sufficient info to help a potential buyer determine whether a component is a potential "fit" for their system, then they are unlikely to even make the buyer's short list for audition. If they are not broadly known or locally available for audition the lack of ANY information at all is likely to hurt their sales and looks quite amateurish.

I thought it must have been a brand new (incomplete) website, but they have Copyright 2003-2007 at the bottom of their pages, so ...

I agree completely that specs do not determine the "sound" or performance of a component but SOME info is necessary to help determine compatibility in a buyer's system.


grenamc

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #6 on: 8 May 2009, 10:37 am »
I am not sure what your budget is, but if it is up to $5K you might want to look at the Modwright KWA150.  I have heard and read nothing but great things about it, and it sounds like it might be a match made in heaven for the HT3.  I know that Funkmonkey uses a Parasound that he really enjoys with his HT3s.  Hmm, maybe a Butler or Moscode would also be a possibility. 

RE: Class D.  Someone around these parts switched out a Pass X250 for a pair of Wyred4Sound monoblocks and quite enjoyed them.  Never commented on veiled highs.  So, that might be something to look at.  I am personally on a big DIY kick right now, so AKSA and Aussie Amplifiers both get recommendations from me.  :D

-Michael

Woolz

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #7 on: 8 May 2009, 11:30 am »
Hi Michael,

May I suggest the McCormack DNA-500.  I have been using it to drive a pair of HT2s in a very large room (33x34) to great effect.  It replaced a Conrad Johnson Premier 140 and is a better match with the Salk speakers.  I have just in the last week traded the HT2s in on a pair of the Archos which are scheduled to arrive Monday.  I expect the DNA-500 to be slight over-kill for the 94db Archos so I have it for sale on the trading post and audiogon.  I find it a marvelous sounding amp and wouldn't know where to fault it although I haven't compared it to mega-buck amps like the BAT 600 series or the monster Pass Labs or Bryston 14B which is a similar bridged design.  I have owned a few Bryston amps including the 4BSST though not the new squared iteration and I think the McCormack is definitely an upgrade.

Steve

Philistine

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #8 on: 8 May 2009, 12:57 pm »
Earsfirst, here are my opinions on amps used with my HT3's:

Musical Fidelity KW500 (modified)
Ample power, good well controlled bass extension, a little rolled off in the high end with a very musical sound on the warmer side of neutral - overall a very good pairing.

Modwright KW150
Bass extension and control to die for, great macro and micro dynamics with great high end detail.  This amp still need more burn in time (3 weeks to date) and it has smoothed off considerably in this time.  If you're looking for a combination of incredible bass depth and control, articulate mid-range and a strong high end - this amp is a serious contender worth an audition.

Bryston 4BSST
ChuckS, another AC member, has HT3's with a Bryston 4BSST and found it musically uninvolved with the Bryston preamp - switching to a Dodd preamp I believe he's now very satisfied.  I mention this as my reference point to interpret my comments on the MF and Modwright, as a former 4BSST owner I agree with your findings but also found the legendary bass to be on the light side.

I still have both the MF and MW to compare directly, If you have any specific questions feel free to PM me.

zybar

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #9 on: 8 May 2009, 02:08 pm »
Since the best amp I used on the HT3's is out of your price range (BAT VK-600SE), a couple of choices that I liked on the HT3's are:

Moscode 401HR
McCormack DNA-500
CI Audio D-200's

Based on OP's comments, I think the Moscode 401-HR would potentially give him what he is looking for.  I compared a different AVA amp (Ultra 550) to the Moscode and preferred the Moscode. 

The Moscode's bass isn't SOTA, but it has nice texture and body to it.

Another possible choice is a pair of used Clayton S-40's.  Don't let the lowish number of watts fool you, a pair of these amps run in a vertical bi-amp will have no problem with the HT3's.  A used pair should run you $4k or less.  You could also start with a single S-40 and see if that is enough.

George

fsimms

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #10 on: 8 May 2009, 02:32 pm »
I have a McCormack 225 that I used with my HT1's.  I borrowed the Moscode 401-HR for a month and found it much better than my McCormack with digital media through my Tact 2.2x.  However, when I listened to vinyl through my tube Minimax Phonostage,  I found that I prefered the McCormack!  I wouldn't get the 225 with HT3's though, but the McCormack 500 might just be the ticket with your Manley preamp.

Bob

PS Have you considered biamping?

bahorn1

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #11 on: 8 May 2009, 02:46 pm »
I have a McCormack 225 that I used with my HT1's.  I borrowed the Moscode 401-HR for a month and found it much better than my McCormack with digital media through my Tact 2.2x.  However, when I listened to vinyl through my tube Minimax Phonostage,  I found that I prefered the McCormack!  I wouldn't get the 225 with HT3's though, but the McCormack 500 might just be the ticket with your Manley preamp.

Bob

PS Have you considered biamping?

Hey Bob,

I have a McCormack 225 now and HT3's on order.  My room is not too big (20 x 13 x 9) although it opens into the dining room and kitchen.  Do you think the 225 won't have enough power?  I'll obviously try it once the HT3's arrive.  But if it doesn't provide enough power, I guess I'll be looking at some of the recommendations above.

Thanks,
Doug

zybar

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #12 on: 8 May 2009, 02:52 pm »
I have a McCormack 225 that I used with my HT1's.  I borrowed the Moscode 401-HR for a month and found it much better than my McCormack with digital media through my Tact 2.2x.  However, when I listened to vinyl through my tube Minimax Phonostage,  I found that I prefered the McCormack!  I wouldn't get the 225 with HT3's though, but the McCormack 500 might just be the ticket with your Manley preamp.

Bob

PS Have you considered biamping?

Hey Bob,

I have a McCormack 225 and HT3's on order.  My room is not too big (20 x 13 x 9) although it opens into the dining room and kitchen.  Do you think the 225 won't have enough power?  I'll obviously try it once the HT3's arrive.  But if it doesn't provide enough power, I guess I'll be looking at some of the recommendations above.

Thanks,
Doug

Doug,

The DNA-500 uses a different topology and is a different amp than the 225 - it is not simply a 225 with more power.

George

fsimms

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #13 on: 8 May 2009, 02:54 pm »
Quote
I have a McCormack 225 now and HT3's on order.  My room is not too big (20 x 13 x 9) although it opens into the dining room and kitchen.  Do you think the 225 won't have enough power?  I'll obviously try it once the HT3's arrive.  But if it doesn't provide enough power, I guess I'll be looking at some of the recommendations above.

I think the McCormack 225 will be fine with the HT3's.  The main issue is that it won't be able to make them sing at the top of the lungs as well as the 500 will.  For all normal uses, I think you will be fine.   Earsfirst had the budget to get the 500 used.  I hate to break it to you, but for more than twice the price, you can get a better amp! LOL

Bob

bahorn1

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #14 on: 8 May 2009, 03:31 pm »
Thanks George and Bob.  I guess I had thought of the DNA-500 as a 225 with more power.  I also thought I had read somewhere that the 500 was slightly more neutral than the 225.  Not sure if that is true.  If I do wind up upgrading amps, my current list in approximate price order is:

- used Moscode 401HR
- used McCormack 500 (a recent listing of an SMc modified 500 was tempting)
- new Modwright KWA-150 (I've been following Philistine's review with great interest)
- used BAT VK-600SE (probably more than I want to spend)

--Doug
« Last Edit: 9 May 2009, 12:39 am by bahorn1 »

turkey

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #15 on: 8 May 2009, 03:34 pm »

I recently purchased some used HT3's (thanks BRM!) and a Manley Shrimp preamp. I'm sure this combo has the potential to make me very happy, if I can find the right amp.

 - AVA Ultra Double 550.  (Thanks for the loan Marty!).  Nearly ideal. Mids and highs are nicely resolved and very musical. I only wish it had a bit more bass impact.


It's extremely rare, IME, to find someone who says that AVA amps lack bass impact. Since I've heard a number of AVA amps and have also heard the HT3s, I'd have to say the problem lies somewhere else.

Maybe it's your preamp that lacks bass impact?


Kris

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #16 on: 8 May 2009, 04:48 pm »
What is all this talk about matching an amp to Salk speakers? How can a good amp not be a match to a good speaker? How can you tell-hear if an amp is not matching?
I' m asking because i know this is not about the low impedance driving capability of an amplifier. Or is it?

BrianM

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #17 on: 8 May 2009, 04:56 pm »
Bass impact can also be, er, impacted by the source component.

BrianM

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Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #18 on: 8 May 2009, 05:04 pm »
Though, of course, he was speaking in comparative terms as to the other amps he tried, so probably a moot point.

fsimms

Re: Amp Suggestions for HT3s?
« Reply #19 on: 8 May 2009, 05:24 pm »
Quote
What is all this talk about matching an amp to Salk speakers? How can a good amp not be a match to a good speaker? How can you tell-hear if an amp is not matching?
I' m asking because i know this is not about the low impedance driving capability of an amplifier. Or is it?

Low impedance is important, especially with bass.  Amps sound very different.   Speakers with high degrees of distortion can mask the distortions on some amps.  The Salk HT3's have near the lowest distortion available so that makes it more important to get a good amp.  Most speakers have a very reactive load and how the  amp handles the varying load is very important.  Low impedance can help here too!  How amps overload can also be important when playing at louder levels.

Bob