View Full Version : Studio reference power amps ???

Nov 12, 2005, 02:11 AM
My 15 year old Yamaha MX35 just bit the dust
and I'm looking at the vast selection of studio reference amplifiers.

I'm trying to figure out which one would be the best
for around $300.00
Alesis, Crown, American, Yamaha, Sampson, ART or
something else?

I want something versitile, reliable, rugged and quiet if that's at all possible. 2 rack spaces is fine.

I would prefer something with at least 80watts RMS
into 8 Ohms

Nov 17, 2005, 12:02 AM
Oh well,

It seems the response to this thread is matching the performance of my
old power amp.


Nov 17, 2005, 12:18 AM
(there's another sound amps make)

Don't have specific suggestions, although I bought a Crown and a QSC for my son for DJ work and they are both good performers. The Alesis look good on paper as studio amps, completely unfounded opinion that the Crown would be more rugged if you are talking about a system that will be transported. Samson has the impression of low price for me, again an impression completely untainted by actual experience. The ne plus ultra would be a Bryston.

Nov 17, 2005, 12:44 AM
Thanks CanadaRam !

The Bryston 3B SST is very impressive along with it's 20 year warranty and the fact that it's one of the very few amps that are not made in China.

I just can't afford it! :(

The affordable Crowns and QSC's are fine for a P.A. amp, but
the fan noise in a small project studio worries me.

The Alesis RA 300 looks pretty good, but vertical venting makes dust an issue and it's not a good idea for rack mounting.

The ART SLA-2 looks interesting for a reasonable price and might actually
be O.K. with a decent pre-amp.

I've spent a week looking at everything and still can't decide.

My ProjectMix arrive today and I'm too tired to even take it out of the box

Nov 17, 2005, 01:25 AM
The Crown D series (http://www.crownaudio.com/amp_htm/d.htm) is a little lower in power than you were looking for (35W x 2 into 8 Ohms, but 20-20 at <0.1 THD), they are fanless

Nov 17, 2005, 04:43 AM
What monitors are you running FFTT? That makes quite a difference as some amps don't play nice with some speakers.

My personal preference is the Chord range (http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/products_detail.asp?id=9), but they are very expensive.

We've had some good results from the Sampson Servo range with smaller monitors like the PMC's, but they won't drive the bigger stuff well, even the higher output models.

You could do worse than picking up a Quad 405 mark 2.

Nov 17, 2005, 08:47 AM
I looked at the D75 but it was overpriced and under powered.
Unfortunately they don't offer the D150 any longer.

It's not that I want to run through some cheezy system again, but
after buying my daughter an iBook AND buying the ProjectMix AND
still needing to buy ProTools M-Powered, my budget is very limiting.

It just figures that my power amp would blow right when I was FINALLY
able to replace some of my antique gear.

I'm running through my good old Infinity SM82's

I know they're not exactly audiophile quality near fields,
but they were good enough to make do.


Frequency Response: 75Hz - 25kHz (+/-3dB)
Crossover Frequency(ies): 2.8kHz
Sensitivity: 98dB (1 watt/1 meter)
Power Rating: 10 -125 watts
Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms
Woofer: 8" (203mm) polypropylene coated
Tweeter: 1" (25mm) polycell "high-output"

Nov 17, 2005, 10:16 AM
Nothing wrong with the Infinitys, You should have a look at the Samson Servo range then the 160 will drive them well, and they're not that expensive either.

The Quad would work too, if you could find one.

Nov 19, 2005, 08:52 PM
I may end up with a slightly improved budget thanks to my homeowners
insurance covering some of the gear I lost in a severe power surge.

I went down to Guitar Center today to have them evaluate my
Mackie 1604, Digitech Valve Fx and Alesis 3630 compressor.
All toast!

I won't know the results from my insurance for another week or so
because of the holiday.

I spent several hours looking at everything related to pro audio
and think I'm leaning towards getting an O.K. reference amp
putting more of my money into better pre-amps.

I did like both the Mackie and M-Audio powered near field monitors,
but can't justify the expense since my Infinitys are still perfect.

At the moment I'm considering this new rack set-up to go with my beautiful new M-Audio Project Mix I/O


Furman power conditioner $59.00
ART SLA 2 Reference Amp $279.00
ART DPS II Stereo Tube Pre-amp with digital out $259
Rocktron Voodu Valve $669.99
Focusrite Trackmaster Pro channel strip $299

Not a bad set-up at all for $1565

Nov 19, 2005, 09:04 PM
Why the Rocktron as opposed to, say, the Line6 Pod pro? I presume this is for guitar processing and amp/cabinet simulation?

I use an ART tube preamp and compressor ahead of a Behringer V-series digital sim box. I'd like the Line6, but I got the Behringer for something like US$99 so...

Nov 19, 2005, 09:37 PM
I'll have to look at the Line 6 for sure.

My Digitech valve FX was pretty good overall but the only
other processors I've heard were Rocktrons over at my friends house.

He had the Cameleon and the Intellifex, but I want tubes.

This is still a wet dream until the insurance lets me know how much they'll cover.

THe Guitar Center pro rep though the Focusrite single combined
with the ART DPS II was a great idea.

Now to wait and see.

I just return shipped the FW 410 today so I'm getting ProTools M-Powered in exchange as soon as they credit my account.

What I'm totally lost on is good sounding digital drums, keys and horns
that will work with PT M-Powered OR Logic Express.

Dec 6, 2005, 07:14 PM
I'm re-thinking all of this the more I research the alternatives.

The guys over at OSXaudio.com have been tremendously helpful in the short time I've signed up at their forums.

I just picked up a use Yamaha A-1000 125 watt natural sound intigrated amp for $104.00 on eBay to tide me over till I can find a good deal on a Bryston.

They also turned me on to Outlaw audio and a few other manufacturers
that you don't hear about in the average music store.

Another fantastic source of gear is mercenary audio.