First of all a very sincere Thank You to Doug and Brock (aka. dkg999 and Heiney9) for coming over to play today!
Doug brought a
2 Outlaw monoblocks,
and a tube pre of some sort (I didn't catch the brand, so Doug, chime in here)
Brock brought over an Adcom 545, and an Adcom integrated.
I mostly was interested in stepping into external amps for 2-channel audio that would be used in my system for HT as well. So, we listened to mostly 2-channel music with a little bit of the Eagles Farwell tour DTS track also.
First we listened to my system as it is. My DVD player connected thru a tos-link to my H/K 635. The RTi70's are crossed over at 60 hz and all others at 80 hz. I have the Velodyne set 3 db hotter than the H/K EzSet originally set it at. I normally leave the sub on for 2-channel. I will let DKG999 or Heiney9 give their impression of my system if they are interested. At the beginning of the day I was feeling pretty good about my setup and was really wondering what I would hear with the verious amps connected.
First we gave the parasound a listen with my H/K as the Pre. I immediately noticed detail I have never heard from my Rti's. We turned the sub nearly off to better experience the signature of the amps. The Parasound was nuetral to a little bright. I was a little dissappointed in the bottom end. The top end was amazing though. There was tremendous imaging. I also noticed harmonies that I didn't realize were there in the same music we listened to through the H/K. The hi-hat on the Eagles DVD was tight you could hear the strings of the guitars.
Then we moved to the ADCOM 545. I was blown away by this amp. I won't even leave you in suspense...this was my favorite. It sounded warm with solid punch on the low end, but still a clear, detailed top end. It didn't have the same detail in the top end as the Parasound, but I preferred the sound overall. Still, amazing compared to the HK with much improved imaging and forward sound.
I couldn't wait to hook up the Outlaws...Ooooooooo.... 200 wpc of Outlaw might. Couldn't get them hooked up fast enough. .....Hmmm ...Big dissappointment. We did have two rounds of listening between using the HK amp section and connecting the Outlaws, but I'm not sure there was much of a difference in sound. Maybe a little better detail, but the sound was thin and didn't make the music come alive. We actually didn't finish the round of music we were listening to...didn't even get to the Eagles. We did throw in the Matrix and watched the lobby scene and the helicopter scene. This is definately where these amps shine!! Fantastic grunt for the dynamics in these scenes. I can see why so many are a fan the Outlaws for home theater. I unfortunately listen to a 50/50 mix of music and HT so want to try to find a compromise of both worlds.
Then we gave a quick listen to Heiney9's integrated. It had much of the same ADCOM sound as the 545 with lower volume levels. Nice little jewel.
Ok...The next experience was quite unexpected. Doug hooked up his tube pre with BlueJean interconnects to my DVD player and powered the RTI70's with the ADCOM 545. No sub, no HK, straight up tube-pre and ADCOM 2-channel. The result was, as Heiney9 said, the Parasound top end with the ADCOM bottom end. It was the perfect combination of our favorite characteristics of the other combinations. I honestly did not expect music to sound this good through the RTI's. The bass extension was amazing. Vocals were so clear you felt you were sitting on the edge of the stage. The tubes gave the music such presence that the sense of a LH and RH speaker went away. The room was just full of music. We had listened to the new Chili Peppers CD on all of the setups and so far I thought every amp sounded harsh with this recording. It was nearly hard to listen to it. When we put in the CD with this setup, though, it sounded exactly how I was hoping it would sound in the previous configurations.
So, I tried to hide the tube-pre in my pantry while the guys packed their gear back up, but I didn't get away with it.
I have decided that the next step I am going to take is either an ADCOM 545 or an ADCOM 555. My thoughs are to possibly choose the 555 over the 545 so that I had the extra grunt for HT dynamics.
Thanks again, Doug and Brock! :D