Yamaha A-S500 85WPC Easily Driving ATC SCM11 v2
Being that I commonly research for a long time before I buy I thought I'd provide a view to help others. I started my system with the following:
Yamaha A-S500 Integrated Amplifier w/85WPC
Marantz CD6004 CD Player
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1
Everything was wonderful but, of course, I wanted to improve upon what I had. I next incorporated Ascend Sierra 2 speakers. Sound was good. But, I later found my quasi-grail speakers, the ATC SCM11 v2, for sale here on Audiogon. I purchased the ATC speakers and fell in love. Everything was so detailed. You can hear every nuance from the instruments and everything is completely clear. For a week I did an A-B comparison between the ATC SCM11 and the Ascend Sierra 2 and the ATC's stayed. For me they were the best choice to hear detail in the music and they still disappeared and presented a wide and tall soundstage.
Knowing that my amp only provided 85WPC I invested in an Emotiva DC-1 DAC and Class D Audio 300WPC amp. I had researched all of these components for months, and installed them in my system, taking two-hours to set everything up, pretty much ready to box and store the Yamaha amp. I was anticipating the extra wattage being able to produce more bass and volume from the ATC speakers. It's been written that ATC speakers require a lot more wattage due to their sealed enclosures. The minimum recommended power is 75WPC so, with the Yamaha amp, I was only providing 10 more watts than minimally recommended
After two-days of trialing this new set-up I finally came to the realization that the Yamaha produced a much more enjoyable and detailed sound even though it was only 85WPC vs 300WPC. For my 14'x25' room it is plenty loud and I normally need to turn the volume down to listen at an enjoyable level Sure, I like to crank it at times, but the Yamaha can easily provide the power to push these speakers. I was so surprised that the Yamaha amp, a lower-powered WHATHIFI five-star winner, from 2012, would be able to best newer and highly acclaimed components.
The A-S500 is no longer available but a new version, the A-S501, is now offered with a DAC now part of the amplifier. I highly recommend this amplifier for most applications and it is a great value.