Better Amp for Cornwall IV's...


...Parasound 2250 v.2 / 200 Pre combo, which I own, or Denon PMA-1600NE integrated, which I don't, but I admire the build quality and appearance of?  My Parasound is rated 275W into 8 Ohms / 400W into 4, while the Denon is 70W into 8 and 140 into 4.  Of course, the Klipsch Cornwall IV's are quite sensitive and are rated 8 Ohms.  Maybe more than which is better, which would you all prefer?
jdmccall56
Neither. The Denon has too many components built in. you will end up paying for a new DAC and phono stage. The Parasound has electronic issues which could fail (see Amazon reviews). Look for awesome tube preamps/power amps/DAC/Phono stages for the best long-run investment.

The beauty of the Cornwall IV is its flexibility. One (great) speaker and half-a dozen different amps: Solid-state, tube, OTL, Flea-watt, bone crusher -you get the picture. Getting tired of solid-state? Swap in the tubes. Change the amp instead of buying a new system.
Post removed 
As mentioned on the Klipsch Forum, I really do think you would be happy with the Denon PMA-1600NE.  I don't think you will squeeze any more "performance" out of the Denon over the Parasound combo but you might like the synergy better.  Who knows until you try.  If the newer Denon integrated amps follow suite of the older 80's/90's Denon integrated amps, then you are in for a real treat if you go that route.  Also, don't be put off by the 70/140 watts per channel of the Denon.  You will be pleasantly surprised by the dynamics and thump of the bass, IMO.

Bill



I second the previous recommendation to go with tubes. 

You could get a relatively inexpensive ss DAC as there are many good ones available.  Most are Chinese but they sound great and are priced very well.  Check the reviews, including Youtube.

As long as you own the Cornwall IV you can go with any of a variety of low power tube amps. There are many good tube amps available.  Again, check the reviews.  

To start with, check out the Reisong A10 EL34.  You can get these on Amazon for a low price (419) and return it if you don't like it.

Some folks on here will berate Chinese amps but if you're careful in your shopping you cannot beat them for the money.  
At a 102db you could rub two sticks together to make them make a sound.

I would get the purest solid state Class-A single ended amps.
Look at the Nelson Pass Aleph range of beasts, you can get them used also.
https://www.passlabs.com/technical_article/single-ended-class-a/

Cheers George
Phono stage is not a big issue for me as I seldom spin vinyl and have not bought an LP since 1985.
I have read that the dac in the Denon is just so-so, but personally, I haven't heard enough difference in dacs to get worked up about.
I have the Denon DCD1600NE SACD player and love it!  That's what got me jazzed about the Denon amp; that and it's 4-Ohm power rating and gorgeous looks.  (Yes, I know I'm weird.)  But...I'm concerned about going from my Parasound's big power down to a "mere" 70 8-Ohm Watts.  That, and my Parasound pre does have some really cool features that I hate to give up: bass management, remote tone and balance, volume display, etc.  And it sounds fine to me.  Of course, I'd have to sell the Parasound pair to get the Denon int. and would no doubt still come up a few hundred shy...but day-um it's nice!
For that price you can get a custom made Dennis Had SEP tube amp and one just so happens to be listed on eBay right now!

https://www.ebay.com/itm/STEREO-TUBE-AMPLIFIER-INSPIRE-by-DENNIS-HAD-CLASS-A-SINGLE-ENDED-KT88-AMPLI...

Also, I can't believe my first post is pointing someone to an amp that I might bid on. Oh well, should save me some money.


You want something really quiet with sensitivity that high. I would suggest a Luxman integrated, or their old MB-3045 amps which are very quiet
"I have the Denon DCD1600NE SACD player and love it! That's what got me jazzed about the Denon amp; that and it's 4-Ohm power rating and gorgeous looks. (Yes, I know I'm weird.)"

Not weird at all.  I like cosmetically "matching" gear like my Yamaha A-S1000/CD-S1000 combo as well as my Cambridge Audio 640A v2/840C combo.  They happen to match sonically also so an added bonus.

Bill


If the Cornwalls are like my Heresys, you don't want to short them on power. They need a little juice to get jumping. 
a few quality tube watts should do unless you want shake the art from the walls 😃
Also, I can't believe my first post is pointing someone to an amp that I might bid on. Oh well, should save me some money.
No fear; not a tube guy!
I would suggest a Luxman integrated
I would LOVE a Luxman, but they're TDE (too danged expensive). :)
And Bill...thanks so much for your advice.  I bet that Yamaha pair is NICE!!

I did see a "scratch & dent Denon 1600 for a good price on Crutchfield today.  I've bought lots of open box and refurbished but never a scratch & dent.  I don't think I want to go down that path.


"If the Cornwalls are like my Heresys, you don't want to short them on power. They need a little juice to get jumping."

The best my Heresys/Heresy IIs jumped was with a Luxman R-117(why did I sell it to DeanG?) with it's 160w/ch and unlimited dynamic headroom.  Needless to say, my Heresy IIs jump pretty darn well with my CA 640A v2's 75w/ch.

Bill
You own an amp with unlimited dynamic headroom? 

The best I have ever heard any horn sound was with OTL amps.  You dont get the significant editorializing with OTLs which I think you get with SETs. Clearer, sharper, faster with fewer colorations to my ears. As others have said mentioned dont short these speakers on power.
Not a tube guy? Well you should be, you have bought the perfect speakers for tubes.

Seriously though. Buy a good tube amp. You can thank me later.....

Oz
"You own an amp with unlimited dynamic headroom?"

Maybe a slight exaggeration but all the same a great sounding powerful vintage stereo receiver.

Bill
Try a passive preamp with your Parasound amplifier. Do you have a source with a variable output ( bypassing the preamp )? Because of the very high sensitivity of the CW4s, you do not need the additional gain of a preamp, and a layer of noise and distortion will be eliminated ( IME ).
You really need to look at the measured impedance curve.I tried to find these measurements but had no luck.If the impedance does not dip below around 6 ohms then an amplifier with a highish output impedance [typically tube amps and not SS /class D amps would be the best choice].It would seem pretty silly to make such a high sensitivity speakers not to suit those types of amps but it is possible that is what Klipsch have done.If the speakers sound a bit weak or dry in the bass that is probably because the amplifier being used has too low output impedance.Which is typical of SS amplifiers including most class A ones .Adding more power will not fix this because the bass response is overdamped by using that type of amp.
If you do not want to use a tube amp then the best choice would be a Bakoon SS amp which operate electrically more like a tube/SET amp and which are current drive and have high output impedance.[Just about all SS amps are voltage drive/low output impedance]The Bakoons also sound superb and are a compelling example of why current drive /zero negative feedback/high output impedance amps sound best [if your speakers suit them and most mainstream speakers don’t].

Yes the Klipsch site gives you absolutely no help in terms of some pertinent specifications. I think they something to the effect that some or all of their speakers are 8 ohm compatible or some such nonsense. I pretty certain that the curve of most Klipsch speakers are not ideal for tubes but the high efficiency will cure some of the other ills. 

I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours listening to Tri Mai's system a few weeks back. Tri is the owner of Tri-planar tonearms and I had one of his arms put on my Merrill-Williams table. Tri has a very impressive horn system that I think would make most horn enthusiasts drool. He uses modified Classic Audio speakers with Atma-sphere Novacrons (OTL) and a MP1 preamp. For what horn lovers like I havent heard many systems that deliver in these areas better than this system. 
I assure anyone who cares that the Cornwall IV can achieve extremely loud levels with only 20 watts of tube power in a relatively large room. I do it all the time.
Six months of listening to the cornwall iv’s paired with a mc275 MK VI and a c2600 preamp has definitely changed my attitude towards tubes. 
@OP,  

I have the Cornwall IVs.  I agree with so much above.  They are very versatile--you could swap amps to your hearts content to change the sound.  

How big is your room?  How loud do you like to listen? 

I do think you should try tubes or Class A.  

I have a 300B SET that sounds great but it's not enough power. I know folks will say that's sacrilegious, but it's true for me and I don't listen that loud.  I do like it, but I prefer my Primaluna integrated (modified).   

The thing with the Cornwalls is they are so efficient you are really going to hear all of the amps positives and shortcomings. 

I hate to spend your money... but if I could...are you open to trying different stuff?  I think you might want to.  Some solid state offerings can sound dry, brittle, harsh (you name it) with these speakers. 
Quicksilver Mono120 the perfect amp Klipsch

Enjoy the Music 
Tom
why not try a rega brio? i was impressed with the mellow overall sound of this amp. it is good for about 70 wpc peak power, from what i've read, more than enough for your cornwalls. when you turn up the volume on this baby, you just get more volume, and not more distortion, one of the few in its price range you can say that about. 
Pass Labs XA25 class A would be more than enough, to make the
Klipsch Cornwall’s sing.
+1 for tubes 

I just acquired a set of Cornwall Is and put them on a 10W home built tube amp.   Plenty of sound, plenty of power, plenty of detail. 


The room is 15 x 22...and I do like it loud from time to time.  Back last century, from '85 to '93 to be exact, I had a pair of cornwalls powered by a Luxman MX-100 amp (140 8 Ohm Watts).  Sounded real nice but I was surprised how much power was being put out to reach lifelike levels.  The meters would peak around 75W but maybe they were not too accurate.  Even if the sactual speaker sensitivity was only 92dB, that would be 110dB with 64W input.  It wasn't THAT loud!
Quality solid state watts at reasonable prices?

McCormack DNA-0.5 (upgraded versions too if you can find one)

Jeff Rowland Model 2 or Model 1 if your budget is lower

Conrad Johnson MF-2250

If your budget is higher, First Watt offerings or one of Pass class A amps (XA30.5, 30.8) would be worth looking into.




@jdmccall - If it "wasn't THAT loud", you may be a db-holic...
jdmccall - If it "wasn't THAT loud", you may be a db-holic...
Nah...I try to be careful.  If I can't hear the sound of my own natural speaking voice when the music is playing, I turn it down.  I usually stay in the 90-95dB range on peaks.  Loud but not TOO loud.
Just get what you want and it looks like the Denon is your choice.

Bill
I have a 70wpc PrimaLuna EVO 400 tube integrated that I drive my Cornwall IVs with and it provides waaaaaaaaay more than enough power to push the speakers to deafening levels without breaking a sweat.  Given that, I'm sure the 70wpc Denon would also be a great choice for the Cornwalls.

You mentioned the DCD-1600NE.  I just received the Denon DCD-A110 SACD player and I'm so impressed with it that it has me thinking about buying the matching integrated (PMA-A110).  In other words, I think your experience with your SACD player will mirror the experience you'll have with the PMA-1600NE.  I wouldn't hesitate for a second to buy the Denon amp if the quality of Denon's other hi-fi gear is any indication what to expect.
@kfscoll,

since CW4 so high efficiency and PL are tube, do you get any noise issues through the speakers or is it dead quiet?
Of course, you'd be better off with the Denon PMA-A110 integrated, which is the 110th anniversary model, and they put some special effort into.

Likewise, of course, it costs more.
https://www.denon.com/en-us/product/amplifiers/pma-a110
I know how luscious tubes can sound, but give me good, clean, fast, noise free, reliable and consistent, class A ss, anytime ( and this is with horns ). Just my opinion, and just what I like. Nothing debatable, listen for yourself, and decide. I own ( still ) many different ss power amps, all biased in Class A ( at least for the 1st few watts ), and with my Lascalas, I am sure, even with my spls, I stay within class A operation. 
BTW, I switch out ( rotate ) amplifiers the way folks switch out tubes. 
Just get what you want and it looks like the Denon is your choice.

Bill
Yes, but...I really like my Parasound pair, too!  I'm like a guy who's had a good, faithful but average looking girlfriend for three years...and then I see this sexy beauty walking down the street (Cue Manfred Mann's "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy").

Best option for cheap sound- Decware. Parasound will no longer be in the
 conversation.
"Yes, but...I really like my Parasound pair, too!"

Can't fault you there, nice rig.

Bill
Pass Labs Aelph Zero Class A monoblocks work well with Klipsch. I have 1974 Heresy and LaScala
You mentioned an open box unit from Crutchfield.  IIRC, they will let you return within a reasonable length of time if you don't like it with your speakers.
I'd sure want to make sure I had full return privileges before going that route.  It was discounted pretty heavily (almost $400), so that would be a good way to try one and at least see if I liked it.  And if not, or if it was a little TOO scratched and/or dented, let them have it back.  But...I'm always reluctant to return anything unless it's pretty bad.  I shouldn't feel that way, but I do.
kfscoll:
"You mentioned the DCD-1600NE.  I just received the Denon DCD-A110 SACD player and I'm so impressed with it that it has me thinking about buying the matching integrated (PMA-A110).  In other words, I think your experience with your SACD player will mirror the experience you'll have with the PMA-1600NE.  I wouldn't hesitate for a second to buy the Denon amp if the quality of Denon's other hi-fi gear is any indication what to expect."
I can only imagine as to the build quality of the A110 products from Denon.  Must be in Luxman and Accuphase territory.
I would just go with fewer, higher quality watts.
Something operating entirely class A in solid state or tubes.



I did the deed.  Yesterday (1/11/21), I ordered a Denon PMA-1600NA from Music Direct.  I don't know if it has "higher quality" Watts or not.  We'll see.  I don't know how biased into class A it is.  In fact, I have not really found any independent tests of it with measurements.  Denon's own specs are quite limited, too.  They do provide this: 70W into 8 Ohms from 20-20000Hz with  .07% THD and 140W into 4 Ohms at 1000Hz with .7% THD.  I see no specs for peak power.  The 4 Ohm rating at 1000 Hz just makes me wonder why they didn't spec it from 20-20000.  Oh well, time will tell.  Music Direct gives you 60 days to decide if you want to keep it or not.  That ought to be plenty of time.
The 4 Ohm rating at 1000 Hz just makes me wonder why they didn’t spec it from 20-20000.
Because it wouldn’t double the rated power at full band width. So it looks better to the untrained eye to list it as they did. A common trick done by most cheap receiver manufacturers.


Not sure why you wouldn't go with a tube integrated. That's where Klipsch speakers shine.


Oz


If I can't hear the sound of my own natural speaking voice when the music is playing, I turn it down. I usually stay in the 90-95dB range on peaks. Loud but not TOO loud.
This is probably wise. My measure of the quality of a system is that it does not sound loud at any volume. This can be done if equipment that makes higher ordered harmonics and distortion is avoided.
Denon's own specs are quite limited, too. They do provide this: 70W into 8 Ohms from 20-20000Hz with .07% THD and 140W into 4 Ohms at 1000Hz with .7% THD. I see no specs for peak power. The 4 Ohm rating at 1000 Hz just makes me wonder why they didn't spec it from 20-20000.
You can see from these specs how important it is to avoid a 4 ohm load! In high end audio, keeping the distortion down is important, because the ear interprets all forms of distortion as a tonality. Its particularly sensitive to higher ordered harmonics and intermodulations, which it perceives as harshness and brightness. This is why so many solid state amps sound harsh and bright- its not because of a frequency response error.


After you've had some time with the Denon, please post back here- I'd be interested in what you think of it.


After you've had some time with the Denon, please post back here- I'd be interested in what you think of it.
Denon amp should arrive tomorrow.  I'll follow up with impressions.

Tubes ..... the Klipsch's (all of them) are made for tubes.  Since looks are important to you, look for an upgraded Fisher 101 or 202 integrated stereo tube amp from the '60's and you'll be in 7th heaven.