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Thread: Crown Vs. Crown..The China Syndrome !

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    Senior Member jeenie67's Avatar
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    Crown Vs. Crown..The China Syndrome !

    I decided as recent replies to posts in the music category "What's Playing Now" have sparked some off topic comments, which I do enjoy, I'd put forth the question here.

    I currently use two Crown XLS-202's, one model which features the former styling and the newer 202, where the designers restyled the faceplate and eliminated one cooling fan. I haven't had the time to peruse the specifications, schematics, or pop the tops to have a look see. I also wish to examine the various internal components used in manufacture. Both are made in the mystical land of China, in which I'm currently taking a course in it's history from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century; when in my opinion, their political ideologies were a little more cohesive to global harmony.

    One evening while connecting a new crossover unit, I began to try different combination's of bi-amping my Altec Model 14's. I chose dedicated right/ left speaker amplification at this time. During a prolonged listening session I noticed a difference in the sonic qualities exhibited by each amplifier. This peculiarity, although not a major issue, still annoyed me after a while. With certain media I have to compensate the volume levels, increasing the newer unit one notch, sometimes two, to achieve a proper right/left balance. I have owned many Crown amps, some in multi-amp applications, for decades past and never experienced anything like this before. Tonality remains constant.

    My question: Has anyone ever experienced this characteristic with their system? Replies from members owning amplifiers of various manufacturers would be highly appreciated.

    Aye' ....Tanx ! Jeenie 67.

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeenie67 View Post
    With certain media I have to compensate the volume levels, increasing the newer unit one notch, sometimes two, to achieve a proper right/left balance. I have owned many Crown amps, some in multi-amp applications, for decades past and never experienced anything like this before. Tonality remains constant.
    My question: Has anyone ever experienced this characteristic with their system? Replies from members owning amplifiers of various manufacturers would be highly appreciated.
    Without a calibrated source, you can't really determine if the differences you're hearing are the amps. You can swap them side to side maybe. I bi-amp with Crowns (old-school D-series U.S.-made stuff) and often find imbalance in level and tone from one channel to the next on different source material. In most cases that's the nature of "stereo", or a poor mastering job. My amps are in "conventional" bi-amp mode where the left channel of each goes to the left speakers, etc. My old pre-amp had a mono-L/R mix function making it easy to take the stereo-effect out of the equation but still leaving room acoustics and reaction as one variable, particularly in level from barrier reinforcement, etc. Individual driver levels (L-pad variation) can make one sound louder than the other, too, since your ear be more sensitive to sound from the mid-range than any other frequency. Maybe a test signal could help you determine where your imbalance in level is coming from. If your leads are long enough, you could also try swapping speakers L-R while keeping the amps the same. Or just swap at the pre-amp output. It could be an imbalance in your pre-amp, such as deficient output, uncalibrated balance control, etc. Of course the suggestion here for bi-amping in the fashion you're using was to use "identical" amps. We already know that's not the case with yours.

    FWIW, I asked about whatever we want to call this type of bi-amping on the Crown forum and got a lukewarm response that seemed to indicate there was nothing to be gained, at least from the standpoint of using Crown amps with sufficient power to start with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Crown Forum
    I believe that [the suggestion] is referring to the fact that most amplifier manufactures test to one of two standards, either the FTC or EIA ratings standards.
    The FTC standard was established by the Federal Trade Commission and requires that a manufacturer’s stated power ratings must meet the advertised frequency range (usually 20 Hz to 20 kHz) at the rated THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) with both channels driven.
    The EIA rating, established by The Electronic Industries Association, is the power output of a single channel driven at typically 1 kHz with 1% THD clipping. The EIA standard will typically be 10 to 20% higher than the FTC ratings.
    We go one step further than the EIA ratings and drive both channels as we feel the fairest, most honest, and most revealing rating method is the obvious one: to specify power with all channels fully driven, as this is a more real world scenario. When fewer channels are being tested, the more power the ones being used can deliver. This can artificially increase the apparent power output. By testing with both channels driven we are decreasing the standard 10-20% difference of one channel driven. To put it in a nut shell we basically provide a more conservative power spec of the EIA standard because we test with both channels driven during our tests not just one.

    What does a 10-20% power difference mean in reality? For the average person to hear a difference in loudness/level, you would need to double the power to the speakers. You can hear the difference between 200 watts and 400 watts, a 3 dB increase or doubling of power, but you won’t hear a difference between 200 watts and 240 watts as small difference in output power are not discernable to the human ear.

    Now let’s apply this to your scenario. From above you can see that: Using our amps with both channels, driving the same frequency range, you wouldn’t hear much of a difference as our performance specs are rated with both channels driven not just one.

    There is one issue you should consider and that is if you use say a PS 400, for one channel lows and the other channel highs: Can the highs handle the extra power that the lows can?

    Personally I would match the amplifier power for the speakers and if it means one amp driving both channel of lows and another amp driving both channels of the highs I would do it rather than over power my highs or under power my lows.

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    I have two Crown XLS 802 amps and many of the components, including the output transistors, are stamped "MEX"

    I assume this means they are manufactured in Mexico and not in China.

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robertbartsch View Post
    I have two Crown XLS 802 amps and many of the components, including the output transistors, are stamped "MEX"

    I assume this means they are manufactured in Mexico and not in China.
    Or maybe blame the buying public's demand for cheap watts without regard for where they're made or how they're built? If it was just NAFTA, nothing Crown makes would come from Indiana any more. Yet some still do. It's fairly obvious to me that the market for cheap high-power amps for DJ work is the driving force behind going off-shore to meet that demand. For those that want the highest quality, they can still find US-made products (MacroTech) but you may have to pay for the privilege. It becomes a choice. Why do the Japanese (and others) put US-made products on a pedestal (JBL)? Is it just nostalgia?

    I'd prefer to buy everything as "made in USA". But for some items it's impossible. But don't blame just Clinton. Protective legislation and market diddling has driven even LifeSavers from the US because of our ridiculous sugar subsidies and price controls. When did you last see even candy corn made in USA? It's not just NAFTA, it's our silly agricultural-policies, too.

    I can't even find produce in the grocery store from the USA. And I'm no longer able to buy Levi's made here. Or plumbing supplies for repairs or new construction. Or hardware; screws, nails, washers. But then most of the parts I buy to maintain my BMWs don't come from Germany, either! The JBL-Pro T-shirt I bought the other day came from Nicaragua.

    Sure, I'm a Luddite, but if you look in any of my system racks the only non-made-in-USA parts will be the turntable, disc player, tape deck, and some interconnects. I was quite happy to find that Ashly is a fine New York company. I have eleven US-made Crown products and eleven US-made pre-MTX Soundcraftsmen components, one McIntosh, and even an old tube Sherwood. And, of course, all my speakers. That's just me. Corporate America doesn't seem to share that same pride any more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robertbartsch View Post
    I suppose you can thank ... a dear price for this short sighted decision.
    It is a world wide problem (with different impact). Simply said the rich countries consume, the poor ones produce.
    ____________
    Peter

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    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    I'd prefer to buy everything as "made in USA". But for some items it's impossible. .
    Same here, in fact I dont mind paying a premium on products made USA , Japan , Europe or Scandinavia . Just bought a Cambridge Audio sub , forgot to look at country of origin ..you guessed it ..China & malfunctioning ...this to follow a nice sub that said "Made in Canada", plugged it in and smoke...BOX was made in Canada , ELECTRONICS from China..

    Dont misconstrue my opinion ...we have Chinese friends , have traveled there ,,but I wont consciously buy substantial product made there , unless there is absolutly no other choice. We also travel to VN , if you bring them a gift from America, the first thing they do is flip it over to check COO. Even the poor do not want MIC products.

    BUT ...from my youth I remember that we saw Japan in that same light in the 50's. .....so mebbe there iis some hope
    ♪ ♬ Wish they all could be Cali-fornia JBL's ♪ ♬


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    Senior Member jeenie67's Avatar
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    ..The "XLS Files"...Digging for the Truth!

    ....And what did we find, me and my cohort?
    Two Crown XLS-202's sharing hardly anything in common. I've learned from restoring my old tube radios how tonality and other characteristics can be changed or modified by the substitution of individual components such as capacitors, diodes, and especially tubes. Even though the values are the same, different manufacturers or even the era when they were made makes a huge difference. I also learned more re-building my vintage Les Paul guitar....I bought old caps on eBay with the same values as the originals, but the vintage ones had it all over the newer ones in the way of sound. I guess it has to do with every internal element of the particular component.
    Looking over the Crowns, the circuit was the same, but most of the major components were different. I still wonder about the volume issue....I can't pin that one down. A prior post has given me some insight, but a definite answer still eludes me.
    Tube power amps are in my mind as these Crowns will serve duty in my theater system later on down the road.
    I thank you for your responses. Jeenie.

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    Senior Member Doc Mark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    (big snip)

    Sure, I'm a Luddite, but if you look in any of my system racks the only non-made-in-USA parts will be the turntable, disc player, tape deck, and some interconnects. I was quite happy to find that Ashly is a fine New York company. I have eleven US-made Crown products and eleven US-made pre-MTX Soundcraftsmen components, one McIntosh, and even an old tube Sherwood. And, of course, all my speakers. That's just me. Corporate America doesn't seem to share that same pride any more.
    Hey, BMWCC,

    I'm not sure Ashly making their goodies in the USA. I was surprised, and more than a little dismayed, to find that the new Ashly XR4001 electronic crossover, was made in.......... yep, you guessed it: China!!! I had purchased it, in part, because it was a US company, and I had heard that their stuff was still manufactured here. If my own Ashly product is any kind of example, looks like their stuff is coming from overseas, now, which is a real shame. As much as I hate to say it, I have far less confidence in the Ashly, now that I know it was not US-made. I hope I'm wrong, and that my Ashly unit works perfectly, and for a very long time. We'll see, eh? Take care, and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Doc
    The only thing that can never be taken away from you, is your honor. Cherish it, in yourself, and in others.

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    WELL THAT IS WEIRD since I own 3 Crown XLS 802s. One shuts down with moderate power and the other two are OK.

    ...makes me wonder if different compaonenst were used in the thermal curcuits.

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    Worth a read, could explain those anomalies, ie bad filter capacitors.

    Wikipedia - Capacitor plague

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague
    "The capacitor plague (also known as bad capacitors) involved the common premature failure of certain brands of electrolytic capacitors used in various electronics equipment, and particularly in motherboards, video cards, compact fluorescent lamp ballasts, and power supplies of personal computers. The first flawed capacitors were seen in 1999, but most of the affected capacitors were made in the early to mid 2000s, and while news of their failures (usually after a few years of use) has forced most manufacturers to fix the defects, some bad capacitors are still being sold or integrated into designs as of early 2007"

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    Senior Member jeenie67's Avatar
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    Caps.....!

    Good reading!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Mark View Post
    Hey, BMWCC,

    I'm not sure Ashly making their goodies in the USA. I was surprised, and more than a little dismayed, to find that the new Ashly XR4001 electronic crossover, was made in.......... yep, you guessed it: China!!! I had purchased it, in part, because it was a US company, and I had heard that their stuff was still manufactured here. If my own Ashly product is any kind of example, looks like their stuff is coming from overseas, now, which is a real shame. As much as I hate to say it, I have far less confidence in the Ashly, now that I know it was not US-made. I hope I'm wrong, and that my Ashly unit works perfectly, and for a very long time. We'll see, eh? Take care, and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Doc
    Unless they are making false claims, some of their stuff is still "Made in the USA", or at least has that printed on it.
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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    At least my old gray-face XR1001 was:
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

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    Senior Member Eaulive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robertbartsch View Post
    I have two Crown XLS 802 amps and many of the components, including the output transistors, are stamped "MEX"

    I assume this means they are manufactured in Mexico and not in China.
    The output transistors are made by ONsemi, former Motorola and the plant is in Mexico.
    However there was MANY counterfeit transistors from that series, and you find them from time to time as replacement parts. (MJ15024/15025, 15003/15004, 21195/21196)

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    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    If Phil can compare his Levi's (Macau has been the worlds production center for many years) - then I'll make the comparison for bicycles.

    I've had 2 nearly identical TREK bikes ....a 2007 model from Ch1na & a 1996 USA produced one....

    Got the Ch1na one first and regretted my decision...the grip shifters were terrible, the welds amateurish , accessories falling apart or wearing prematurely...

    The 11 year older USA one is almost an exact opposite ...a joy to shift (tho shifting components are Japanese) ..great quality , looks like it will hold up for 50 years of daily riding.

    worked on home improvement projects and had screws that deform..nails that bend when used....guess where they came from ?

    when purchasing now...part of the decision process is to look for COO on the rear ...life is too short to endure shoddy crap..

    new slogan......."Ch1na made is a last resort"
    ♪ ♬ Wish they all could be Cali-fornia JBL's ♪ ♬


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