Amplifier advice, please

Hello I am looking for some advice on buying a new amplifier. I am not looking to make wholesale changes to the current format. I am not very good with technology and am just about capable of changing a fuse!

My hi-fi is a separates system over 25 years old. it has worked fairly well over the years but for a while now, I have only been getting sound through one speaker - unless I turn the sound up to a volume that disturbs the neighbours. Recently I have found that the longer I have the system on, the volume of sound gets progressively lower.

Friends have suggested that the problem lies with the amplifier, which is an Arcam Alpha 3. Is there any point in trying to get it repaired, given its age? if not, do you have any advice on a replacement? I am not looking to spend a lot of money - perhaps £400?

The rest of my system consist of a Yamaha CDX-660 CD player, a Yamaha KX-260 tape deck, a Systemdek 920 turntable, a Sony ST-SB920 tuner,and Mission 760i speakers. So I suppose a new amplifier would have to be compatible with them.

I rarely use the turntable or the tape deck. I listen usually to classical music and opera on CDs.

Any suggestions, please?

Thanks in advance.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Hi,

I would say the amp is not worth repairing if there is a serious fault. Even if it can be repaired, it may cost far more than buying a new one. I know this is the more environmentally conscious option, one I totally support, but it simply may not be possible, or even very expensive.

As for brand new out of the box amplifiers for £400, I would recommend the Denon PMA600NE and the Cambridge Audio AXR85. Both will easily drive the speakers you have and are very easy to use. I particularly liked the Denon. The Cambridge only comes in grey, which may not match your other stuff, but the Denon comes in Silver and Black. The Denon is super simple and has plenty of muscle. The Cambridge has a higher rating in watts, but the Denon is no slouch. It can slam when needed, but doesn't have the same level of detail as the Cambridge, being a bit warmer.

There are some good options for open box deals, but I would avoid used amps that are several years old. Sure, it may look like a good deal, getting a £1000 amp for £400, but it may be 10 years old, and more likely to be on its way out already. My experience buying old, used amps is not positive. If its a couple of years old, then sure. But anything more than that is risky. I prefer to spend good money on something with a guarantee.

I hope that helps. Good luck :)
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
It may only be a faulty volume pot in which case a good spray with contact cleaner and many wiggles back and forth may help.

If you do this though make sure the amp is unplugged, not just switched off, and allow it half an hour to make sure it’s completely dry.

But if it’s not that then it’s a bit old to be spending money on it.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Personally I’d use your cash to replace the whole cd, amp and speaker package.

It is all getting on a bit.

The speaker surrounds and x-over components will be drying out and they are are not very likely to be performing to spec.

And the dacs in even inexpensive CD players are massively more advanced than the one in the Yamaha.

If £400 is your budget then I’d attempt to stretch it a little for this package.


Altogether I’d say it’ll be an improvement on what you’re hearing now, and it’ll last a decade or two quite easily.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
A second had but fairly new Arcam a19 might be worth looking at, these can be had around £300.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Personally I’d use your cash to replace the whole cd, amp and speaker package.

It is all getting on a bit.

The speaker surrounds and x-over components will be drying out and they are are not very likely to be performing to spec.

And the dacs in even inexpensive CD players are massively more advanced than the one in the Yamaha.

If £400 is your budget then I’d attempt to stretch it a little for this package.


Altogether I’d say it’ll be an improvement on what you’re hearing now, and it’ll last a decade or two quite easily.
Just check that this Cambridge CD player plays gapless CDs. In the past, their budget CD players tend to insert 0.5sec gaps between tracks, even on gapless CDs. If you listen to lots of classical and opera, you may find the little gaps unsettling.
 
Thanks for your suggestions. I may go for the Denon, which is only £369 at Richer Sounds.

Could anyone suggest an alternative CD player? I tend to favour clarity more than anything else.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Thanks for your suggestions. I may go for the Denon, which is only £369 at Richer Sounds.

Could anyone suggest an alternative CD player? I tend to favour clarity more than anything else.
I used the Denon PMA600ne with a matching Denon DCD600ne. They look good together and the CD player is excellent value for the money at around £270. Nice and clear, not bright. I enjoyed the combination very much.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
PS. The Denon PMA600ne is quite capable of driving most entry level floorstanding speakers and large standmounts despite a modest watt rating. Will give you options for future upgrades. For me, Monitor Audio worked well with the Denon. MA is neutral, if perhaps leaning a little towards the bright side it. The warm sound of the Denon balances it nicely. Warm speakers like some Wharfedales would be a poor choice.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
Yamaha as701 would fit in the retro vib
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
If the AS301,AS501 are still available in the shops in your area, then they might suit your music style better.

Even the AS701, AS801. Both this are probably bit more expensive then the Denon, but I don’t believe they are that more expensive.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
If the AS301,AS501 are still available in the shops in your area, then they might suit your music style better.

Even the AS701, AS801. Both this are probably bit more expensive then the Denon, but I don’t believe they are that more expensive.
These have been discontinued in the UK, it seems.

Personally, I think the Denon is a better looking amp too. Looks aren't everything but it is a factor for me.
 

Cribbster

Active Member
I know it goes over your budget by a little bit but I would also consider the Rotel A11 Tribute. I personally think it will have a better sound than the Denon and also gives you some digital flexibility. If you also decide to go with a new CD player then maybe one of the Cambridge players or the matching Rotel one. You might think about getting away with just the transport and go for the Audiolab 6000 but the price difference between the Audiolab and the Rotel is not that great. Just a thought
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
All excellent amp suggestions.

But a bit wasted on ancient 760i’s.

Not a excellent speaker even when they were new, so if the op is keeping them I’d suggest something cheaper.

(The speakers are up to 30 years old this year too).

Either of these two would be more than enough.



I’d go for the CA personally, but for a very inexpensive amp, the Yamaha is well up to the standard of the Missions.
 

Alan Weir 1

Well-known Member
An other option would be the Rega IO amp at around £370.

Not heard a bad review about it and Rega Amps are a bit of a legend.
 
D

Deleted member 824153

Guest
Personally I’d use your cash to replace the whole cd, amp and speaker package.

It is all getting on a bit.

The speaker surrounds and x-over components will be drying out and they are are not very likely to be performing to spec.

And the dacs in even inexpensive CD players are massively more advanced than the one in the Yamaha.

If £400 is your budget then I’d attempt to stretch it a little for this package.


Altogether I’d say it’ll be an improvement on what you’re hearing now, and it’ll last a decade or two quite easily.
This is a great deal. A well-balanced, brand new system for £450, with £200 off. Rather a no-brainer.
If you’re keen to just replace the amplifier, then @Ugg10 A19 suggestion is first rate. These are now going for £200-250 and the rest of the system doesn’t warrant spending any more, in my opinion. Arcam amps always went well with Missions of this period and it’s a terrific amp.
Your money, of course, so have fun and good luck.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
I know it goes over your budget by a little bit but I would also consider the Rotel A11 Tribute. I personally think it will have a better sound than the Denon and also gives you some digital flexibility. If you also decide to go with a new CD player then maybe one of the Cambridge players or the matching Rotel one. You might think about getting away with just the transport and go for the Audiolab 6000 but the price difference between the Audiolab and the Rotel is not that great. Just a thought
I totally agree. I have owned both the Denon PMA600NE and the Rotel A11 Tribute. For an extra £130, you get so, so, so much more, not it terms of features (you get less), but in sound quality. But, it needs to be pointed out that it does not have any digital inputs. It has a DAC, but only for AptX bluetooth. When bluetooth is not in use, the amp disables the digital circuits, leaving a pure analogue amp. The Denon is still pretty good though, for £369. It has a very useful option to disable the digital circuits, producing a much nicer, more analogue sound. It's solid, well-built, has plenty of features, is easy to use, and sounds good with the capacity to drive some really difficult speakers.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Still remember my old Arcam A80. It’s one of the most musical amplifiers I’ve ever heard.

Airy treble, amazing vocals, bass response great also. I had B&W 601 back then, and the sound was magical.

A real shame I didn’t buy the A38. I am considering the new ones, but the software issues I keep hearing about is annoying.
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Well-known Member
If the AS301,AS501 are still available in the shops in your area, then they might suit your music style better.

Even the AS701, AS801. Both this are probably bit more expensive then the Denon, but I don’t believe they are that more expensive.
Agree, these are fantastic amps, and good value for the money, but had noticed getting hold of one is getting harder.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
Still remember my old Arcam A80. It’s one of the most musical amplifiers I’ve ever heard.

Airy treble, amazing vocals, bass response great also. I had B&W 601 back then, and the sound was magical.

A real shame I didn’t buy the A38. I am considering the new ones, but the software issues I keep hearing about is annoying.
Might stick mine up for sell next year as I'm pondering a Lyngdorf 1120 or 2170. Mind you they're not that hard to come by.
 
It may only be a faulty volume pot in which case a good spray with contact cleaner and many wiggles back and forth may help.

If you do this though make sure the amp is unplugged, not just switched off, and allow it half an hour to make sure it’s completely dry.

But if it’s not that then it’s a bit old to be spending money on it.
My level of IT knowledge is such that I don't know what a volume pot is! Any particular type of contact cleaner?
 

gava

Active Member
Another option at around your price point and very easy to use would be the new QAcoustics M20.

You can plug in your CD player or (possibly and depending on if you have optical out from your CD) Phono player. Also easy streaming.

 

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