There are many variables in a situation like this. You may have enough power, or you may not. The best way to tell is to try the new speakers with your current amp. Not having enough power is very easy to hear.
"Or, would be curious to hear what a good preamp (<$300) pairing would be with whatever amp is suggested "
Unless you get extremely lucky, you can't get a good preamp for $300, new or used. It would make more sense to go with a passive and use whatever is left over to get an amp.
IF you can find a pair, the Red Dragon M500's should be close to that price used and would be an excellent choice in a modern, class D amp
I also agree with the passive suggestion ... there are some great ones available on the used market from time to time ... Reference Line Preeminence being one of my favs. I may have a passive sitting around the house somewhere if you are interested in trying one out in your system (contact me direct)
Used Crown K2 fanless, powerful, quiet and precise.
What is the size of your room? How loud do you normally listen?
If I were you I'd try them with your current set up and see how it goes. I had a pair of the Studio 60 V2s about ten years ago. Seemed like they were fairly efficient.
Those speakers have a 91 db sensitivity rating, 70 watts is
plenty. Spend the $500 bucks on something else!
Thank you all for your input -- I'm going to give them a try with my current amps, will be great if that works out. More money for a passive preamp maybe. Just read up on them a bit, sounds like my kind of approach.
If not though - the Crown and Red Dragon will be getting my attention. It's a large room -- about 1,000 sq. ft., not all dedicated to listening of course ha -- but unfortunately I can't crank it crazy loud very often.
One question -- just discovered that though they look identical, one of my amps is 70 wpc and one is 105 wpc. In this case, would it be safe to horizontally bi-amp, running the more powerful amp to the bass/mids? Or if you think bi-amping is a waste of time please say so. I'll probably at least try it though, provided it is safe to, since I have the necessary gear.
Studio 100 needs power far more than 105 or 70 wpc.
Has anyone compared a Crown amp to a QSC? There was a lot of talk a few months back on how suitable pro gear was for home audio use. Out of curiosity, I bought a QSC pro amp to try. I chose that one because it was a traditional design, not Class D like the Crown. I don't have anywhere near the amount of experience with Class D as I do with a traditional design, so I thought the QSC would make for a more fair comparison. Since I never heard the Crown, I was wondering if anyone tried them both?
My amp was a QSC GX-5. Something tells me I should have mentioned that.
This is what Stereophile measured tests say to use with these, and I'll add about 100w into 8ohm and close to 150watt-200watt into 4ohm spec on an amp would do nicely.
"The big Paradigm's sensitivity weighed in at 89.5dB(B)/2.83V/m, 1dB more sensitive than the earlier version we reviewed three years ago. This is within the margin of error of the older speaker but is still almost 3dB higher than average. The impedance, however, drops below 4 ohms between 55Hz and 210Hz, with a minimum value of 3 ohms at 90Hz (fig.1). A good 4 ohm-rated amplifier should be used with the speaker."
Read more at http://www.stereophile.com/content/paradigm-reference-studio100-v2-loudspeaker-measurements#cck4irVcCc8Ii58K.99"
George's post above suggests that the B&K ST 140 is not an ideal choice. The ST 140 doesn't like that impedance load.
Crown XLS 2000.......You can get them for 250 or less. You will need Impedance matcher to get the absolute best out of it since it is a pro amp. But it will work wonderfully.
I forgot to mention in my last post that QSC amps are made in the USA. I think they're the only ones.
For your price $500 try to find a clean Yamaha P2200 a real sleeper, great bass, and good mids and highs, and relatively unknown for audio, used a lot in bands and PA.
A Yamaha P2200 would do nicely, 250W, big linear power supply, bi-polar output for good current and has magic Alps Black Beauty's as input level controls, feed your source direct in.
Thanks again for all the useful info everyone. I am thinking B&K Reference 2220 amp and a passive pre, maybe a Tisbury mini. Will be selling off my ST-140s.
Will report back when it's all up and running!