Amplifier Upgrade


Established Member
I shall be upgrading my amplifier very soon and I hoped someone here would have some tips.

I currently use an Audiolab 8000A but it is very old and in not too good shape now.

I would like to buy something with a remote control that will go well with my Meridian 507 CD and Castle Howard S2 speakers. It will also be used to drive the front speakers in my AV system so a volume read out or a fixed volume input would be handy.

So far the AVI integrated amp has caught my eye - except AVI did not reply to my email and I have not found a dealer anywhere near me. It's also not the best for my AV system as I'll have to continue sticking the amp to roughly 12'o'clock.

I listened to an Arcam FMJ 32 and a Meridian pre-power setup yesterday (501 and 559) and obviously the Meridian blew the Arcam away with a much better soundstage. Hardly suprising considering the 559 is £2500 and way out of my league.

After the audition I am considering buying the 501 with either one or two 556 power amps.

Anyone else have experience with these amps or have any recommendations for how I can spend £1000 to £2000 on some new amplification?

Thanks in advance for any help.


Distinguished Member
The AVI amps(and the little integrated included) are generally very good,and will sound not unlike your Audiolab in terms of sound balance,although the quality will be much better.
The Meridian amps are excellent,with a really nice clear and well balanced sound,and nice imaging,and if you like them,you may do well to look through the ex-dem and used sites,plus ebay.
That's not bad advice in general,as there are plenty of good amps to be had that way.
You could also take a look at Musical Fidelity and Bryston,and there are a number of Krell KAV300i's around right now at very good prices....these are pretty much unbreakable,and deliver power well above the rated values,with very good sound quality(not as good as the Class A Krells,but they don't cost anything like as much).
Hope that helps!


Established Member
Went to another dealer today - Signals

Listened to three amps:

Densen Beat B200 pre with Densen B340 power - didn't like it, was quite bright and made White Stripes sound painful. This is an ex-display set reduced on their site.

Primare A30.1 - great sound, great imaging, great looks, great build.

ATC SIA2-150 - better than the Primare in every area but I'm not sure if it is better enough to justify the extra money.

Signals have loaned me the Primare and the ATC amps for a week so I can try them at home. So far I am erring towards the Primare, but I have found a problem...

When I switch the Primare to standby my Rel freaks out and gives off a very loud constant humm! No idea what's going on there, it has done the same thing when I have unplugged the speaker cables from my old amp when I haven't switched off the Rel.

As a dealer, Signals were great and I highly recommend them so far.

I'll let you know how I get on with the loan :confused:


Prominent Member
The Meridian 559 stereo power is a beast

I heard it driving some B&W Signature 805's.

Very nice indeed:cool:

Always been a fan of Meridian CD players/processors, and now have added Meridian amplifiers to that list.


General Skanky

Prominent Member
I bought all my Primare kit from Signals.

No complaints here. Even though it was aimed at AV also, I believe Primare makes some excellent kit.


Established Member
Right, well I've made my purchase and the winner was ....... me of course :D

I bought the ATC because:

- it has so much power
- loved the build quality and feel
- superb sound stage
- great bass
- got a great price
- wife liked it

Unfortunately I couldn't get along with the Primare at all. I didn't mind the sub thing with standby (which was caused by the Primare being a dual mono amp - the earths are different apparently) the real problem only reared it's head when I settled down to listening to the Primare non-stop for a few hours. Basically it gave me achey ears, not quite a headache but uncomfortable and tired ears.:thumbsdow

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