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Original Message

More confusion over pre-amps and amps for Maggie 3.6s

Posted by K-wey on February 1, 2012 at 09:03:49:

Returning to ask your advice and counsel, probably more like seeking counseling, on the topic of pre-amps and amps for my recently acquired 3.6s. Recall that I'm just getting back into audio after decades away.

My plan was to work backward from the 3.6s and buy better (mid-fi) components to drive them: pre-amps, amps, CD players, etc. But something odd has happened along the way.

I like the sound a lot better with a CD player directly into a power amp. Is this nuts? It's clearer and has a lot less compression that way.

Here's the part that has me seeking counseling. Just to hear some Maggie music till I get geared up, I'm running an old Technics CD player from the early 90s into a QSC RMX 1450 power amp that I pulled out of my band/studio's PA system. It's not even a "stereo" amp, but it's got two volume knobs, 400wpc, and there's enough oomph from the CD player to run the Maggies plenty loud.

(Maybe too loud - I've already blown a tweeter fuse once! - a heart stopper till I realized, a fuse died to save my tweeter ribbon.)

I've also played the same setup with (individually) these additions: (1) an EQ rack unit (2) a small mixer unit with pre-amp and EQ knobs (3) a dedicated PA pre-amp (4) my mainstay Yamaha AV receiver, 100 wpc, with all the Tone knobs.

Well, the various forms of pre-amps add some body and low-mid fullness, but they all seemed to take away some clarity and dynamics compared to the sound of the CD player directly into the power amp.

Questions, good sirs: Am I nuts? More to the point, should I keep planning to add a good mid-fi pre-amp and power amp at all? Will the pre-amp (I'm thinking Parasound 2100) just do the same fullness thing or will it be more transparent than all these low-end PA devices? Will mid-fi power amps (I'm thinking Parasound 2250 or Emotiva UPA-1 blocks) be clearer still than a noisy-fanned rack PA power amp?

Am I totally overthinking this? I'm guessing that some of these questions must have come up before, and before I spend a whole lot more money, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I know I'll have to go pre-amp if I ever want to hear my turntable, but the rest of it has my gear plans on "pause."

=K