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This is an interesting question. I have had a Marantz four channel Class D 450W amp on the four subs in my system for some years now. I often wonder if the sound would be better with a good quality 250 to 275 W Class AB amp. One of these days I will try swapping out amps and see if it is worth the upgrade cost.
I have the Magnepan 1.7s, currently driven by an HCA 1500a. I have directly compared the Parasound to a single Crown XL1500, two Crown XL1500s run in mono mode and a single Crown XLS2502. I also tried a B&K st50 just for giggles knowing it was probably under powered. There was an integrated Rotel in there too at some point.
The Parasound was clearly superior to my and my listening partners' ears, especially at lower volumes. The overall presentation, particularly in the higher frequencies, was significantly more musical.
At high volume the Parasound has plenty of juice.
Those crowns are industrial sounding. If you listen to speed metal you might like them. If you listen to any other kind of music it will sound like a PA amplifier. The paramount or rotel or adcom amps of the 90s should be in your budget maybe old Aragon or soundcraftsman would be a little more rare to find but sound pretty darn good on your budget
A. OR A/AB.
<< cough >> Haha!
I have a pair of ICEpower 250 ASP based monoblocks. You could not tell them apart from Parasound A21s of similar power with most speakers.
We are 20 years into the 21st century, it's time to step up.
There are some excellent Class D amps out there.