Tony Aguire said:
Anyone have anything to say about Crown amps? I am looking to replace my recently toasted *sniff
* Pioneer receiver. I would like to step away from the bells and whistles of surround sound and get a simple 2 channel amp that delivers good sound quality and power.
I was running
1) Pioneer Dolby 5.1 110watts/channel driving two front channels and a center channel
2) Pioneer Dolby Pro Logic reciever (old) driving the rear channel at 100 watts per channel
3) a 150 watt powered sub.
Article number one is now dead, which I would like to replace. I would lose the center channel (no complaints) but would keep the rear channel setup and sub. I have a pre amp that can split the signals to the appropriate unit.
Thanks and clear skies.
Dunno how the new ones are rated nowadays, but in the past Crowns were well-respected commercial sound reinforcement amps.
Other well-respected commercial sound reinforcement amps I've had good luck with over the years, are Crest and QSC. I have a QSC amp I used for on-stage keyboard amplification more than 10 years and have used at home in the studio for about that long that still works good as new. Installed a stack of Crest amps at the old gig I worked, for main PA system, which has been running 6 nights a week for at least 20 years, no problemo.
If you can find an old JBL-Urie amp from the 1980's on, they run like gangbusters. Some of the JBL-Urie amps used complementary pair NPN-PNP output devices which gave slightly better distortion/transient performance with conservative biasing. I have a JBL-Urie out in my studio that has been trouble-free at least 25 years.
The closest thing I've seen to indestructible are the old Peavey CS800 amps. Peavey sold zillions of those thangs for many years, used and abused in zillions of nightclubs, saloons, and honky-tonks across the USA. Back when I was repairing commercial amps, in my area there were probably four Peavey CS-800s in use for every Crown, and I fixed lots more Crowns than Peaveys.
That is not to say that Crown was unreliable, but that model of Peavey was nearly indestructible. After I would repair an amp, the testing phase involved connecting a signal generator to the amp, and connecting the amp to big 300 watt ceramic load resistors, and running the amp near full power for awhile to make sure it doesn't get too hot.
Some "low distortion hi fi" amps, the heat sinks on the amp would get as hot or hotter than the load resistors. They would be dissipating more power inside the amp than they were delivering to the load.
The Peavey CS800 was just amazing. It would heat up the load resistors hot enough to burn all the dust off, too hot to touch, and the heat sinks would still feel cool to the touch.
Commercial amps trade off distortion against reliability. If you have an ultra-finicky incredibly low distortion amp, it will typically tend to run on the warm side and tend to die eventually. Commercial amps do not have high distortion, but the THD might be more in the ballpark of 0.1 rather than 0.001 percent. That allows a well-built design to run cooler and be more reliable, assuming it is competently designed and built.
Often if you want squeaky-clean, then the amp might need to go to the repair shop more often. Kinda like a sports car versus a dump truck. An honest THD measurement around 0.1 percent really doesn't sound that bad. Oftentimes consumer amp companies cheat on measurements, but commercial amp companies are typically pretty honest on specs, because they can be easily found out by their typical customers.
Just sayin, 200 watts from a good commercial amp is an entirely different beast than a typical 200 watt home amplifier.
If I needed to mail-order a new amp today, just lookin thru Guitar Center at likely-looking gambles, this is the cheapest one that looks worth the risk. It looks nearly identical to an older model QSC amp that has been very durable for me. Of course I'd do a lot more web research before pulling the trigger.