Amp recommendations for Castle Kendal speakers

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by jellofund, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. jellofund

    jellofund
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    Hi guys,

    Due to my Mum downsizing I've been offered my late Dad's Castle Kendals (his pride & joy) and am looking to pick an amp that would pair well with them......and as I normally listen to music via headphones & a dedicated headphone amp this isn't an area I have much knowledge of, so hoping to get a bit of advice regarding some potential candidates!

    I've not been able to find much info about these speakers online but according to the sticker on the back they are rated 8 ohms, 87db sensitivity and 100w. Some reports suggest that they will accept between 25-100w RMS per channel and a review noted they benefit from warm 'ancillaries'.

    Most impressions I've read of these speakers suggest that they are a bit lacking in the bass department (quality rather than quantity), quite forward sounding, musical and noted for their clarity and from what I've heard of them that seems a fair appraisal.

    At the moment they are paired with a very old (30yrs+) Yamaha RX-300 receiver (33w per channel I think) that is sadly on its last legs, hence the new purchase. However, I'm pretty happy with the overall sound this set up produces and the volume is perfectly fine for my smallish lounge.

    In terms of a budget I'd like to spend somewhere in the region of £200-250 ideally, but could possibly stretch to £300-350 if there is something in that range that would provide a much better pairing. I don't mind buying from the classifieds if I'd get more bang for my buck, but would prefer not to buy something too old.

    I tend to listen to indie, rock, acoustic, the odd bit of classical and dance. In terms of my listening preferences I'm used to a using a variety of tubes with my headphone amp and lean towards smoothness, musicality with a bit of 'romanticism' (but not sickly sweet) and vocals with some warmth / emotion to them. I don't like a cold analytical sound, too much treble bias or muddy bass.

    I don't know anything about the respective brands 'house sound' but a few amps that fit within my price range and available locally I can audition (sadly I can't get the speakers to the store though) are the Yamaha A-S300 & A-S500, Marantz PM6004 & the Rotel R-A10 but the latter is a more expensive option. If push comes to shove though I don't mind buying blind if there is another amp that is likely to pair better with them.

    Other points to mention. A remote and optical in would both be nice but neither are essential nor are tone controls as I generally tend to avoid them.

    With regards to wattage what do you gain by going for something with a higher watts per channel output? Higher overall volume level or are there other benefits / drawbacks?

    Any recommendations (esp. from those familiar with the Castle range) would be greatly appreciated. If you need any more info please just ask.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013
  2. dogfonos

    dogfonos
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    That takes me back. I remember hearing the Kendal (Mk2 I think) at a dealers. I'm sure a warm-sounding amp would help with the forward midrange presentation - certainly avoid anything bright sounding. I've no experience of recent integrated amps but I've read that the Marantz PM6004 you suggest sounds marginally warm to some ears and reviews say it has the transparency that would compliment the open-sounding Kendals rather well.

    The Kendal has a tiny bass/mid driver by all accounts so I can't see any benefit in pushing it too hard with loads of amp power although Castle rate the speakers up to 100W (Really?). I would think the 45 W/channel Marantz would be a fine match in power terms. With most music material, I would question wether you'd get higher, undistorted volumes with more powerful amps because the speakers could well be driven into distortion. Well made amps like the Marantz should have adequate headroom (power) for dynamic peaks and will most probably give all the volume you need.
     
  3. jellofund

    jellofund
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    Thanks - definitely one for the list in that case. The one concern I do have about modern amps (from reading various forums) is that many people seem to believe that they lack the warmth of older amps, as manufacturers nowadays aim towards a more neutral, detailed and somewhat bright sound. I've also seen a few reports of people returning PM6004s as they weren't warm enough sounding....although they were replacing 'vintage' amps so in comparison to its direct competition, it could well be considered relatively warm sounding!

    Certainly a bright sounding amp is something I'd definitely want to avoid as I feel that right now the speakers are slightly bright but still comfortable to listen to. Much more though and I'd probably and I'd enjoy them a lot less.

    It does kind of get me wondering if I am perhaps better off considering something a bit older in order to get the match I'm looking for :confused:


    Yes, I'd imagine the drivers are definitely on the small side as the speakers are definitely on the small side in comparison to most other floorstanders I've seen. The rating surprised me a bit too to the point where I was almost wondering if 100w was total wattage i.e. 2x 50W per channel.

    I couldn't find the webpage again but I was sure I'd read a comment along the lines that an amp providing between 40-60W/channel was recommended for the Kendals and ideally best not exceeded. Quite possibly for the reasons you mentioned so definitely something to keep in mind when picking a shortlist.

    --
    Thanks again for all the info - that's incredibly helpful!
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  4. kenm

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    I have no credible advice, but I know that at hi-fi shows around 1980 give or take a couple of years (probably when the original Kendals were new), JE Sugden were using Castle speakers to demo their amps, and Castle were using Sugden amps to demo their speakers. While it was probably a handy arrangement since they were both in Yorkshire, but I can't imagine this camaraderie if the stuff didn't complement each other.
     

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