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Thread: Preamp/Amp Suggestion for Sierra 2

  1. #1
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    Default Preamp/Amp Suggestion for Sierra 2

    I am looking to upgrade to separates from a Yamaha receiver for listening to music. I have been looking at Emotiva XSP-1 and Paradound Halo P5 for preamps and would probably use amp from same company. Does any have experience with either? Other suggestions are welcome!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Preamp/Amp Suggestion for Sierra 2

    The Ascend school of thought on their speakers is typically that a receiver can run them just fine, and no amps are required. That said, I owned the Sierra 2 for about 3 years and they also ran just fine with a Parasound Halo A21(with P7 as pre), which has 250 wpc. My findings, which if I recall I also read on this forum, is that the Sierra 2 is somewhat laid back in presentation, not bright or harsh at all. I think I read that the Tower with Rall has a little more energy in the highs than the S2.

    The thing is, Parasound's house sound is also somewhat laid back, or warm on the top end. At times I wished for a little more energy in fact. So it would depend on your preferences, but you might consider this in your deliberations. I don't know what Emotiva's House sound is these days. They always insisted that they were dead neutral, but when I owned the XPA-3, I found that they were bright/harsh, at least with the XPA amp line.

    Yamaha is supposed to have a more forward sound. How do you find the highs with the Yamaha?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Preamp/Amp Suggestion for Sierra 2

    Quote Originally Posted by sharkman View Post
    The Ascend school of thought on their speakers is typically that a receiver can run them just fine, and no amps are required. That said, I owned the Sierra 2 for about 3 years and they also ran just fine with a Parasound Halo A21(with P7 as pre), which has 250 wpc. My findings, which if I recall I also read on this forum, is that the Sierra 2 is somewhat laid back in presentation, not bright or harsh at all. I think I read that the Tower with Rall has a little more energy in the highs than the S2.

    The thing is, Parasound's house sound is also somewhat laid back, or warm on the top end. At times I wished for a little more energy in fact. So it would depend on your preferences, but you might consider this in your deliberations. I don't know what Emotiva's House sound is these days. They always insisted that they were dead neutral, but when I owned the XPA-3, I found that they were bright/harsh, at least with the XPA amp line.

    Yamaha is supposed to have a more forward sound. How do you find the highs with the Yamaha?

    Hmmm. Not sure if my reply posted or not. So here goes again! Sorry if duplicate.

    My current setup is a Yamaha AVR with an ATI 1505 power amp. I have the Sierra 2 and Sierra 1 along with various NHT speakers. For music listening I much prefer Pure Direct mode. The Sierra 2 speakers have tremendous detail and clarity. I especially notice this with acoustic guitars and drums and cymbals. The problem is I prefer more bass and in Pure Direct the subwoofers are not used. I tried using the speaker level inputs on the subs but the Sierra 2 didn't sound as good. The mids and highs sound muted. This is what led me to the P5 and XSP-1. Both have analog bass management which will allow me to add the subs for music. It also means not changing cables when listening to music or watching a movie.

    I've read the sound of Parasound is warm and Emotiva is bright too. This is why I was looking for feedback from folks that use the same speaker I am. I like the detail and "air" of the Sierra 2 but don't want to have it become overly bright or harsh. To me titanium dome tweeters can be harsh.

    I'm open to different preamp/amp combos for sure. For this upgrade it's music first!

    Thanks for the reply!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Preamp/Amp Suggestion for Sierra 2

    I am using a Yamaha RX-A3060 running a 5.1.4 / 7.1 HT setup with an Outlaw 5000 powering Sierra-2 L & R and Horizon center. The AVR handles the rest of the channels with the Outlaw picking up power for a secondary zone.

    I could not be happier with the sound, whether running Atmos with YPAO adjustments or pure direct stereo live music recordings. I hear great HT soundtracks and great music, at more volume than is good for my ears, with no coloration. Give the Outlaw a listen, you may love it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Preamp/Amp Suggestion for Sierra 2

    I have a similar setup as mentioned above, a Parasound A21 and P7 running my RAAL towers. For movies I use a Yamaha cx-5000 processor. The Parasound gear definitely sounds better to me over the Yamaha, even my previous two Parasound preamps were better (p5 and 2100).

    Just my $.02

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Preamp/Amp Suggestion for Sierra 2

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianNLS View Post
    I am using a Yamaha RX-A3060 running a 5.1.4 / 7.1 HT setup with an Outlaw 5000 powering Sierra-2 L & R and Horizon center. The AVR handles the rest of the channels with the Outlaw picking up power for a secondary zone.

    I could not be happier with the sound, whether running Atmos with YPAO adjustments or pure direct stereo live music recordings. I hear great HT soundtracks and great music, at more volume than is good for my ears, with no coloration. Give the Outlaw a listen, you may love it.

    Outlaw is on my radar for a power amp. Nice to hear they sound good with Yamaha and Sierras. Do you hear a difference when running Pure Direct? My Yamaha, RXV667, is about 5 years old and I can definitely hear a difference.

    Thanks for the reply!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Preamp/Amp Suggestion for Sierra 2

    Quote Originally Posted by merrymaid520 View Post
    I have a similar setup as mentioned above, a Parasound A21 and P7 running my RAAL towers. For movies I use a Yamaha cx-5000 processor. The Parasound gear definitely sounds better to me over the Yamaha, even my previous two Parasound preamps were better (p5 and 2100).

    Just my $.02
    Sounds like a nice setup! Do you run subs with the towers? I've not heard them but was curious how the bass sounded. Have you tried any other brands of preamps?

    Thanks!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Preamp/Amp Suggestion for Sierra 2

    Quote Originally Posted by PoppaOptic View Post
    Sounds like a nice setup! Do you run subs with the towers? I've not heard them but was curious how the bass sounded. Have you tried any other brands of preamps?

    Thanks!
    I have dual 15” Rythmiks with a behringer EQ. Towers are crossed over at 80hz from what I recall. Have not tried any other preamps other than a proceed pre ages ago.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Preamp/Amp Suggestion for Sierra 2

    Quote Originally Posted by PoppaOptic View Post
    Outlaw is on my radar for a power amp. Nice to hear they sound good with Yamaha and Sierras. Do you hear a difference when running Pure Direct? My Yamaha, RXV667, is about 5 years old and I can definitely hear a difference.

    Thanks for the reply!
    I assume you mean Pure Direct with the Yamaha feeding the Outlaw powering the Ascends vs Pure Direct with the Yamaha powering the Ascends directly... I did a brief test of this a couple of months ago, and, honestly, it did not sound much different. I did not measure anything, but both setups sounded excellent - clean, clear, uncolored - to me (using my favorite reference CDs: Eagles' Hell Freezes Over (live) and Norah Jones' Come Away With Me.) Both setups performed similarly from very low volume to reference(ish) sound pressure levels.

    I brought the Outlaw into the equation for two reasons:
    A) do the heavy lifting on front 3 duty in high output HT use (reducing the strain on the RX-A3060)
    B) provide power for more channels than the RX-A3060 can do alone

    Is there a better performing & sounding pre-amp/amp/AVR combo out there without worrying aboht $$$? Of course.
    Is there a better balance of performance, sound, and value than an RX-A30x0 AVR + an Outlaw 5000? None that I know.

    I am very happy with my setup.
    Last edited by BrianNLS; 10-04-2017 at 08:43 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Preamp/Amp Suggestion for Sierra 2

    I have an older but awesome Parasound HCA-1205A amp, 5 channels conservatively rated 140 watts per and I want to get 3 Sierra 2's LCR, and Luna surrounds. Parasound enough to drive these babies? I know it drives my Def Techs really, really well now.

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