The Theta Dreadnaught II. It is a superlative amp in every way. Extremely powerful and a sonic masterpiece. Probably the least colored amp I have EVER heard. The amplifiers are modulized so it can be changed pretty simply by removing or inserting the modules. This also makes an excellent 2 channel amp. Huge power supply. This amp doesn't back off under heavy demands.
I've spent more, but I keep returning to my B&K AV5000II. It sounds non-fatiguing with any source material through my Carver ALS III's (front) and Magnapan (center and surrounds), which is more than I can say about any othe amp I've auditioned, including Sherbourn and even the Reference series from B&K.
I have had my trusty Krell KAV 500 for more than 5 years now and wouldn't consider anything else.
You really can't have this discussion without checking out the Proceed Amp-5. It is an outstanding amp and there significant press around the web to give you an idea of its quality. I have and have had many proceed amps and they are a lot of bang for the buck. I just purchased a Conrad-Johnson MF5600 because it seemed interesting as an alternative the proceed. I am hooking it up now. I got a great price on it on audiogon.
Yes, I have ones of these for used for sale here, so this is my disclaimer.
The Bryston 9B just seems to be a staple of high end systems, this is one of he reasons I purchased the unit. One of the things often over looked is the size to power ratio. This amp physically is way smaller than many other 5 channel amps on the market. Just something some people might not know. I have personally, in my home, seen this amp destroy many larger 200w/c.
Theta Dreadnaught II would beat this amp, just costs way more. So I bought the Sim 7ch Titan, this thing is bigger that my bathtub. From one extreme to another....
You state you have heard the EAD, Pass labs, Cal Audio,
What are your impressions? I own the PM2000 with the all important 20 amp power supply and 20 amp dedicated outlets.
I have heard the Theta and depending on your needs both work very well. More bass on the EAD maybe the power issue. Similar highs with the advantage to the Theta. Again speaker efficency dependent. I have also heard the new Krell 5 channel amp. At this point I will stay with my EAD especially for the prices they go for. The new BAT is also one to consider, but all of this is relative at close to $10,000 for one.
None the less all of these are system dependant. If HT is your main intention as your profile may indicate then a less qaulity amp will do. If you must integrate your 2 channel in HT then the mega buck amps may be required or a very nice two channel or mono blocks and a 3 or 5 channel amp for surrounds.
With a nice 5 channel you also have an option of biamping amping the front two speakers and your center as I do.
This has been discussed several times so look up some older threads.
What speakers will you be using the new amp with?
I second the B and K. However, I have never owned a B and K product that did not have to be returned for service. I have never been charged a nickel for this shortcoming, though. And, in most cases, the unit has come back BETTER than before. Odd business model, eh????
BAT VK-6200. Downside is that at 230 pounds it takes 1 guy name Magnussen ver Magnussen to lift it, or two regularly sized humans with no back problems. Also won't fit in most normal racks because of the depth - but, it sounds great.
I use the Earthquake Cinenova Grande in my set-up. You can't beat it for the money. Gobs of power, great sound.
Question - Money no object or down to earth ?
Theta hands down! I've heard great things about the Sim Audio Moon Titan.
Before a person can recommend an amp a few details should be known about the system that it is going to be anchoring .
A five channel amplifier is not your only option. The best 5 channel amplifier can be found in a multiamplifier configuration. You could have two stereo amplifiers with one monoblock amp. I am presently using two Mark Levinson 334 amplifiers with a ML 434 monoblock. You could also have five monoblock ML 434 amplifiers. Another possibility is a Proceed three channel amp teamed up with a Proceed stereo amplifier. Whatever configuration you use, make sure that all of the amps SOUND the same.
I don't know what speakers you are using but an excellent bargain for a five channel amp is the Sherwood Newcastle 9080. The aamp is rated @ 120 watts per channel/8 ohms and 170 watts / 4 ohms. I use it to drive five Magnepans with much sucess. You can find one for under 750.00 rather easily!
I used to have a Powermaster 2000. I went with the Sim Titan . Its driving Aerial 10Ts ,center and rears . The 2000 just couldnt bring it to life. The Titan has alot more current and gives you the kick that you need. Sounds great for music to. I have a EAD sig.pross. It really brings the music to life along with HT. Give it a try.
I have a SimAudio Titan that replaced a Bryston 9b about a year ago. The 9b is a good amp, but the Sim "controls" my NHT VT3s in a way that the 9b can only wish. Power and finesse. A dealer friend I trust recommended it and he sells the EAD, Classe, Cinepro and Krell also. I haven't looked back since.