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£6k to spend on an amp

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by yan, May 7, 2003.

  1. yan

    yan
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    I have just pruchased Jamo's THX Ultra2 D7PEX (7.1) speaker package and am about to uprgrade my amp. I have £6k to spend and was looking at the Arcam AV8 And P7 combi as it has recieved great reviews and is also THX Ultra2 certified. I also thought about the Pioneer VSA-AX10i (could end up saving some cash)but after reading on the forums that its susceptible to cutting out when trying to drive 4ohm speakers (the Jamos have 4ohm impedance), I decided against it. I did have this confirmed by pioneer who said they dont recommend it where every single speaker in a setup is 4ohm. So what else can people recommend or should I just go for the Arcam offering? Movies are more important and I would like THX Ultra2 certification.

    Are pre/power combis any better at driving 4ohm speakers than an av integrated amp?
     
  2. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    Pre power mean you can taylor the amps more preciesly to your needs, 6k has to be tag territory surely with maybe a couple of S/H Power amps from Krell/Bryston etcI think you should look into the Tag range and similar!!!
     
  3. Jase

    Jase
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    An amp with THX Ultra2 certification is going to limit your choice somewhat. In addition to the Pioneer AX10i (which has had it's protection circuit tinkered with so that it doesn't cut out so often with 4 ohm loads like the standard AX10) & the Arcam combo, there is the Denon A1SR.

    As to which is better (integrated or pre/power) for driving 4 ohm speakers that will depend on the power amps used. The Denon will drive them without problem and I should imagine the Arcam will have no problems either or they both wouldn't have received THX Ultra2 certification.
     
  4. dts_boy

    dts_boy
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    also look at the halo range from Parasound, the only dissapointment is that the power amp is 5ch, so you still have to buy a 2ch one as well works out at about the same price as the arcam pre/power
     
  5. alexs2

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    The Arcam is a fine power amp,and certainly better IMHO than Tag's multichannel amps,which sound somewhat lacking in power into any difficult load.

    The Tag and Arcam processors are excellent,and 'dragon's suggestion of a S/H set of power amps from Bryston or Krell(or multichannel amps from the same sources) would make a very good combination,and a performance level above the Arcam.

    Also worth bearing in mind is that many amps can easily exceed the THX Ultra 2 spec,whilst not having the THX logo on the box,if the manufacturer didnt apply for THX certification.

    All of the older Krells will easily exceed that spec,many being stable down to 1ohm.
     
  6. sounddog

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    Don't count out Rotel amplification ... a 1095 plus a 1080 (about £1800 + £850) will suit you well - or if you are wanting lower listening levels then the 1075 plus 1070 (£850 + £500) will probably do you.

    Add to this a processor - Tag or Arcam would probably fit your budget best.

    Vikki
     
  7. yan

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    With regard to Jase comment that they would not have got Ultra2 spec without being able to drive 4ohm speakers, the VSA-AX10i is also Ultra2 certified but Pioneer made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that there will be problems driving speakers of 4ohms if every speaker in your set up has this impedance. His words were when we spoke on the phone "we recommend 8ohms"

    Thanks to everyone
     
  8. Jase

    Jase
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    For an amp to pass THX Ultra specs it should be able to drive speakers that have a rating down to 3.2 ohms. Not entirely sure where Pioneer has gone wrong if they themselves only recommend 8 ohms. I'm sure there are members on here that have these amps and run 4 ohm speakers.
     
  9. yan

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    I agree with you completely Jase but this is what the chap said. I first contacted them through their on-line customer services which is very good, I thought something was up though because they gave me a phone number to call instead when I quizzed them about this. I had posted 20 odd questions in the past and they always answered on-line yet this time i had to mak a phone call.
    "Please call one of our Customer Relations Advisors on 01753 789500 who will be able to help you."
    That was the reply to my email question. The chap on the phone specifically asked whether every speaker in my setup was 4ohm so I got the impression that as long as some were 8ohm it would be OK. Call them and see what response you get
     
  10. Jase

    Jase
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    Sounds like they are covering their arses!:D LOL
     
  11. dts_boy

    dts_boy
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    wasn't this summat to do with the original ax10? the ax10i fixed this, but would not like to put money on it. either way, if you can stretch to £6k, it would be better spent on a pre/power.i went from a denon a1se to a tag pre/power. although on paper the tag is vastly under powered, it sounded soo much better and composed with my 4ohm m&k speakers. this is my experience anyway!
     
  12. Triggaaar

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    I don't think the info from the speaker manufacturers is always accurate - those stating their speakers are 8 ohm may often dip below, and again with those stating 4 ohm - which may be why pioneer are reluctant to recommend the use of 4 ohm stated speakers, which may go below 3.2.

    Mike
     
  13. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    Processor:
    Tag AV32r Dual sharc (THX2 + TMREQ) 4000.00gbp ish

    Power:
    Rotel rb1095 + rb1080 2500.00gbp ish
    Arcam AV7 2500.00gbp ish

    Second hand power:
    Bryston
    Tag
    Krell (if your lucky)
    Parasound.
     
  14. Spligsey

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    The TAG dual sharc looks a great package.

    This is coming from a retired former Meridian owner.

    The Meridian units are class performers, but, there's more than just having your bucket full of sand:lesson:

    Here endeth my box of the soap.


    Adzman
     
  15. yan

    yan
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    Thanks to everyone, I am now torn between the Tag and the Arcam. One query that has arisen out of the replies is "second hand power" What is meant by this and why would I need it? Wouldnt a processor and power amp suffice?
     
  16. nathan_silly

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    It means a second hand poweramp, the original owner takes the depreciation loss, and not you.

    Poweramps are pretty much bullet-proof so I would buy I have no problems buying poweramps 2nd hand (no warranty)

    I would buy the best poweramp you can afford, at least a 1095. I would not get a 1075.
     
  17. yan

    yan
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    Well I have settled on the Tag Dual processor, it looks a fantastic piece of kit, I also have no problem buying a second hand power amp. What about buying a demo amp, I have seen some good prices? Do power amps carry THX certification as well? You say at least a 1095 what esle do you recommend?
     
  18. nathan_silly

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    I would not buy the Tag multi-channel poweramp- I know of someone who doesn't think much of it (the Tag 125W monoblocs are much better)

    Regarding the processor- don't just decide on a processor because of one or two recommendations here. I noticed Steve recommended the Tag processor only, and not at least a couple of others... he's got a Tag. I've got a Lexicon MC-1, so I'll recommend Lexicon :) Anyway, for the dosh you're spending you should be allowed to home demo a couple of units for at least a week.

    Regarding Poweramps, checkout Bryston, Parasound, Nad etc.

    Regarding the THX logo, I really wouldn't pay too much attention. My poweramps aren't THX approved, but I'm pretty sure they would pass. I've seen pretty cheap stuff with the THX logo so it makes the THX spec a bit of a mockery. I would rather go for a Krell poweramp which is missing the logo then a Technics poweramp which has the logo.
     
  19. yan

    yan
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    Unfortunately living abraod is going to make it difficult to audition at home which is one reason why I came to the forums. I can audition when I go to London in a few weeks, but the space I will audtion in will not be the same as that when I take it back home. Its difficult to find home cinema kit in Cyprus as the market is not that well developed here although it is picking up. I can just imagine asking to take a Tag home to audition it, I would probably be kicked out the shop! I was recommended an MC-1 by the chap who did designs for my setup so I have had a look at that aswell. I think I will ponder on my decision a bit longer whilst I look at the amps.
     
  20. nathan_silly

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    One good tip for auditioning is don't buy a system which you are totally blown away with. It's hard to explain. For example- a cinema sounds great, because it's really harsh and forward. However if you listen to that for music or prolonged periods it be very fatiguing.

    Consider the package that's one step-down one forward-ness and "in-yer-face" type sound.

    That's why I don't think much of my B&W 601's- they sound great in the demo room for 20mins-1 hour, but after owning them for a while- a week to a month I found the sound unforgiving, harsh and splashy.
     
  21. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Amplifier-wise, if you think you'll only be using 5 channels for a bit, you could maybe keep an eye open for a second hand Bryston 9B-ST - they occasionally go for less than £2K. This is a very nice amp - perceptible step up in quality from the Arcam P7 (which in turn is a perceptible step up from the Tag 5x100R). Rotel power amps are considered good value for money. I reckon the Arcam P7 is too if you're buying new.
     
  22. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Nicolas ... out of interest in your testing have you ever heard the 1095 and compared to back to back with anything? I've heard people say that it's 95% of a bryston for 10% of it's cost ... how true is that?
     
  23. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    No, I must confess I skipped over Rotel amps. :) Went straight from Denon A1SR / Pioneer AX10 up to an Arcam AV8/P7. I would be a bit surprised if Rotel amps were comparable to Bryston kit, though. As I said, the old Bryston 9B-ST is better than an Arcam P7, which in turn is significantly better than the Tag 5x100R, or (IMO) the Parasound HC2205, or the Naim NAP150/NAPV175, and probably also any of the Cyrus amps I've listened to. The only thing I've heard that rivals the 9B-ST is the Meridian 558, which sells for about £3600. (I'm told the new 9B-SST is a significant improvement over the older model). I guess it's possible that a £1K amp could rival it - but if it does, you have to ask why Rotel aren't selling it for three times the price.
     
  24. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I think I may be the person nathan was referring to with a low opinion of Tag multichannel amps.....I certainly found the 5 channel amp I listened to wasn't doing the Nautilus 805s I later bought,any sort of justice at all.

    The Brystons are smooth and generally bomb proof with a 20yr guarantee.
    Rotel amps are very good value,but a bit rougher in terms of sound quality.
    My preference is obviously for Krell,and some of the older KSA series(not the KSA-s series)can be had from around £1600 for a KSA-100.
    These are very solid amps,generally very reliable,and the only real proviso is to ensure the cooling fans are in good order.

    You may also be able to find some of Krell's KAV series multicahnnel amps creeping onto the secondhand market now.

    To answer sounddog's question....I have heard the 1095 vs my Krells.....being honest,it's a very good amp for the money,and comparable with many more expensive products,but not a match for Krells or,I suspect from prior listening,Brystons.
     
  25. nathan_silly

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    Nope, not you Alex :)
     
  26. NicolasB

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    I yield to no one in my dislike of the Tag 5x100R. :)
     
  27. sounddog

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    Alex / Nic ... thanks for your opinions on the Rotel 1095 ... though it's £1800 not £1000 ... I was just curious what people's opinion of it was - will be sticking with my 985 and 1075 for a long time to come I think.
     
  28. yan

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    I have the Jamo D7PEX so it would be ashame not to have a 7 channel amp (not to mention a waste of cash (I could save £1k by going for the 5.1PEX)), however I could then just get another 2 channel amp but I fear I may be running out of cash by this stage if I go for the AV32r dual processor at £4K with the Bryston 9B-ST at £2k Im all dried out. £6k is my maximum. Which brings me back to the Arcam combi.
     
  29. marck

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    I would either go for the Krell Showcase or the Theta Casanova. Maybe worth waiting a bit as the Casanova II is due out soon - meant to be an amazing processor - retail is going to be around £5k.

    Re, power amp maybe look at one of the big Rotel's or I use the Copland 5 channel amp - very good indeed. This would take you slightly over budget, but it would be an amazing set-up!
     
  30. alexs2

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    yan...having seen your comments there,if you want new gear,with a good solid build quality,and good sound,then the Arcam combination will be hard to beat.

    The secondhand route does potentially allow better quality,but I can appreciate that warranty/service issues are likely to be significant worries if you live abroad.

    NicB....likewise re the Tag 5 channel!
     

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