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AR-3A amplification at lower volume and bass


taynos
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Currently running an Adcom 5400 with my 3a's. Sounds phenomenal and is a huge improvement over the Marantz 2230 I was using when I first got them. The 5400 pushes out 200w at 4ohms. Would I see noticeable improvement with more power in 2 areas,

1. More bass and low end at lower listening levels.

2. More bass on older hard bop jazz vinyl (Mid 50s - Late 60' stuff)

I find myself cranking bass tone control up for these scenarios , creating a loudness effect. 

I have read the threads on using the QSC and Crown pro amps, those are right in my budget but I am concerned of fan noise as I live in apartment and my listening area is near the amp. Specifically I'm considering an Adcom 5500 which can push out 350w @ 4ohm. Would I see significant improvement? Thanks in advance! 

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On the new Crowns(haven't heard the QSC's) fan noise is pretty much non existent. You really have to push them for the fans to turn on at all. That said, I doubt you'll hear more bass by switching out the Adcom for the Crown/QSC, particularly at lower levels. The 5400 is a very good amp.  I would play around with speaker placement first(closer to the walls, lower to the ground, etc, before going up in power. 

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32 minutes ago, samberger0357 said:

On the new Crowns(haven't heard the QSC's) fan noise is pretty much non existent. You really have to push them for the fans to turn on at all. That said, I doubt you'll hear more bass by switching out the Adcom for the Crown/QSC, particularly at lower levels. The 5400 is a very good amp.  I would play around with speaker placement first(closer to the walls, lower to the ground, etc, before going up in power. 

Thanks for the tip on the Crown fan noise.  Pushed the cabinets up against the wall not much I can do with speaker placement with my small space here. Have them on stands roughly 1ft off the ground. 

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I have a Crown XLS 1502 for a year now and I have never heard the fan come on. I have evan used it to push stacked AR3a's.  I also have a Adcom GFA-555II that I use. The Adcom is said to be 2 ohm stable, but I would not bet on it. The XLS 1502 is definitely 2 ohm stable and quite musical for a class D pro amp.  What kind of preamp are you using? That makes a big difference. 

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Agreement with Sam on the quality of the Adcom 4500, as well as the effect that speaker placement will have on bass frequencies.

The size of your room, and the distance of your listening position from the 3a's are also factors, and while the Crown or even an Adcom 5500 or 555II will provide greater power, do you actually need more volume? You might be able to get the sound quality that you're looking for by adding a decent equalizer to your system, and carefully tweaking the appropriate controls.

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17 hours ago, larrybody said:

I have a Crown XLS 1502 for a year now and I have never heard the fan come on. I have evan used it to push stacked AR3a's.  I also have a Adcom GFA-555II that I use. The Adcom is said to be 2 ohm stable, but I would not bet on it. The XLS 1502 is definitely 2 ohm stable and quite musical for a class D pro amp.  What kind of preamp are you using? That makes a big difference. 

 

I'm using a Parks Audio Budgie Tube Phono for the vinyl which is 95% of the music playback.

Everything is running through a Marantz NR 1605 integrated. I use the pre outs on the Marantz into the Adcom 5400 for 2 channel playback to push the AR-3a's which also integrates them into my HT setup. 

 

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If I had to guess, I would bet that if there's any room for improvement on bottom end, it's going to come from a change in your preamp. A tube phono is fine, but that still has to go through a a/v receiver. It's the weak link when it comes to audio, imo. Perhaps look into a vintage tube pre(Dynaco PAS?), or even a modern one. I've used a Decware CSP2 for many years(that model has been updated to a CSP3 from the company so the 2's can be found used) or something of that ilk which won't cost a lot but give you more overall fullness. I think that's what your missing. As has been pointed out, the preamp is going to have a much bigger impact on the overall presentation then the amp, assuming the amp is neutral, which it should be. The Adcom is that pretty much, perhaps erring on the side of warmth. 

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17 hours ago, ar_pro said:

The size of your room, and the distance of your listening position from the 3a's are also factors, and while the Crown or even an Adcom 5500 or 555II will provide greater power, do you actually need more volume? You might be able to get the sound quality that you're looking for by adding a decent equalizer to your system, and carefully tweaking the appropriate controls.

Size of the room is 12' x 16'. Def don't need more volume as I'm in a complex and when I do crank the volume it engages the 12" woofers more and I get better low end.

I do have a JVC SEA-80 Graphic Equalizer I use to on thinner sounding material, usually 50s-60's jazz vinyl and at lower volume levels to boost low end.

When I listen to more modern material, say Steely Dan AJA which is one of my go to reference discs,  bass is totally fine at normal listening levels.  The question I have is, will more amplification then I have now (200w) provide better dynamics at lower listening levels and help engage the woofer with some of my thinner sounding material when I do boost lower frequencies with EQ or tone controls.  On modern stuff and normal to high levels I bypass the EQ and the bass is solid. 

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1 minute ago, samberger0357 said:

If I had to guess, I would bet that if there's any room for improvement on bottom end, it's going to come from a change in your preamp. A tube phono is fine, but that still has to go through a a/v receiver. It's the weak link when it comes to audio, imo. Perhaps look into a vintage tube pre(Dynaco PAS?), or even a modern one. I've used a Decware CSP2 for many years(that model has been updated to a CSP3 from the company so the 2's can be found used) or something of that ilk which won't cost a lot but give you more overall fullness. I think that's what your missing. As has been pointed out, the preamp is going to have a much bigger impact on the overall presentation then the amp, assuming the amp is neutral, which it should be. The Adcom is that pretty much, perhaps erring on the side of warmth. 

That Decware CSP2 is a beauty ! I have been wondering the same on the pre-amp front. I had to consolidate my gear into a smaller place when I got married which meant combining my AR-3as into a HT setup (Which replaced Klipsch KG4's now in storage) Previously the ARs were in a 2 channel setup only, and I was using a Marantz 2230 as a preamp. And I seem to recall better low end at lower listening levels. I would adjust a couple ticks on the tone controls there and use the loudness feature on the 2230. Also, that room was VASTLY different about 5 times as large with 20ft ceilings vs this tiny space, so I think I had to crank the volume more to get similar volume levels as I can get in this current smaller space. 

I suppose I could add a bonafide preamp to the equation for 2ch playback and then use a speaker selector to run the ARs out of the HT pre outs when needed. I'm sure my wife would love more audiophile gear in our living room ! lol

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I find my Marantz does a very good job at all sound levels when I have the Dyn EQ turned ON.  With it turned OFF the sound becomes extremely thin at low levels.

The other thing to try is Sam's suggestion on placement.  That is, try listening at low levels WITHOUT those stands. Put the speakers right on the floor with possibly a carpet square if you have hard wood floors.

 

Regards,

Jerry

 

 

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On 11/19/2017 at 5:18 PM, genek said:

As long as your amp has flat or flattish response, you're always going to need bass boost at lower levels. That's what "loudness" is for.

what he said.

You don't need more gear. But then again, who among us really needs new gear? ;)

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22 hours ago, onplane said:

I find my Marantz does a very good job at all sound levels when I have the Dyn EQ turned ON.  With it turned OFF the sound becomes extremely thin at low levels.

The other thing to try is Sam's suggestion on placement.  That is, try listening at low levels WITHOUT those stands. Put the speakers right on the floor with possibly a carpet square if you have hard wood floors.

Turned Dynamic EQ ON and that did help alot, thanks for the tip! I did calibrate the room with Audyssey as well. 

Honestly what helps the most is listening to music through MultiCH Stereo mode and engaging my SUB. I know it's  anathema to run the all analog signal chain through a DSP at the final moment. But the subwoofer fills in the low end especially at low levels. 

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On November 20, 2017 at 12:14 PM, taynos said:

Size of the room is 12' x 16'. Def don't need more volume as I'm in a complex and when I do crank the volume it engages the 12" woofers more and I get better low end.

I do have a JVC SEA-80 Graphic Equalizer I use to on thinner sounding material, usually 50s-60's jazz vinyl and at lower volume levels to boost low end.

When I listen to more modern material, say Steely Dan AJA which is one of my go to reference discs,  bass is totally fine at normal listening levels.  The question I have is, will more amplification then I have now (200w) provide better dynamics at lower listening levels and help engage the woofer with some of my thinner sounding material when I do boost lower frequencies with EQ or tone controls.  On modern stuff and normal to high levels I bypass the EQ and the bass is solid. 

The SEA-80 is a terrific EQ. I have on as well, and for the most part the settings are flat.

Put the speakers on the floor. That's where you'll get the bass you're after, without having to boost it via EQ or loudness button.

I had my 3's raised about 8 inches, and was quite surprised how much bass was lost. I put them on the floor, and no more loss of bass. Just put something soft under them to protect the veneer on the bottoms.

I'm running the 3's with a JVC A-X9 integrated, 100 wpc, and can crank them no problem. The room is 18 X 22 with 12 foot vaulted ceiling.

Glenn

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

My name is Andrea, I write from Italy. Sorry for the bad English of Google ...


I have two pairs of 3a and a 10pi gold, I did a lot of amplification tests for the 3rd and the best results I have with two IcePower 125ASX2 bridges.
Very small amplifiers near the speaker, only 1 meter of cable ...
At low volume the bass has increased a lot, at high volume, the walls vibrate, they are almost 400 W each.
The preamplifier is a C200 Accuphase with buffer stage to match the IcePower impedance, which is very low.

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  • 1 month later...

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