How do I select a new/used amp for a new system?


I need advice about how to select the proper amp/pre-amp/integrated amp to use in a new system I want for my master bedroom. I want to be able to run CD's for classical/reggae/rock and DVD's for surround sound. I am NEW in high end A/V equipment and do not have speakers yet. I am amazed(!)with the sound of Linn speakers I heard at a Linn dealer and would like a similar sound either with Linn's or other's you may suggest. The distance from me to the Plasma TV is 14 feet. The room is 14x18 feet. I know the amp/power is very important and do not know how to match it (watts/channel, ohms, etc.)with whatever speakers and sub I get. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Price range max $5,000.00 retail for the amp but will consider used equipment to save some $$. Speakers I have considered are Linn Katan, Keilidh; B & W CM1, B & M 805x; Ariel, Vienna (still investigating speaker choices). Gary
drlinn
Pick your loudspeakers first. Pick your amp to compliment the speakers.
Consider using active speakers -- ATC, M&K -- and get the perfect match between the amp and speakers. You'll get better performance and save money to boot.

http://www.mkprofessional.com/mps1611p.htm
You can't go wrong with active ATC's.
Thanks,
I checked out the web site for the ATC's and the price was impressive. If I get ATC's, am I able to incorporate them in surround and what type of amps should I look at?
agree with TVAD. Get your speakers first then work backward.
You mention DVD surround sound. This means you will need multi channel amplification or a reciever am I correct?
Powered speakers are a great choice. If your using a 5.1 dvd system in your room there are some great choices of powered speakers including the ATC's. Also look at PMC, Mackie, Genelec's. There are a few DVD players that will play your dvds, cd's and also have outputs that you can run directly to your powered speakers. Keep in mind that you will need to plug into an outlet each of the powered speakers.
Cheers.
"Tvad
Pick your loudspeakers first. Pick your amp to compliment the speakers"

I agree 100%.

Speakers first, then ask the speaker manufacturer for a shortlist of amps to demo.
I checked out the web site for the ATC's and the price was impressive. If I get ATC's, am I able to incorporate them in surround and what type of amps should I look at?

Yes, both ATC and M&K are made for multichannel systems. If you choose the active versions of either (which is my suggestion), the amps are built into the speakers. There is no need to buy external amplification. You will need an AV pre/pro for controlling volume, digital audio decoding and subwoofer integration.
When looking at speaker/amp combinations
90db speakers at 1 watt will generate:
93db @ 2 watts
96db @ 4 watts
99db @ 8
102 @ 16
105 @ 32
108 @ 64
111 @ 128
112db is ultra THX
110db is THX
You have to increase by 10db to get a perceived doubling of loudness. Therefor, you really won't hear a difference between 100 watts and 140 watts per channel.
Also, not all amps double wattage output if you go from 8ohms to 4 ohms.
Bob,
Thanks again. I have been checking the websites and going back through your threads and others to learn more. I can't believe how much information and knowledge you A/V guys have. I feel like I need to learn a new language. Frankly, its a little intimidating to ask for help but I am really interested and want to learn.

I looked at the ATC and M&K sites, also checked PMC, Mackie & Genelec as suggested by Alun and everything looks great. I need to take the next step and "test drive" a few to narrow it down.

Referring to my original request, if I am looking for a MC system rather than a strict stereo so I can go to either CD or DVD, how do I narrow down the speaker choices (price is an obvious decision point)? I was totally spun around, but willing to go with the suggestion that I look at the "active" speakers (never new they existed).

I continue to see the comments that higher wattage and (lower ohms?) are needed to drive higher end speakers (without built in power sources). If the speakers have built in power sources, will the resulting sound quality be of similar quality to speakers (Linn for example) without a built in power source or do I need an additional power source/amp. with the "active" speakers?

Is the AV pre/pro the only additional component I need, besides a DVD/CD player? Whats a 5.1 DVD system? The prices for new ATC's are up there (not $150,000 for sure, but how many Bill Gates are out there anyway?). Is it reasonable to search for used ATC's (or M&K, Genenlec etc.) to save a few dollars?

Thanks to anyone who responds!
Referring to my original request, if I am looking for a MC system rather than a strict stereo so I can go to either CD or DVD, how do I narrow down the speaker choices (price is an obvious decision point)? I was totally spun around, but willing to go with the suggestion that I look at the "active" speakers (never new they existed).

My suggestion is to build a 2.1 system first. Too many people try to fit a 5.1 system into a 2.1 budget and end up short changing themselves. You'll be amazed how good DVD movies sound with a good 2.1 system. Going active will save you a bundle on total system costs. To narrow the choices down the best approach is to hear speakers in your own room. Unfortunately, this is almost impossible to do. Next best is to hear speakers in dealer show rooms. You can also use subjective and objective reviews of speakers.

I continue to see the comments that higher wattage and (lower ohms?) are needed to drive higher end speakers (without built in power sources). If the speakers have built in power sources, will the resulting sound quality be of similar quality to speakers (Linn for example) without a built in power source or do I need an additional power source/amp. with the "active" speakers?

Active speakers can be much better than passive for several reasons. You can do some research on the details. Basically, the speaker designer has been able to design the amp/speaker as a complete system. Both pieces can be tailored for each other. With active speakers you do not need any other amplification components.

Is the AV pre/pro the only additional component I need, besides a DVD/CD player? Whats a 5.1 DVD system? The prices for new ATC's are up there (not $150,000 for sure, but how many Bill Gates are out there anyway?). Is it reasonable to search for used ATC's (or M&K, Genenlec etc.) to save a few dollars?

Yes, the DVD/CD source component and an AV pre/pro is all you will need. You will not want to short change the pre/pro. The active speakers we are discussing will be very revealing of upstream component weaknesses.

A 5.1 surround system consists of 5 speakers (left front, center, right front, left surround, right surround) and 1 subwoofer.

Yes, ATC speakers (active especially) are not inexpensive. I have never heard them, but they have an excellent reputation. M&K are much more reasonably priced and used by many big name studios. I have built 2 systems around there speakers and I have become a huge fan.

You might find this article of interest: http://www.mkprofessional.com/bass_mgmt.htm

And this: http://www.mksoundstore.com/store/

Good luck,
I need an AV pre/pro. I began searching and found a TacT TCS for $10,000 (whoa!), although it looks fantastic and the review was excellent. I sent an email to M&K asking what pre/pro they advise for their speakers (which I am probably going to buy)and am awaiting a reply. If anyone has any suggestions, please advise. I think I'm getting closer!
There was a nice review by Kal R. of the Bryston SP2 in a recent Stereophile. It would be one I would consider. I'm a fan of Bryston gear. Parasound would be another one. Anthem comes to mind.

Since you are considering active speakers, I would suggest the pre/pro support balanced outputs for those long interconnects.
Well, jumped in, bought two of the M&K 1611P, one MX 7000. Looking at the Denon3805, NAD 773, Anthem AVM 30, Bryston SP2. Hope to get the AV pre/pro next week. When I recover, will look for some help selecting CD/DVD.
Congrats! Please let us know how you like them. Are you going with the M&K stands as well? An alternative is Sound Anchor. Their adjustable studio stand is built like a tank and very flexible.

If you haven't decided upon cabling yet, you might consider Blue Jeans Cable -- http://www.bluejeanscable.com/index.htm?source=overture I use the Belden 1505F for unbalanced cables and the Belden 1800F for balanced cables.