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  1. #1

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    Default Will Lsi9s continue to benefit from more power (over 200 wpc)?

    I also have a question after our SoCal meet at dpowell's (Doug's) place yesterday. I took my entire 2-channel system (sans tuner and antenna) down so that I could try some of his individual pieces (his Anthem tubed amp, pre and Marantz CDP) in my system. Basically we were trying to locate the weakest link in my 2-channel chain so that I can begin to plot my next move. Unfortunately, I'm not sure we found it.

    But here's my question for those who are particularly familiar with Lsi9s and have tried a number of different power sources with them at some point over the years.

    I am currently driving them with a Parasound Halo A23 amp rated at 200 wpc @ 4 ohms. No complaints at all with the musicality, soundstage, etc., but hypothetically speaking if I was to stay with the same line (Parasound Halo) of amps but move up to the A21 (which is about twice as powerful, 400 wpc @4 ohms) would this most likely improve the performance of the Lsi9s? (i.e. improve clarity or some other aspect of sound at lower listening levels)

    I guess there might be two schools on this:

    1) No, 200 wpc is plenty of power for these bookshelf speakers already, so everything else is extra and will be unused, redundant. (i.e. a waste of money)

    2) Yes, the Lsi9s are such a power hungry speaker that doubling the amount of power from what I have now (with all other things equal) will definately yield better performance.

    Any experiences that speak to this quandary? All opinions welcome.
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  2. #2

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    I don't have 9's but I have 15's. I concur with #2. I'm powering my 15's with 400 Watts into 4 Ohms and they sound great. From my understanding the 9's impedance drops even lower than the 15 so high current/power is even more important.
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  3. #3

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    Yes on #2.

    What I noticed is blacker, fuller dynamic at lower volume, at 400 watts @ 4 ohm.
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

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    The 23 is only 125wpc @ 8ohms and has to work hard to give them that 200wpc and will you have much headroom left on hard passages. If you start out with 250wpc @ 8ohms with the A21, I think they will sound much better and you will know that the amp has plenty of headroom as well.

    My feeling is if an amp give them what they need at 8ohms then you won't have to worry about the 4ohm level. Remember, there is NO such thing as overkill when it comes to power.
    Sunfire TGP III PrePro, Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Onkyo TA2600 Tape Deck, Pioneer Elite 47-A DVD, Sony 32" XBR TV, Polk RTA-8T Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, Boston PV-600 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers

  5. #5

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    well, Matt Polk was using Threshold mono-blocks 1000 watts each, they sang nicely along with a tubed pre, as always though not really just about the wattage.....power supply design, number of gain stages, zero or if present how is negative feedback used, type of capacitor, number used, size used, balanced circuit, type of resistor, discreet circuits, no doubt though your looking at alot of amplifier.

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  6. #6

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    I own both an A23 and an HCA2200ii.

    They both sound great but since the LSi9's have been known to dip to 2ohms at times, I just feel better with the beefier 2200ii (385 watts @ 4ohms). Its always better to have more current available for lower impedance levels.

    They both work well with the 9's, but I prefer more power.

    The A23 and my CRS+'s are a great match.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by cfrizz View Post
    Remember, there is NO such thing as overkill when it comes to power.
    Listen to Cathy! she knows what she's talking about...:)
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

  8. #8

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    Wow, I had no idea those tiny speakers could be so power thirsty! I was arguing on the side of 200wpc being enough, but I agree that more is generally better as long as it is clean. Break out the bills! :)
    The secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and greatest enjoyment is to live dangerously. - Nietzche

  9. #9

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    I have nothing to add to what others have said above. What I'm curious about, Norm...is how much of a difference did you HEAR when you upgraded the crossovers in the 9s? Because this post seems to indicate that maybe the upgrade was OK but not spectacular, since you're still looking for the 'weak' link.

    I'm just curious.

    cnh

  10. #10

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    suggest there are many factors in addition to power
    that may have an affect on your listening environment.

    (E peak /(sq root 2)) * (I peak /(sq root 2)) = (E peak * I peak)/2

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnh View Post
    I have nothing to add to what others have said above. What I'm curious about, Norm...is how much of a difference did you HEAR when you upgraded the crossovers in the 9s? Because this post seems to indicate that maybe the upgrade was OK but not spectacular, since you're still looking for the 'weak' link.

    I'm just curious.

    cnh
    For well-recorded music and rock, the upgraded crossovers provided a spectacular improvement in sound. The top end opened up and the bottom end has become much more defined (as someone noted, precisely because the top and mid range have been cleaned up). The differences are less acute with jazz (as jazz shined on the stock set up) or poorly recorded music.

    Here's a link to the thread in which I recorded my earliest impressions of the upgrade:

    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=104740

    Maybe the term 'weakest link' is not the most appropriate here. I have no plans to move to a different speaker. The Lsi9s will continue to be the foundation as I go forward. With that guideline in place, I thought I might take advantage of the get together to hone in on other areas that might yield some improvement. We tried some tubes with the Lsi9s, but none of us were particularly pleased with the sound (in fact, there was a clear concensus that they definately sounded better with SS Parasound gear). Of course, the tubes themselves are a variable and switching them up could yield dramatically different results, but for now I think I want to keep it simple with SS gear (or at least a solid state amp, and then possibly at some point down the line maybe look for a tubed pre???).
    Last edited by Norm Apter; 11-14-2010 at 05:14 PM.
    2 Ch.
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    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
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    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

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  12. #12

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    Thanks for the link, Norm. I can't believe I missed that.

    Nice review!

    cnh

  13. #13

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    In a word NO. Watts don't really mean a thing unless you are going for SPL. It's all, and I mean all in the design and topology and parts used. Now, if you can get a great design with high power then (pardon the pun) more power to you, but simply replacing a lower power amp with a similar higher power amp rarely gives you more, other than higher SPL's.

    End of story

    H9
    Last edited by heiney9; 11-14-2010 at 06:24 PM.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Apter View Post
    We tried some tubes with the Lsi9s, but none of us were particularly pleased with the sound (in fact, there was a clear concensus that they definately sounded better with SS Parasound gear). Of course, the tubes themselves are a variable and switching them up could yield dramatically different results, but for now I think I want to keep it simple with SS gear (or at least a solid state amp, and then possibly at some point down the line maybe look for a tubed pre???).
    This is extremely true of tubes. I have 3 sets of tubes for my phone stage, each of which sounds completely different. It really sounds like 3 different stages, depending on which set I swap in.
    Are you part of the dirty digital peasants or a member of the great Analog Master Race?

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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    In a word NO. Watts don't really mean a thing unless you are going for SPL. It's all, and I mean all in the design and topology and parts used. Now, if you can get a great design with high power then (pardon the pun) more power to you, but simply replacing a lower power amp with a similar higher power amp rarely gives you more, other than higher SPL's.

    End of story

    H9
    Thanks for your input, H9. By the way, can you send me the name(s) of those SS Pass Labs amps that might fit my budget (under 2k used) either in a PM or here. Just the names would be sufficient; I can do some research on them once I know the model/make. Still want to keep everything on the table at this point.
    2 Ch.
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    Parasound Halo T3 Tuner
    Bada HD22SE tube CD Player
    Magnum Dynalab Signal Sleuth
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    polkaudio Lsi9s (upgraded cross-overs)
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Interconnects (3)
    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by cfrizz View Post
    The 23 is only 125wpc @ 8ohms and has to work hard to give them that 200wpc and will you have much headroom left on hard passages. If you start out with 250wpc @ 8ohms with the A21, I think they will sound much better and you will know that the amp has plenty of headroom as well.

    My feeling is if an amp give them what they need at 8ohms then you won't have to worry about the 4ohm level. Remember, there is NO such thing as overkill when it comes to power.
    Thanks, Cathy. I never thought about the 8ohm vs. 4ohm distinction or the fact that it might have to work hard for those passages, because when I got the amp I just zoned in on the publicized 4-ohm rating @200 watts. But what you say makes sense.

    At this point, I think I'm definately go for a new (used) amp...the question will be whether its a simple move up to the A21 or something different like Bryston, Pass Labs, Belles, Outlaw monoblocks.
    2 Ch.
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    Parasound Halo P3 Preamp
    Parasound Halo T3 Tuner
    Bada HD22SE tube CD Player
    Magnum Dynalab Signal Sleuth
    Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna
    polkaudio Lsi9s (upgraded cross-overs)
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Interconnects (3)
    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

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  17. #17

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    i too have talked to polk about adding more power to the lsi line and was told that at 200 wpc i would not notice any difference other than spl if i were to add more more power

    the one thing i dont understand is how the lsi25 are rated for up to 300 watts while the lsi9 are rated to 200...as far as im aware they are the same speaker with the lsi25's having powered woofers in them...so if the woofer have their own power and you take that out of the equation, how can the lsi25's "technically" handle more power?
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by eclimax13 View Post
    i too have talked to polk about adding more power to the lsi line and was told that at 200 wpc i would not notice any difference other than spl if i were to add more more power

    the one thing i dont understand is how the lsi25 are rated for up to 300 watts while the lsi9 are rated to 200...as far as im aware they are the same speaker with the lsi25's having powered woofers in them...so if the woofer have their own power and you take that out of the equation, how can the lsi25's "technically" handle more power?

    completely different crossovers, plus the tweet and midbass drivers dont have to handle lowest frequencies like they do in the 9's

    moot point, as I have sent 500 into my 9's and they seem to love every watt, the LSi's are a funny, yet delightful sounding, beast
    Theater - Polk LSi15, LSiC, LSi9 speaks, DIY Sub (142.5L box, SVS plus driver, 500 Watt plate amp)...Outlaw 990 pre/pro, Carver TFM45, 2 X Outlaw M200 . Rotel RB980 . PS3, Monster 3600 power center

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  19. #19

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    Norm, before you go amp shopping I'd upgrade the x-overs. I've heard the difference and it is worth double the cost. As for amps, some find the Bryston's too dry, the Monarchy SM70 I think would be a solid match.
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  20. #20

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    Norm - depending on how large your room is an Aleph 30 would be a great choice. If you are looking for high spl's in a large room it might not quite get the job done. At one of our local meets I hooked my Alpeh up to a pair of LSi 15's in a very large room and it played louder than most would listen too before starting to run out of steam. It's 30wpc into 8 and 40wpc into 4. Don't let the low wattage rating fool you.

    http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...1/volksamp.htm

    http://www.passlabs.com/pdfs/old%20p...s/a30manr0.pdf

    The owners manual above Nelson outlines the design of the Aleph and the advantages of singled ended class A operation. Be aware the Aleph 30 idles at 200 wpc and it raises my medium size listening rooms temp 2-4*. It takes about an hour of warm up for it to sound it's best. If nothing else read the owners manual, very comprehensive.

    The Pass Labs X150.5 is a more conventional push/pull designe with Super Symmetry and it's 150wpc or ask Ricardo about his X250.

    The newer X series amps have a ".5" after the model number. The XA series are all class A amps so the XA30.5 is a beefier version or rather evolution of the Aleph 30. It's said to combine the best attributes of the Aleph and X series but they are more than your $2K budget even used.

    None of the First Watt stuff is designed for speakers like the LSi's with the possible exception of the Aleph J which is essentially and Aleph 30 with a J-Fet front end.

    I wouldn't merely move up to a higher power Parasound that is basically the same design as you already have because you won;t notice much difference if any at all.

    Just my .02c

    H9

    P.s. I'll also put my endorsement in for the lastest generation Monarchy SM70 pro mono's. You can get them much less than retail when you call or email Monarhcy directly.
    Last edited by heiney9; 11-15-2010 at 03:19 PM.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  21. #21

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    Cross-overs (sounds like you already did that), stands, placement, room treatments, cables - all things I would improve or play with prior to moving up the amplifier chain. Once you have tried those then I would worry about the amp upgrade.
    DKG999
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkg999 View Post
    Cross-overs (sounds like you already did that), stands, placement, room treatments, cables - all things I would improve or play with prior to moving up the amplifier chain. Once you have tried those then I would worry about the amp upgrade.
    I had assumed he did all of the above, but if not, that is certainly a starting point.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Apter View Post
    I think I'm definately go for a new (used) amp...the question will be whether its a simple move up to the A21 or something different like Bryston, Pass Labs, Belles, Outlaw monoblocks.
    enjoy the search, the hunt and anticipation is always part of the fun for me.

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
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    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
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  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by reeltrouble1 View Post
    enjoy the search, the hunt and anticipation is always part of the fun for me.

    RT1
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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Norm - depending on how large your room is an Aleph 30 would be a great choice. If you are looking for high spl's in a large room it might not quite get the job done. At one of our local meets I hooked my Alpeh up to a pair of LSi 15's in a very large room and it played louder than most would listen too before starting to run out of steam. It's 30wpc into 8 and 40wpc into 4. Don't let the low wattage rating fool you.

    http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...1/volksamp.htm

    http://www.passlabs.com/pdfs/old%20p...s/a30manr0.pdf

    The owners manual above Nelson outlines the design of the Aleph and the advantages of singled ended class A operation. Be aware the Aleph 30 idles at 200 wpc and it raises my medium size listening rooms temp 2-4*. It takes about an hour of warm up for it to sound it's best. If nothing else read the owners manual, very comprehensive.

    The Pass Labs X150.5 is a more conventional push/pull designe with Super Symmetry and it's 150wpc or ask Ricardo about his X250.

    The newer X series amps have a ".5" after the model number. The XA series are all class A amps so the XA30.5 is a beefier version or rather evolution of the Aleph 30. It's said to combine the best attributes of the Aleph and X series but they are more than your $2K budget even used.

    None of the First Watt stuff is designed for speakers like the LSi's with the possible exception of the Aleph J which is essentially and Aleph 30 with a J-Fet front end.

    I wouldn't merely move up to a higher power Parasound that is basically the same design as you already have because you won;t notice much difference if any at all.

    Just my .02c

    H9

    P.s. I'll also put my endorsement in for the lastest generation Monarchy SM70 pro mono's. You can get them much less than retail when you call or email Monarhcy directly.
    Thanks for the listing, H9. This gives me something to chew on. I'll definately check with Ricardo as he has been a great resource for me in the past.
    2 Ch.
    Parasound Halo A23 Amp
    Parasound Halo P3 Preamp
    Parasound Halo T3 Tuner
    Bada HD22SE tube CD Player
    Magnum Dynalab Signal Sleuth
    Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna
    polkaudio Lsi9s (upgraded cross-overs)
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Interconnects (3)
    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

    HT
    Denon 2808ci AVR
    polkaudio RTi A5s (fronts)
    polkaudio RTi A1s (rears)
    polkaudio Csi A6 (center)
    Signal Cable Ultra Speaker Cables
    Signal Cable Analog II Interconnects

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkg999 View Post
    Cross-overs (sounds like you already did that), stands, placement, room treatments, cables - all things I would improve or play with prior to moving up the amplifier chain. Once you have tried those then I would worry about the amp upgrade.
    Good ideas here; this prompts some good outside-the-box thinking.

    Yes on the cross-overs and cables but not yet on quality stands and room treatments. The stands I'm holding off on until we move (we're in an apartment but will most likely be making a long-distance move to a more permanent location next summer). Speaker stands will be at the top of my list once the move is made.

    But the room treatments are something I could pursue in the meantime. I suppose I need to do some searches in the forum archives on the numbers and types of panels I should look into. Again, since we're in an apartment I stayed away but if they are easy to mount and dismount then its still something that I could do sooner rather than later.
    2 Ch.
    Parasound Halo A23 Amp
    Parasound Halo P3 Preamp
    Parasound Halo T3 Tuner
    Bada HD22SE tube CD Player
    Magnum Dynalab Signal Sleuth
    Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna
    polkaudio Lsi9s (upgraded cross-overs)
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Interconnects (3)
    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

    HT
    Denon 2808ci AVR
    polkaudio RTi A5s (fronts)
    polkaudio RTi A1s (rears)
    polkaudio Csi A6 (center)
    Signal Cable Ultra Speaker Cables
    Signal Cable Analog II Interconnects

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by markmarc View Post
    Norm, before you go amp shopping I'd upgrade the x-overs. I've heard the difference and it is worth double the cost. As for amps, some find the Bryston's too dry, the Monarchy SM70 I think would be a solid match.
    Already upgraded the x-overs.

    The reason why I put Bryston in there was because I had read some general comments some time ago about how it was not uncommon for Parasound owners to gravitate toward Bryston once they had some more money to work up the food chain of amplification, with the idea that both had relatively similar sound signatures. But I'll take what you say into consideration. I've never heard any Bryston gear up to this point. Will also throw that Monarchy into the pool.
    2 Ch.
    Parasound Halo A23 Amp
    Parasound Halo P3 Preamp
    Parasound Halo T3 Tuner
    Bada HD22SE tube CD Player
    Magnum Dynalab Signal Sleuth
    Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna
    polkaudio Lsi9s (upgraded cross-overs)
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Bi-wire Interface Speaker Cables
    MIT Shotgun S-3 Interconnects (3)
    IegO L70530 Power cords (3)

    HT
    Denon 2808ci AVR
    polkaudio RTi A5s (fronts)
    polkaudio RTi A1s (rears)
    polkaudio Csi A6 (center)
    Signal Cable Ultra Speaker Cables
    Signal Cable Analog II Interconnects

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Apter View Post
    Already upgraded the x-overs.

    The reason why I put Bryston in there was because I had read some general comments some time ago about how it was not uncommon for Parasound owners to gravitate toward Bryston once they had some more money to work up the food chain of amplification, with the idea that both had relatively similar sound signatures. But I'll take what you say into consideration. I've never heard any Bryston gear up to this point. Will also throw that Monarchy into the pool.
    My experience with amp rolling after modding the crossovers is that the difference was not worth my while. I've driven my 9s with a McAlister 75WPC tube amp, a Rotel RB991 300 WPC @4ohm, a Adcom GFA555 II, and a Carver 705X, and in all those cases, the difference was subtle at best. The tube amp had slightly more tubey character, but the rest sounded almost the same. I kept the Rotel in the rig, purely for aesthetic reasons. I like how it looks.

    Before modding the xovers, the McAlister sounded terrible - the bass was undefined, and the Adcom sounded pretty poor as well. The Rotel and Carver still had good control over the bass.

  29. #29

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    Quality over quantity. Pick an amp that's 2ohm stable and has ample headroom, and those 9's will sound great.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  30. #30
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    Would you ever consider spending that $2K on speakers? Or are your Modded 9's hitting your audio nirvana sweet spot?

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