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Best Integrated Amp With Phono Stage For Under £300

Discussion in 'Hi Fi Systems & Separates' started by reubenfinger, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. reubenfinger

    reubenfinger Member

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    Hi all, My Ion Obelisk 1 recently started smoking and the result is no left channel , I bought it from ebay about six months and am not a happy boy,

    I have a set of Tannoy Mercury M2 speakers and mostly play vinyl, so a phono stage is crucial, I appreciate that the gear I have been using is older, but in order to not be disappointed again by a dying amp, I would lie to buy something new and would like to know what would be a good match for the tannoys. I'll admit that my knowledge is limited up until now to trawling these and other forums looking at second hand amps, so really any advise at all would be really useful
  2. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard Well-Known Member

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    The first that comes to mind is the various Marantz amps, they all seem to have Phono inputs.

    I think all the Yamaha amps have Phono inputs, and I'm pretty sure all the Onkyo have Phono inputs.

    Can you give us an idea of what your budget is?

    Any specific requirements?

    Are you looking for general consumer amps, or were you looking for the more high end premium consumer amps?

    One thing you might want to consider is at some point buying a good phono stage equalization Pre-amp.

    Something like this -

    Azur 640P Phono pre-amplifier

    Azur 540P Phono pre-amplifier

    Once you have this, you can then use your turntable with any amp.

    640P = £99
    540P = £59

    Of course, with you existing amp blown, that certainly has to be your first prioritiy.

    But again, give us a budget, and we can work from there.

    There are a couple of consumer amps that represent outstanding value, but budget will dictate whether they are suited to you.

    Steve/bluewizard
  3. reubenfinger

    reubenfinger Member

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    Steve,

    thankyou very much for your speedy reply, I was looking to spend no more than £250 - £300, mainly on an integrated amplifier, as an all in one unit is appealing for space and limited plug sockets.
    However, If the recommendation is that a separate phono stage combined with an amp will produce better results, still within the budget, then I'd definately take that adviseon board.
    The record player is a Technics SL1210 MkII paired with an orophon Concorde needle, and my listening encompasses all kinds of music (streamed through my macbook and apogee duet through the obelisk & tannoys) , but my vinyl is mostly 70/80's psychedelia/rock/folk. They system had been all technics including an amp borrowed from a friend, but, I found the Ion Obelisk to be much more musical and that would be my preference in a new amp.
  4. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard Well-Known Member

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    Well, I was thinking about the Harman Kardon integrated amps and receivers. You can actually get a pretty powerful amp for a pretty fair price. Now, I've not had a chance to hear them, but some one in the group bought one and was extremely please with the results. They seemed pleasantly surprised to get such a good quality amp with so many features for such a modest price.

    The Harman Kardon model HK980 is 80w/ch to 8 ohms and is about £230 (from memory). The HK3390 is a Stereo Reciever also with 80w/ch and is about £265, and the more powerful HK3490 with 120w/ch is about £300.

    These amps have lots of features including a PHONO input and a Sub output.

    The Marantz PM6003 is about £300 with 45 watt per channel.

    Though pushing your budget, the Marantz PM7003 is 2x 70 watts to 8 ohms, but is £399.

    As to the Ion Obelisk, while I could find references to it on Google in models 1, 2, and 3, I could find few specs and little information. It seems to be something of an obscure amp. As such, finding one is going to be difficult.

    I'm sure the Ion's are fine amps, but you have to be practical. A little more research indicates that these are about 50w/ch amps.

    While it doesn't have a PHONO input, the NAD certainly has above average quality, and the 50w/ch NAD C326 can be had for £289. Combining that with a phono pre-amp would put you over budget, but you would never have to worry about a phono input again.

    In your price range, in new equipment, there are only a limited number of choices.

    Again, if you are trying to maximize your money, you might consider some Yamaha amps. The AX497 is 85w/ch to 8 ohms and does have a built in PHONO input; priced at about £230 to £250.

    Now if you are interested in used, certainly you can try Ebay, but there is some risk with buying used from a source like this. Your existing amp only lasted 6 months before it gave up the ghost.

    You might also check out the For Sale section in this forum. I'm sure the sellers there can be reasonably trusted. Though I can't say whether you will find an amp you like at a price you like.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Steve/bluewizard
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  5. CJROSS

    CJROSS Active Member

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    2nd hand Sony ES £100-200.

    The internal stage in my Sony TA-F630-ESD shows a clean pair of heels to a Naim Stageline MM & CA 640P by quite a margin.
  6. reubenfinger

    reubenfinger Member

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    Thankyou both for your replies, and Steve thankyou for your thoroughness ,

    One question though, Steve in regards to your recommendations the marantz PM6003 seems to be the replacement for 6002, after a bit of googling it appears that the PM6002 received very favorable reviews and won the What HiFi award under £300. With the release of the newer model the price of the 6002 seems to have come down a little bit £215ish. Is it worth buying the newer model or picking up the award winner? Or is all this award business just twaddle?
  7. the_record_spot

    the_record_spot Member

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    Get a used Marantz KI series amp. The 66SE-KI, 6010-KI are but two fine examples. I owned the latter and can vouch for its' abilities. You'll pick either up on Ebay for up to £150.

    Ken Ishiwata spent a good amount of time ensuring the phono stages in that series were well designed and good performers, hence the recommendation.

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