When to Amp it Up?

Just wondering what events led others on the forum to upgrade amps?

What was lacking in your set up, or did something new come out to peak your interest? Any and all stories are welcomed, and recommendation always!

My situation is I love my system, but I feel my amplification might be my weakest link. However I’m struggling to find what exactly I’d be looking for in upgrading? I feel my Bi-amped set up really sounds good, but am looking at more up market amps (Parasound JC5 vs McIntosh MC830 mono blocks). Is more power always better, and should your amp ever cost more then your speakers?

Current Amplification

Dual Cambridge Audio Azur 851w set to Bi-amped dual mono (200w/8o, 350w/4o)


JBL L-100 Classic 75th Anniversary (4o)


Turntables are generally good enough to do just fine buying on looks. Anything else however and, good luck. The best value in speakers currently made are some of the least good looking, and if you want to try and buy amps based on how they look, well the best I can say is flip it around. Buy whatever sounds the best and take however it looks as small and relatively unimportant. Either that or plan on a lifetime of, "Here look at this picture of my system. Really wish it sounded as good as it looks, but I guess you can't have everything, eh?"

Here is something I've come to realize. What sounded good 10 years ago hasn't changed a bit. But my ears probably did. IF it sounded great 10 years ago and the gear you use dosen't wear out, what happened?

That's right MY ears have changed. The only thing that wears in my system now is surrounds for woofers and subs and valves in the valve gear..  The gear I used 35 years ago is just as good as the gear I use today, the only difference between then and now.. Everything has a remote. I have a remote for the remotes, I think..


I KNOW I have a remote for the robot to.  I know I do, somewhere..

Have you tried bridging your current amps as opposed to running them bi-amped? I'm not sure if it will be better or worse but given they are rated 4 ohm stable while bridged it is worth a shot. 500 watts 8 ohm and 800 watts at 4 ohm in bridged are some serious numbers. Especially given your speakers are rated at 90db.

For the record I have a JC5 and absolutely love it. It really brought my Revel F208 speakers to life. I upgraded from a low power integrated though so it was a substantial improvement.

Hi, I’ve got 3 integrated amps that I am comparing now.

I own 2 and a dealer has lent me a demo.  

Reason I have looked at a change is I got new speakers.  

The amps are PrimaLuna Evo 400, Coda CSiB and a Krell K-300i.  All are fantastic in there own way.  Synergy with amp / speaker match is key.  Krell’s new XD amps are known to pair really well with the speakers I recently bought and guess what, the Krell sounds the best.  Not because it’s better but because it matches up with the speakers needs the best.  The Krell also matches up with my sound preferences.

My new speakers are 92/93 db and are supposed to be easy to drive.  While all 3 amps drive them, the grunt of the SS amps brings out the best.  I’ve had lower sensitivity speakers that the Primaluna drives with as much or more authority than SS amps.  My recommendation echos others in that hearing, auditioning is key, specs on a sheet of paper often don’t really tell the full story. 

The new speakers I recently purchased are Alta Audio Alec’s.  Small boutique speaker brand, best speakers I’ve ever had.  Matched with the Krell, they are simply stunning.

Millercarbon - I am thinking of trying the Krell 300 xd - amp only, you spoke of the virtues of Integrated Amps being better than separate components.  If I went with the stand alone amp I would be hooking my streamer / DAC directly into the amp.   What’s your rational for Integrated amps being better?  Does that logic apply to SS or is that a comment specific to Tubes?  Wasn’t familiar with the Amps you referenced from the beginning of your audio journey, the more recent amps you referenced seemed to all be Tube Amps. 

Happy Holidays! 





@guy-incognito I am definitely gonna try bridging, I really like the improvement I got with Bi-ampimg, but absolutely have to see what my amps can do and exhaust all possibilities. As for you JC5 was there a long break in time, or since you went big out of the gates, did you here a big sound jump right away? How many hours do you have in on it?

@mm1tt77 I do like what I here from my XD amps and the Krell looks impressive. I think I am gonna make a long trek and try to listen to the JC5, MC830’s and whatever else said dealer has.

Has anyone changed out their amps based on changing of listening room dimensions? Presently I’m in a 15×15 room with closed double doors and 10’ ceilings. Moving in 5 months and then will be in a 20x40 room with 9’ ceilings and a open staircase.

Probably better for me to do an in home trial at my new place.