Intigrated Amp Dilemma


A little background:

I am currently using a Parasound Halo Integrated amp driving a pair of Golden Ear Triton 2 speakers. I noticed when getting the volume up to a really good level, the amp strains a bit and the sound gets thin.  I am talking at most 93-95db but usually I listen at less than 87db.

Very shortly, I will be moving my Golden Ear Triton 1 speakers into the system where the Triton 2 speakers resides as I am taking delivery of the new GE References in a week or two. I do not think the bigger Triton 1 speakers will be a great match with the Parasound integrated, I will probably sell the Triton 2 speakers.

I am thinking of buying a better sounding integrated with a bit more power and more reserve power. I would need 3 line inputs (single ended) and a built in dac. I am NOT interested in any Class D amps. I want to keep it around 5-6K new Can I be pointed in the right direction please?

Thank you!

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How do you know it's the amp and not the loudspeaker or some room interaction?
I have already gone through all of that, it is the amp.  I want something better, any suggestions?
You might think of moving the speakers closer to the wall or the corner to bass load the speaker to sound a little less thin and try some tubes I have a Rogue Audio Cronos Magnum
Pass Labs
https://www.passlabs.com/amplifier/int-150

Pass Labs
https://www.passlabs.com/amplifier/int-250

@tomstruck

My last integrated amp I used upstairs was a Rogue Cronus Magnum 100wpc amp with the KT120 tubes. The solid state is fine, it’s just when it is really pushed. Don’t forget, the Triton 2 have powered woofers so I am only driving 2 midranges and the folded tweeter. The bass is excellent even when pushed, it’s the mids and highs which get thin.

I am willing to spend up to 6 K new as long as it has 3 single ended aux inputs and a built in dac with an rca input. It also needs to be at least 200wpc and not Class D.

 I can't get the speakers any closer to corners and closer to wall due to slant of ceiling where speakers are located.  There isn't enough height.

@dill 

Would truly love that amp but its double what I can spend.   I already spent 8K on the Triton References so my funds are limited.

There is a Cary amp I may look into.  Its a SI-300.2D class A/B integrated with enough inputs, power 300wpc, and an AK built in dac.  It's 6K retail.
@stereo5 

You already know we have the same speakers, and have similar musical taste, so I might as well recommend the amp I use.

You may want to consider a Musical Fidelity M6si.
http://www.musicalfidelity.com/products/m6series/m6si

Well within your budget, plenty of power, has a built-in USB DAC and plenty of inputs.
I am honestly pretty surprised. That is a pretty beefy integrated.

However your description of the sound quality is very close to my only experience with those speakers.

Best,

E
I would recommend a Hegel H360 but I'm  not sure how many single ended line inputs it has.

I will not recommend Gryphon Audio Diablo 120 for double your budget or so. I will not do it.
The OP says when he takes it up to 93-93db, the sound gets a little thin. That's odd because those speakers have a sensitivity of 91 db, so at 95 are drawing around 3-4 watts, depending on size of room and distance from speakers.   

The speakers do have an impedance curve that goes down to 4 ohms or so, which shouldn't be a problem for the Parasound.  That said, the  Triton 2 apparently have a power rating of up to 500 watts.

I am not sure what thin sounding entails.  This description seems to be popular these days around here, can someone throw me a bone?

Other than that, I really don't think it's the amp, especially at that volume level.  But if the OP really wants one, since the speakers can handle 500 watts, moving up to separates might be a thought.  
The Modwright KWI -200 is a really good IA, it has plenty of good clean power to drive virtually any speaker with ease. Like the Pass & MF IA's, the Modwright has plenty of inputs and has room for a DAC module if you prefer. 
If you think more power is the cure all,you should get a larger amp and use the Parasound preamp outs using it as a preamp. I doubt there is going to be any difference with your 160 watt IA amp or a 200 watt IA amp that you are looking for. You should get a power amp with a miniumum of 300 watts if you need another 3 db of power!
The OP says when he takes it up to 93-93db, the sound gets a little thin. That’s odd because those speakers have a sensitivity of 91 db, so at 95 are drawing around 3-4 watts, depending on size of room and distance from speakers.


Exactly the problem. This sounds much more like driver compression than amp issues.

I could not find linearity (i.e. compression) measurements for the T2, but the T and T3+ are posted, and they are particularly bad in the treble region.

http://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1589:nrc-measu...

Apparently not everyone is as sensitive to this problem as I am, and I am very very sensitive to it. :)

Best,

E


Spell check your headline..........
This may be a redundant answer but is the halo class a for a few watts and when you leave it your getting the thin sound.

@zimmerma 

Are you the spell check police?

use the halo as a preamp to drive the parasound a21.  it stays in class A mode much longer than the hint.  
Don't want to do that.  I have separates in my main system.  I want this system to use an integrated.  I am currently looking at a Cary  SI-300.2D 300wpc  integrated amp.
Highly recommend McIntosh MA7900. Meets your requirements and plays well with GE speakers.
Well, the bottom line is the Parasound integrated amp is not straining as stereo5 supposes. 

Again, what does "thin sounding" sound like?

@213runnin

How would you know unless you heard my system, and I do not ever remember inviting you over for a listen? I have been in the high end hobby for over 45 years, I think I can correctly assess my system better than someone who perhaps heard it in their dreams.

Thin to me means sounding congested in the upper registers and the music loses some of its body.

It sounds like the OP already has an in-depth knowledge and experience in the audio gear so I'm not sure exactly what type of input he's looking for. That said, if it were me, I would not necessarily look for more wattage as most (other experts) have pointed out. I would either look for an integrated that can double the power as the impedance is halved, e.g., Ayre, Pass, etc., or the MA7900-like unit I'd mentioned earlier with autoformers. Hope this helps.
Well Stereo5, as long as the volume level you’ve described is accurate at 93-95 decibles, and as long as your speakers are working correctly, then it’s simple math. You may have been in the hobby for 45 years, but if you can’t understand the basic concept that I laid out, then you have more to learn.

Your speakers will produce 91 decibels at one meter distance with one watt. It’s just simple science. So depending on how many meters back from the speakers you sit, and how you measured the volume level of 93-95 decibels(or were you guessing?), the Parasound amp is putting out 2-8 watts or so per channel. It’s not straining, believe me.

What is possible is that you don’t like the sound of either the Parasound amp, or the speakers, or the result of the combination of the two. But that amp is not straining.

You mentioned having another system, perhaps you could pair your Triton 2 speakers to that amp, and see if you prefer that sound, if you haven’t already. If you like it better than the Parasound, then buy the other brand.

There is nothing wrong with the speakers, I already put the speakers in my main system and they sound fine. 
Sounds partially like a synergy problem to me. You seem to prefer the Rogue sound in your Reference system over the Paradigm sound in your office system. But I also assume your source and such in your office system are not as competent as your main system.
Make sure the sub & pre output switches are turned off if you are not using them. Check the voltage switch on the rear panel to insure that is correct. Then double check to make sure both speakers are wired in phase. If so, reverse the +/- wires at the speaker or amp end whatever is most convenient. If that doesn’t change things, try one out of phase speaker at a time. There is always an outside chance the speaker posts where wired wrong at the factory. I would also try a different set of speaker cables or power cord to see if that changes things.

Main system is a VPI prime TT, Rogue rp5 tube pre, Sony HAP-Z1es music player, Esoteric UX-3 sacd player Odyssey Stratos extreme+++amp, GE Triton 1 speakers (soon to be replaced with the References this weekend).

Secondary system is a Parasound Halo Integrated, Sony HAP-Z1ES music player, Cambridge audio CXC cd transport, magnum dynalab tuner, GE Triton 2 speakers.  Both setups use Groneberg Quattro Reference speaker and audio cables and Shunyata power cords and Shunyata Hydras.


The room is just too big being 50 by 60 with 18 foot high ceiling, plus dormers and many angles.  I will be putting the Triton 1 in the secondary system as soon as I get the References hopefully this weekend.

I suggest you call GE and ask their recommendation for which of their loudspeakers would work well at high volumes in your room's dimensions.
I am sure the Triton 1 will be much better in that system once my References come in.  I am holding off buying an integrated until I attend the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest this October.
Let me know when you are ready to sell your Parasound. 

@outtabooklyn

No problem, getting my GE REeferences delivered tomorrow, so will be moving my Triton 1 to the system with the Parasound.  I'm going to keep my Triton2 until I am positive I like the changes.  I truly can't wait for Rocky Mountain Audiofest as it will be my first time going.  Hopefully there will be different intigrateds I can listen to.

Hi Stereo Five,

I am a Lyngdorf dealer none the less this is what you should know.
The best amp for you to use will be the Lyngdorf TDAI 2170.
It is one of the best sounding integrated amplifiers regardless of cost plus it has an extraordinary DAC built in.  It also includes Room Perfect which is the knock out punch.
It will give you flat frequency response in your room for as low as your Golden Ears can go and negate what your room is doing to preventing you from having great sound and imaging. 

Did I mention it is $5000 delivered to your door.
This is a Digital Amplifier so it doesn't have any of the bad qualities people associate with solid state amps nor does it have the negative qualities that tube amps have.
It is completely silent no hum ever. It also has an electronic crossover network built in if you want to run subs with your Golden Ears.  

The room perfect will provide the exact voltage you need at all frequencies which means it won't ever sound thin.

Should you be a turntable guy, the upgraded analog inputs are wonderful.

All of this for only $5000 delivered to your door.

Take a look at the Simaudio Moon Neo 340i which is what I use. It’s in your price range and has optional DAC and phono stage modules. Dead neutral sounding, excellent soundstage and imaging.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/moon-simaudio-neo-340i-integrated-amplifier

Having owned three pairs of Triton 2's and too many integrateds to remember them all I can attest that the Halo Integrated is a fine piece of machinery and likely not the problem.  Although I did not own both the HINT and the Triton 1's at the same time I do recall the Triton 1's never sounding enjoyable at loud listening levels regardless of amplifier. I believe I had Krell separates and a Simaudio integrated at the time and likely others as I usually have several on hand.

I currently use a Halo Inetegrated to drive a pair of NHT 3.3's and it does so effortlessly.

See you at the RMAF. 

David

If you don't have to have new, find a used Krell FBI. Class A. 300 watts/channel. Designed when D'Agostino was still at Krell. 

Check out the Octave Audio line of integrated amps, some of the best on the market. I have a client with your GE speakers and a V80se, he loves the combination!

Just another line to consider, the V70se and the V110se would be in your budget range. I have had the line for six years and could not be happier with the results from build quality down to performance.

One of the best tube int-amp's on the market. Not heard everything, but have definitely heard quite a bit. 

Tony
Stereo5,

I don't know your equipment but have just learned a great deal about room size.  We moved to Florida three years ago and my system went from a 13x20x8 living room to a 20x30x12 room and was completely lost in that space.  Had to move up to Sasha's and a 350 wpc amp in addition to a JLA 13" sub to properly pressurize the room.  The only other good sounding option was true near-field listening.  

Good luck... enjoy the process.

There are today quite a few really integrated amplifiers out there.  It is unfortunate that they are also quite expensive.  I was fortunate to be able o aquire a couple of years ago a demo Rega Osiris integrated from a nearby audo dealer for abut 34% of it's list price of $9995 I believe.  It might not be the very best solid state integrated amplifier out there but for it's list price is not a bad deal.  t just over a third of list price it would be very hard to ewual. let alone surpass.  My point is, if possible to look out for those real good deals that come up from time to time.  Anyway, I presently have a truly great integrated amp in near mint condition which I use to drive a Stax electrostatic headphone system with.  But that is another story..  With 160 watts per channel to simply drive a very easy to drive pair of headphones is something else.  Which is a subject that I have never herd or read about.  But for listening to rock and roll-just think about it.