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Old 29th January 2013, 10:23 PM   #1
dgta is offline dgta  United States
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Default Driving Acoustat Spectra 1100

Hopefully Acoustat Man will see this, but help from anyone is appreciated.

I just got a pair of Spectra 1100 speakers. Noticed they dip to 2 ohms in the upper frequencies. So I'm trying to figure out what to drive them with.

Will I be OK with a "normal" high power SS amp, or should I only look at amps actually rated for 2 ohm operation? Like maybe a Crown pro amp? I've got a Kenwood Basic M2A on hand, but would like to not fry it.

I don't plan on playing them super loud but they are in a large room (16x30) so will probably require a bit of power.
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Old 31st January 2013, 08:49 PM   #2
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You don't need an amp rated to drive 2-ohms, which is good, since very few amps are so rated. The very low impedance occurs at high frequencies where there is not much musical info, so the actual demands on the amp are not that great.

However, a robust amp is required to wring the best from the speakers, and there are many good choices. Start by trying the ones you have. I would recommend 100-200 watts per channel (8-ohm rating) from an amp that is rated to deliver close to twice that power into 4 ohms. Some amps may still have trouble if they have sensitive protection circuits.

Do remember that ESL's are relatively inefficient, so don't expect concert-hall levels from these speakers. The 1100's are capable of filling a medium sized room with quite acceptable sound levels.

Good luck with your new acquisition!
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Old 31st January 2013, 08:52 PM   #3
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Oh yes...Crown Pro amps may not be the best choice in terms of musical enjoyment. Although I have no personal experience with them, they are usually not on most audiophile's wish-list.
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Old 31st January 2013, 10:38 PM   #4
dgta is offline dgta  United States
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Thanks. I just ran it for a bit with the Kenwood Basic M2A, rated well above 200W @ 8 ohms and something like 350W @ 4 ohms. So far so good, but I've got the HF switch on the speakers set to "low" which is the highest Z position. We'll see how it goes. This amp has very high advertised damping ratio, which tells me it's got very low output Z so hopefully will be OK long term.

Sound levels are more than sufficient with this amp in my large-ish room. No problem there.

Last edited by dgta; 31st January 2013 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 31st January 2013, 11:59 PM   #5
fperra is offline fperra  United States
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I'm using QSC Pro Amps to drive my custom built bi-amp'd electrostatics and they sound fantastic. Don't rule out pro amps, they work just as good and in many cases better than so called "Audiophile" amps.
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Old 1st February 2013, 12:18 AM   #6
dgta is offline dgta  United States
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Yes, I have no problem with pro amps. They generally have very low out Z and are very sturdy, but I haven't found them to be lacking in audio quality at all, at least the better brands like Crown.
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Old 1st February 2013, 04:46 AM   #7
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OK, I'll bite... what the heck is "output Z"?

Aha! I just did a google search and found it... impedance. Got it!

Last edited by Frommerstop; 1st February 2013 at 04:50 AM.
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Old 1st February 2013, 06:47 AM   #8
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I have driven my Spectra 11's with regular home cinema receivers like Denon AVR-1611 (75W @ 8 ohms) and Onkyo TX-NR818 (135W @ 8 ohms) without any issues at all. My living room is quite small, about 200 sq ft, and I don't play super loud so that might help.

I can really recommend the 818, it has lots of power, the suberb Audyssey MultEQ XT32 caibration system and features bi-amping and digital XO of the front speakers.

Last edited by phazer99; 1st February 2013 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 1st February 2013, 08:40 PM   #9
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I drive a pair of 11s with a Hafler 500. I have replaced the power supply caps along with recapping the driver boards with higher quality caps. It sounds pretty nice and has plenty of juice. It does have a cooling fan which can be a little irritating.
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