The Pro Amplifier Thread

John Frum

Secret Society Member
Every home audio forum’s got one...

This thread is for discussion of professional amplifiers in a home audio context.

If you’re willing to navigate fan noise and unfamiliar input/output connections, your rewards will be as many watts as you can possibly need, stability into difficult loads, and sometimes very high fidelity.

Who’s used a pro amp in their home rig? What worked? What didn’t?

John Frum

Secret Society Member
For years, I had a Yamaha P2250, which was a mid-80s 150wpc stereo amp. It didn’t have any meters, and is not one of Yamaha’s more desirable amps from the era. The fan almost never kicked into high gear, and was inoffensive on the lower setting. Fidelity-wise, I think it was as good as any other mass-market amp I’ve owned of similar power.

When the XLS series came out, it was Crown’s first foray into Class D. I picked up the entry-level 215wpc XLS 1000 and gave it a head-to-head against the Parasound HCA-1500A amps I had at the time. The Crown was trounced in every conceivable way, and was returned to the store. In the comparison, the XLS 1000 came off as gritty, unpleasant, and lacking in low bass.

Now (God help me), I’ve purchased 42 stereo power amps from the estate of a gentleman who hoarded cinema equipment, and I’m buried in Smart, Panastereo, Ashly, Crown, QSC, and EV.

I should probably keep one or two, since everyone needs at least one bruiser solid state amp in reserve, but haven’t yet figured out which ones are contenders.

With this score, I picked up some The Smart Theater Systems TA-240 and TA-242 amps that I already find interesting - they’re built by Smart around Hafler DH-220 amp boards and heat sinks. Smart provides the chassis and an upgraded power supply built around a toroidal transformer.
I have used a Crown PS 200. Nice clean sound at low volume. Signal lights just blip at the bass passages. Manual says one volt is the signal turn on point. No fan on it. It will crank when called upon.


Staff member
For a hot minute a very long time ago I used a very cheap Alesis RA100 pro-amp as a monitor amp with a pair of passive Alesis desktop monitors. I'm going off of 15 year old memories here, but I recall it being very clean and clear with good imaging at least in the context of a desktop mixing/monitor setup. I also listened to CD over that setup and enjoyed it a lot. Some pro-amps are made for uses like mixing and mastering, and I'd have no qualms about running some of them in a home stereo setup. There's also some crossover brands like Bryston and Chord.
That Alesis amp is quite a good amp. They were really clean, and better suited to studio use. Distortion was quite low and they were really quiet. Very reliable too.
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Popping in here a couple weeks late...

I recently acquired a pair of EV CPS 2.4 Mk. II, that I am running in bi-amp configuration for the living room A/V rig. They drive a pair of Vandersteen 2ce speakers, that are notoriously hungry for power. These amps satisfy that hunger, and are ready to give more. I don't listen real loud anyway, but there is never a time when I'm even close to running out of steam. The sound is fantastic, without any hint of strain or harshness.

These amps are traditional Class-A/B topology, with good components and a robust build. The only "downside" is that they use Phoenix terminals for line level input and speaker level output. But they are "permanent install" pro amps, and as such do not need accomodation for quickly connecting and disconnecting cabling. All in all, I'm pretty sure that the Vandersteens have found their "forever" amps.


Technically It's LexusGuy
I run a Crown XTI1002 on subs. DSP built in and plenty of power. Great amp that's been dead reliable.
I have a Crown running my sub along with MiniDSP. added lots of punch to sub, but does have some fan noise.
I like pro amps. I'm especially drawn to old, over-built, pain in the back when moving them, pro amps. I use an Altec 9440a (rebuilt) to power subs in a tri-amped system. It's massive and weighs close to 60 pounds.

In the same system, I use a Peavey M2600. It's old-school and has less power than modern pro amps. I like that it has large heatsinks and no fans. It sounds every bit as good as non-pro hifi amps to my ears.


Senior Member
I have a Crown D75 that replaced a Sansui AU-D607 (with my pair of Klipsch KG-4s) as a sound source for movie night etc. at church. Even though the D75 is rated at less than half the output of the Sansui it absolutely buries it in every single parameter you could imagine. My respect for that little amp knows no bounds...
I've always wanted to try a BGW 750B in a home set up....has anyone here tried that?
BGW was one of my faves. They were one of the first to highlight fast slew rate. they were very solidly built and fully complementary. I never had a 750 but my speaker building buddy had a smaller one which I borried a few times. It was a single rack unit resembling a Crown D60 or D75 (both of which I have also had.) I thought it sounded great. The Crowns maybe less so because I knew they were quasi complementary. I would like to revisit them ABX but who has the time for that. I bet you couldn't discern a difference.

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Many moons ago when I was looking for an amplifier, one of the local audio repair shops was trying to sell me on how great a modified GLI amplifier was. Anyone ever heard of this brand? Anyone ever hear one?