Crown amps

Hi, I'm new to this board and am blown away by this thread. Every other board I go to seems to think Pro Amps are mid fi. Is anyone using a Crown XTI-2000 amp in a home stereo? My Phase Linear finally died and I need a new amp. I remember the Crown DC300a was a great sounding amp. I will be driving it with a Crown IC 150 pre-amp in mint condition.
Try a Carver Professional ZR1600. At least look up details and reviews about it. It is a digital stereo amp, good for 600 wpc at 4 ohms. Sounds great, especially with Magneplanar speakers (which like lots of power). It caused a buzz in audiophile circles because of its audio quality...not to be expected from a utilitarian pro sound amp. The best part is that it sells for less than a grand.
Well in general they will not be as sweet on mids and highs.. Bass is fine.. Main problem with most pro designs are they run loud and hot… They have fans that make a ton of noise if your actually listening to a home stereo, and normally unless you have balanced connections on your other equipment, lots of conversion adaptors/cables etc.. Just to hook them up, also remember some pro audio gear will not get full gain from all consumer products, so sometimes you gotta add one of those voltage convertor deals that will take your 1.5 volt consumer preamp or receiver and up it to 4 volt into the amp to get full output. It can be done, and some pro amps can match up just fine with all these parameters, but make sure is all, and again no matter what you will not get standard RCA jacks on them.
Sorry I just saw you have a crown preamp… Look at Fanless crown designs like the K series maybe?
Undertow mentions a couple of points about pro sound power amps. With regard to the ZR1600....sensitivity is no problem. A jumper plug lets you select any of four sensitivities, 0.316, 0.775, 1.23 and 2.45 vrms. The 0.316 value is for consumer single ended sources, and the 1.25 vrms value is for normal pro sound balanced lines.
The ZR1600 does have a fan. It is said that for home audio use it can be disconnected, but a better approach is to swap it for a very low noise fan that you won't hear even when no music is playing. For single ended RCA input you need only a MONO 1/4 inch phone jack to RCA adapter. (MONO provides the grounding of the (-) balanced input pin). Finally, being a digital amp, it wastes almost no power and runs cold.
Thanks for all the info. My Crown pre-amp has a maximum output of 12 volts, so driving any one of these things should not be a problem. What I may have to deal with is hum, but I figure if I keep my runs to 4 feet that shouln't be a problem either. If I were to get one I think I would go with the Crown XTI-2000. 475 watts into 8 ohms for $699.00. Everything I have read about there reliability has been great, I just have not read a lot about their sound quality. I liked the sound of the DC300a. If it sound like that I'll be happy. Has anyone heard one?
Yes they are powerful as heck with solid bass. They lack resolution and image Placement and deep soundfield. if this dosent matter that much they are a steal, althogh there are some digital poweramps that are getting close but thay have problems also
Ok, I heard about this amp called Blue Ice by Technical hifi. I went to their website to have a look, and it seems to gone. I'm just curious who they are? I think I have settled on the Crown XTI-2000. It's a lot of amp for $700.00 bucks. Looks well built also. Has anyone here heard one?
Well I am assuming it is the same amp as a CE series which I owned, but XTI has all the processing stuff built in which will also tax the power supply of this amp.. I am not sure exactly of the models so I am going of memory, but the CE is not a very stellar amp for home accept subwoofers and even when I used it for that it was Very noisey with the fans.
Just out of curiosity...where are you shopping? A stereo store or a D.J. store?

The reason I ask is that I had a friend that owned a store that had a stereo side and a mobile DJ side.

I asked him about the Crown Amps that he had and was informed that they were really intended for "club" atmospheres where chest thumping bass and high SPL levels were the most important thing.

So...anyhow...I went to read the reviews over at audioreview to find out what users had to say about the amps.

some things that I noticed were...

1. People seemed to be buying them for use as subwoofer amps.

2. Some of the reviews seem to have been written by the same person with the same associated equipment yet under a different name??? (This was their $4,000 reference amp) I dunno...things just seemed a little fishy...most EVERYBODY seemed to think that they were better than their previous Krells...go figure.

Have I heard crown? nightclubs/bars

Was I Impressed?

Not especially.

I'm not trying to belittle you for your choice, but having been hanging around Audiogon for 5-6 years now I would have to say that there is equipment that you would probably be happier with in the long run for similar prices.

Bryston, McCormack and Odyssey to name a few (in no particular order), seem to get alot of praise for their sound quality and reliability. I am sure there are others.

no...I'm not a dealer and have no affilation with any manufacturers yada yada yada
Ellery 911,
If you are refering to the Crown Macro Reference, which was
their greatest effort to date...I had 2 of them.It was reviewed,and used by many audiophiles.They were very
dynamic,powerful,clean,and clear sounding.A very different bird.And yes,they were better than most "audiophile"
amps at the time.The issue was that they just weren't
very "musical sounding".However,there is something about
that damping factor(20,000)that was captivating the way the
amp controlled a loudspeaker.My point is that(and in regards to this thread),to this day
I don't think anyone really considered that amp to be mid-fi.
So,can you get good sound with pro amps?
Sure you can...but there is a difference between good sound,and sound that brings you closer to the music(IMHO).
Ellery911...Your view of pro sound power amps may be a bit out of least for some of them. Digital has changed things, and a digital pro sound amp sounds about like a digital audiophile amp, some of which are well regarded. In my case I have three CarverPro ZR1600 amps which perform superbly with MG1.6 speakers. Lately I have changed to driving the Maggies with Channel Island D-200 monoblocks, not really because of any sound issue but rather because I wanted monoblocks. (Five of them, one at each multisound speaker location). Truth to tell, the CI D200, which has been well reviewed in audiophile circles, is not noticably better than the ZR1600.

I have no experience with the Crown XTI-2000 but it could be the same story.

I'm going on my experience with their DC300a which by the way was also a touring amp. That is still one of the best amps I ever heard, and I have heard many including some tube amps. The more I look at some of these pro amps the more interesting they become. I live in Orlando and Disney World has an attraction called Philharmagic that is powered by Crown. The sound is absolutely top notch if your sitting in a good spot, four rows off the back wall center it's superb! I really am beginning to feel that these amps are one heck of a buy. Are they the best amp? No, but is the small difference in sound really worth all that money, probably not especially at 52 years old. I'm going to investigate these amps further, but I am finding it harder and harder to look back.
Tony3d, well you did ask the question, so in all honesty the answers are there, but you decide to disagree.. This is fine, your mind is made up, but remember you went on a criticle audio site. Yes the old macro series as stated above I believe was reviewed as one of the best if you had to get into more audiophile world stuff, However it still ran super hot, and sucked juice that would cost a lot more money on the electric bill than some of the newer true home audio designs.. This is your choice.

I had the CE crown, and have used a few others.. Fan noise and absolute liquid sound and balance will not be obtained from a pro amp, that is all.. If you enjoy it for the money than that will be great.. I suggest looking at the QSC brand, they are better and WAY WAY cheaper pro amps for home audiophile use from my understanding.. You can probably get an equal online to what you are looking at for 3 to 400 and really clean your hands of having too much invested.. They might even make a model with all the processor capabilities of the crown you are looking at, I assume you really want the equalizer etc.. built in and that is why the crown XTI is important to your config it seems... Regardless of what a HUGE Theater at disney powered by crown and 10 to 20 times the amount of speakers involved, this is VERY different from the close quarter distortion levels you would obtain from a home environment 2 channel stereo, try it, and see how you like it, but I strongly suggest the QSC route as they are suppose to in general be quiter, cheaper, and run a bit cooler. Good Luck
Well...I just said it as I saw it.

My friends store had 2 distinct sections. One that supplied "Pro" audio know...super huge JBL monitors/Crown Amplifiers/Disco Lighting.

Then...for his consumer stereo stuff...he had JM Lab, Arial, Parasound, Theta etc. so...basically...he was very aware of the differences between pro and home gear.

We never wasted time A/Bing them in his store however I had been to the Clubs where he had sold them their Crown Amplifiers.

They made my ears bleed.

So...with regards to the reviews I was over at picked the 2 amps that had been reviewed the most.

Lets take a look at the one with the most reviews...

the Crown International Studio Reference One...impressive name.

read the 11 reviews...better the very first review...and then see where the next 9 reviews are sooooooooooo similar to each a damage control sort of way...and the final review...first it was his Rowland amp that blew up on him...later in the review it was his Krell...regardless...just read them...if anything...they are kind of humorous. a search of the member systems here for crown. You will see that there are a couple people that use them as subwoofer amps, and the only one in use in an actual stereo as the primary amp refers to it as the "two-buck chuck" amp alternative.

And Eldartford...I just want to let you know that I respect your opinions...and am not bashing carver, CI or digital amps in general as I have not heard enough.

All I did was offer what my FIRST HAND experience was with respect to CROWN AMPLIFIERS.

How about trying a different thead like..."Is there a better way to spend $1000 on an amplifier other than crown?"

Then we'll see what people think.

Also...include all your associated equipment...speakers etc etc...not just amp&pre.

Finally...Is Crown gonna be the next flavor of the day that is targeted towards audiophiles? Is this what this is?
The DC300 was in the first generation of high power transistor amplifiers. For it's time it was a very powerful amp but it is not great sounding compared to today's offering. The IC150 as well as the Phase Linear products are of the same era. These products are 30 years old and while they may have been state of the art at that time, they have been surpassed. I'm not saying that the current pro amps can't perform well in the right system, but the Phase Linears and Crowns from 30 years ago simply can't compete.
>but the Phase Linears and Crowns from 30 years ago simply can't compete<

Ellery911...And I am not disagreeing with what you say about traditional pro audio power amps. I just suggest that you keep an open mind, particularly with respect to digital amps. Do you think that designers of pro sound amps want them to sound bad? They have access to all the same circuits and components as do high end designers. No reason that they can't sound good. People should listen to them in context of quality home audio speakers and other equipment...not just at a pop concert.
Man, I remember those things from back in the day, early 70's.
The amps were bulletproof, and built to withstand heavy road use. If memory serves, the D150 sounded better than the 300a, but(sorry) the IC 150 was no sonic marvel, even in its day- it had the characteristic sound of a transistor device. This takes me back a while, but i think the Mac C-24 was extant at that time, there was an odd Quintessence preamp that had great unit to unit variability, and all of them sounded lifeless compared to an SP3-a-1 (which, today, would be considered overly romantic). I did not have any hands-on experience with that first Levinson preamp, and maybe I am drawing a blank here, but I cannot remember too many other audiophile preamps from that era (modified Dyna Pas 3's, Marantz 7c, what else?)
Well that sure is a wealth of info. It almost reminds me of those nightmare Bose hate agenda threads. Didn't mean to start a rant. Luckily I can take the amp home for a demo. If I like it I'll keep it, if not I'll just return it. I do have an Onkyo M504 amp sitting here to compare it with. Certainly not a great amp, but not the worst I ever heard either. That should give me some kind of reference. The M504 has a rubber low end, but the mids and highs are respectable. I wish I had some really good high end amp to compare it to, but I'm not that fortunate. I know there are real differences between amps I have heard them myself. I'm just curious what the difference between these Pro and even average consumer amps really are, because I have heard people say they can't hold a candle to an average consumer amp. I don't believe that right now. It's like some of these Bose 901 rants, people actually try and convince other people that $50.00 speakers sound better. Well I have heard both and that is just a plain Embarrassing comment. My speakers are the Polk LSI/25's.
Sampson Servo Pro amps are well regarded by some audiophiles if you insist on the pro route.
The Servo 120 for $189 had the best sound I think but they have a 275wpc for $299.
Is Crown better or are you just paying more for the Crown aura and mystique? Hmmmmmmm.
Personally I would go for the Harman Kardon stuff myself.
So now you are comparing us to "Bose Ranters"?

stating that we are embarassing ourselves.


Look at your state in your FIRST sentence that you are "blown away by this thread"

How can you be blown away by a thread before response #1?

Is it because it was merely a troll...similar to your bose comment?

and Eldartford...

I have an open mind regarding digital amps...I don't need to be reminded TWICE in a thread where all I was doing was giving my opinion on what I thought of CROWN AMPS


not digital.


You can lead the horse to water but not make it drink...
Polks are nice, they tend to be on the more Damped midrange and tweet side, so they can take a healthier dose of a Brighter more Brittle sounding amp like a Crown in comparison to some more revealing speakers... DENON is one of the best matches around for Polk on the lower level, this is documented well. Onkyo is decent, maybe get a crown for the bottom end and BIAMP with the onkyo on the top, I believe those polks you have are Biwired with 4 binding posts on the back. However beyond that I agree with above that a crown amp is designed for absolute abuse and reliability on stage, and best used at home for subwoofer applications, They DO Pop LOUD when turned on and off, unless a Soft circuit is installed, and they Hum, hiss, and Crackle quite a bit for most consumer home settings, not to mention absolute annoying Fan noise.
Ellery911...My apology if I seemed to lecture you. I am sure that you have more experience than I with Crown products, but I do suspect that Crown digital amps will have a different character from what they made before. And I think that my suggestion that any comparisons with audiophile amps be done with audiophile speakers is valid.
I use to have a H/K Citation 12 years ago. It was a nice sounding amp. At one point I also had an H/K 2000, 930 receiver, and CDR26 c.d. recorder. They were all decent products. It's to bad H/K stopped making the Citation line of components, it would be interesting to see where they would have gone with it. I always had my eye on the Citation 16 I think it was 150/150 watts per channel. I'll have to see if I can find someone out here in Orlando who handles the Sampson line. I have also heard a lot of people saying good things about QSC.
The Xti Series damps out turn on transients. If Crown amps Hum, Hiss, and Crackled I don't understand how they could sell one. Can you elaborate on this.
Ellery911, You may be right. I just don't know that yet, and the only way to find out is to take home a demo which I plan to do next week. I think my LSI/25's are a decent speaker fully capable of revealing the difference's between two amps. The Crown Xti-series are digital at the inputs but analog at the outputs from what I understand. I really can't wait to try this amp if nothing else than to satisfy my own curiosity. Like I said if it's not to my liking, then away it goes. My backup plan is probably an Adcom. But if it is what I'm expecting then I'll walk away with one heck of a deal for $699.00. The fan won't be a big problem, I understand they hardly come on at all in a home setting.
Tony....I did a bit of research on the Crown Xti amps, and the findings are interesting.

It performs A/D conversion at the input, and then rather extensive digital signal processing (DSP). Included is a crossover, a four band equalizer, subharmonic synthsizer, delay, limiter, and gain(digital). After that it does a conversion back to analog which drives a conventional linear power amp. The power supply is a switching type, which some audiophiles don't like. (It has obvious advantages for touring bands, as it will work with a wide range of AC input voltages). As best I can tell there is no provision to bypass the DSP and run the power amp directly. I have never heard this Crown amp, and its sound may be excellent.

The CarverPro ZR1600, which I endorse (and own), takes the opposite approach. It also has various less extensive signal processing features, but implemented by analog circuitry. The processed analog signal drives a digital power amplifier. All the signal processing can be bypassed. The power supply is a conventional design. I have heard the ZR1600, and IMHO its sound is excellent.

Two amps, with similar apearance and aimed at the same customers, but quite different in design concept.

Enjoy playing with the DSP, and tell us what you think.
Well playing with the DSP is out for me seeing how I have Mac. The DSP really doesn't interest me though. The only reason's I'm going for the XTI, and not the XLS series is 1. proportional speed fans, 2. turn on transient muting, and three better looks. I really should check out that Carverpro zr 1600. Is Carver still making pro amps? What's the input sensitivity?
Tony3d...Carver Professional has no relation to Bob Carver, and his designs in the past. The ZR1600 also has muting at turn on and off. See my posting of 12/08 for input sensitivity, fan noise issue, and other considerations.
I used to have a mobile DJ Business & have set up sound systems for night clubs. I have owned and used The Crown DC-300, Phase Linear, QSC, Peavey (Still have my old CS-800)and a few others. These are all great amps and give you the best bang (Watts)for your buck. Over the years I have done some A/B comparisons with this type of amp and home type i.e. (Marantz, HK Signature, Adcom, Conrad Johnson etc.) My preference is for the home type. The sound quality seems much better, especially after long periods of listening.(But that's me) The rest of your set up (CD player, Speakers, preamp, cables) also makes a difference. If you have had a chance to listen to the other brands and types and can not tell a difference Stick with the Crowns you can't go wrong. Happy Listening!!!
Thnaks I'm going to give it a try. For the money I just can't see how I can go wrong.
Pro audio amps are probably the closest thing going to the proverbial straight wire with gain.

Many audiophiles don't necessarily want a straight wire with gain and rather prefer an amp that may well be voiced a certain way.
Whoaru, What is your personal take on their sound quality?
I didn't mention before but I have a QSC amp that I bought strictly for use as a subwoofer amp. Just for laughs I hooked it up full range to good speakers and took a listen. The joke was on me. It sounded so good that I looked up the specs (which I hadn't paid much attention to) and found that they were in all ways comparable to home audio amps. The QSC does have a fan which makes it too noisy to use in the listening room (my amps are in the cellar) and it is not digital so it gets hot and needs the fan.

As the saying goes..."Don't judge a book by its cover".
My personal take is that they sound fine. Note this is based on only a weekend of listening to a Crown K2.

I rented it to evaluate for subwoofer duty but just for fun, I connected it to some speakers I have - Definitive Tech BP-30 and Paradigm Studio 100v2. The results were much better than I had expected given the stigma surrounding them in some circles. The clarity and seemingly limitless power were amazing (keep in mind the K2 is 500 wpc).

When/if my old Yamaha amps ever fail and it's not economically feasible to repair them, I will be seriously considering pro amps.
"Pro" amps are fine and they run the gamut of average sound quality to supreme sound quality.

However, pro products are made for and intended to be use in specific applications.

Your application is "studio" or "mastering" not abuse ("touring" or large venue, etc.).

You should choose the model that comes closest to your application. If having an equaliser is important, then the Carver mentioned above would be, on paper, a better bet than the Crown. If the equaliser is not indispensable, choose an amp without it: with pro you (usually) get what you pay for, so if you don't really need s/thing don't pay for it.:)

*One extreme example of pro vs. home use/hi-end, FM Acoustics, a Swiss company, makes pro amps. They are very expensive and outstanding -- probably better than most hi-end offerings.
12-12-06: Whoaru99, & Tony3d..
#1 The K2 is a world of a different amp, and it is AWESOME, due to no FAN, Big Power, Very little power draw, ZERO heat, and it is very liquid smooth and compact... This is nothing Like the Other Crown we are talking about which if you note above the K series was mentioned by me as being a better choice, however the Carver z series is very similar I believe but still has a Fan..
I have never used a Crown pro amp, but have a power line 3 which was in there last home system line of equipment.
It is called multimode which switches from class A to class B and to Class AB. I have been happy with the sound of the amp and compared to former amps of this era I would rate it high.
I heard a Crown Macro Reference (as I vaguely recall) at an air show: the sound was incredibly loud out on the airfield, and standing about 100 yards away from the speakers; but if you're looking for detail, precision, and accuracy, you might consider alternatives to pro. audio. Not sure what speaker load you're driving, but I read a review that the Crown Macro Reference -- "which should have been able to drive just about anything in the universe" -- choked at the load that Sound Lab A-1's presented; yet, a pair of 225 watt monoblocks did an impeccable job comparatively.

The Crown XTI 2000 puts out an amazing 2000 watts @ 2 ohms, but then again can it and will it in fact drive the suffocating loads of an electrostat setup -- if this is what you have -- or will the overload lights go bonkers as apparently occurred with the Macro Reference's attempt at driving the A-1's. Although Crown is a world-reknown Company with a dominant presence in arena type settings, it would be interesting to see and feel a crowd's reaction to relatively more precise amplification by Threshold, Krell, Levinson, VTL, Classe, MBL, etc. If these manufacturers can build machines that drive two ohms or less, I wonder how these machines would fare driving much less exhausting eight ohm pro speakers. I'm a relative novice at this stuff, hence the many wonders.
I had a Crown K-2 myself. Like everything else mentioned in this thread it exceeds the sound of a Crown IC-150 by a large measure. Back in the mid seventies I worked in a place that sold Crown and SAE. Crown held on to second place pretty well until we picked up Yamaha and Pioneer came out with the Spec 2 and then Denon arrived. Crown kept falling further back until we finally dropped them.
The Crown K-2, however, would have held its own easily among that group.
Another thing to consider actually would be a Plinius integrated. You can get pretty big power and far better sound than ANY AMP could provide fed by the IC-150.
If you stick with vintage solid state, there are some good-sounding amps and preamps from the '80s, such as VSP Labs, Amber, Threshold, Electron Kinetics (the Eagle line), Bryston, and others. Even the "budget" components were pretty good, such as Adcom and Parasound, though Adcom got a LOT better in the next 20 years after the GFA-555.

Not so much so with the SS stuff from the '70s. By today's standards most would be considered edgy, etched, and lacking microdynamic refinement. The Marantz Pro and McIntosh stuff was pretty smooth, though.

OTOH, in the late '90s the Crown Macro Reference was a Stereophile Class B recommended component.