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Crown Amps for Home Audio Use


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#1 Shrubman

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 07:55 PM

Hello all,

I'm sure this has come up here before, but my searches didn't yield any results, so...

Given the apparent bang for the buck of some pro amps, like the crown CE series, is there any reason why one shouldn't consider them for home use?

Specifically, what do you think about feeding the signal from a PC (consumer) soundcard directly to a Crown power amp, using the PC as a preamp?

I await the impartation of your collective wisdom.

Evan

#2 GalacticS

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 02:24 PM

I've heard of people using a DC-300a for there home audio systems.  IMO, this is the best sounding amp crown has ever made.  CE series should be good  too, but I'd try and find a DC-300.  Watch out for fan noise on the CE series.  Crown D series amps have no fan and would be a better (quieter) solution for home use.  Good luck.
-Deno

#3 MChapman

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 10:54 AM

Evan,

Thanks for the question. Many people are using Crown amps designed primarily for "pro" applications in their home applications. It is very possible to do so, but you have to take into account a couple important items. First, many of our amp series are designed for live sound applications and have constant running fans. In a large concert venue, the sound of the racks of amps with running fans are not even a minor issue. One such amp in your home living room can be a major headache. If you are going to consider a Crown amp for your home, consider what type of cooling to amp has, and where you are put the amp. Some of our amps like the K series, and older D series amps are convection cooled, meaning no fans at all. The CE series and Reference series amps have proportional speed fans that only run when the circuit senses the heatsink needs cooled. The PB, PT, MT and MA series all have constant running fans. If mounted in a rack or put in a closet, this may not be a problem, but sitting out in an entertainment center, could be a major problem at low listening level.

Second, you may have a bigger problem getting the proper amount of signal out of your computer sound card. You must know the output level of this line level signal in order to set up the proper system gain. Some Crown amps have fixed input sensitivity, while others have adjustable settings from .775V, 1.4V and 26 dB.

Let's say you are going to use a K series amp. They have two choices of input sensitivity, 1.4V and 26dB. In other words, in the 1.4 volt setting, you need to supply 1.4 volts of signal with the input attenuators turned all the way up (no attenutation) in order to get full out put of the amp. What if your soundcard only puts out .5v of signal. It will pass audio, but nowhere near what the amp is capable of. In order to get the full output level of the amp, you will have to add a pre-amp between your computer and the input of the K series like a Rolls MB-15 ProMatch (www.rolls.com). It will take the unbalanced -10dBu signal and raise it to balanced +4dBu (1.23V nominal) which will work very well with the K series amps.

Hope this helps.

J. Mark Chapman
Crown Tech Support
<span style='color:blue'>J. Mark Chapman
Crown Application Support Technician</span>

#4 rick e

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 11:33 AM

hi evan,
my interests are strictly home hifi and i use a pair of amcron dc300a's biamped into acoustic energy ae1's. fed directly from a meridian 208 cd/pre.
i have to say that the crowns out perform most "hifi" amps with ease and i have had systems costing several thousand .
i also have the powertech amps and while very good, the fan noise causes a problem. if your room is such a size that you could lose the amp then you might be ok.
i can recommend the older d series, buy with complete confidence and marvel at what it can do.

#5 steve_sternick

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 04:16 PM

I have used a DC-150 IIA in the past for a small room setup and had great results.
Super quiet amp with great stereo imageing. You can't ever go wrong with a CROWN , wherever it is going to be used! biggrin.gif

#6 Dj Foxx

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 10:41 PM

QUOTE(steve_sternick @ Oct 4 2005, 05:16 PM)
I have used a DC-150 IIA in the past for a small room setup and had great results.
Super quiet amp with great stereo imageing. You can't ever go wrong with a CROWN , wherever it is going to be used! biggrin.gif
View Post


I like using my crown on a custom made sub that I designed for home and pro use, I throw my Com-Tech 400 onto it and it sounds great. Although my electric bill does not reflect the use too well....... unsure.gif

#7 DGlass

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 04:24 PM

QUOTE(Dj Foxx @ Oct 4 2005, 10:41 PM)
QUOTE(steve_sternick @ Oct 4 2005, 05:16 PM)
I have used a DC-150 IIA in the past for a small room setup and had great results.
Super quiet amp with great stereo imageing. You can't ever go wrong with a CROWN , wherever it is going to be used! biggrin.gif
View Post


I like using my crown on a custom made sub that I designed for home and pro use, I throw my Com-Tech 400 onto it and it sounds great. Although my electric bill does not reflect the use too well....... unsure.gif
View Post

You must not use a lot of electricity in your home if the amp makes that much of a difference.  biggrin.gif

#8 Dj Foxx

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 06:20 PM

[/quote]
You must not use a lot of electricity in your home if the amp makes that much of a difference.  biggrin.gif
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Im just kidding Its not just my 400, it's the two Com-tech 810s the CT400 and a mackie  M1400i that when combined together probally do it (my gear does a lot of multitasking when not being used for actual "work" )  rolleyes.gif.  thank goodness the room that its in was wired for heavy equipment

#9 rooms

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 09:48 AM

If your looking for audiophile grade sound, most "pro" amps probably won't stack up. They tend to have more signal noise (THD /  lower signal to noise ratio) and have more fan noise. A good alternative here is to check out studio reference amps.

That said, I am a big fan of using pro amps for a home theater application. If you go to most any major theater and look at what they are running, there is a good chance it will be a pro amp. (Side note here, several series of Crown amps are THX rated).

Myself, I've been running Crown power in my home setup for years. 3x CTs1200 for left, center, and right (all biamp), a CTs4200 for the side and surround channels, and a MA2402 for the LFE. My next project is to get them all running IQ.

As was stated in an earlier post, there are some challenges with matching "consumer" to "pro" gear. I'm using a consumer pre, then running it through a Genelec active balancer. This unit matches the impedances and boosts the signal level (to +4db pro levels).

Since you mention a PC as your source, look into sound cards that have balanced XLR outputs. There are models out there that will produce +4db and will connect directly into a pro power amp.

My bottom line opinion: It takes a little extra research and planning, but YES you can use pro amps in a home setup.

#10 Dj Foxx

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 10:15 PM

QUOTE(rooms @ Oct 9 2005, 10:48 AM)
Myself, I've been running Crown power in my home setup for years. 3x CTs1200 for left, center, and right (all biamp), a CTs4200 for the side and surround channels, and a MA2402 for the LFE. My next project is to get them all running IQ.


.


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3 CTs 1200's , 4200 AND an MA2402 ?!!!!!!!! what kind of home system do you have man?!!! If thats for your house you gotta tell me what you use for work ohmy.gif

#11 DGlass

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 09:22 AM

A note on matching up a computer to Pro Audio Gear I have recently found that Whirlwind makes a box called the "pcDI" that is specifically designed to match up a PC to professional balanced, low impedance equipment.
The direct box contains two separate inputs a 3.5mm (1/8") mini TRS and RCA color coded inputs and through jacks.
Being a passive transformer device it doesn't have the level adjustments (for makeup gain) of the active units, mentioned by Mark earlier, but should work nicely in most cases. biggrin.gif

#12 rooms

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 09:27 PM

QUOTE(Dj Foxx @ Oct 9 2005, 10:15 PM)
3 CTs 1200's , 4200 AND an MA2402 ?!!!!!!!! what kind of home system do you have man?!!! If thats for your house you gotta tell me what you use for work ohmy.gif
View Post


My system is currently in a state of flux, but here are a couple highlights:

Surround processing is done with a Lexicon processor. From there, the signal converted to balanced +4db by a Genelec line balancer (basically 8 active direct boxes in a 1U). Next, the signal goes through 3 BSS SoundWebs. These provide a 31 band eq for each channel, cross-overs and time correction for the bi-amped speakers, and a couple limiters (to keep from popping circuit breakers). The SoundWebs connect to the amps.

The front speakers are a twin 12" with a 2" compression driver. The 4 surround channels are currently 8 JBL 4208 studio monitors (2 per channel). The LFE channel is a pair of single 18" bass bins. These are loaded with extended low frequency raw-frames. With a port tuning of 32Hz, they excel at reproducing the digital low end in movies. These subs are so sick that about the time the MA2402 is drawing 20-25 amps of AC and the thermal limiter is kicking in, the subs are barely past RMS! A bigger amp is in my future. Can you say I-tech?

I'd love to tell you that my "work system" is some massive line array system. But the truth is that I sold off most of my live system years ago (after an incident with an amp rack put me in physical therapy for 6 months). By day, I work as a telecommunications consultant; I work with application developers around the world to build/tune their software to run efficiently on Ethernet/WAN networks. I still take the opportunity to do some live sound work, but only when someone else is setting up the gear.  biggrin.gif

#13 Dj Foxx

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 02:08 PM

QUOTE(rooms @ Oct 11 2005, 10:27 PM)
QUOTE(Dj Foxx @ Oct 9 2005, 10:15 PM)
3 CTs 1200's , 4200 AND an MA2402 ?!!!!!!!! what kind of home system do you have man?!!! If thats for your house you gotta tell me what you use for work ohmy.gif
View Post


My system is currently in a state of flux, but here are a couple highlights:

Surround processing is done with a Lexicon processor. From there, the signal converted to balanced +4db by a Genelec line balancer (basically 8 active direct boxes in a 1U). Next, the signal goes through 3 BSS SoundWebs. These provide a 31 band eq for each channel, cross-overs and time correction for the bi-amped speakers, and a couple limiters (to keep from popping circuit breakers). The SoundWebs connect to the amps.

The front speakers are a twin 12" with a 2" compression driver. The 4 surround channels are currently 8 JBL 4208 studio monitors (2 per channel). The LFE channel is a pair of single 18" bass bins. These are loaded with extended low frequency raw-frames. With a port tuning of 32Hz, they excel at reproducing the digital low end in movies. These subs are so sick that about the time the MA2402 is drawing 20-25 amps of AC and the thermal limiter is kicking in, the subs are barely past RMS! A bigger amp is in my future. Can you say I-tech?

I'd love to tell you that my "work system" is some massive line array system. But the truth is that I sold off most of my live system years ago (after an incident with an amp rack put me in physical therapy for 6 months). By day, I work as a telecommunications consultant; I work with application developers around the world to build/tune their software to run efficiently on Ethernet/WAN networks. I still take the opportunity to do some live sound work, but only when someone else is setting up the gear.  biggrin.gif
View Post


Dude that is awesome! I can't believe you have got all that just for you home system. Hope you didn't cut any cornners with the t.v.! But I guess when you demand the best at work, it overflows  to the home as well( Man I would Love to watch the movie Driven with that sytem, not to mention any Indy or F1 race! LOL)  Sorry to here about an accident. I learned REALLY quick when dealing with Crowns and racks to lift from my knees............

#14 Artie

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 07:17 PM

Hey Evan; I use an older DC150A for my computer sound system and love it. But I would give you one little bit of advice. Get a preamp. Even if its just some inexpenisve item on eBay. There's some nice units that can be had for not a lot of money. I use an old Proton 1100. Here's why:

First, there's ease of use. You will have normal volume and tone controls on the preamp, which is just much easier to use than the software controls that would be on a computer. Thats a nice plus when the phone rings and you're listening to something fairly loud. I have my sound card hooked to the "Tape Monitor" loop just as if the computer was a tape deck. Works great.

But here's the bigger reason. Its only a matter of time before some "Windows" sound, or some bleep/blip/blast from some other program gets sent to the soundcard at full volume, while you're listening to some music, but working on something else. If you're controlling some computer music with a "software" volume control, you could be in for a nasty "blast". I've had it happen, before I got the preamp, with master volume.

Just a thought.
Artie