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  1. #1

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    Question Amp choice advice

    Hi all, new to the game here and learning. There is so much information here it is kind of overwelming. I have a pair of SDA 2B's and am looking for a good power source. I have found an Onkyo Integra M504 amp and a P304 pre-amp. Is this a good match for these speakers? Advice and opinions appreciated.

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    All of the Onkyo Integra amps are fine choices, and the 504 would be a perfect match. When you say you 'found' it, does that mean you already have it? If so, I wouldn't look any further. The preamp will work nicely too, as it has FETs in the phono stage (I think). As with all older devices, though, I highly, highly recommend it be re-capped/looked over by an experienced tech...not only will it sound much better, it'll run much safer, too.

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    I don't have it yet, it's being auctioned. Any idea what the value is for used in excellent condition?

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    I've seen them go as high as $600+ recently, but it depends if it has the manual, box, etc. 600 is a bit steep, I think. Another good choice would be a Yamaha M-80 (or M-85), and their matching preamps (C-80/85). You might be able to get those for a little less, depending. Also check out www.audiogon.com, but sometimes the prices can be a tad high (and if not, things are sold within 20 minutes). Good luck!

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    Great advice, I will feel a little more comfortable about bidding on the Onkyo, just have to decide how bad I want it. Ha Ha, seems like it's that way with everything. The amp and pre-amp come with an Integra tuner T4087, I was hoping to get all 3 for 600.00 or less. I will have to revise my thinking a little, maybe 750.00-800.00 would be a good price.

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    For all three, assuming they are in good condition, $750 would be fine. Of course, with all auctions, I prefer being able to pick it up myself, as most people simply don't have a clue on how to pack/ship something like that properly. The amp is big and heavy, and all together would cost another $100 or so to ship, so keep that in mind. If you aren't in a rush, take your time, and something will fall into your lap sooner than later for a nice price...just gotta keep looking! Also check out your local craigslist, you can often find absolute steals there...I got my pair of SDA 2's from a guy just down the street from me, in mint condition, for $100. Another good website for info is www.audiokarma.org. They also have a classifieds section where members sell to other members, with prices that can't be beat.

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    Thanks for all the help, I have been impressed with the posts in here, a lot of knowledge and helpful people. But we all have to be really smart people to have SDA's in the first place, LOL. I just have to find some patience and wait for a good deal, not one of my strengths.

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    You need to listen to SDA's with a good tube amp. I can tell you that I felt I had a decent amp - a Rotel RB991 200WPC @8 driving SDA1C's and that amp was put to shame by a 75WPC tube rig. The difference was so substantial it was not even a competition. With the tube amp the soundstage opened up to twice as large and the music seemed to have so much life. More bucks but definitely worth considering.

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    I would love to go that route, but the cost is a factor. I have had the SDA 2Bs over 20 years, bought them new from Pacific Stereo new. At the time it was my most expensive luxury purchase. I had Polk care stereo speakers and loved them. For all this time I had used a Technics receiver, 100w x 2. Recently I decided to get into home theatre, bought a Onkyo TX-SR803 and Polk RM6900. I had all but decided to get rid of the SDAs, too big, not the right look, etc. That was until I hooked them up to the new receiver just for grins. They never sounded so good, I had always liked them but now know I never found out what they could do. It also rekindled my love of listening to music in 2-channel stereo. From what I have learned in here, I need to step up to another level of power. Thats why I am focusing on separates as a first step. One of these days I'll graduate to tube power.

    The plan starts with the SDAs, and try to build piece by piece. I also want to explore modifying the SDAs, tweeters and crossovers. And of course I will have to dedicate my gameroom to 2-channel audio. I am sure the addicts in here will help lead me down the path, scary to my bank account, but fun!

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    FYI, the current Bluebook on the M504 is $318.00.

    Tube gear doesn't have to cost an arm and leg. One suggestion would be to look at getting a tube pre amp to go with whatever SS amp you end up with. Another suggestion would be to look into replacing the SL2000 tweeters you have now with the new, much smoother RD0194-1 from Polk. And yet another suggestion would be to avoid Japanese SS power gear all together for your music set up.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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    Realistically what am I looking at spending to get a entry level tube amp and preamp

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    I agree that a tube pre-amp with an SS power amp is the ideal setup. Tubes aren't the best choice for high-power amps/demanding speakers...you'll spend a lot just to get a good unit and then a lot on replacing tubes down the line. The tube/SS combo gives you the best of both worlds.

    Replacing the tweeters is another good idea, mine have the SL1000 so its not the most practical idea, but for you it would be easy and worthwhile.

    But I have to question the 'avoid Japanese gear all together' remark...racist much? Or just plain clueless?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toka78

    But I have to question the 'avoid Japanese gear all together' remark...racist much? Or just plain clueless?
    Why would you even think my comment had anything to do with race??? Perhaps you should take a long look at yourself and your issues.

    Clueless? You're the one saying, "All of the Onkyo Integra amps are fine choices."

    You're way out of line.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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    Quote Originally Posted by markeddie
    Realistically what am I looking at spending to get a entry level tube amp and preamp
    You can find used pre amps from $300-$400 and used amps from $700-$800 on places like Audiogon and here in the FM. Another idea might be a tube integrated amp.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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    Which Integra amps are poor? I tire of the typical snobbish 'audiophile' line of thinking that anything from Japan isn't worthwhile. This line of thinking simply has no basis in fact. Onkyo, Yamaha, Sansui, and Nakamichi all made amps that stand equal to anything made in America or England (or anywhere else). Perhaps I was out of line in my racist comment but to wholly dismiss everything made in one single country is ignorant no matter how you look at it.

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    Onkyo, Yamaha, Sansui, and Nakamichi SS power products are average at best and tend to have a rather sterile sound. If you're into that sound, great, but I'm not.

    Now, the Japanese do make some nice esoteric SS power gear, some of which has won critical acclaim, but none from the above.

    .....but to wholly dismiss everything made in one single country is ignorant no matter how you look at it.
    Did I say EVERYTHING? Nope, sure didn't. I said SS power amps. Reading comprehension, eh?
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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    Heh, ok man, I can't change your mind...if you want to cling to those ideals I'm not going to lose sleep over it. The Nakamichi PA-7 (based on designs from Nelson Pass) is average at best...oooook. Keep drinking the Koolaid.

    And 'everything' = all SS power amps...you know, the topic we were discussing. I'll try and spell every little detail out (maybe with pictures) next time for you, ok?

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    You know, I tried being nice to you despite your attitude, but I see that isn't working. You have some serious issues and I'd have to say the biggest one is that you're an idiot, but keep digging, the entertainment value is off the charts.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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    Nice? Where? Nothing but snide and condescending from the get-go, which I responded to in kind. I don't like playing that game but I will if someone wants to. I admitted being out-of-line with my racist remark, and I apologize for that. I have no issues whatsoever, but I appreciate the concern. My only 'issue' was to respond to a sweeping generalization that wasn't backed up with any sort of reason or fact, that is all.

    But, this is all waaay off-topic, so I'm done with this. If markeddie would like to discuss the topic further, shoot me a private message and I'll be happy to suggest other amps that may work for you (no matter where they may have been manufactured).

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    You attacked me for a SUGGESTION that I made. Now, if it offended you, tough! Obviously, you have a few issues to work out, so don't even try putting them on me.

    As for a reason, it would seem that you are well aware of what the general consensus is concerning the matter at hand, so why even bring that up?

    Now, how about those Forumla One teams, Honda and Toyota? Two of the biggest budgets in the game and nada, zip, zero to show for it. At least the Honda engines aren't blowing up in every race like last year. :D
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  21. #21

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    WOW!, what a can of worms. I did not mean to start this. Please understand where I am at, the first step into high end 2-channel audio. I want to get into it as easy as I can, with decent sound, or another way, as cheap as I can right now. I am also wanting bigger and better TVs, more SDAs, a hot nasty girlfriend, and world peace.

    Is there any factual information as to the knock against Japanese SS? I need real world advice that corresponds to what I can hear, not specs that are nothing more than bragging rights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toka78
    I agree that a tube pre-amp with an SS power amp is the ideal setup. Tubes aren't the best choice for high-power amps/demanding speakers...you'll spend a lot just to get a good unit and then a lot on replacing tubes down the line. The tube/SS combo gives you the best of both worlds.

    Replacing the tweeters is another good idea, mine have the SL1000 so its not the most practical idea, but for you it would be easy and worthwhile.

    But I have to question the 'avoid Japanese gear all together' remark...racist much? Or just plain clueless?
    Anybody with even the smallest amount of info about audio knows there has always been two "camps" so to speak. You have your Japanese gear (made in Japan, now perhaps China and Tiawan) and you have your American gear. It's been that way for a long time. There are differences in design philosophy between the two camps. There are also differences in how the two types (Japanese and American) of products are marketed.

    Japanese gear (generally) has been mass marketed to meet a certain price point and tends to emphasize value over substance. American gear tends to be more expensively built with less frills and more emphasis on using ultra high quality parts to achieve excellent sound.

    Japanese gear (again generally) has it's own distinct sound which to some is less pleasing than it's American built counterpart. I believe that's what F1 was getting at. My comments are of course all generalizations because there is some very good Japanese made gear out there as well as some very mediocre American made gear.

    To suggest anything racial...............is absolute BS and it seems like you are trolling or at the very least trying to stir up the pot.

    How about for your sake we just call them Pacific Rim products. Does that make you feel better? But, then we need to call American products "Products of the United States". We wouldn't want to offend any Americans by calling them Americans.

    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 markeddie
    WOW!, what a can of worms. I did not mean to start this. Please understand where I am at, the first step into high end 2-channel audio. I want to get into it as easy as I can, with decent sound, or another way, as cheap as I can right now. I am also wanting bigger and better TVs, more SDAs, a hot nasty girlfriend, and world peace.

    Is there any factual information as to the knock against Japanese SS? I need real world advice that corresponds to what I can hear, not specs that are nothing more than bragging rights.
    Not really, just lots of listening and experience. IMO, there are some good Pacific Rim products and one that comes to mind licensed a design from a very well known US firm to build one helluva an amplifier.

    Just remember with SDA's you have to use a common ground amp. Be sure to check that out before you purchase one. Most are common ground, but there are enough affordable one's out there that are not. Check here or better yet check with the manufacturer. If the amp IS NOT common ground inquire about wether the negative terminals on the amp can be connected together. If so, you're good to go if not then the amp can't be used with the SDA's. Some model SDA's had the option of another model cable for non-common ground amps, the A1 cable. However depending on the model and year of manufacture of your SDA's this may not be an option.

    If you need more info about the A1 cable or common ground amps and SDA's do a search here on the forum, it has been discussed many many times. Good luck and most of all be patient and get exactly what you want.

    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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    One last thing......most on here know that I am a fan of Adcom products. If you are looking for great performance on a budget I highly recommend Adcom products.

    You could pick up a nice used GFA-545 (amp) and the associated pre-amp (Gfp-???) very reasonably and it would be an excellent set-up. If budget is your biggest concern, IMO you can't go wrong with Adcom.

    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!

  25. #25

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    nm.......
    Last edited by heiney9; 06-30-2006 at 08:44 AM.
    "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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    I need real world advice that corresponds to what I can hear, not specs that are nothing more than bragging rights.
    You're on the right track, specs are not the end all. As for real world advice, how's 36 years of real world listening? More later, I'm going sailing.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    I have to agree with Jesse and Heiney in that most Japenese (or Taiwanese/Chinese, Pac-Rim) stuff is fairly entry level in sound quality and/or cheaply built (Chinese stuff seems to fall in this catagory). If you want bullet proof amps with lots of power, cheap, grab some carver amps and a tube pre and your golden for about $600-$800.
    There is no genuine justice in any scheme of feeding and coddling the loafer whose only ponderable energies are devoted wholly to reproduction. Nine-tenths of the rights he bellows for are really privileges and he does nothing to deserve them. We not only acquired a vast population of morons, we have inculcated all morons, old or young, with the doctrine that the decent and industrious people of the country are bound to support them for all time.-Menkin

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    I don't want this to go off-topic again, but the 'generalizations' that people are so quick to repeat as gospel are only somewhat true. No one (repeat, no one) who ever saw/heard an amp like the Sansui BA-5000 would ever think 'cheap'. It puts out 300 WPC (or strapped to 600) and weighs almost 110 pounds. It meets/exceeds similarly powered McIntosh amps of that era and (at the time) was cheaper. Now, I'm not talking about amps made today, as they can tend to be more cheaply made, as others have mentioned. This is not exclusive to the Japanese market, or any market, for that matter. Just an unfortunate natural progression of the times. People who know much more about the subject than I (and much more than anyone on this board), sing the praises of various amps from across the globe, of this or any era. Audio is difficult enough as it is, no need to limit your options.

    Anyway, I apologized for my racist remark, so I don't see the need to bring it up again. No need for further jabs either. I tend to think of sweeping, unsubstantiated claims to be trolling, so I guess nobody can claim victim here. I certainly didn't get offended personally, only as a fan of audio who wants to see someone like markeddie get the best bang for his buck...and that being the case, something like the Onkyo he first mentioned would certainly fit the bill (as anyone who actually listened to it would agree).

    I guess the saddest irony is that fans of Polk (who, by the way, don't have the best rep in the 'audiophile' world, due to...you guessed it...lower price points and wide availability) would so freely dismiss such a wide range of products. Again, mark, that Onkyo would be perfect, as would the Yamaha models I mentioned. The Yamaha's, in particular, have a very clean, 'natural' sound (just like it says on the faceplate), that will give you whatever you put into it. Crap in, crap out. Quality in, quality out. A tube preamp with the M-85 would be magic. And yes, Adcom are very good as well. You won't lose with any of them. Be patient, look around, and something great will show up before you know it. And in the end you have to trust your ears, not anyone else's, as if there was truly one 'best' amp it would have been made by now.

    I'm sorry this thread had to blow up like this, even 16-year internet vets like myself can get dragged down into high school histrionics sometimes. Its over, time to move on.

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    There is nothing better than pesonal listening. We have all developed a personal taste for what we like and dislike. I respect Toka78 and his opinions, but based on my experience with the amps he has suggested I don't agree with him. Does that mean I'm right and he's wrong......no. It just means we have had different experiences. There is no substitute for getting out there an experiencing as many different audio products as possible.

    Personally you couldn't give me an Onk or Yammy or Sansui or Pioneer amp. IMPO, there are many better amps to be had for the same $$$ or a bit more. There will be others that look at my choices and disagree. This is a hobby with many different choices and outcomes. The fun is in the journey.

    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 heiney9
    There is nothing better than pesonal listening. We have all developed a personal taste for what we like and dislike. I respect Toka78 and his opinions, but based on my experience with the amps he has suggested I don't agree with him. Does that mean I'm right and he's wrong......no. It just means we have had different experiences. There is no substitute for getting out there an experiencing as many different audio products as possible.
    Exactly.

    Go out there an listen to as much as you can. Liking a certain piece is a subjective experience; What sounds great to one may sound like crap to someone else, regardless of specs. Listening to different brands, amp types, etc., will give you a wider range of experiences in which you can compare. It's like building a database in your mind that allows you to make valid comparisons. In the end, choose the component that sounds great to you, in your living space, and in your budget.

    Toka78: that racist comment was way out of line, but you stepped up and recanted. With that out of the way, welcome to the club. Stick around and have some fun
    Last edited by Mike682; 07-01-2006 at 09:18 AM.
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