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Integrated amplifier recommendations


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Hi All,

 

Looking for some suggestions for an upgrade of my amplifier. I've tried a few amps but they haven't been quite right or have provided enough uplift to justify cost of upgrade.

 

Currently running:

Hana SL / Denon DL-110 carts

Technics 1210 with KAB upgrades (external PSU, rewired tonearm, tonearm dampener) 

EAR MC-3 SUT

EAR 834P phono stage

Onkyo TX 844 integrated amplifier

Bowers & Wilkins CM6 S2

 

Reason for looking for an upgrade is that I think my amp is the weakest link in the chain now. When I first tested out the Hana through my Technics, the differences between the Hana and the DL-110 were night and day but with the Onkyo amplifier I can't really hear the difference between the two. 

 

I've borrowed and demo'd the following integrated amps:

 

Quad 34 preamp / 606 power amp - Sounded nice and punchy on 80s disco/dance tracks but didn't sound very exciting on other albums (rock/jazz/folk) and couldn't justify the $2k cost

Linn Majik integrated amplifier - Sounded great on any rock/disco/heavy metal but anything acoustic (folk like Joan Baez for example) sounded kind of artificial/cd sounding

Sansui AU-2900 - This was the clear winner for me, sounded fantastic but took it back to the shop as it gave a loud pop in the speakers when powered up. I'm also concerned that the amp is not ideal for my speakers as hifi engine specs the output as 15 watt per channel but my speakers specs are 30-120 watts (or am I not comparing the right specs?)

 

Budget would be wanting to stick to around $1k. Looking at second hand for now I think but would possibly consider new. Judging from the above comparisons my ears prefer the warmer vintage sound. Any recommended vintage amps/receivers?

 

Thanks

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If the argument for an amplifier's particular sonic signature is true, you may need according to your post, at least three amplifiers for the different music genres. By the time you start speaker matching you may need to multiply that number by "x".

 

I do not know of any amplifier manufacturer that has strict conditions as to what music genre can be played via its product for best results or provides a list of loudspeakers that can/must be used with their product to the exclusion of others.

 

Suitable power rating is prerequisite for sure.

 

But  $1K should I think get you a pretty impressive solidly reliable and hi-fidelity product.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There are two things you should remember when searching for integrated amps.  The first is that Sansui is always an option. 

The second is that if you like one amp but that one doesn't work out you should try to find one of a higher spec in the same model series.

If you liked the AU2900 you should really try to find a 4900 or 5900, they are around they just need a little searching out.

 

Also, just as oils ain't oils, watts aren't always watts and the Sansui amps of that era are generally under rated.  The 2900 might be rated at 15 watts but it probably tests closer to 25.

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"The 2900 might be rated at 15 watts but it probably tests closer to 25." 

 

That is a mystery to me Cafad, intuitively it seems to go against the science, a watt being a watt, but I have a AU-3900 that's rated at 25 watts and at moderate listening levels, never had any trouble powering a pair of Ushers S-520's  for instance, or a pair of ELAC 2.5 floor standards rated at 4 ohm and still had some comfortable room to move.

 

I believe in the Sansui Watt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, JSmith said:

Possibly something here of interest?

 

http://classic-hifi.net/product-category/products-by-range/amplifiers-integrated/

 

JSmith :ninja:

Some nice amps there. I've visited this store before and get the feeling that they lean on the side of overpriced. Probably worth going in again and seeing what kind of prices they can do.

 

Thanks

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Hi,

 

Re Sansui amps, I have a refurbished AU-317, and an original AU-3900 that has been serviced and they are available for purchase. You are welcome to audition either or both in your system if you are in Sydney or thereabouts. 

 

Edit - Re the pop you experienced with the AU-2900, this shouldn't happen on turn on, but the 2900 does not have the speaker protect /delayed switching of the amplifier outputs to the speaker terminals at the higher models have, so if there is any DC imbalance on turn on this can be heard in the speakers.

 

Cheers

 

John

Edited by skippy124
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1 hour ago, allthumbs said:

"The 2900 might be rated at 15 watts but it probably tests closer to 25." 

 

That is a mystery to me Cafad, intuitively it seems to go against the science, a watt being a watt, but I have a AU-3900 that's rated at 25 watts and at moderate listening levels, never had any trouble powering a pair of Ushers S-520's  for instance, or a pair of ELAC 2.5 floor standards rated at 4 ohm and still had some comfortable room to move.

 

I believe in the Sansui Watt.

 

The Science is sound but the application of said Science is what I am alluding to.  Watts being power is calculated by multiplying Volts by Amperes.  Running a higher voltage amp will give you more watts on paper (and in my experience tend to sound faster) but running a unit with higher amps on tap will give you a more full bottom end and the ability to drive difficult speakers.  Sansuis have the amps on tap.

 

So a watt is always a watt but you can get them two different ways and they don't sound the same (at least not in my experience).

Also some companies are very optimistic about the watts they list, some are accurate and some are under rated.  Sansuis are also under rated so I like to think of them as the best of both worlds.

 

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Guest Eggcup The Daft

Some manufactures underquote output compared to rivals' measurement. Sometimes they are being conservative, sometimes they are measuring differently (not just at 1kHz into 8Ohm) and sometimes it is a marketing ploy (wow, that's louder than 8Ohm!).

You also find manufacturers quoting for a particular measure of THD, rather than a more heavily distorted "maximum".

 

Another trick is to measure into 4Ohm, then halve that and quote that as the 8Ohm figure. We all know that amps don't actually double output from 8 Ohms into 4 Ohms - especially if we have paid attention to the knowledgeable people on this forum! - but they do in Specificationland where the laws of physics are different.

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Have you thought about Rotel? I also own an SL1210, and it sounds pretty good through my Rotel integrated. Also, B&W own Rotel, so you'd assume they'd sound okay with your speakers. It's a pretty common pairing for that reason. Definitely not 'vintage' or 'warm' sounding, but worth considering all the same.

 

A second hand Rotel RA-1520 can be had for under $1k (it's 60w RMS). Or, for $1300 you can get a new Rotel A12, which has similar specs. Alternatively, JB have an exclusive model called the Rotel RA-630 (a stripped down A12) for $1099.

 

Anyway, I'd recommend auditioning something Rotel if possible, just to see how you feel about the brand as an option. I know JB don't really audition things, so an A12 is probably the best bet.

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16 hours ago, Highwaystar said:

Some nice amps there. I've visited this store before and get the feeling that they lean on the side of overpriced. Probably worth going in again and seeing what kind of prices they can do.

 

Thanks

 

Well that's putting it mildly. They overcharge for pretty ordinary retro stuff to Newtown hipsters who don't know any better, it has long been their business model and certainly seems to work because they've been doing it a fair old while.

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15 hours ago, skippy124 said:

Hi,

 

Re Sansui amps, I have a refurbished AU-317, and an original AU-3900 that has been serviced and they are available for purchase. You are welcome to audition either or both in your system if you are in Sydney or thereabouts. 

 

Edit - Re the pop you experienced with the AU-2900, this shouldn't happen on turn on, but the 2900 does not have the speaker protect /delayed switching of the amplifier outputs to the speaker terminals at the higher models have, so if there is any DC imbalance on turn on this can be heard in the speakers.

 

Cheers

 

John

That would be great, thanks! I just PM'd you.

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There’s a redgum rgi 35enr listed on the forum at $550, absolute bargain for someone. I can’t seem to post the link here from my phone but a search will reveal the ad

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If you could find one, a Mission Cyrus two would be a beaut of an amplifier and if you could get the PSX Power Supply, even better. I remember this thing eating Accuphase Pre /Powers in dynamics and sound quality.

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On 25/10/2017 at 9:49 AM, Highwaystar said:

Hi All,

 

Looking for some suggestions for an upgrade of my amplifier. I've tried a few amps but they haven't been quite right or have provided enough uplift to justify cost of upgrade.

 

Currently running:

Hana SL / Denon DL-110 carts

Technics 1210 with KAB upgrades (external PSU, rewired tonearm, tonearm dampener) 

EAR MC-3 SUT

EAR 834P phono stage

Onkyo TX 844 integrated amplifier

Bowers & Wilkins CM6 S2

 

Reason for looking for an upgrade is that I think my amp is the weakest link in the chain now. When I first tested out the Hana through my Technics, the differences between the Hana and the DL-110 were night and day but with the Onkyo amplifier I can't really hear the difference between the two. 

 

I've borrowed and demo'd the following integrated amps:

 

Quad 34 preamp / 606 power amp - Sounded nice and punchy on 80s disco/dance tracks but didn't sound very exciting on other albums (rock/jazz/folk) and couldn't justify the $2k cost

Linn Majik integrated amplifier - Sounded great on any rock/disco/heavy metal but anything acoustic (folk like Joan Baez for example) sounded kind of artificial/cd sounding

Sansui AU-2900 - This was the clear winner for me, sounded fantastic but took it back to the shop as it gave a loud pop in the speakers when powered up. I'm also concerned that the amp is not ideal for my speakers as hifi engine specs the output as 15 watt per channel but my speakers specs are 30-120 watts (or am I not comparing the right specs?)

 

Budget would be wanting to stick to around $1k. Looking at second hand for now I think but would possibly consider new. Judging from the above comparisons my ears prefer the warmer vintage sound. Any recommended vintage amps/receivers?

 

Thanks

Same discussion here

 

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  • 1 month later...

Aloha

 

this Onkyo is a real Gemstone A-711/150 with extremly nice soundstage lucky draw  during my last vacation in Asia  -- big surprise this rare and hard to find piece of Onkyo History fits perfect with JBL L19 and others speakers

will sell couple other amps i own 

Also the other A-722/160nII  and 755/100nII etc. from this Series are gorgeous check it

cheers

:):hiccup

Wally

 

DSC01033.JPG

DSC01047.JPG

DSC01063.JPG

Edited by Shanghai Wally
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I have a Cambridge Audio Azur 651A in the classifieds rated at 75 watts into 8 ohms.

 

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  • 3 years later...
On 26/10/2017 at 12:39 AM, twofires said:

Have you thought about Rotel? I also own an SL1210, and it sounds pretty good through my Rotel integrated. Also, B&W own Rotel, so you'd assume they'd sound okay with your speakers. It's a pretty common pairing for that reason. Definitely not 'vintage' or 'warm' sounding, but worth considering all the same.

 

A second hand Rotel RA-1520 can be had for under $1k (it's 60w RMS). Or, for $1300 you can get a new Rotel A12, which has similar specs. Alternatively, JB have an exclusive model called the Rotel RA-630 (a stripped down A12) for $1099.

 

Anyway, I'd recommend auditioning something Rotel if possible, just to see how you feel about the brand as an option. I know JB don't really audition things, so an A12 is probably the best bet.

Hi Twofires, sorry to post on an old thread, but out of curiosity (since there's a Rotel RA-630 being advertised on a certain site at the moment), just what was lost from the Rotel A-12 when it was "stripped down" to make the RA-630?  Cheers, Rob

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2 hours ago, Robertoh said:

Hi Twofires, sorry to post on an old thread, but out of curiosity (since there's a Rotel RA-630 being advertised on a certain site at the moment), just what was lost from the Rotel A-12 when it was "stripped down" to make the RA-630?  Cheers, Rob

 

Hey Rob, 

 

From memory they deleted the second set of speaker terminals so there is no 'A/B' selector or provision for a second set. Not a great loss. There may be other things, but my memory is a bit hazy. Specs should be easy enough to dig up, though. 

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16 hours ago, twofires said:

 

Hey Rob, 

 

From memory they deleted the second set of speaker terminals so there is no 'A/B' selector or provision for a second set. Not a great loss. There may be other things, but my memory is a bit hazy. Specs should be easy enough to dig up, though. 

Thanks!  I just checked and you're correct, there's only one set of speaker connections on the RA-630, and two (A and B ) on the Rotel A-10, A-11, A-11 Tribute, A-12 and A-14.  I guess that may be something that doesn't matter to many, but I also guess there are enough people on this forum with multiple sets of speakers that they would miss it.  Otherwise, the RA-630 appears similar to the A-12...

Edited by Robertoh
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