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#96215 - 05/25/05 01:25 PM Choosing a new amplifier
TomMystery Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 4
I currently have a Rotel RC-995 preamp powered by a Rotel RB-990BX Amplifier and I am thinking of upgrading the amplifier to something better. My choices right now are the following: A Aragon 8008MKII or a Bryston 4BSST, I cannot audition either of these amplifiers even though I can get them for a killer price. I have forever been trying to read through reviews but I haven't been able to find anything that points to one over the other. Except for the fact that Lexicon uses Bryston technology, and the Brystons have a 20 year warranty as well as a extremly low THD of <.007%. They will be driving two Axiom M80Ti towers in a stereo system. Let me know what you guys think.

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#96216 - 05/25/05 10:35 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10398
Rob, there would appear to be a question as to whether there would be an "upgrading" in reality. If your 990BX is still in good condition you should be getting excellent results with your M80s. The 990BX is rated at 330 watts per channel into 4 ohms. Extremely low THDs are fine as an exercise in technological excellence, but what you already have is far below audibility THD-wise.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#96217 - 05/25/05 11:57 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
NeverHappy Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/12/03
Posts: 1424
Loc: Western Canada
I agree with JohnK. I think what you have now is more then enough but if are set on dropping some cash, for me at least the Bryston wins hands down. I have owned both and vastly prefer the Bryston line.

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#96218 - 05/26/05 03:05 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3188
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
TomMystery,

Brystons are very rugged and built to last for many years, although you kind of pay for the 20-year warranty up-front, given the Bryston prices.

Like JohnK, I really doubt that you'd hear any audible differences from your current gear. We (myself, other audio golden ears and Floyd E. Toole, did exhaustive double-blind comparisons of many solid-state power amps, including Brystons and even a big old Macintosh tube amp--it measured very flat--using musical material of all kinds and we did not detect audible differences as long as the amps were not driven into clipping).

Those tests were done 15 years ago or more, but nothing of consequence has changed in good solid-state design. Until someone demonstrates to me audible differences with music when all factors are controlled, I stand by our findings of those NRC tests.

Regards,

_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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#96219 - 05/26/05 09:07 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
ratpack Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 1155
Loc: Alabama
Alan: could you post a copy of those tests?

I would be interested in seeing it.
_________________________
The Rat. M80s, VP-150, QS8s, SVS PC 20-39+, OPPO, Onkyo 703s, Harmony 880 Sony 60" SXRD HDTV

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#96220 - 05/26/05 09:42 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
TomMystery Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 4
Are you saying that tests proved that there was no difference between the $1200 amplifiers and the $4000 higher end equipment? I have a/b'd some other amplifiers, and I have always heard a difference in the way that the music was played back, a different type of coloration. For example, before purchasing the rotels I had an ancient onkyo, and there was alot of THD at higher volumes but the sound was alot more "boxy" whereas compared to the rotels. The reason I wanted to upgrade was because I have been able to audition the bryston and compare it to the amplifier I have now, by bringing my amplifier to the listening room at a local dealer, and the bryston sounded alot more crisp and neutral then the rotels. An overall cleaner sound. My friend has a pair of Aragon 4004mkII and they sound cleaner as well. I suppose my question is what is probably better for me to buy. At the moment I am probably opting for the Bryston, because I have had a chance to compare it with my rotel and I know how it sounds. The 8008MKII on the other hand is a bit of unknown territory.

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#96221 - 05/26/05 10:14 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
ratpack Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 1155
Loc: Alabama
Tom: that's exactly what he is saying. The human ear is only so sensitive to distortion. I don't remember the exact numbers, but human hearing has been measured. Once you get past a certain number in distortion, additonal reduction simply can NOT be discerned by the human ear, even though you may be able to measure the difference with electronic test equipment.

That, my friend, is FACT not FICTION.

Maybe someone on the board has the human hearing numbers that they could readily post.
_________________________
The Rat. M80s, VP-150, QS8s, SVS PC 20-39+, OPPO, Onkyo 703s, Harmony 880 Sony 60" SXRD HDTV

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#96222 - 05/26/05 10:45 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10398
Bernard, again we run into the old problem that impressions formed from informal listening may not reflect reality. In a presentation to an AES meeting on the necessity of carefully controlled blind testing, Dr. Toole emphasized the point with the comment that "If you can see what you're listening to, you can't hear it". Alan has simply described what we've learned(at least those of us willing to learn)about amplifiers. If you haven't studied it before you may find the Stereo Review amplifier blind test report to be informative. Note among other items that a correctly designed $12,000 pair of tube amplifiers(i.e. they didn't have a flawed "tube sound")were indistinguishable from the $220 Pioneer receiver, as was the $2,000 Mark Levinson. It's also notable how the clear differences reported before the blind sessions began disappeared once the participants actually had to "trust their ears".
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#96223 - 05/26/05 11:44 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
BrenR Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 3602
Loc: Winnipeg MB Canada
In reply to:

I have a/b'd some other amplifiers, and I have always heard a difference in the way that the music was played back, a different type of coloration. For example, before purchasing the rotels I had an ancient onkyo, and there was alot of THD at higher volumes but the sound was alot more "boxy" whereas compared to the rotels.


Strange that you bring out the term THD immediately... that's a measurement, not a subjective term like "noise." Much like upon listening to a car driving past, I'd say an engine was making lifter noise, not that the oil pressure sounded to be 220 kilopascals.

And no, I'm not saying you didn't hear a difference, but unless you compare apples and apples, and match all the levels before testing, it's not an accurate side-by-side. For instance, in blind testing, if you set it up so the box store receiver plays louder, most humans will choose it as the better sounding source.

To quote Ministry "The Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Taste"

Bren R.

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#96224 - 05/26/05 11:45 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3904
Loc: Up yonder
Alan’s referring strictly to amps, correct? That I buy, but if you start bringing pre-amps and other gear that can screw with the source signal prior to amplification, I would be prone to disagreement.
_________________________


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#96225 - 05/27/05 01:29 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Get a bunch of T Amps for $20 each, and some 13.8 volt power supplies for another $20 each.

I have a good friend who sold an ATI monster 5 channel amp and replaced it with a Parasound Halo monster 5 channel amp. The parasound runs hot. He misses the ATI. You may want to check out their amps if you want something that will sag your floor and have the capacity to output more watts than you'll ever use.
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#96226 - 05/27/05 07:18 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
ratpack Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 1155
Loc: Alabama
Thanks John for the link. I am going to read it more carefully. Over the past 40 years, I have seen numerous articles that scientifically and accurately describe the problem. However, there are those that somehow convince those (with money) that there are differences.

Oh well, that has not changed in 40 years and probably will NOT change in another 40 years.
_________________________
The Rat. M80s, VP-150, QS8s, SVS PC 20-39+, OPPO, Onkyo 703s, Harmony 880 Sony 60" SXRD HDTV

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#96227 - 05/27/05 09:50 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
Not to shake the boat, but I am often really surprised from this forum guys: all these theories have been trashed here: Speaker cables don't make any difference in sound, interconnects have nothing to do with sound, power amps sound all the same and can only differ at deafening listening level when they start to distort, none of audio equipments need to break in, no need for line conditioners/power protection, barewire is the optimal connecting method with speaker cables, biwiring doesnt do anything,...... Come on guys!!! Should we just purchase one of those mini systems instead??!!
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#96228 - 05/27/05 10:09 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17783
Loc: NoVA
I think you can safely preface all of that with "when you're using quality components." Mini systems ain't.

Boy, it's going to be a fun weekend, isn't it...
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#96229 - 05/27/05 10:22 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
Mini system is just for comparison by the way. Yet when you use the term "quality component", this term is relative depending on different people perceptions, meaning that different people have different opinions and experiences with speakers, speaker cables, power amps, etc..
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#96230 - 05/27/05 10:30 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
bigjohn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 3016
Loc: San Angelo, TX
it is MY opinion, that EVERYONE has their own opinion, and they often vary from my beliefs. so, i believe what I choose to, i try not to criticise others for their beliefs, and just turn up the volume knob til it sounds good.

problem solved with much less headaches!!

bigjohn
_________________________
EXCUSE ME, ARE YOU THE SINGING BUSH??

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#96231 - 05/27/05 10:31 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17783
Loc: NoVA
I'm going to leave the cables aside for the moment and point out that mini systems use terribly low quality components and amps. Of course they're going to sound unimpressive. Hyperbole will not help your argument. Compare a Yamaha and a Denon in pure direct mode at volume equalized levels in a double blind test, and you most likely will not hear a difference.
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#96232 - 05/27/05 10:42 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
I agree re Yamaha and Denon. But when you jump to Rotel... I remember when I first bought my first Rotel piece: receiver RX-1052, I listened to it at a demo showroom at my dealer's shop compared with Yamaha stereo receiver (RX 777 I believe, even though not sure for the model, which by the way was my first choice before discovering Rotel). I was able to tell the difference 8 times out of 8 in a blind test with same speakers and cd player using dealer's switch.

Anyway, I think everybody's experiences are unique, all should be able to trust their own ears and get what pleasure them, be it an expensive speaker cable, interconnect, power amp etc. or a consumer market one.
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#96233 - 05/27/05 11:09 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
RickF Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 5210
Loc: Vero Beach, Florida
Do speaker cables, interconnects, seperates vs non-seperates and etc...really make a huge difference in sound? Who knows!

My personal theory is if I have a budget which affords me good quality audio/video equipment, why not top it off with some good quality accessories? Even all the while I'm knowing for a fact that some of this gear I'm using to accessorize my system doesn't do a thing better than some run of the mill gear. I buy some of these accessories because they make my system look as sharp as it sounds while being functional, and to me, that means a lot...within what *I* would consider a reasonable budget.

I'm getting ready to put some money into a nice power conditioner, not because it's as magical as some claim but because at this point I can afford one and I personally like the way it organizes the place, nice and tidy.

I do like coming over here to this site because there is a chock full of info from you all and for the most part most everybody here is looking for the best bang for the buck.

Everybody have a good long weekend and drive safe!
_________________________
Rick
Our Room

smile

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#96234 - 05/27/05 11:24 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
Ric - BrotherBob: I exactly act like you when purchasing audio equipment, as soon as I have some money aside, I try to maximize my listening pleasure, sometimes I get something functional sometimes I upgrade, and true sometimes I see improvement sometimes I don't. The final conclusion is that I have an expensive system now (to my standards of course) and am always stunned when I seat down to listen, so great it sounds. I am actually proud of myself, I can listen at my place to such a great quality I had only listened to some high end audio stores before. And of course it is always this "upgradatis" bug around, but I am set for now.

By the way, my last piece I received is a Belkin PureAV PF60 power console. It is Belkin top of the line, I got it online brand new for less than half of its MSRP price of $750. Could I do without it? of course yes, but since I had the money why not!! It looks so cool and everything seems to be more organized now at my stand. It is also fun to see through its LCD the power reading, amps per each port. Also I have a better piece of mind regarding protecting my expensive system. The question would be: has it improved the sound of my system? Probably not, for what I've listened in these two days since I got it. However, I did not expect it to do so anyway, or I would probably tell some improvement later. Important is that it did not seem to refrain my 200 wpc RB-1080 (rotel), as I had read the case is with power conditioners and high current power amps.
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#96235 - 05/27/05 11:26 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3904
Loc: Up yonder
let me know what conditioner you go with, eh? I need one.
_________________________


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#96236 - 05/27/05 12:41 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
RickF Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 5210
Loc: Vero Beach, Florida
In reply to:

By the way, my last piece I received is a Belkin PureAV PF60 power console. It is Belkin top of the line,




Actually I've been checking the PureAV units out as well, also I have the Panamax 5300 in mind as well...or something similar.

How's the PF60 looking paired up with the Rotel gear? I'm betting the silver matches up quite nicely!
_________________________
Rick
Our Room

smile

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#96237 - 05/27/05 12:44 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
bigjohn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 3016
Loc: San Angelo, TX
In reply to:

Panamax 5300



i believe 'whatfurrer' has a panamax power console. he seemed to be pleased with its performance when i talked with him about it..

bigjohn
_________________________
EXCUSE ME, ARE YOU THE SINGING BUSH??

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#96238 - 05/27/05 12:53 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
Color (silver) and looks was the major force driving my purchase of Belkin PF60, it looks so good with Silver Rotel gear!! It also is level 6 of power filter, which I am not sure what it really means, but being top of the line must mean something. I also looked hard at Panamax 5300 as many people recommend it, but it is more expensive than usd 334 I paid for PF60, it is also black and would not look as nice at my stand.
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#96239 - 05/27/05 01:03 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
bigjohn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 3016
Loc: San Angelo, TX
but that panamax sure looks cool with that 'old school' needle on the front.

bigjohn
_________________________
EXCUSE ME, ARE YOU THE SINGING BUSH??

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#96240 - 05/27/05 01:08 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
RickF Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 5210
Loc: Vero Beach, Florida
In reply to:

Color (silver) and looks was the major force driving my purchase of Belkin PF60, it looks so good with Silver Rotel gear!!




Yea, I saw one here in town and thought it would look real nice paired up with the silver Rotel gear but that $750 price tag had me thinking it didn't look *that* good. I believe these units are fairly new and I'm suspecting that the price will drop, maybe. Do you mind telling me where you bought yours? You can PM me if you'd like...the price you quoted sounds more like what I wouldn't mind paying.

Thanks John, I'll ask him about the unit. They are sharp power conditioners....lol I still want to call 'em 'high end surge protectors'!


Edited by BrotherBob (05/27/05 01:09 PM)
_________________________
Rick
Our Room

smile

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#96241 - 05/27/05 01:52 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
Rick, you have a PM.
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#96242 - 05/27/05 02:55 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
Rick, resent PM, let me know if you got it now..
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#96243 - 05/31/05 09:31 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
I came through this interesting arcticle today:

http://philip.greenspun.com/materialism/stereo

Some interesting stuff on speakers and A/B testing among others.... Rick, how do you do the links "linked" in this forum? I can't seem to do it...
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#96244 - 05/31/05 09:44 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
bugbitten Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/06/05
Posts: 2339
Loc: Madisonville, KY
Link
[_url=http://philip.greenspun.com/materialism/stereo ] Link [_/url]
Type as above but delete "_".

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#96245 - 05/31/05 09:55 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
Let me try it:

Link
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#96246 - 05/31/05 10:07 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
bugbitten Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/06/05
Posts: 2339
Loc: Madisonville, KY
Very Good. Now substitute your own title for the word "link". Something like "Beauty and the speaker". Or anything catchy or descriptive of the link.
[_url=http://philip.greenspun.com/materialism/stereo ] Beauty and the speaker [_/url]


Edited by bugbitten (05/31/05 10:08 AM)

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#96247 - 05/31/05 10:23 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
thyname Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 552
Loc: Oakton, VA
Thanks bugbitten for the advice:

Please read this Great Article
_________________________
Axiom M60s, QS4s, VP100 Onkyo TX-SR804 Oppo 970HD Rotel RB-1080/RCD-1072 REL Q150E sub, PS 3

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#96248 - 05/31/05 10:43 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
ratpack Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 1155
Loc: Alabama
bug: maybe I can get it right this time. Is there supposed to be a space before the closed bracket (at the end of the url), and spaces before and after "link?"
_________________________
The Rat. M80s, VP-150, QS8s, SVS PC 20-39+, OPPO, Onkyo 703s, Harmony 880 Sony 60" SXRD HDTV

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#96249 - 05/31/05 11:00 PM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17783
Loc: NoVA
There should be no spaces inside the brackets. If it doesn't work properly (or look right) in Preview, it's not going to look right or work properly on the boards.
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#96250 - 06/01/05 12:38 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
bugbitten Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/06/05
Posts: 2339
Loc: Madisonville, KY
Set it up and keep prevewing it until you get what you want.

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#96251 - 06/01/05 07:01 AM Re: Choosing a new amplifier
Ajax Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 6251
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
In fact, there should be no spaces anywhere in the entire chain. None! Zero! Nada! Zip!
_________________________
Jack

"People generally quarrel because they cannot argue." - G. K. Chesterton

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