Need Advice on Multi-channel Amp Choices.

Hi All, basically I am in need of a new Multichannel power amp for my room.

Setup consists of 7.2 configuration

  • Arcam Av950 preprocessor
  •  Monitor Audio Platinum Pl300 fronts
  •  Platinum pl350 Center
  • 4 x Gold GXFX Dipole Surrounds
  • Dual Monitor Audio Gold Subwoofers. 

My listening is 50 / 50 HT and Music. Music is 50 percent 2 channel and 50 % multi-channel sacd's.

Room Dimensions are 20ft long and 13ft wide.

Basically I have my eye on a number of used options but no way to Demo them.
  1. Earthquake Cinenova 7 Grande
  2. Audiocontrol Savoy G3
  3. Classe CA-5100

All of the above are pretty close in price, a shade over 2 grand. The Audiocontrol is new, The Earthquake 2 years old and the Classe from 2010. I am struggling to make a choice between them. Anyone got experience with these models, need a push to make a choice, thanks.

I was just looking around and came across this Classe CA-5200. It is twice as much as your budget (around $2k), but it has a shared power supply twice as large as the CA-5100 -- at 200w/ch 8ohm, 375w/ch @ 4ohm. It’s expensive, but if you were liking the idea of Classe brand, you could look at this. It is a beast at 121 lbs (like the Theta Dreadnaught), but I think it will do better because of it’s huge shared power supply - akin to the Krell Theater Amplifier Standard.

It's on the Echo hifi website, but it seems that Audiogon won't let me paste the direct link.
I’m not sure about the nCore, but as for the ICEPower units, I would say that’s true, they really don't add anything to the signal so if you need warmth or liquidity added these are b. .... however....

Using my current reference speakers I could not tell a musical difference between an ICEPower 250ASP and Parasound A23. The A23 is often described as warm, and my system is as well by listeners who do not kwow what the amps are.  My sources are a Mytek Brooklyn DAC feeding a Parasound P7. I could see myself trying out a tube preamp here or there to add some liquidity to the top and magic to the midrange, but the sound is most definitely not lean or soul-sucking like I have heard some mass produced processors to sound. I’m pretty happy with what I have, but tubes are tempting. :)  I have heard from a couple of users who attempted to use the ICEPower amps directly from PC sources, that did not go very well for them, I'm afraid. :D

Certainly for movies I lack nothing. Engagement, dynamic range, dialog intelligibility and transparency across the audible range are excellent.

Some of this may have to do with having relatively easy to drive speakers. Min 4 Ohms, and 8-10 in the treble, where I have read at least 1 complaint of the ICEPower units with Maggies. The ribbon tweeter in Maggies becomes inductive, while my speakers use an AMT which remains resistive from the crossover frequency upwards. It may very well be that there is some speaker dependent behavior. On the other hand, the Monitor Audio speakers are fairly straightforward to drive and nCore have an even lower output impedance than the ICEPower units.

My surrounds are even easier to drive, remaining around 8 Ohms through the midbass, and min 6 elsewhere.

So, to sum it up, if you have reasonably normal speakers without reactive tweeters and your sources have all you need in terms of warmth, tone, etc. I think the current batch of Class-D amps is an excellent choice, and the NAD 7 channel nCore a fabulous bargain.



Thanks for all the great responses, this forum is always a wealth of information, even though a lot of it goes a bit  over my head.

Well,I made my choice today and the winner was the Classe CA-5100 which is now  hooked up on my rack.

Since everyone was so kind in suggesting pros and cons I will explain my choice.

Firstly the ones that I did not buy. The Earthquake BR Grand 7 looked great on paper but the prospect of lugging around a 145lb amp and finding a rack that could support it and shipping fees if it was not working etc... just ruled it out for me.

The Audiocontrol was an interesting prospect and I could get it at just over half retail new. New is always good for warranty and out of the box experience. However its design seemed to be an update of the old Arcam P1000 albeit with more power.  What scared me off the Audiocontrol was again the complete lack of reviews of any kind and also the prospect of it being impossible to sell in the future and the class H topology as I am primarily interested in music, stereo and multi-channel.

Now, onto the Classe. The seller was local, original owner and the unit was mint, complete and 6 years old. As Auxinput noted the class A bias on the delta series is likely a nice complementary feature considering my choice of prepro. I reasoned that in the event of upgrade ( Which we always do despite our best efforts not to...) the classe is a far easier resale proposition than the other two. Also I need seven channels so a Ca-2200 would make a nice addition in a year or so. I have the surround rears covered with a NAD which only triggers when I have my bluray input selected.

After a quick listen to my got to 5.1 SACD Avalon by Roxy Music , I was instantly put at ease in terms of choice. I have listed to this disc perhaps 300 times and know it from start to finish. The Classe does a wonderful job and the improvement was instantly apparent over the NAD T955 which was serving as a stopgap solution. I only had a small window to test until real life interupted my listening test.  Anyway, Thanks a lot for all the advice.

Glad you got something you can appreciate happily for many years! :-)

Thanks for letting me play.