Integrated amp/speaker matching


Hello all...

I am searching for the correct integrated amplifier and with too much pondering about all of the variables in the hobby, I found myself entirely tangle up and stuck.

I know there are give and take, up and down choices for all aspects of this hobby. I recently realized the true meaning of speaker/amplifier matching. That is, I discovered that to have extremely efficient speakers (Cerwin Vega D-8’s-101 db) coupled to a high-wattage amp (Yamaha M-70-200 wpc) is not the best of all possible choices. When I replace the allegedly high-end Yamaha amp with a modest entry level amp/receiver (Onkyo 8211-50 wpc), the sonic differences were apparent. It seemed that the amp could breathe a bit.

In looking for an integrated amp, I have run into spec issues that overwhelmed my sense of order. There are aspects of the good to better product line hierarchy that keeps me guessing and confused.

To be clear, I am not quite ready to move into the tube realm.  That certainly is another level that has many other considerations attached.

1) lower end amps wire their systems to color their sound...to sweeten the highs and bolster the lows to make up for the lack of detail.
2) higher-end amps choose to wire their systems to create detail, but in doing so cut the highs and lows to give it that "flat" sound.
3) Efficient speakers run better with lower wattage amps. I am wondering what that sweet-spot is wattage-wise for 101dp speakers?
4) The irony is that less efficient speakers have more bottom end, when driven by a higher wattage amp.

Since I have also recently learned about speaker placement and the incredible and wonderful sound changes I encountered, I have decided I want to keep my thumpy, bellowing and "big" Cerwin Vega D-8’s. Ok...I will concede, they do not have alot of detail...but, they do have a majestic tonal quality. I now want to defend them because they do have an individual sound that I enjoy. If i do replace my CV D-8’s i will seek out more high efficiency speakers, like ones in the Klipsch Heritage line, etc.

My point:
For traditional 2-channel, I have been looking at the Marantz PM 8006 w/ 70 wpc and a lower end PM 7000n w/ 60 wpc..I am also looking at Yamaha gear which are notorious for being too flat...hence the marketing term "Natural Sound". I see the Yamaha A-S301 at $549.00 60 wpc...and I am wondering if this model is just a disappointment waiting to happen. I am also looking at Denon gear...PMA 800NE at 50 wpc at $649.00 and the PMA 600NE at 45 wpc at $449.00.

Two sets of speakers to run simultaneously would be nice...but not a deal breaker.

I want to stay in the lower wattage range...because of my desire to stay with higher efficiency speakers. and $1500.00 is my limit.

As you can see, I am conflicted. i could go on and on...

I am looking at thoughts about wattage and amp / speaker matching and recommendations...and some insight that would talk me off the ledge. Maybe for my wants and criteria...my budget is too high?

Thank you.

What a hobby

vinylspin
vinylspin
Nominal impedance is listed on speakers. You should always match it to your speakers.

For instance, an amp will have a "safe" range like:

4 ohms to 16 ohms
8 ohms to 16 ohms
16 ohms or more

If the speakers have a high sensitivity rating, you won’t need a very powerful amp to drive them. Denon is a good brand, I like their products..
You want a SS integrated amp. 

70 WPC @ 8 ohms or less.

1500.00 or less.

I'd be looking at Parasound.

The Zpre3 and the matching amp (separates), BUT one of the best sounding setups for the money you can buy.

Remote, DAC, Sub out.. Pretty sweet.. Small footprint.. 50 wpc is a conservative number.. For the money.. Can't beat it.. Under 1K for the pair, maybe 1200.00 New.. dunno..

Find a bad review.. I haven't..

Regards
Hate to tell you, not one single thing you said is right. But the one thing you did get right is the most critical, to buy high efficiency speakers. So you are absolved.

In other words, the ONE specification that matters is speaker sensitivity. Get that one right- which you did!- and you can forget all the others. Any amp of any power will be fine, so you can forget all about watts and focus on the one thing left that matters: sound quality.

You drew the right conclusion but for all the wrong reasons. It is not that the amp gets tp "breathe" you can prove this with a glass jar, no amp ever made will suffocate and die. That's a joke, son. The reason those lower power amps sound better is simple. Anyone building anything to a price point has to make decisions where to put the money. Every dollar budgeted to high power is a dollar not budgeted to sound quality. It really is that simple.

Forget all specification. I am not kidding! Read reviewer and actual user comments. Find ones that describe the kind of sound you want and that is your amp. It really is that simple.


"I see the Yamaha A-S301 at $549.00 60 wpc...and I am wondering if this model is just a disappointment waiting to happen."

I doubt it. I know A-S 701 and it is great.
Thank you for all of the input within the responses.  

Ya know...humbly, I have to admit...  When disassembled, sometimes my opinions are basically conclusions based on assumptions, culled from points I have read, cobbled together from things that I suspect I know and believe.  I seek out this forum for this very reason.  I am glad that I was able to come up with something in my diatribe that resembled a truthism.  The details about wattage power and where the money goes is a solid point.

And...in other news...

I do realize that my thoughts and flagrant aspersion about the Yamaha AS 701 was a bit careless and I needed to make my point (albeit misguided) differently and in the form of a question: 

About my observation, I should have written: "When they apparently seem to be somewhat comparable units, I wonder why the Yamaha AS 701 costs half as much as the Marantz PM 8006"?   That is how I needed to pose that thought.

I so miss the days of stereo stores. Since we all cannot wander into a Cal Stereo, Rogers Sound Labs, Now Sound or Federated and all of the rest, anymore...to stand there to listen...I have found that I try to find answers and guidance in hastily gathered numbers...and as I seek control...I pore over the notes...I simply get tangled up in specs.

Thanks for the honesty and push back.  More reason to seek out this kind of forum and the seasoned knowledge within it. :)

Humbly,

vinylspin
Seek out a quality integrated amp from a specialty equipment manufacturer and not from the mass consumer based manufacturer. Having a little spare power is a good thing don't cut yourself short. 
vinylspin

I owned CV AT series back in the late 1980's to early 1990's.
My best friend at that time owned CV D-9 speakers. These loudspeakers are super-easy to drive from a amp's perspective. Concentrate on a quality Integrated (Ayre or Parasound). Have fun!

Happy Listening!
Might want to consider the Vincent 500 sold by Audio Advisor. It is a hybrid having tubes in the preamp stage, solid state amplifier. 

I own a Yamaha 701 and think the Yamaha A-Sxxx line to be good products for the price. 

What sources do you use? 

"I see the Yamaha A-S301 at $549.00 60 wpc...and I am wondering if this model is just a disappointment waiting to happen.


OP:  Where do you see the 301 for $549?  That piece goes for $349.

That was my mistake.  Undoubtedly confusing it with a higher priced model.  I stand corrected.
OP:  I think you'd be pleasantly surprised as to how good the 301 and 701 are.  I don't have experience with the 501, but like someone above said, they are good products.   There are a few online retailers that offer at least a 30 day trial.  If you don't like it, just pay for the return shipping.
Ah I had an old pair of Cerwin Vega AT-12s in college.  I paired them with a vintage Kenwood Tube receiver. It probably didn't have more then 20watts but I loved the sound and could play louder then anything in my dorm. After blasting it for a semester and a half the tweeter developed some nasty distortion and needed replacing so after that I kept the sound levels more modest but man did it sound good cranked up. While I think a good SS amp will work fine, I think you should try a tube integrated and get that fat, bouncy, lifelike tube sound that will probably make most of the other amps you mentioned sound a little dull in comparison. 

With a budget of $1,500 I'd get the Willsenton R8. It should be amazing with those Cerwins and if you end up upgrading to the Heresy one day, check out Steve Huff's R8 review on Youtube. He pairs the R8 with some Heresy IVs.      
Thank you all for contributing to my feverish desire to get the best sound I can chase after.  

After all of my discoveries about speaker placement and amps and gain... I would really like to delve into tubes  I was pondering a Dynaco PAS 3 x for a while and almost pulled the trigger...but I backed off for a few reasons...one being the ability to match it with my Yamaha M-70 amp...and the impendence issues.  I know there is a formula that makes it safe to match a tube pre with a ss amp...but...I got nervous.

But...in the last few days I realized something that surprised me.  I finally placed my Yamaha 200 wpc separates back into my primary system...taking out the stand-in Onkyo TX 8211 50 wpc receiver. I realized that the modest yet newer 1997-2008 Onkyo TX 8211 sounded BETTER than my 1983 Yamaha separates.  The Onkyo was fuller, "brighter", a more dynamic sound with a touch of color... Where the Yamaha separates where dull, flat without any...anything.  Just there.   Maybe on an oscilloscope, the Yamaha would shine with the specs...but my ears tell me my version of the truth. I know that "flat" response is the key...but the Yamaha brand didn't do anything for me.  Perhaps it is the 25 year difference in technology. between the Yamaha (back-in-the day-state-of-the-art) M-70-, C-70 and  the modest and newer (consumer-brand) Onkyo TX 8211.  I dunno.

I was thinking about a new Yamaha integrated,...but, I think a different brand is in my future. Perhaps Marantz..

The suggestions above sound great and compelling...yet...my next system...at this late date, will be my last.   Klipsch Heritage will surely be part of that system.  The Willenston R8 above surely got my attention... Maybe a ss hybrid with a tube phono pre? Hmmm.

Now.., I am rambling... I just wanted to share what my ears say to be true.

Thanks to all for your continuing help and support.  I wish I had some knowledge to share.

vinylspin
And...I do not mean to be brand-bashing Yamaha...which is a highly respected brand with precise, wonderful gear. I will concede that am not qualified in any way to offer a technical opinion about their model list. And...likely, my many years with Tinnitus probably doesn’t help my opinion either. I just sense that the ears are the way we move through this hobby...and I like lots of highs and lots of lows...the "musical" sound I think is the term I am looking for.

Thank you for tolerating my low grade, unqualified layman rant about my opinions.

vinylspin
There's not a single thing that's true in your "list".
IME if you want to keep the Vegas you want more power, not less. If you move on to something like the Klipsch different story. 
Go with the Marantz PM8006 and don’t look back! There is a reason that it has so many positive reviews and accolades.
The Marantz is built in Japan on their reference line and has really nice features including a pretty nice phono stage. It is a wonderful little integrated!
It may be more expensive than the others but you won’t regret paying for it one moment!