Well, all that matters is if it pleases YOU. I have no idea what the Crown sounds like. But to the folks who claim all amps sound the same it is no problem. For myself I would have to listen to it to decide.
From the general way folks talk about some products.. I know plenty of folks disparage my ( $5,000. ) amplifier because it is a 'Bryston'. They never listened to it. Enough folks like Crown amps that it may be what will work for you. So if you hear it and like it. No problem.
Over at Audio Asylum classifieds in the solid state amps are a pair of Marantz MA-500 for $275. which would be better perhaps. Here on Audiogon a B&K ST140 for $200 Aragon 2004 for $250 Adcom GFA535II $225 So plenty of used nice aamps around in your price range.
? Are you worried about a used piece breaking down?
Crown XLS series are very successfull models even for home audio. Fans will hardly ever engage for home volume levels and the noise floor is suprisingly low. Also you will have a great power drive, control, but with sacrifice to detail and transperency. It also offers balanced inputs you can use from your SIM preamp recommended.
Bryston amps have been raved about among home audio reviewers for years, and might be among the few brands that have successfully hurdled the "pro" vs. "home use" barrier. In recording studio use anyway...not so much in PA systems for various reasons (cost per watt, lack of internal heat dissipation fans, etc.). So, once again, Elizabeth is mistaken, and has given me another opportunity to question her sanity (I kid Lizzy...heh heh).
I know exactly what many Crown amps sound like as I've been using those and other pro amps for decades. All pro amps sound a little different, but I did recently notice when mixing a show using a cheap model of Crowns in a club (with main speakers and a mixer I was familiar with) that this particular version was less refined than other amps I'd used (QSC, older Mackie, etc.). Not much help maybe, but I own some well regarded PA amps that of course will work in a hifi, but have noisy (for home use) little fans and input level pots and stuff you may not want or need in your hifi (the Crown you mentioned is class D so is likely not running hot). Most PA amps lack the subtle tonal refinement evident in well designed home audio gear so you'll have to let your ears decide that one, but note that you could damage your audio geek credibility if you go with the Crown for hifi, so try not to mention it in forums...you've been warned!
The people who have "disparaged" the Bryston amplifiers are usually former owners or those with listening opportunities who have expressed an opinion based on their individual experiences. This is no different than any other brand, some will like what they hear and some won't. Bryston is no exception.
"Most PA amps lack the subtle tonal refinement evident in well designed home audio gear so you'll have to let your ears decide that one, but note that you could damage your audio geek credibility if you go with the Crown for hifi, so try not to mention it in forums...you've been warned!"
Just buy a $5000 power cord for it and you'll retain your audiophile street credit.
I'm not implying that Bryston stuff is universally accepted, or universally deemed unnacceptable, as that would be a condescending statement of the obvious and my audio geek bretheren deserve better. Or do they...hmm...
I would love to see the results of a "blind listening" shoot out between similarly powered high quality pro audio amps and extreme high end amps from somebody like Boulder or Constellation...somebody do this and report back to me.
Ddd1. Hanks for that great link. I have ordered the XLS1500 and should receive it next week. Looking forward to testing it out. If all else fails i'll sell it to the kid next door for his garage band. On second thought the suck and I don't want to hear them amplified. But reall thanks for the great info.
Well I have the XLS in play, and I am really quite please with the sound. I am listening to Steely Dan Aja right now, and it sounds as crisp and clear as the SimAudio amp that died. Who would have thought that a $300.00 amp would sound as good as a 2k amp. It just goes to show how much we are willing to pay for a shiny name plate and review. It is truly in the ears of the listener. Thanks to all who helped me in the great decision. I would recommend that anyone debating the purchase of an amp check out this alternative. If doesn't work for you, you have a 30 return without question and no restock fee. -Happy Listening.
I purchased a Crown XLS 1500 amp at Guitar Center (30 day money back) about 3 weeks ago.It has boat loads of clean power and is dynamic and detailed. I like it, and it cost $350 as they matched Amazons price. It's quiet, I don't hear the fan at all. Low noise floor,it's not a perfect amp, but it is very good. My 2 cents. Well worth the $350 for sure...
I also purchased the Crown XLS 1500, not primarily for 2 channel stereo, but for a small rehearsal PA system. On a whim, I decided to try it in my main living room 2 channel system. I currently use a pair of Channel Islands D-200 class D with a pair of SP Tech Timepiece 3.0 speakers, which are low efficiency but highly revealing speakers. The Crown sounded like a tin can. Then I hooked up an old pair of cheap high efficiency Tannoy PBM speakers and they sounded just fine. My point is that if you have really revealing speakers with neutral upstream components, then the Crown may not be a good idea. If you have less expensive speakers that are colored or warm sounding by nature, then the Crown may work just fine. It's totally speaker dependent.
My experience has been the Crown XLS1500 sounds superb with all my speakers. I've found the amp to be extremely revealing and delicate with gobs of power. A full and totally open sound. Very similar to my el34 based amp, but with much better grip on the bass. One thing I will say about the Crown, it needs about 400 hours,to totally open up. It will drive 2 ohm loads with 775 watts on hand, so hard loads are a piece of cake. This amp give you a type of sound that should not be had for $350, it is an exception. As always of course YMMV!
This may really spoil the party, but guess what ? Amps sound different, on different speakers, and different preamps. Example - I got rid of an Adcom 555 that was bright and hard, and 2 dimensional on my old Von Schweikert VR 4's I traded with a` local guy who had the Spectron Amp that Albert Von Schweikert suggested. He had Vandersteen 3's, and did not like the sound of the Spectron on them. I gave him my Adcom 555 and some cash, and he gave me the Spectron amp.
Once I got home, and played the Spectron, it was like my Von Schweikert VR 4's transformed. They became warm, rich, and so 3 dimensional, it was almost spooky!
Surprisingly, the guy I traded with called to THANK ME, for the Adcom 555 Said they transformed his Vandersteen 3's
Hard to believe, but true
The lesson here is, there are no shortcuts, you must listen to an amplifier over a period of time in YOUR system, with YOUR Preamp, and YOUR Speakers.