Best amps for rock and heavy metal

I listen rock and metal more than 90% from Deep purple to metallica and pantera
Some dealers told me about mcintosh, krell and Levinson....
Anyone in this forum has experience with Accuphase A60 and P7000?

What's the best amps in your opinion.
Thank for reply
it isn't just an amplifier factor as it is the speaker/amplifier combo. if you're using flimsy speakers, forget Metallica. no matter what amps you running.
To keep it simple go mcintosh.. But I agree with above you will need a rather dynamic and resonable woofer surfaced speaker to do what you really want... Again mcintosh gear has a very strong flavor to take on pantera and any other edgy rock without losing the dynamic drive and getting to raw sounding.
I was listening to Metallica and Tool last night - and my system does a great job with it. I'm using Aerial 10T's and a Levinson 336 amp.

Tool has lots of very low freq information - so you want a speaker that can go low - and you will need an amp that can deliver the current to drive it and control the woofer.
Thank Audphile1 for your comments.

Electra 1027Be are my speakers. I choose it 'cos my room is too small and it's good mate for my room.
I love rock music but also love in mid and treble sounds like utopia or electra Be lines.

I want more comment about best amps for rock its!!.
My budget is about 10-15k
Now I run electra with denon AVR (130 wpc).


I'm also interest in Mcintosh MC 501. It's too sexy.
However, I read some review of this amp. Bass is fullness but response is slightly slow?
see if you can get a used pair of Levinson 33H monoblocks. You may be able to fit in your budget and these are just excellent amps. McIntosh MC501 monoblocks are nice too.
I have a Pass Labs X250.5 that kicks butt on Zeppelin, Metallica, Floyd or whatever else you throw at it. You have to remember one thing though, that heavy metal CDs for the most part are not recorded to be played back on a system like yours, so it may show some shortcomings of bad recordings. Just so you know and are ready......
I am a Metallica and Tool fan. Crank them up often. I use Von Schweikert VR4 Gen III HSE loudspeakers with a Moscode 401HR. The combo rocks. Personally, the only solid state amps I would consider would be McIntosh (the Moscode is a hybrid, but I consider it a tube amp 'cause that's the way it sounds, IMO). Otherwise, tubes rule.

Unlike many amplifiers, the Moscode 401HR can be auditioned in your home for a generous 33 1/3 days. If you don't care for it, just send it back. You'll probably keep it, though. I don't know anyone who has auditioned a Moscode and returned it. Even better, own two and run them as monoblocks!
I wanted to amend my previous post to include Pass Labs and Gamut as two other solid state brands I'd consider along with McIntosh. Check out the Gamut offerings. Man, those are sweet sounding solid state amps. I guess I've got a thing for MOSFET designs.

Audphile1 makes a good point. As a system becomes more resolving, the flaws in CDs become more apparent.

The advantage of the Moscode amplifier is that the sound can be easily tailored by swapping just one pair of tubes. That's something the Pass, McIntosh and Gamut amps can't do.
If we are talking power and value for money, the Parasound JC-1s were measured by Stereophile as clipping at 545 watts. You'd be very hard pressed to beat this figure in a high quality amplifier.

I am also using Aerial 10T's but driving them with Bryston 7bST monoblocks. Great combo for heavy metal.
Krell KSA300S. Center of the earth bass control, Just awesome
sounding growl at high levels, smooth, detailed, never over the top when driven hard. Great. Drove the %^&* out of b&w 801'3 and sounded great.
Who cares.
My killer metal combo is: Klipsch La Scalas (horns, 104db sensitivity), Quicksilver Horn Monos, Martin Logan Depth Subwoofer. Metallica and Pantera? Can't help you with that problem, too many Destruction and Celtic Frost shows to catch.
I think Audphile1's post is right on the money as far as this being an amp/speaker issue rather than just an amp issue. Dyanmic contrast is at least as much a function of the speaker as of the amplifier.

You see, we're used to thinking that our speakers give us 3 dB more output for a doubling of input power. In reality, most home audio speakers give us something closer to 2.5 dB for a doubling of input power. So when a 20 dB peak comes along (happens all the time), we only get about 16 or 17 dB. That missing 3-4 dB is called "power compression", and the result is a loss of liveliness.

Your JM Lab/Focal speakers are probably better than average when it comes to power compression, but they'll still compress significantly on peaks if you push them close to their 200 watt rated maximum input.

You mentioned a budget of $10-$15k. Assuming dynamic contrast is a high priority, I think you can do better for less money if you're willing to change speakers - instead of spending the full amount on amplification.

Audiokinesis, Audphile1 and all friends in this forum , thank for your suggestions.

I understand about record quality of most of heavy metal bands. It's very difficult to recorded louder and faster music (with small amount of money from back up company); Sad But True for metal throng.

About my speakers; I choose Electra 1027BE 'cos I love model, sound and it suitable for placed in my small room (without any room acoustic problem). If i have larger listening room, Diva/Alto Be or large JBL project (K2 project Be) may be my choice.

About amps; I'm interest in Mcintosh Mc501, Mark levinson model 432, Krell FBx400 or accuphase P7000/7100.
what's you (and other friend in this forum) think about these amps?

Thank for more replies
I tried the Levinson 432 and found the 336 to be much much better to my ears (eventhough the 432 is rated at 50W more power). I was honestly un-impressed with all the 4xx series that I listened to (I heard all the current 2-channel 4xx's).

I wouldn't hesitate to try the 436 mono's however. I have also heard that the 3-channel Levinson (433 maybe?) is a very good sounding amp - but is lower powered.

To me - I still think the later 3xx series (334/335/336) are tough to beat.

My experience with Krell is that they are superb in the lower frequencies - but I didn't care for them otherwise.

No experience with the Mcintosh or accuphase.

Hope that helped a little good luck.
About amps; I'm interest in Mcintosh Mc501, Mark levinson model 432, Krell FBx400 or accuphase P7000/7100.
That would have been good to mention in your original post. You did hint at it.
Bomberman writes:
About my speakers; I choose Electra 1027BE 'cos I love model, sound and it suitable for placed in my small room (without any room acoustic problem).
How small?

Do you have a SPL meter (like a cheap RadioShack model) to get an idea of what levels you are listening at? If so, what readings are you typically seeing. If not, I think if you are serious about heavy metal at high SPLs, you need to know.

What is your current amplifier, and how loud can it go before distortion?

You say you don't have "any room acoustic problem" at the moment. This may not be the situation in the future as you crank up the level.

Thank Jim for your opinion about ML 3 and 4 series

My experience with Levinson 432 and thiel CS2.4 in dealer showroom is good (not best). Probably from thiel speakers is not design for rock music (IMO)?

I'll try some more with levinson series 3 next week.
i am a rock music fan at least 90 percent of the time, my nuforce ref 9ses have the power to drive my tylers to very high decibels with out any strain, and with absoulte super musical presentation, and you can try them in your system for a 30 day trial, good luck
Bomberman, I'm afraid you'll end up with as many opinions as replies!

If someone told me I could have any of the amps on your list as a birthday present, I'd go with an Accuphase. I'm not familiar with those particular models, but every Accuphase amp I've heard was superb.

The McIntosh would be my next choice. The Levinson 436 monoblocks mentioned by Jim Swantko are also excellent.

Again, Thank Duke
In my list, accuphase place in the top position. Local dealer tole me about new P7100 coming soon, in this new year. *It's my first choice.*

Accuphase is more musical than other amps (IMO). However it provide less power than other amps (such as Mcintosh). I'm worry about bass control.
I am also a Metal fan. Last year, I bought a hybrid amp, the Vincent SV-236 and I am very happy with it. Strong bass and voices and electric guitars sound very good.

No one does bass slam like Krell. Levinson is awesome too, but much darker sounding-not mention overpriced. If your doing alot of this type of music you owe it to yourself to listen to Krell. I have had a krell for years and it did well for me when I listened to more rock. I toned it down now with some tube front end pieces, but go all SS and consider Krell.
"best" is such a subjective term. But, I can tell you from personal experience that Audio Research (specifically the 150.2 and 300.2); classe, mcintosh, sim audio, ayre all do rock well. How well they perform will depend on many factors including your room, the preamp matched with the amp, speakers, cables, and associated sources.
Although I understand that you like your speaker very much, I don't think so that it with two 6.5 woofers is a suitable to playback for such a music you like. Whatever amplifier you use. 1027be with a nice tube amplifier is suit for chamber music and similar small scale music. For that music you like I would go for a speaker with 10 inch woofer to have the omph and bass slam. An old JBL, for example, for me the quentessential speaker for rock and metal. Taking into account global warming, I would not buy any classA heavyweight amplifier. A nuforce or similar class D amp with a PS audio powerplant does all the trick one needs, and offer more chance for the survival of the next generation of human beings.
I have to agree with the others above about your speakers .
I have owned two pairs of JM Labs Electra speakers and could not get them to sound good with rock music . Many people explained the problem to be the small bass drivers .
I was using a 200w/ch SS midfi amp .
I have auditioned them with some highend SS amps such as Levinson , McIntosh , Plinius , Classe and MF . None helped .
If I was looking for a rock speaker , I would look for something with a big fast woofer for impact and a soft tweeter (non metalic) to help with the edgy highs . I would also introduce some tubes in the mix to help tame the highs . I chose a tubed CDP and it worked quite well .

It has been a couple of months now , have you had any success with your quest ?

Good luck.
I play a fair amount of metal and have a lot of friends who play in metal bands too. But my system is all tube. My speakers are fairly efficient (97 db) and they go to 20 Hz, so with 60 watts I can play any volume I want and shake the house at the same time.

At work (Atma-Sphere) we have a number of LPs that get used a bass references (see One of them (Zoon, Fields of Nephalim) has enough bass to shut most systems down at the 'proper' volumes. Side 3, the side opposite the etched side of the LP has some particularly awesome material that makes you shiver :)

I find that the powerhouse transistor amps can't make the bass impact right. You really need tubes for that!
Best amp for rock I think Bryston 7 Bsst or Krell Ksa 250 any of those and your good especially for rock soild bass.
"I find that the powerhouse transistor amps can't make the bass impact right. You really need tubes for that!"

Not to get philosophical here, but this very much depends on your interpretation of what bass is. And that too, depends on a great many things, for one-your experiences.

To me bass does NOT roll away, sound muddy, or too rounded, and most tube amps I personally have heard do this to one degree or another. My interpretation of bass is having the ability to roll when it needs to roll (recording dependant) and SLAM! when it needs to slam. Which is why I find mixing a piece of tube with an agressive amp like Bryston, Krell, Pass etc. is simply a match made in heaven.

A lot goes into how the recording sounds by virtue of microphone placement, attack, reverb and EQ.

See this article that explains some of it Equalization

You can boost the 80 to 100 Hz range for a more Britney Spears "Baby One More Time" sound. Some tube amps with a high output impedance transformer will do the same as an EQ boost at around 80 Hz (which is where most speakers have a high impedance point).

I agree with your summary though...if the artist/producer/engineer wanted the kick drum to slap then I prefer to hear it that way - rather than "Britney Spears it" myself.

One should repsect that often there is a trade off to help improve overall bass frequency audibility...either the kick drum will "slap" and the bass will be rounded or vice versa, for example Funk will often have a slap kick drum and a rounded groovy bass sound. These effects can also be controlled by type of miking and closeness of the mic,which controls tighness of the sound. On much heavy rock it is very hard to dinstinguish the bass from the drums as both are muddy or rounded to create a combined sound with heavy emphasis.
Well said Shadorne! Good article too. Thx!

Am I the only person here who doesn't know how to insert a link like that?
Just the opposite, JC. Transistor amps provide the bass punch, whereas tubes tend to soften sounds out. I have Mark Levinson amps with Klipschorns and the only thing on the market that would provide a better bass punch would be Khorns with Krell amps. I do not use Krell amps, because Levinson amps have the best over all sound quality, while Krells exceed only at the bass level.
Don't laugh, but I dare you to try Rotel.
Jc51373, what I find that (most) transistors cannot do is play slam and definition- crucial for playing metal. On top you still need to get the cymbals right. Ya need tubes! In fact, even in the studio, the best microphones for recording cymbals are tube condensor mics.

I admit that not all tube amps are up to the task. For that matter most speakers aren't either. But the question was- *best* amps for... and the *best* amps are tube. Getting bass right is easy- you just have to have bandwidth well below 20Hz and keep the power supplies stable.
Rotel????? I owned it for years, and sold it all with glee...It is absolutely not even in the same LEAGUE as what we are discussing here, not even close.

Redwood- I agree with on the ML sound, it is simply magical, but it was a little dark for me when I auditioned it for a week. But I loved the sound, and thought it was great for critical listening, just superb. Price is a little hefty on ML stuff though.
Levinson. (proceed hpa2 for me, still budgeting for the Levinson upgrade)

Speakears are Martin Logan Ascent.... I know they are not supposed to "rock" but it works for me. See "system" for the rest.

Best of luck to you.