Best Bass Amp!


I’m in the process of rebuilding my pair of Kinergetics SW-900 linesource subwoofers that have six 10” drivers per side. I need input on choosing the best sounding(5hz-80hz), most powerful, hardest hitting & most important cool running(most likely Class-D)monoblock bass amplifiers. I prefer ‘always on’ or ‘auto turn on’ if possible. No built-in crossover needed since I’ll be using my Pre/Pro for that. They will be used for music(40%) & home theater(60%) to mate up to my Apogee Studio Grand & Dali Megaline speakers.

I want to stay under $2500 price new/used for the pair if possible.

My choices so far are:

Bel Canto Ref-1000

Wyred 4 Sound SX-1000

PS Audio M-700

Emerald Physics 200.2SE(in mono)

I have a Coda Continuum No. 8 Stereo Class-A amplifier I will be comparing to hear the difference with the digital amps listed above.

FYI- I’ll be replacing the stock Vifa woofers in the SW-900 with Dayton Audio Reference 10” woofers(model #RSS265HF-8).

Please help me select the best from the list above or add any other amps you can think of that would be better.

Thank you!


ptheo
ptheo,

     I understand you're just looking for a good bass amp but I hope you're open to a suggestion that will provide state of the art bass response to your room/system that will also integrate seamlessly with either of your very good pair of speakers.  
     It's the Audio Kinesis Swarm distributed bass system and the complete package sells for $2,800 with your choice of wood.  It consists of 4 medium sized 4 ohm subs with 10" woofers driven by an included 1K watt class AB amp. The subs are positioned throughout the room in a specific step by step procedure that results in flat perceived bass response down to 20 Hz throughout the entire room, not just a predetermined sweet spot. 
      I'm not a seller, just a very satisfied user with a pair of large Magnepan panels in a system used for both 2-ch music and ht.  I could write a long post describing exactly how well this system actually performs but I discovered this Absolute Sound review of the Swarm bass system (link attached below) is a very accurate description of what to expect and what I experience in my 23' x 16' room.  I'm sure you could repair and sell your very good pair of Kinergistics SW-900 multi-driver subs at a good price.

Tim

www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/audiokinesis-swarm-subwoofer-system/




   
I've heard Parasound Classic series amps are very good for bass duties.. Not only they go pretty deep but they are very musical.. This coming from a speaker manufacturer who's cheapest pair of speakers are in the $12,000 range.. They make passive subs and recommend these.. 
Best Bass Amp!
For value for money, best bass amp is a Class-D, so long as the speaker stays at or above 4ohms. "Generally" Class-D **** themselves current wise into a 2ohm load.
There "maybe" one or two that can do 2ohm with a wattage figure trying to double from 4ohms, but I've yet to see one tested.

Cheers George 
ptheo, the improvement available just from moving the four drivers you have now to four individual enclosures in a distributed bass array like Tim mentions above, the improvement from that alone will be greater than upgrading the drivers. In other words you could keep what you have, put them in four boxes and be way ahead. 

The Kinergetics (and most all other subs) are based on the same old single sub paradigm designs that have been so well proven not to work. As long as you're already planning on buying 4 drivers you might as well put them in a configuration that will work. Not just work but SOTA work.
I have owned W4S (older models) and now own PSA M700s in a bigger room than yours. The bass is excellent 

However, you might look into getting a IceEdge 1200AS1/2 module mounting it on a board and smiling a lot, not only because of the money you saved over buying an audio product (with chassis) but the wallop from 1200ws
This has been a test of the distributed bass array broadcast system.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled subwoofer program.
Sorry, I'm having trouble posting.

Tim
Hey any reason to mention distributed bass array is a good reason to mention distributed bass array!
millercarbon,

Amen, brother!  
     DBAs are just laid back super cool cats, taut, ultra smooth, extremely articulate and with a sexy deep alto voice that makes the ladies swoon.  But give these guys the right signals and they'll just get as tough, loud, bombastic and powerful as the situation calls for.  But they're always under complete control, able to quickly start and stop as necessary.


Tim 
ptheo,

      I think you need to decide whether you prefer very good bass response at just your listening seat's sweet spot or sota bass response throughout your entire room.  
    I believe your SW-900 subs are a pair of tall tower type subs with 6 10" woofers aligned vertically in each. Based on the quality of these and your speakers, I have no doubt you could arrange all 4 speakers (2 subs and 2 main speakers) in front of your listening seat sweet spot to get good bass response along with very good mid-range/treble response, good imaging and create a good sound stage illusion.   At all other standing and seating positions in your room, however, not only will the imaging be unavoidably nonexistent but the bass response will vary in quality due to bass modes present in the room (spots where the bass is noticeably exaggerated, attenuated or even non-existent throughout the room). If this is acceptable to you, then all you actually need is a good bass amp to drive your subs.  
    If not, the Swarm distributed bass array system I mentioned earlier would provide sota bass response throughout your entire room so that others in non-sweet spot locations can still enjoy the music being played in high quality full range sound.
    Another benefit of the Swarm is that the 4 subs (12x12x28 in. each and 44 lbs) would be positioned around the perimeter of your room, each facing and less than 2" from the wall, on spiked footers and the speaker cable connections hidden on the bottom. This results in the subs appearing in the room as pedestals in the wood of your choice like those seen at fine stores and art galleries. My wife usually has a vase with fresh flowers sitting atop one of the 2 subs visible in my combination living, music and ht room.  
    I know you have at least 2 pairs of excellent high quality speakers that I know would integrate seamlessly and sound great being paired to an excellent high quality distributed bass array system like the Swarm. I always had difficulty trying to pair 1 or 2 subs to my large Magnepan panels in my 23'x16'room. The Swarm I now use was the ideal solution and I don't believe I could overstate how well this system performs, truly sota for music and ht. The Swarm subs would not be positioned directly in front of your listening seat but the articulate bass will sound like they are. This also allows for only having your 2 main speakers needing to be optimally positioned in relation to your listening seat without the need for the pair of SW-900s and the Swarm subs along your room's perimeter.
      The SW-900s are still very good subs but I'm almost certain the Swarm distributed bass array system will outperform them in bass response quality, integrate more seamlessly with either of your main speakers and definitely be less conspicuous in your room.
    If you'd like to learn more about them and how it performs in my room and system, here's a link to a thread I started awhile ago here on Audiogon:  

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/anyone-else-using-an-audio-kinesis-swarm-or-debra-distributed...

Tim

Thanks everyone for the suggestions on the amps & subwoofer layout ideas. Much appreciated! 

Regarding the amps, I have a pair of PSA M700’s already on the Dali Megaline woofers so I will most likely try them when I’m done working on the Kinergetics subs & buy another pair then since I can get them for <$2K new.  I just wish they had an auto on/off feature or always on like the Bel Canto or Wyred 4 Sound amps. I may try a used Krell, Parasound or Bryston someday in the future though since they both have a great reputation for excellent bass.

 

Regarding the subwoofer layout Distributed Subwoofer Array vs Line Source Vertical Array I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I’m sure each have their pro’s & con’s. Since my room won’t permit DSA arrangement & I’m mostly concerned about the sweetspot vs the whole room getting the best bass. Besides, isn’t twelve 10” woofers better than four 10” woofers for room coupling? I also feel a subwoofer system that matches the height of my 7’ Dali Megalines will blend better together. Also, one of the world’s best speaker system the Infinity IRS uses LSVA & all other high end speaker manufactures do also.

Here’s a link to some very interesting reading about different subwoofer array designs:

https://www.electrovoice.com/binary/wp%20-%20Subwoofer%20Arrays%20v04%20.pdf

 

BTW- My Kinergetics SW-900 are very rare(only on I’ve ever seen, ever!) vs SW-800. The SW-800’s have five 10” woofers per side & measure 58Tx13Wx16D & are MDF with most oak veneer vs my SW-900’s have six 10” woofer & measure 70Tx13Wx19D are HDF with beautiful walnut veneer. I can’t wait to get them setup!

Advantages of Vertical Line Arrays:

Preventing Drop Off With Distance – A major advantage of a line array system is that you can achieve much more consistent sound levels from the front to the back of the listening area. Line arrays are made up of multiple modules, so by adjusting the physical angle and the amplitude of individual modules, a higher sound level can be projected toward the back of the room than toward the front, resulting in more consistent coverage throughout the space.

 

Vertical Pattern Control – The taller the line array, the better the control of the vertical coverage of the low frequencies emitted from it. This is important, as it reduces how much sound is sent toward the ceiling, which can cause unwanted reflections back into the listening areas. They can also reduce the amount of sound that leaks onto the stage or chancel area, which in turn, decreases the level of sound regenerated through open mics on stage, thereby cleaning up the overall sound and increasing GBF.

 

Sound Pressure Level (SPL) Capability – Some line array systems have a large number of drivers inside each cabinet of the array, allowing a single coherent wave front to be produced. Because of all these drivers, line arrays often have the capability of producing a higher SPL than is required, enabling systems to operate well below their stress point. If your church’s worship style requires concert-level sound reinforcement or hosts visiting national acts, the SPL capability of certain line array models can be an advantage.


ptheo,

     I misunderstood.  I thought you were looking for high quality bass performance that is very articulate, natural and integrates seamlessly with your Apogee Stages or your Dali Megalines but is still flat down to 20 Hz.      You've made it clear you're more interested in high spls and high quantity of bass rather than high quality bass. 
     You're obviously not familiar with high quality bass in your system since you'd rather sit in front of a pair of arena rock concert bass towers.


My mistake,
    Tim
 
     
I didn't realize they produced a 900. I own 800's that I was gonna use for a 2nd system that is not gonna happen so unfortunately will be selling them
They were designed to mate with Martin Logan CLS mains I believe. They produce quick, tight and deep bass! I ran a Crown XLS1502 amp on my 800's and Dspeaker anti mode 2.0. You could also look at Speaker power sub amps.
Please post pics if you can.
@noble100 Eeeewww!!!!  Can you make your point without being mean or rude? Please don’t bring down this website!
peter-s,

How was my response rude?
This is a forum meant to discuss audio and ht issues in an effort to help members optimize their system’s performance. The accumulated knowledge and experience of Audiogon members is substantial and is willingly shared with others that require assistance.
I happen to have significant knowledge and experience gained in my many years of attempting to attain very good bass performance in my system, in my 23’x16’x8’ room that integrates seamlessly with my large Magnepan panels that only have useful deep bass down to about 35 Hz. I’m thrilled to have discovered a bass concept that provides sota bass in my system and room for both 2-ch music and ht. It’s called a distributed bass array (DBA) system which I’ve previously described.
When I read ptheo’s initial post stating he was searching for a pair of good sub amps he only mentioned that he used 2 high quality pairs of speakers. Apogee Studio Grands and Dali Megalines. He made no mention until subsequent posts that he intended to use a pair of large SW-900 tower subs with his very good main speakers.
I mistakenly thought, based on the quality of his two pairs of main speakers, that he’d be interested in a DBA bass system that would allow excellent bass response to the known excellent mid/treble response of both of his main speakers.
My intention was to assist ptheo by going beyond just offering suggestions of good bass amps and offering a bass solution in the DBA that I thought he wasn’t aware of and that I knew would integrate sota bass response seamlessly with either pair of his very good main speakers.
Unfortunately, I was surprised and disappointed to learn from ptheo’s subsequent posts that he clearly preferred increased bass volume and quantity to bass quality.
My perspective is I simply stated this without any intention or evidence of rudeness.
If you or ptheo perceived my previous post as rude, then I apologize and assure you that wasn’t my intent.

Tim
Here is a better example of rudeness on Audiogon. Peter S. purchased a pair of speakers from me on here that were rated a 6 due to some face checking and a good sized nick on one of the cabinets. In my ad I stated I was rating them 6/10 for cosmetic issue and heavily discounted the price accordingly.

When he recieved them he contacted me and demanded I refund him an additional $120. Being a new seller on here at the time I thought perhaps maybe I had understated the cosmetic issues so I immediately refunded him $120 and all was good until...

A week or two later Peter re-listed the speakers using the exact verbiage I used to describe the speakers he literally copied and pasted my entire ad! Not only did he copy and paste my ad, he used MY photos in his listing and he rated them a 6/10 as I had done plus his asking price was the same as mine!

To be fair he did change one or two words in his ad description but did not go into detail as he claimed. The best part was when I discovered his ad I contacted him expressing my outrage, he then offered the profit to me!!

Then he tried to sell me some song and dance about how he was a much more experienced member here and that his behavior should not be questioned.

Feeling frustrated I started a thread about it on here but I did not mention his name, Peter then contacted me and told me to take down the thread, I of course refused so he had it removed. When I contacted the moderators they told me the reason for the removal was because the nature of the thread was not audio related. Total BS because even now there are threads about cars and climate change on here.

In the end I left him negative feedback which he tried to dispute but when I contacted the admin and showed them the two ad’s and explained what he had done along with my communications with him the feedback stuck.

So hows that for rudeness? Fyi I have copies of both ads and my communications with him, its a fun read!




@chrshanl37 
You should have taken the money.  Sounds like you got screwed.  It's one thing to refund, which was very noble by you.  But then the quick sale and he makes the money you refunded him. That is shady. I would be upset like you.
Nah 120 isnt a life changing sum, taught me a valuable lesson. Just wanted to point out the hypocrisy.

Noble100, You would be incorrect to assume that I prefer bass quantity over bass quality because I’m using LSVA vs DSA. Quite the contrary, musical accuracy is my main objective(that is why I love my Apogee Studio Grands)otherwise they are plenty of powered boom boxes I would have selected instead. I also stated Noble100 because of my room layout I cannot put subs on every wall in the room for DSA but you choose to ignore that.  Since I also will be using my system for home theater 60% of the time I want the extra capability low distortion woofers when needs for dinosaur stomps. I will be utilizing Dspeaker anti mode 2.0 different EQ curve music/home theater selection for that purpose. Curious, won’t I get much lower distortion at 20hz 115db with LSVA twelve 10” woofers vs DSA four 10” woofers?!

 

flat4, thanks for the info. Yes, I will post the pics as soon as completed. Unfortunately, the last owner painted them black over the walnut veneer on the SW900’s in which I’m in the process of stripping & refinishing them. Also due to the new larger woofers I need to enlarge the woofer cutouts. Man I can’t wait until they are done & hooked up!


Looking at the audiophile (i.e. Hypex) Class D amps, they generally max out at 1200 watts into 4 ohms (with a monoblock).  Also, stability into 2 ohms is not always clear.

If you're still looking for a big bass amp, one thought would be too look at Crown Amplifiers.  I had a Crown CTS2000 years ago.  It was their "Class I" type (which is very similar to Class D).  It did very well powering a subwoofer and was stable to 2 ohm loads.  With the current product line, they have a Crown DSI 6000, which is a stereo amp that provides 2100 watts per channel into 4 ohm, or 3000 watts per channel into 2 ohm loads.  You can select the input to use a "mono input configuration", which means you only need to use one of the XLR inputs.  Street price for this is just under $2k.  The downsides are - only XLR inputs, uses a fan cooled system which means you can hear the fan when amp is under high load, and there is no trigger auto-turn-on function (complete manual power).  Just an option.
Beyond that, the absolute best amp I have ever used for subwoofer duty is actually the Emotiva XPR-1 monoblock -- 1000 watts into 8 ohms, 1750 watts into 4 ohms.  However, it is a giant beast at 99 lbs and is also a Class AB amp, and does get quite warm when driving 4 ohm load for bass.  The thing pounds bass like a mother, however.
ptheo: "  I also stated Noble100 because of my room layout I cannot put subs on every wall in the room for DSA but you choose to ignore that.  Since I also will be using my system for home theater 60% of the time I want the extra capability low distortion woofers when needs for dinosaur stomps. I will be utilizing Dspeaker anti mode 2.0 different EQ curve music/home theater selection for that purpose. Curious, won’t I get much lower distortion at 20hz 115db with LSVA twelve 10” woofers vs DSA four 10” woofers?!"

Hello ptheo,
     I'm glad you're main concern is bass quality and not bass quantity. You are correct I did not notice you stated that you cannot put subs on every wall due to room layout. However, I did not choose to ignore this I just failed to notice this statement. It is also not required with a DBA to have a sub on every wall, just that the subs are well dispersed within the room.
     " Curious, won’t I get much lower distortion at 20hz 115db with LSVA twelve 10” woofers vs DSA four 10” woofers?!"

     Well, I believe you'll likely get a higher volume of deep bass at 20 Hz with twelve 10" woofers pointed at you than four dispersed throughout the room each facing away from you but I'm much less certain it would be lower distortion and higher quality deep bass.  

Best wishes,
   Tim      
Right. Anyone taking time to read up on the theory and practice of distributed bass (which if you haven't you should) will quickly come to realize that while the very best results come from distributing as widely as possible still the concept is so powerful that just about any four locations will work much better than just about anything else based on only one or two subs. 

Questions about distortion are all based on the party line we've been fed for generations, which is all based on a faulty understanding of the way low bass interacts with human hearing in normal rooms.

The OP is in a perfect situation to test this out. He's already got all the drivers he needs. All he needs to do is stick em in separate boxes, plop em down wherever he has room, and let the chips fall where they may.


QSC PLX 3602. Blast a hole through the ozone. Screw hearing. It's feeling that counts.

Thanks for the amp suggestions auxinput & mijostyn! I’m sure the Crown & QSC amps would be great for bass but for my application it won’t work since I want a quiet amp with no fan noise(Crown) and way too much power on both. No problem on the XLR connection since that is all I use in my system. Also, with their massive power it will be overkill since I will have so much room coupling due to the multiple drivers. I’m willing to bet my sensitivity will be over 95db SPL @1W. I do value quality over quantity first & foremost. Even thought I do more home theater now,  accurate music sound reproduction is much more important to me vs HT. If it turns out that Class-A/AB amps sound better than Class-D does on the subs, I will use the Class-A/AB amps Nov thru Apr & use the Class-D amps May thru Oct(since it gets so friggin’ hot here in Sacto).


ptheo, the QSC amp fans can be easily disabled. In your use they will hardly break a sweat. You can always use one in Stereo. In my experience AB amps produce firmer bass than D amps. D amps are used almost exclusively in plate amplifiers because they are small and relatively inexpensive. We used these QSC amps on a friends JL Fathom subs after gutting them saving just the enclosures and drivers. He was super pleased with the results now if I could just talk him into getting two more. 
ptheo, ashame someone painted them but nice to hear you are taking the time to refinish them. I like the replacement drivers you are using? How did you choose them?

I can say that the fans on the Crown XLS amps do not run much and I never could hear mine run. The speakerpower sub amps you probably wouldn't even push hard enough for them to come on. I was gonna use one had I built the 2nd system.

If you don't want class d the Parasound 2250 v2 will work really well and you could go mono if need be.