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Old 11-11-2008, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, noob here, I am just now making my first moves into separate amplification.I started out with a Harman Kardon AVR 240 receiver which I've been pretty happy with.I also realized that I like the HK 'sound' (warm side of neutral?).Unfortunately, with technology moving as fast as it is, HDMI implementation problems, I decided I wanted (which HK seems to be having a particularly difficult time with)The first amp I found was a Parasound HCA 855a, It's a nice sounding amp, however it seems to be a little less dynamic, and not quite as 3 dimensional as far as sound stage goes.High end seems to have a little more glare or grain.I will say that it's also a bit smoother and detailed. I recently had the opportunity to purchase an HK Citation 7.1 150 x4 in good condition.I did some reading around and they seem to be well regarded on some other forums and review sites, although they are 10-12 year old.It would be used with fairly efficient Ascend Acoustics 340se/170se's and a HSU sub. I was wondering if any of you know much about this amplifier, or have had any experience with it?What were your impressions? Maybe even some input from someone who might still use one (or more). Some of the others I've considered are Proceed, Odyssey, Gemstone, and other Parasounds. I realize sound is subjective,but any input would be appreciated.
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:31 PM
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I've used two of the Citation 7.1 amps in my HT system now for the past 7 years. I use one amp to run the center and side surrounds, and the other to run the mains and the rear surrounds. I got them in 2001 when they were being dumped on ubid. They are great amps in my opinion. I've used them with a pre-pro and now a receiver's pre-outs, and they have power and dynamics to spare. They can easily keep up with any source material. They were originally priced at something like $2800 when they first came out, and I consider one them one of the best audio bargains I've ever found.

Let me know if you have any additional questions about them.

P.S. Welcome to the forum.

P.P.S. Forgot to mention, but in case you don't know it already, the Citation amps are a beast. As I recall, the 7.1 amp weighs 60 or 70 lbs. I can tell you that I don't move it too often.
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:33 PM
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Good amp. They are essentially the light beer version of Mark Levinson/Proceed amps that HK built to run their then top of the line Citation theater. They are beefy and sound pretty good. They are a bit on the soft side in comparison to the current designs. My only worry would be the age and support for them.

A few others to look at...the newest Marantz MM-8003 is kind of an updated version. Really nice sounding unit, very much in the same vein as the HK amps.

The second amp, which is overly potent for your needs...but you never know what may come in the future, is the Earthquake Cinenova Grande. Exceptional sounding amp with a TON of power.

Parasound Halo amps. Spectacular. Period.
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input guys!.....and for rolling out the welcome mat.I've been lurking around the forum for a couple years, and it's helped me avoid audio heartache more than once.Smitty, I was wondering if you were running any of your channels bridged, or if you have....if so, does it affect sound quality?I'm actually just curious,as Soundood pointed out I don't neeeed that much power.Any suggestions for 2 or 3 channel amps that would play well with this, they seem to be really hard to find.If I like it, I may sell the Parasound and try to find a complimentary amp (or at least start my piggybank fund for it...Soundood thanks for the suggestions on the other 2 amps.....especially the Earthquake, did a little reading on it.Ultimately, If I don't keep the Citation (maybe even if I do), this is where I want to go amplification wise....oh, and h0ly ****! what a beast...comes in an ammo crate, love it.In all seriousness though,looks great on paper, and lots of people seem to like it, and I would probably [u]never[u] need more power......it is also 1 step up from where I'm at now to spend but there is time.
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:48 AM
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I've never run mine bridged because I've never needed anything near that kind of power.

As to what to match with it, I'm not sure it's really critical depending how you set it up. If I lost one of my amps and had to replace it, I'd probably use the other Citation to run the center and L and R mains, and then use the second amp to power the surrounds. In the configuration, I don't think precise sound quality matching would be important, as the surrounds don't carry enough information. And any decent amp would probably have enough power to handle surrounds. I'd probably look at Emotiva or something in that range.
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Well folks, this ones a keeper.I've had a chance to live with this amp for a little while and I like it.Smitty I see what you mean about not needing more power. While I would like to bridge it and open it up just to see how it would perform, I would probably need to check with Ascend Acoustics first.If any of you know who repairs these things, please post or pm me.I'm not having any problems with the amp, but it doesn't hurt to plan ahead.....besides,if something went wrong,it seems to be worth fixing from from what I'm hearing as I sit here typing (although it seems as though the bill for some repairs is at or near the current price used).Smitty, you weren't kidding about this thing, my lower spine filed a formal grievance against me shortly after wrestling it into the rack.Chances are the Parasound 855a will eventually become the down payment on a complimentary amp.For now the Parasound and Citation seem to be playing well together remarkably well.
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:35 PM
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Greetings All,

I'm using a 7.1 to biamp the mains (Kef Q Series). Maybe overkill for these speakers but I've had the amp for a long time. I notice it produces a mechanical buzz/hum directly from the amp (not through the speakers thank goodness). Sounds like a transformer may be vibrating, or perhaps a relay or internal moving part? Anyone hear of such a problem? I'd rather not have to run so loud just to mask this noise....
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:36 AM
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Hey Oscar,

Glad you're keeping the 7.1 amps; I had a couple of these when I bought my complete 7000 system years ago and they were great performers (still have the 7.0 pre-pro/7.3 surrounds packed away). The actual designer of these amps was Steve Mantz and I believe he still may be operating Zed Audio. Below is a blurb from him on the impressive details that went into these amp designs:

Steve Mantz on the Citation 7.1 -

"We did design and build the Citation 7.1 and the smaller 5.1. We built a lot of these for Harman International. The amplifiers are flat from DC to 270KHz where the response is about 1dB down. Harman wanted this silly specification, why I do not know because we are not bats and cannot hear that high. The original specification was that they wanted the amplifier to go out to 600KHz, but the first prototypes were NOT happy out there and so we 'compromised' at just under 300KHz.

Each channel uses 10 Toshiba 20MHz output devices with a theoretical dissipation of 1,500 watts. The circuitry is fully complementary from input to output and it has some very unique features. Each channel has 6 power supplies which are separate from the other channels. The only common item between channels is the power transformer, which is a 2.2Kw toroid. This 2.2Kw rating is at 25 deg C and it can put out upwards of 3Kw at higher temperatures.

The input complementary differential pairs are driven by temperature compensated constant current sources, which ensure almost zero drift of the DC conditions with each channel. These are also cascode connected for maximum bandwidth. The main gain stage is also cascoded for increased bandwidth and is also Darlington configured for high current gain.

The output stage is a triple Darlington with ultra fast turn off delay. The main power emitter resistors are non inductive types. No coils are used in the speaker circuit and the amplifier is stable into reactive loads with a phase angle of over 45 degrees. It has the usual plethora of protection circuits which by the way are not in the audio path. The amplifier can be turned on with a remote trigger or by the rocker switch on the rear. It can be changed to run from 100v to 240 AC 50/60Hz.

I have the last two production amplifiers at home, one of which I use in my own system for the subs. I run it in bridge mode into a 2 ohm load, and I get out 1Kw per pair of bridged channels. I did modify the protection circuit to allow me to run each channel into 1 ohm!
I have used the amplifier for 8 years now and it has run flawlessly." - Steve Mantz

Chris B
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:38 AM
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Among a dozen or so amplifiers that have been in and out of my system I too owned the Citation 7.1s that were NIBs sold at UBid. I was immediately impressed with their remarkable level of detail and their outstanding build quality. Unfortunately I very quickly began to experience severe listener fatigue to the point my ears began to hurt. Something was wrong with those amps and while I tried them several times over a few months I always found that I could not stand to listen to them for more than a few minutes. I finally gave up and sold them without loss at Audiogon. I recently read that someone said those Toshiba transistors were at fault and later models got more stable transistors - hopefully the OP has the better version. I should add that my ears are unusually sensitive to high frequency noise so that made these amps a particularly bad match for me. Ironically, I found the Citation 7.0 analog preamp to be just what I like for my 2 channel listening and I still use it for that purpose, even after trying some newer and more expensive preamps.

"The truth is out there!"
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Signaldoc, the transformer hum definitely is NOT normal.I have heard of this, withmany, many different kinds of amps.Maybe check out some DIY audio type sites ask some questions.More often then not something just needs to be tightened.If that something is inside, use caution.....2.2Kv worth of caution.The designer of this amp has posted on Diyaudio under the name MOER.I should point out that these posts are old.There are lots of folks that on that forum who could probably suggest things to check for before throwing any money at this.Hope that helps...these things have really grown on me.Right now I'm passive biamping my front 3 speakers (Ascend cmt 340se's).I'm enjoying some overkill of my own.
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Old 09-18-2009, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
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dsmith901....I popped the hood on my Citations.Rohm transistors all around.My speakers may actually be a good match for these amps, design wise(fabric dome tweeters)......or it just seems that way to me.Maybe I'm not as sensitive to high frequency sounds. Either way I could live with this set up for a while. It's good enough that I'm back to thinking about front end electronics again.The Citation 7.0 intrigues BTW.I bid on one but didn't win it.Upgrading the receiver or processor is going to be a pain.....and looks like it's going to require even more thought than the amps.I will say I've really gotten my money's worth out of this avr 240 even as a pre/pro.....hope I'll do as well the next step up.
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by signaldoc View Post

Greetings All,

I'm using a 7.1 to biamp the mains (Kef Q Series). Maybe overkill for these speakers but I've had the amp for a long time. I notice it produces a mechanical buzz/hum directly from the amp (not through the speakers thank goodness). Sounds like a transformer may be vibrating, or perhaps a relay or internal moving part? Anyone hear of such a problem? I'd rather not have to run so loud just to mask this noise....

Try retightening the horizontal long machine screws/nuts that hold the power transformer assembly together...
Also tighten the transformer/chassis mounting screws down. Here a little blue lock-tite works well..

Just my $0.015..
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Old 07-15-2010, 04:23 PM
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M Code,

I find this one on sale. I would like to know if they are musical compared to HK's today amp/receiver or not. Also, how does it compare with Signature 2.1 which is 5 channel power amp and almost similar specs(100w ) but also weighs way less( 75 lbs vs 47 lbs)

Thanks.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:18 AM
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I have owned a pair of 7.1s for 3 years now and love them. Upon setting up after a recent move one of mine went "bust" and I need to find a shop that KNOWS this amp. Can anyone help with a suggestion?
Thanks, Paul
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioHTArchitect View Post

I have owned a pair of 7.1s for 3 years now and love them. Upon setting up after a recent move one of mine went "bust" and I need to find a shop that KNOWS this amp. Can anyone help with a suggestion?
Thanks, Paul

Contact Stephen Mantz at Zed Audio.

http://zedaudiocorp.com/

He is the guy who originally designed these amps for Harman.
Some think they were made by Madrigal, that's wrong.

Nice guy, he will help you.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adumadu View Post

M Code,

I find this one on sale. I would like to know if they are musical compared to HK's today amp/receiver or not. Also, how does it compare with Signature 2.1 which is 5 channel power amp and almost similar specs(100w ) but also weighs way less( 75 lbs vs 47 lbs)

Thanks.

I would love to hear your impression of the Citation 7.1 compared to the HK signature series. Hope, you were able to obtain citation 7.1 unit for an audition. I currently use Signature 2.1 & 1.5, but I do see these amps come up on ebay & craiglist time to time. I am thinking about trying them out at a decent price.
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