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Quiet PA amps
Quiet PA amps
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Old 4th July 2019, 09:58 AM   #1
kipman725 is online now kipman725  United Kingdom
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Default Quiet PA amps

I use my PA system as my home HI-FI and so have an interest in any PA amps that are close to silent. Also in many situations even in PA very noisy fans can be audible for some music genres. I thought it might be informative to share a list of amps that are both powerful and do not make excessive noise. An amplifier can be classified as quiet as long as the fan noise is not audible from 2m away during light usage. I'm not very keen on modifying amplifier cooling unless airflow capability is retained.

Not Quiet:
Behringer Inuke
Cloud VTX series.
Ecler pam 1400 power amplifier
Powersoft Duecanali 5204
Crown XTI series.
QSC RMX
Peavey IPR1600

Not a total racket:
Powersoft Duecanali 1604
Samson S2000 2*650W@8 ohms 2*1000W@4 ohms, 2000W bridge

Quiet fan:
Peavey CS800s
Yamaha Triple E series of amps(P, PC-1N, XP) E.G Yamaha PC9501N ~2*1500W 4 ohm
Yamaha P7000s (fan does not spin normaly, 2*1100W 4ohm - conservative rating)
Lab Gruppen E-series (2*200W 2/4/8/16 ohm)
Carver PM700 240W@8 ohms 325W@4 ohms (fan inside unit)
Samson SX-2800, 2*700W@8 ohms, 2*1000W@ 4 ohms, 2000W bridge
QSC USA 700, 2*240W @ 8 ohms, 450W@ 4 ohms, Bridged 900W
IMG STAGELINE: STA-2000D/STA1000D (fan does not turn on in normal use) (upto 4*500W, 4ohm)
Speaker Power SP2-12000-DP (2*6000W, 2ohms)
Crown XLS DriveCore 2 Series (up to 2*775, 4Ω (XLS2502 )) (fan does not turn on in normal use, multiple reports)
Dynacord SL Series (up to 2*1200W @ 4Ω (SL 2400))
Crown CTS4200 (4*260W 4ohm), (fans don't spin on my unit at idle - others report differently there may be firmware differences)
the t.amp TSA 4-300 4*550W (4ohm)
lab Gruppen C series (passive under low load)

Fanless:
Apart audio champ 2, 2*(180W 4 ohm, 120W 8 ohm)
Apart audio PA2120, 2*(120W 2/4/8 ohm, Small amount of mains transformer mechanical hum audible in silent room)
Stewart world 600 (2*190W 4 ohm)
Stewart world 1.2 (2*350W 4ohm)
Behringer A500 (~2*200W 4ohm)
Behringer A800 (2*250W 4ohm)
Crown K1/K2 (upto 2*1250W 2 ohm)
QSC 3500 (2*560W 4ohm, 2*700W 2ohm, possible transformer hum)
Samson Servo 550 (2*275W 4 ohms, 1*550 watts into 8 ohms (bridged mono mode) , runs hot when pushed)

Last edited by kipman725; 16th April 2020 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 4th July 2019, 12:33 PM   #2
indianajo is offline indianajo  United States
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Peavey CS800s the fan is inaudible at low power levels. I typically listen at 1/4 W base level with 70 W peaks on classical repretoire. 4th of July with the SP2 speakers on the front porch excepted.
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Old 4th July 2019, 12:39 PM   #3
conanski is offline conanski  Canada
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All of the Yamaha Tripple E series of amps(P, PC-1N, XP) are dead silent at low to medium output levels, these amps don't generate much waste heat and the fans are thermostatically controlled and don't run at all unless heatsink temps get too high. My experience with the P series is the fans don't run at all with 8 ohm loads as the amp never gets hot enough, and no these are not class D amplifiers the output section is class AB.
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Old 4th July 2019, 03:49 PM   #4
tonyman108 is offline tonyman108  United States
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Until recently I used the FOH amp racks from my ďA-rigĒ (6 Crown XLS2502s with 2x DriveRack 360 DSP) to run my 4 way large format monitors when Iím back in my rehearsal/mixdown/play space. I found that the fans never came on unless I was doing something so absurd that the fan noise was inconsequential. YMMV, as this system was pretty under-stressed.

I recently re-amped that PA with 3x Powersoft 1U amps and a single 4x8 Symetrix dsp to save space. The 2 channel 5204s that run the subs and mid-bass make an absolute racket even at idle. The fan in the newer-generation 4 channel 1604 that runs the mids and tweeters stays quiet at idle and doesnít ramp up much in use, but it is seeing a very light (and very friendly) load.

Between the weight, noise, and gain structure issues, Iíve given up on using that rack in the (second floor!) studio... although a long set of speaker cables would save the first two problems. Iíve started to build a dedicated rack with used Lab Gruppen E-series amps for the bottom channels and my last remaining Stewart World 600 (fan-less!) amp for the tweeters. That stack stays quiet at idle, but I havenít used it in anger yet... still waiting/waffling on which DSP to use before wiring it up.

I will let you know how the new rack works out, noise-wise, if it is of interest.
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Old 4th July 2019, 08:38 PM   #5
kipman725 is online now kipman725  United Kingdom
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Great info, even older amps are interesting as its not like I can afford anything high end and new for hobby.

Not amp related. The Symetrix 8x8 DSP has a tiny 40 mm fan that make more noise than almost all amps while not moving any air. I ended up cutting a large mesh window in the top of mine, putting it at the top of the rack case where there is a small space (~1/2 1U) then installing a 4*80mm fan, 2U back panel with eBay fan temperature controller. This means that heat buildup in the top of the rack is extracted. Judging by the front panel temperature of the DSP this is far more effective than the stock cooling.
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Old 5th July 2019, 06:43 AM   #6
chris661 is online now chris661  United Kingdom
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Just a quick FWIW, you can swap in silent 80mm fans. For home HiFi power levels, it'll be fine. For 2ohm/ch and clipping all night, the noisy fans will be required.

Chris
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Old 5th July 2019, 01:46 PM   #7
tonyman108 is offline tonyman108  United States
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If you are compiling a list that includes a category for amps that are not very quiet, I would add the Crown XTI series. The 6 XLS 2502 amps mentioned earlier used to be 4 XTI2002 and a pair of XTI1002s. This array was reasonably quiet at idle, but the amps driving the subs and midbass would get pretty audible when playing loudly. The noise was proportional enough to the load that I never felt self conscious about it at gigs, or even when using them when mixing in the studio, but it did come into play with recreational listening.

FWIW, a vendor once sent me a Behringer NU3000DSP amp by mistake... I was trying to buy a MeanWell 500 watt 12v power supply, and wound up with an amp instead. Not the kind of thing Iíd put into my rig, but it was so cheap I kept it and used it to drive the subs in my hot tub roomís sound system. Pretty good bang-for-the-buck (and better DSP than the Crown XLS 2 series), but obtrusive fan noise even at idle. I recently sold it to a budget- and weight-conscious client to drive some side fill monitors in their system. Iíve seen various fan and passive cooling mods published for that amp that address the noise issue, but I canít really imagine gigging with it.
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Old 5th July 2019, 01:58 PM   #8
kipman725 is online now kipman725  United Kingdom
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I have looked at the INuke schematics and construction and the fan mods are ill advised it needs those high airflow fans and for the 6000 the air has to go under the PCB. Also they should only be used on subs due to poor HF damping and hum from sensitive speakers. The fan control also appears to be designed to do a smooth linear ramp but due to design mistakes the gain of the slope is too high and it just fluctuates between low (6V) and high (12V). You have to spend a lot or have a massive rack to get more sustained LF power though.
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Old 5th July 2019, 02:09 PM   #9
Speedysteve7 is offline Speedysteve7  United Kingdom
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I use a Crown for mid bass (it's quiet fan wise - it's variable speed and for loads I drive it never kicks in - JBL 2220 15 " drivers on horns that are 110dB/W efficient. 90-300Hz duty.
It does suffer a little earth loop hum though!
Better SQ then a Behringer inuke!

On tapped horn duty I use a Cerwin Vega beast.
These use Eminence kappa pro LFII drivers and are 105dB/W efficient. 20-90Hz duty.
I modded the fans to run the at 6v (simply put them in series) rather than the full 12v feed each they came with.
Nice and quiet but keep their cool.
Absolutely no hum from this amp.

Last edited by Speedysteve7; 5th July 2019 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 5th July 2019, 06:20 PM   #10
Jsixis is offline Jsixis  United States
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Dead quiet Carver PM700 240 watts at 8 ohms 325 at 4 ohms, pretty sure there is no fan
Fairly quiet Samson S2000, great for home use because it is a boat anchor, no one wants to move this beast. 650 watts at 8 ohms 1k watts at 4 ohms per side, 2000 watts bridged
Samson SX-2800 class H design 700 watts at 8 ohms x2, 1000watts at 4 ohms x2 or 2000 watts bridge
I drive rock and country bands mains and subs with this amp and it just idles along, I doubt the fan even kicks on unless it is outside.
QSC USA 700 240watts @ 8 ohms stereo 4500 watts at 4 ohms, Bridged 900 at 8 450 at 16 ohms
Has limit switches for low freq cut off, off, 50hz or 30 hz, plus limiting.
You can find all of those amps for around $100 (maybe not the Carver but I only paid $200 for mine)
All of these will run circles around more popular power amps and at home levels the fans will not even be needed.
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