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DC 300, D-150, Studio Reference2 amplifiers, amps

Crown DC 300 Power Amplifier  Solid State History

DC 300

The original Crown DC 300 power amplifier was introduced to the marketplace in 1967. Crown International (now Crown Audio), has been a leader in manufacturing high quality power amplifiers and new technology in audio amplification since the 1960’s. Prior to manufacturing amplifiers Crown’s product line consisted of high quality reel to reel tape decks for audiophiles and commercial applications. Being a teenage baby boomer at the time I was very interested in music, sound and electronics. I remember seeing the DC 300 amplifier for the first time on display in a hifi stereo showroom -HiFi Haven, New Brunswick, NJ. The amp was large(40lbs) having a modern hi-tech look, the faceplate was bright anodized brushed aluminum with two black volume control knobs and the sides and back were black aluminum finned with 2 large exposed silver capacitors. I visited the showroom regularly and listened to music through this amplifier many times and that is how I decided this amp was for me. I already had a pair of Altec Lansing Voice of the Theater speakers so I knew the sound would even be better on my own speakers at home.

The DC 300 captured the interest of many audiophiles with its power output capacity and impressive clean specifications. With every pair of eyes that saw it there was a pair of ears that wanted to listen to this new Crown amplifier to witness its power and sound quality. The suggested retail price for the DC 300 was $685.00 including a three year warranty on parts and labor. At the time, fair trade pricing prevailed, which meant authorized dealers had to sell for list price to discourage dealers from discounting crown products.  The DC 300 became popular among audiophiles and commercially in radio/broadcast use, installed sound and the live performance industry. This was the world‘s first high powered commercial duty solid state audio power amplifier that was reliable and road worthy.

Crown DC 300 Enters Hall of Fame- The Story

In December of 2007 the Crown International DC 300 power amplifier was inducted into the TECnology Hall of Fame at the 123rd AES Convention in New York. Gerald Stanley, senior vice president of research and development at Crown International and the original designer of the amp accepted the award. Little did they know over 40 years ago that this design would make amplifier history. Musicians and performers alike can attest to a career with this worthy electronics companion as they spent many long nights together and this amplifier worked as hard at the show as the performers.

The DC 300’s minimum output was 150watts@8ohms and 300watts@4ohms per channel and typically produced 190watts@8ohms and 340watts@4ohms per channel. Total of both channels typically would reach 420watts @8ohms and 800watts@4ohms. The amplifier design allowed the heat to dissipate thru its aluminum front faceplate and the aluminum finned back plate which acted as a heat sink. If only one DC 300 was used freestanding no cooling fan was required, for multiple amps in a rack, cooling fans were suggested. For home use and the audiophile Crown offered real wood cases to hold the amp to be visually appealing as a separate component. Owning a few of these I can tell you first hand this amplifier was very impressive and yes expensive but the price validated Crown’s dependability, high power and sound quality for years to come. Today 40 years later there are many of the original DC 300 amplifiers still in service and working fine. Many audiophiles will not replace their mint condition DC 300 as it was one of the first solid state amplifiers of this size that produced a sound that is unique to this era of transformation from tube amplifiers.

Some Specifications for the Crown DC 300

Frequency Response- 0-20KHz at 1watt

Distortion- less than0.1% to 150watts, typically below 0.05

Input Sensitivity-  1.75 for 150watts

Input Impedance- nominal 100k

Power Supply- 1kw transformer with high current diodes. Total of four regulated supplies- 2 per channel

Chassis- an all aluminum construction for maximum heat conduction and dissipation

Controls- heavy duty independent input level controls on front with power switch

Dimensions- 19” standard rack mount x 9 ” deep x 7” height.  Weight 40lbs

The DC 300 had a distinctive sound much different than other brands of amplifiers. The sound was excellent no matter how many hours the amplifier would be under load. It delivered bright highs and clean bass having a natural transparency to program music and live sound that passed through it. Altec Lansing and JBL made power amplifiers that were used in fixed sound locations and some were used for touring sound systems. Another brand that was introduced in the 70’s was Phase Linear. These amplifiers were primarily a home use audiophile stereo amplifier with large blue VU meters on the brushed aluminum front face. The amps were less expensive than Crown and attempted to be of equal a product. Some of the solid state stereo amplifier models included- Phase Linear 700B, 200, 300, series 400, 1000, 2000, 2200, 1200, and 200 mk2.They were designed to be used in a home stereo environment and not reliable for live sound or on the road use. The Phase Linear amplifiers had overheating problems under heavy use and required l cooling fans.

I have taken DC 300, DC 300A along with the other older models of power amps out my system. Even though all of the vintage amplifiers are still great sounding, I continue to upgrade with new current models of Crown Audio products. Here is a list of Crown models I have owned and used  throughout the years in live sound systems, home stereos and home theaters- D-150a, D60, D75, FM Two, IC150A, PS 200, PS400, Powerline Series, Powertech Series, Power Base, XLS, Macro Tech, Studio Reference 2, K2, K1, and ITech Series amplifiers. Crown Audio has stopped manufacturing dedicated audiophile quality power amplifiers and continues to produce amplifiers for live sound and installed sound applications. Crown Audio is a subsidiary of Harman International which owns Mark Levinson and Lexicon who do manufacture audiophile quality products.                              

Crown Audio ITech 6000 Power Amplifier Review

Itech Series power amplifiers,

I have owned Crown power amplifiers since the days of the DC300, using them for live sound, stereo systems and home theater applications. This is a short review of using the ITech 6000 Series power amp in home audio theater applications. Most audiophiles would grin at the thought of using a Crown ITech 6000 in an upscale home theater or home stereo system. The reviews and test of this amplifier is based on the installation in a home audio system and found to perform quite well. I have followed Crown’s technology in audio amplifiers for nearly 40 years and continue to try new products that Crown Audio offers, in this case the ITech6000. I was a little reluctant about selecting the ITech Series amplifier for my home audio system when it was first introduced. I setup my home audio theater system to duplicate near perfect live sound quality as the rest of the system is powered by three Crown Studio Reference 2 amplifiers and what better way to do this than to use the same brand of amplifiers used for live music and by recording studios around the world.

The 5.1 surround sound system that this amplifier would be used in has four TAD 15” speaker enclosures for the sub woofers and a power amp was needed that could drive all four subs. The ITech6000 came to mind as this was the only product that Crown makes that might suit the custom application, even though it is not recognized as a high end audiophile power amplifier. I researched and could not find reviews or recommendations from other users that had a similar home use configuration nor was I able to get any opinions on using the ITech amp for home use. The new ITech was a milestone in amplifier technology from Crown Audio for use in live smart sound systems and I had doubts if this power amp would be the right choice to use in a home audio setup. After researching the specs I decided to put my faith in Crown and drop $6000 on an Itech6000, not really knowing what to expect from this new series of smart amplifiers.

How the Crown ITech 6000 is connected in this home theater audio system. The audio is managed by a Lexicon MC12B preamp processor- the sub output on the Lexicon goes into a TC Electronics Triple C compressor and that output is balanced and split into two inputs of the ITech6000. The amp is setup for 2 channel operation as basically two mono amplifiers. This allows balancing from front to rear while being able to adjust and tighten the bass to give a solid punch. After receiving the ITech6000, I read the owner’s manual and installation instructions to understand how to operate this amplifier in the default mode. I must admit I am a simple kind of guy and I was a little overwhelmed with all of the possible configurations and custom settings that the ITech has to offer with DSP circuitry. After making all the cable connections it was now time to test and find out if I made the right choice in amplifiers. I turned the system on and scrolled thru the amplifiers setup screens to select all factory default settings just to get started. I played some audio cd’s and was very surprised of how tight the bass was. The signal was silently clean, the bass was solid and heard evenly throughout the listening room.

Conclusion after listening. I would say the ITech’s bass reproduction is similar to a Crown K1 or K2, except brighter and more natural. After listening to several music programs I was convinced that this was the right choice for my system as it complimented the other full range speakers and sounded realistic. I have used Crown amps for 30 years and yes I have considered other brands and tried alternatives but none have compared to Crown’s sound quality, performance and dependability.

This is a high power amplifier with 2500watts per channel @ 2ohms, 3000watts per channel @4ohms and 1500watts per channel @8ohms. I am running two channels at 4ohms so approx 6000watts of sub bass wattage total. After testing, I went into the menus and made some modifications for each channel. The amp has custom programmable crossover settings which I bypassed to use the raw crossover frequency from the Lexicon MC12B sub output signal.

Crown ITech6000 2 Channel Power Amplifier Features and Specs

Onboard DSP provides signal processing- compression, limiting, filters, crossover… 24-bit, 96 kHz A/D- D/A converters, IQ Network and TCP/IQ. Push button DSP presets simplify setup.

Global Power Supply- works on any voltage- 5 power cords supplied for International connection.

Power- up to 8 kW continuous and 10 kW peak in a 2U rack space, highest output in Industry.

Front Panel-  control screen displays advanced diagnostics and status, controls set from front panel. Indicators include- power, data, bridge, ready, signal, clip, thermal and fault for each channel.

Input Connectors- analog – A3 pin female XLR for each channel and digital AES/EBU, analog and digital thru connectors.

Load Impedance- safe with all types of loads- Stereo- 1/2/4/8/16 ohms, Bridge Mono- 2/4/8 ohms.

Speaker Output Connectors- Two pairs high-current 60A- color coded 5-way binding posts for bare wire/spade lugs or banana plugs and two high-current 50A Neutrik Speakon

Protection- management controller with two discrete thermal zones having variable-speed forced air cooling.

Construction- front panel cast aluminum, dimensions- 19”W x 3.5”H x 16.2” D. weight 28lbs out of box

 

Crown amplifiers have been considered top of the line for many years and “the industry standard” for recording studios and live sound applications. In past years, thru the 60’s to 90’s, Crown manufactured audiophile quality amplifiers and many audiophiles used these amps in their home stereo systems like the DC300, D-150, DC300A, D-150A, D60, D75, PS200, PS400 and lastly the Studio Reference Series. The Studio Reference Series amplifiers were the last model of amplifiers produced by Crown for the audiophile. I am sure there are many dedicated Crown owners like me that felt they were pushed off the edge when Crown became a subsidiary of Harman International. With Harman’s takeover, Crown would stop producing high end home & studio quality power amplifiers and shift the production of audiophile products to Harman International’s other brand names- Mark Levinson and Lexicon. The new name for Crown would be Crown Audio.

 

crown ce1000

 

 

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