Crown Power Amp owners / Specially for integration in HT setup

ankitbhargava

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I can call myself a naive when it comes to "sound", I have learnt some bits from this amazing Forum (limited resources at my end) and I aggressively (and happily) keep trying stuff to improvise my HT setup. Please treat this thread and this post coming from a very inexperienced ears which are curious.

I am 95% into Movies and that too mostly streamed via Netflix and Prime. Ones a week lately I have again started resorting to Torrents for lossless audio quality Movie downloads. I watch 5 Movies a week so I have no patience to depend upon Blu rays. What this means is I have to be settled with whatever improvisation I could have would be based on streaming as source. With a 250 MBPS connection (thanks to Jio), Netflix delivers a very decent sound quality (a lot of Atmos titles lately) and 4K picture quality.

I had this long pending itch to try a Power Amp for my front sound stage.
The objectives were
1. Free up some Amp to drive my other 6 or 7 channels (including 2 Atmos in ceiling) to improve the performance and not necessarily loudness of the surround channels. I realised that thought we do level match all speakers manually or through Audyssey, during actual streaming the surrounds are much quieter than needed most of the times. Watching the Dolby Atmos Trailers confirms that the surrounds are not as louder as they should be to create that immersive experience. Not sure if there is any technical reason for it.
2. Have a better Stereo listening because fronts shall be driven by a Power Amp (right off the streaming services, lossless or not. Please don't kill me for this).
3. Have a little foray into Pre/Pro world.
4. Improve performance of fronts (my Klipsch RP 260F are already very loud I guess, a member in forum was surprised that the sensitivity is 97db)

Stumbled upon a thread which recommended Crown XLS series of PAs to integrate into the HT setup, I got lured and looked up Amazon. Immediately ordered XLS 1502 to try it out because Amazon offers 7 days return option.

Received the Crown 1502 in 2 days and I hooked it up immediately using RCA cables to the Front left and right speakers, re-ran the Audyssey MultEQ with all 8 positions, did some tweak and looked forward what surprise or shock might be when I play some Dolby Trailers and Go To scenes from few Movies on Netflix.

First impression out of the box
I could not hear much of a difference anywhere :-/ and I immediately got reminded of members mentioning on another thread that if AVR has already been delivering enough power, the PA will hardly add up anything to Movies.

I started listening some favourite music from Play Music and Youtube on "Direct" mode (yes I know thats NOT at all the source to test, I wanted to test in a real life situation where I mostly watch Movies via streaming and my Music is not Flacs), I started noticing the difference
1. The sound was more rounded and fuller
2. Vocals were more heavier, not sure if more natural or not but warmer to the extent of making it more pleasant.
3. Sounds like Drums were more punchier, I did not miss Subs being silent while listening to music.
4. Probably first time I heard my speakers were producing better Mids (is that why the sound was more heavier and fuller?). The highs were less screechy.
5. My listening was at 70-75db so loudness was not the criteria.
6. I could not hear any clash between sound signature of Fronts and other speakers, probably in movies it is does not matter much?

Now after observing these differences when I keenly played some go to scenes again via the Netflix and some downloads (DTS X, MAs) .. I could figure out that sounds coming from Fronts were little more fuller, at least now noticeably. I did notice some improvement (more pleasant) in the Center channel also which was still on AVR. (This could be completely my imagination).

Its been 3 days and I did not have enough opportunity to test more, test by switching fronts between AVR and Crown to observe the differences and validate them etc.
I have so far not been able to conclude if after adding Crown 1502 my HT overall sounds better than earlier, honestly. Either I haven't tested enough or there were no BIG improvements to immediately catch attention.

Please do advise how I can test the new v/s original setup more efficiently without getting into ideal situation of everything "lossless".

The objective of this thread is to ofcourse welcome all the Crown PA owners and specially the ones who are using them in HT scenario.
If you are also looking for improvement in HT setup by adding Crown Amps and you rely upon streaming services for movies, we are exactly in same boat ;-)
 
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edjamesx

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Received the Crown 1502 in 2 days and I hooked it up immediately using RCA cables to the Front left and right speakers, re-ran the Audyssey MultEQ with all 8 positions, did some tweak and looked forward what surprise or shock might be when I play some Dolby Trailers and Go To scenes from few Movies on Netflix.

First impression out of the box
I could not hear much of a difference anywhere :-/ and I immediately got reminded of members mentioning on another thread that if AVR has already been delivering enough power, the PA will hardly add up anything to Movies.
I think Audyssy calibration might try to compensate front channels to match with your center speaker. Since you dont have power AMP for center channel , It always sets front speaker level to low i guess. (Did u notice any difference in front speaker level calibration after adding PA?). I would recommend to run auddysy with direct AVR output , then connect PA then manually adjust center channel levels till u hear it clearly. This way you are not compensating your FR,FL channel outputs.
Also Try playing around different Cross over settings starting from 60 HZ and check how your speaker sounds. The EQ curve also you may need to adjust manually for balanced output. For me , Audyssy calibration was not sounding right at all. Manual adjustment only worked great.

And also for music , Are you listening on stereo mode ?.
 

drkrack

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I think Audyssy calibration might try to compensate front channels to match with your center speaker. Since you dont have power AMP for center channel , It always sets front speaker level to low i guess. (Did u notice any difference in front speaker level calibration after adding PA?). I would recommend to run auddysy with direct AVR output , then connect PA then manually adjust center channel levels till u hear it clearly. This way you are not compensating your FR,FL channel outputs.
Also Try playing around different Cross over settings starting from 60 HZ and check how your speaker sounds. The EQ curve also you may need to adjust manually for balanced output. For me , Audyssy calibration was not sounding right at all. Manual adjustment only worked great.

And also for music , Are you listening on stereo mode ?.
This...

Or Choose Front LR bypass in Audessey settings. For movies with single Crown, try running it in a bridge mode for Centre Channel (set as Large) only. If that works well buy another Crown Xls for front channels. 2 Crown Xls should give you best results.
Try playing 2 ch music via only front channels, you should be able to make out the difference easily I feel.
 

ankitbhargava

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I think Audyssy calibration might try to compensate front channels to match with your center speaker. Since you dont have power AMP for center channel , It always sets front speaker level to low i guess. (Did u notice any difference in front speaker level calibration after adding PA?). I would recommend to run auddysy with direct AVR output , then connect PA then manually adjust center channel levels till u hear it clearly. This way you are not compensating your FR,FL channel outputs.
Also Try playing around different Cross over settings starting from 60 HZ and check how your speaker sounds. The EQ curve also you may need to adjust manually for balanced output. For me , Audyssy calibration was not sounding right at all. Manual adjustment only worked great.

And also for music , Are you listening on stereo mode ?.
There is hardly any change in level and distance (for sake of delay) that Audyssey sets with our without PA.
Sure, I will try out running Audyssey with AVR first and then connect PA, wire fronts to set levels manually.
I will also try out different crossover, you are suggesting 60 and low?So far I have tried 60, 80, 100 and 80 sounded best.

Sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned that after running Audyssey and during experiments I did turn off XT32 and the system sounded much wider and opened up. I am keeping that setting for now.

Yes I tried music in stereo mode.
 

ankitbhargava

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This...

Or Choose Front LR bypass in Audessey settings. For movies with single Crown, try running it in a bridge mode for Centre Channel (set as Large) only. If that works well buy another Crown Xls for front channels. 2 Crown Xls should give you best results.
Try playing 2 ch music via only front channels, you should be able to make out the difference easily I feel.
I exactly had the same on my mind :)
Wouldn't bridge mode be too much overpowering Center? I hope it wouldn't blow off the speaker.
For that matter, do you think even 1502 might blow off my Klipsch (125w/500w) with the master volume level of 75db and 75%gain on PA?
 

drkrack

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Wouldn't bridge mode be too much overpowering Center?
That's the best part of Using Crown XLS over others ; it has a robust speaker protection circuit built in, I have driven my fyne audio lcr 300 in bridge mode and many 94db diy speakers without any issues whatsoever.
BTW Crown Needs at least 50 -100hrs burn in to sound its best.
 

edjamesx

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There is hardly any change in level and distance (for sake of delay) that Audyssey sets with our without PA.
Sure, I will try out running Audyssey with AVR first and then connect PA, wire fronts to set levels manually.
I will also try out different crossover, you are suggesting 60 and low?So far I have tried 60, 80, 100 and 80 sounded best.

Sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned that after running Audyssey and during experiments I did turn off XT32 and the system sounded much wider and opened up. I am keeping that setting for now.

Yes I tried music in stereo mode.
OK , The Audyssy Eq curve also does not justify the correct sound for me. Try adjusting the Eq curve manually .
With correct Eq curve , and with 60hz cross over my speaker sounded great. 80hz is the THX standard .
But Floor standers can go down below till 40 hz depends on Speaker design. And for me with Power Amplifier only my speaker sounded nice with good highs and great mids at 60hz. Without PA it sounded muddy. 80 hz also sounded nice , but slightly was missing mids .

BTW Crown Needs at least 50 -100hrs burn in to sound its best.
@drkrack I think burn in time applicable only to speakers , where it requires it's drivers to be settled. As per PA it will be same :) :)
 

pkhammu2005

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That's the best part of Using Crown XLS over others ; it has a robust speaker protection circuit built in, I have driven my fyne audio lcr 300 in bridge mode and many 94db diy speakers without any issues whatsoever.
BTW Crown Needs at least 50 -100hrs burn in to sound its best.
I heard Crown at his place and it sounded gr8, not sure why ppl bad mouth Crown so much?
Note:am not a purist..
 

ankitbhargava

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Some more experiments today and to avoid my own perception (I tend to favour new gadgets in collection), this time I pulled my wife to listen to some of her favorite Music on Youtube (please excuse me again for not meeting ideal testing grounds because I don't intend to evaluate the Crown Amp, I intend to understand how much value it adds to my setup which I use the way I use everyday).

I picked up Music Videos in HD like "Choudhary by Mame Khan", "Bismillah by Kailash Kher", "some tracks from Mixed Tape" etc which are good mix of instruments and vocals. All were played in "Direct" mode.

Picked small 20-25 seconds of pieces from these Music Videos and played them over and over again while switching between AVR and Crown (pulling out Banana Plugs from Crown and then pushing in AVR and then again to Crown)

After some listening ..
Her : With your new addition, the overall sound is bit better...
Me : How? could you explain something you might noticed really changed when I was switching between setups
Her : When you connect the new addition, the vocal is more clear and instruments sound more clear too, they don't mix in each other.
Me : "smiled", and?
Her : Pointed me to a piece from her favourite song from Mixed tape "Agar tum saath ho by Jubin Nautiyal" where the reverbs are much crispier and audible when crown is being used.
Me : Thank you, I get to keep this new addition then

Now today frequent switching to power Fronts by AVR and PA, I realised that there is not much of a difference in tonal quality, both sounded almost same. Probably as I mentioned in earlier post, Crown was little warmer (pleasing). I kept Master Volume at 75db while this switching and there was no difference to my ears in terms of overall loudness. Definitely, at many places where drums, vocals, Keyboard etc played together ... it sounded less muddy using Crown.

If Crown weren't the price it was, if Emotiva gave me this result ... I would have sent it back. But with the price of Crown, I think considering other benefits like freeing up AVR, provisioning 2 more channels to setup later, a little better stereo listening etc ... I will keep this and would not return back.

I will keep experimenting and posting if there are anymore observations.
 

edjamesx

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Some more experiments today and to avoid my own perception (I tend to favour new gadgets in collection), this time I pulled my wife to listen to some of her favorite Music on Youtube (please excuse me again for not meeting ideal testing grounds because I don't intend to evaluate the Crown Amp, I intend to understand how much value it adds to my setup which I use the way I use everyday).
Definitely with emotiva power amp i noticed 80 % improvement for music and movies. There will not be much difference in tonal quality (tonal quality is from avr anyways) , but the music and vocals come alive and sound is crystal clear and dynamic range improves a lot. Even my wife could notice such difference. Also we could improve SQ by adjusting tonal configuration from AVR to match with PA dynamic range. Crown is Professional audIo amplifier , it could have some limitations though. Emotivas have < 0 005 % THD and good snr ratio > 115 db. But they are pricier also. My initial plan was to go with two Crown amps.
 
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SwaroopKS

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Definitely with emotiva power amp i noticed 80 % improvement for music and movies. There will not be much difference in tonal quality (tonal quality is from avr anyways) , but the music and vocals come alive and sound is crystal clear and dynamic range improves a lot. Even my wife could notice such difference. Also we could improve SQ by adjusting tonal configuration from AVR to match with PA dynamic range. Crown is Professional audIo amplifier , it could have some limitations though. Emotivas have < 0 005 % THD and good snr ratio > 115 db. But they are pricier also. My initial plan was to go with two Crown amps.
is the 80% improvement compared to avr output vs emotiva or crown vs emotiva? just wanted to get a view of crown compared to emotiva. Personally i love the crown driving maggies. I tried AB amps rated upto 100W but they failed to push maggies and crown came up as a boon at that price range. will be adding AP pre in the chain once i get back to chennai and see how it plays out
 

ankitbhargava

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Definitely with emotiva power amp i noticed 80 % improvement for music and movies. There will not be much difference in tonal quality (tonal quality is from avr anyways) , but the music and vocals come alive and sound is crystal clear and dynamic range improves a lot. Even my wife could notice such difference. Also we could improve SQ by adjusting tonal configuration from AVR to match with PA dynamic range. Crown is Professional audIo amplifier , it could have some limitations though. Emotivas have < 0 005 % THD and good snr ratio > 115 db. But they are pricier also. My initial plan was to go with two Crown amps.
Whoa! if there was 80% improvement from AVR to Emotiva, my 6-9 months aim would be to add a 3 Channel high quality PA to drive LCR and use Crown to add 2 more height speakers.
 

edjamesx

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is the 80% improvement compared to avr output vs emotiva or crown vs emotiva? just wanted to get a view of crown compared to emotiva. Personally i love the crown driving maggies. I tried AB amps rated upto 100W but they failed to push maggies and crown came up as a boon at that price range. will be adding AP pre in the chain once i get back to chennai and see how it plays out
Its from emotiva vs AVR. Haven't heard with Crown..i was trying to get demo with Crown . Before buying emotiva. Couldn't get it any where.
 

edjamesx

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Whoa! if there was 80% improvement from AVR to Emotiva, my 6-9 months aim would be to add a 3 Channel high quality PA to drive LCR and use Crown to add 2 more height speakers.
Its definitely worth addition. But try to get demo of emotiva hooked up with speakers so it satisfy your expectations.
Probably Gen-3 series would be better.
 

ankitbhargava

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Its definitely worth addition. But try to get demo of emotiva hooked up with speakers so it satisfy your expectations.
Probably Gen-3 series would be better.
Unfortunately in my City "Udaipur" there is no dedicated HiFi store, I rely on the actual experience of members from this forum. After this pandemic situation, its even more difficult now to travel for demo.

Did you try BasX series also? Its much more reasonable priced though its not modular.
 
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