I am thinking of building the Orion speakers and running them with 4 stereo Gainclone amps with seperate PSU and seperate cases for all channels.Just wondering if any-body could give me any feedback on this idea
It's not a bad idea, but it's nothing revolutionary. Heck, I'm fairly certain that Linwitz himself suggests this- he even uses the LM3886 to power his Pluto speakers.
The two things left to examine in your case are:
1) Are the amps good enough?
2) How to hold them?
First, I think the consensus is that the amps can definitely sound good enough. They need solid design and construction, though, and the power supply can make or break the whole thing. I consider the Orion to be a tad on the expensive side, and I'd recommend that you use something more powerful than a simple gainclone. Look for at least 60 watts per, cool them adequately, and use a good power supply.
Second, seperate cases are good because then if you want to change things around it's easier. They're bad because they can be more work, and more surface area that's external and has to look nice. Also, if you want them to stack on top of each other you need to pay attention to heat removal.
So- I think this topic is dangerously close to being over-discussed, but has the potential to be something cool. Let us know what you end up doing, and have a good search of this and other forums.
I've been considering the same scenario. Although I've not made a decision yet about what to do, I am considering three possibilities:
Gainclone/3886 amplifiers: They are recomended by Linkwitz as a cheap but effective solution, but I really don't like the power limtation and the behaviour of those chip amps when driving at full power.(more likelly to happen on the woffers) THe good part is that it is cheap, and can be made with several different PCBs with different origins, including a few ones with buffers...(per-anders - sweden) It also requires DC-protection.
Tripath 41hz.com AMP1-b: These have about the same power as the 3886 gaincloines, but with better efficiency, and come with DC protection(highly recomended to avoid damage to the speaker parts, quite expensive in the Orion design). They also have the advantage of sounding very good for most people, and are regarded as high-quality amplifiers. The problem is that the same technology has one flaw: The louder you play, the less details you get. This is due to the kind of signal processing used on these chips.
UCD180: It lacks the DC protection of the above option, and is much more expensive. The good thing is that it sounds great, has excelent performance and THD numbers, a solid techincal background, and I already built two UCD400, so I know the modules are professional and good sounding(not sure how good, since I lack a super high quality speaker to test them...)
I'd say go for the cheaper, and if you really like the Orions, then upgrade latter to better amplification. I am almost set to get he AMP-1 B and upgrade latter to UCDs...
The chip amp approach is a good way to go. One of the common chip amps puts out more power. I believe its the 3886. Ninjanki has thought this through- probably you will only need to upgrade the bass amps if anything, but I'll bet you will be in no hurry to do so if you use a separate amp channel for each bass driver....
With the chip amps you can put them very close to the drivers, which is a good thing. Might be better to use a tall metal box right behind the speakers...
I am using now 4-channel UCD180 with my Orions mid and treble. Sound is amazing IMHO. I can do nothing but warmly recommend UCD with Orion I have not tried any "high-end" amps with Orions though. My previous amps were Creek 5350SE to tweeter and Rotel RB971 to mids. Especially in mids i found_very_big imrovement in every area of sound when i change to UCD. I am using now Rotel RB1070 in Orions woofer but i plan to build UCD400 amp for that.