Studio power amp suggestion

6V6dude

Member
2014-09-09 11:07 am
I'm looking at getting a power amp for my studio to run my NS-10s. Normally I use old Yamahas or Quad 303 but they're old and need probably expensive service.
So I am looking for some cheaper modern replacement. I see power amps that fit to rack mount but I'm just not sure if the sound quality is good enough for studio monitoring. Those are Class D which I understand is mostly used for lower quality like powering PA etc. Example is this ART SLA-2 Studio. Once I did try Class D PA amp and didn't like the sound of it at all.
What should I be looking for that doesn't cost arm and a leg?
 
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1. With very few exceptions, Yamaha power amps from about '79 through the early '90s are really solid stuff and well worth restoring if needed (or at least selling to someone who appreciates them). Their performance still holds up well today. Since then, developments like Class G/H have enabled more power-efficient designs, and a Hypex nCore based Class D amp would deliver similar performance at a fraction of the power consumption, but that's something you'd see on your power bill, not hear. State of the art AB performance may have added one more zero but realistically speaking we are well beyond the limit of audibility at this point.
2. I don't think you need anything particularly fancy for NS-10s by modern standards. They're not likely to be your main monitors anyway, now are they? People bought them because they were representative for average consumer speakers 40 years ago, 'cause particularly good they certainly are not. (If memory serves, they don't do too well in frequency response and directivity. I would not be surprised if the drivers themselves were actually quite good, after all this was the same company that brought us the NS-1000(M) whose midrange dome remains one of the very best of its kind to this day. By the late '70s, speaker drivers could be truly excellent but whole speaker designs still tended to be more or less heavily flawed.)
3. As you don't seem to be afraid of stuff with unbalanced inputs, the field of potential candidates is quite wide. I might look for a solid upper-midrange A/V receiver of pre-HDMI times with low inherent noise levels (I guess you better stay away from H/K and Kenwood, as well as most other things boasting a line-in SNR of no more than 95 dB) and a Source Direct function. The advantage in having a receiver or integrated amp lies in having an integrated volume control, much like a traditional pro amplifier would have. Not every mixer output is super low noise.
4. In the unlikely event that these NS-10s are in fact your main monitors, I would look at some solid upper-midrange powered monitors from the last 10-15 years to complement them. Assuming a listening distance of maybe 1.5 m, JBL 6328Ps or 2328Ps, K+H/Neumann (O110, KH120A, maybe O300), Genelec, maybe some Yamahas (MSP7 or similar, perhaps HS8 or HS80M) - not sure what's floating around on the used market down under. This sort of stuff is a bit hard on the wallet when new and still not exactly given away used but decidedly more affordable then. You'll probably be drowning in the usual home studio stuff (KRK, M-Audio, Presonus, Mackie, lower-end Yamaha, Behringer, ...), but a lot of it may be better given a pass. I guess the current Mackie HR series is looking quite promising (word of mouth indicates low noise for one), and it's hard to beat Behringer 2031A (basically a knockoff of an old Genelec model) or JBL LSR305 on price/performance, but I'd really prefer something a bit higher-end.

If you are having to change things around, you might as well get some improvements out of it at the same time.
 
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6V6dude

Member
2014-09-09 11:07 am
I use the NS-10M but also use JBL SLR305. I'd use the NS-10 mostly for mixing, when I really need to know what's going on in the mix because they're so revealing, otherwise I use the JBL. I'd say 50/50.
But from posts here it seems I might be better off restoring my Yamahas or the Quad which does make sense since those are good amps. I'll get a quote somewhere and see if it worth it VS. buying new. I could recap etc my self but to do it properly it needs to be checked with scope which I don't have.
Thanks for the replies