Amps etc to power PMC GB1


Standard Member
Hi everyone, this is my system at the moment: Macbook pro - lossless audio, an old E-magic usb sound card, Technics SU-X320, PMC Gb1's, REL R205 sub bass system.

You can see where the weaknesses are here, the first thing I need to upgrade is my amp but having just spent so much money on the speakers my budget is quite tight, I can here my amp struggling to power the PMC's. What can I get thats not gonna cost very much that will do them justice, I've been told that they really need quite a big amp and if possible I'd like to go for separate preamp and power amp.
I just got a Lucid D/A studio converter so that should deal with usb sound card and enable 24/96 audio (not that there seems to be any available to buy, does anyone know where you can get any?) after that what is left besides my cables etc?

Thanks in advance for your opinions.



Established Member
Naim sound good with PMC. You could try their entry level pre/pro or the Nait XS.



Standard Member
Hi, yeah I heard the Naim amps and I know it was probably the room I heard them in but I think the combination of them and the PMC's sound a bit too clinical and clean. Naim are actually the only amp I've tried with them so far. Maybe I should try them again but I was looking for something with more colour to make them rock a bit more. It's like the straining sound on my current amp is nice in a way but I know it will probably die on me if I carry on pushing it.
As you have experience with these speakers, is it ok to crank them up loud? I've been pretty careful so far because of the amp and when those tiny speakers start to bounce I worry about them bottoming out. Do they bounce or are they meant to be quite conservative in volume?


Prominent Member
I believe Bryston are the generally seen as having the best synergy with PMC but another strong option would my 285W Chord in the classifieds.


Distinguished Member
I think before we go anywhere, we better go to budget. How much is yours? You say it is tight, but you tight budget could be a king's ransom to me. We need a number, or at least a rough range of budget.

The speakers seem to be rated up to 150w. However, PMC does not seem to be very forth coming with either power requirements or power limits.

The Sensitivity rating on them is about 87db, which isn't too bad, so I don't think it necessarily takes a lot of power to drive them, I think it takes a tight controlled amp to control the speakers.

Again, it does get down to your budget. It is pointless to recommend amps costing thousands, if you only have hundreds to spend.



Standard Member
Yeah,you're right. My budget is gonna have to be less than £500 if I go now but if I wait until summer I could probably go to £1200, what do you think better to wait to do the speakers justice or will a cheaper one do?


Established Member

With a budget of between £500 - £1,200 you can certainly do those GB1's justice. I've had a pair of these for a few years now and they really are a formidable speaker for the money, from what I've heard the leave much of what the magazines cover from the the likes of B&W, KEF and Tannoy for dead.

If you wanted to get going now with £500 you must look at the Audiolab 8000S, it certainly won't drive them to window rattling levels, it's upper midrange is a little uncivilised and the bass extension could be better for those speakers, but for around £400 I've not heard a better amp when mated with the GB1's.

If you are very patient then you could start looking at the Leema Pulse, around the top end of your £1,200 budget (again you may be able to get a good deal on one to bring it below £1K), whilst I am not that familiar with the Pulse I do know how it's big brother, the Tucana, performs with the GB1, and it has to be said that it is stunning, it really is all the amplifier you would ever want to go with the GB1 with superb bass, lightning fast transients and a superb sound stage, now the Pulse is not the Tucana, but it does retain enough of it's big brothers traits to be a great match with the GB1, it's imaging is not as precise as the Tucana and the bass is not as extended, but it is still an excellent amplifier.

If you wanted to try something a little different it would be well worth trying the Shanling STP-80 integrated, it's only rated at 50W/ch and is a push pull valve integrated, but it gives a slightly richer lower midrange and an expansive soundstage but with a slightly more relaxed presentation. It certainyl dispels the myth that the GB1's need massive power, though the current delivery of the STP-80 is excellent for an amp at this kind of price (again around £1,200).

A further amplifier well worth checking out is the Bryston B-60, this really is a match made in heaven with the GB-1, whilst it is a little utilitarian in it's cosemtica when compared with the Leema and Audiolab, this is all business, and it is an outstanding match ( no wonder given that the GB-1 was developed with Bryston amplifiers). Again the rating on the B-60 may be modest, but it sounds like a 100W amp and the current delivery certainly suggests that with a fast, punchy sound with incredible grip and control over the lower registers and oustanding clarity in the high frequencies without sounding exaggerated or forward.

Hopefully that should give you a choice or two to look at. I am a really big fan of this speaker so if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

Best wishes,



Distinguished Member
I'm wondering, it you are able to spend £1200 later, are you going to be satisfied spending £500 now?

In that smaller price range, you might consider that NAD C355 with 80w/ch for about £450. NAD is well above average in an solid powerful amp, but I wouldn't put it up there with the other amps that are being suggested. In terms of quality, I think NAD is about as far down on the scale of amps you would be interested in. I'm not denigrating NAD, I'm simply saying it is notably above consumer quality amps, and you should consider its equal or above. If you drop down into common consumer amps, you can get massive amounts of power for very low money, but I'm not sure they have the quality you need. I would say though, that the NAD does have that quality at the roughly £500 price range.

But, in a sense, your two prices leave us with two separate grades and qualities of amps. And, really summer isn't that far away. So, if you can wait and raise the extra money, then that might be the wisest choice of all.

But, there is an in between option. You could get an integrated amp that has a known good quality pre-amp section, but it now, and add a serious power amp this summer.

If you can raise your budget to £1450, the Arcam FMJ A38 with 105w/ch, might be a good choice. You have the weight of Arcam's stering reputation, plus a very high powered 100w.

The only other two amps that pop into my head that have known high quality, would be the Rotel RA06SE with 70w/ch for £599. That might be a good place to start. Or the Rotel RA1520 with 60w/ch for £695.

But, it gets back to the implications of my original question. If you can afford a £1200 amp in a few months, are you really going to be satisfied with a £500 amp now?

And, my second question, is there some way you can find a satisfactory £500 amp now, that can later be expanded into the equivalent of a £1200 amp by adding a new power sections. Adding a new power sections to an existing amp would allow you to either bi-amp your speakers, or run a Zone2 in another room.

Personally, I'm not sure if you spend £500 now, that it is going to satisfy you knowing that if you had waited a few months, you could have had a much better or at least, a much more expensive amp?

Just a few rambling thoughts.



Standard Member
Thanks for the advice everyone, Dave I stopped in the local hi-fi store today and they had a Leema pulse in there, looks like I'm gonna stick with what I have for now and wait the extra few months as the cheaper amps they had in there were not a scratch on the quality. Hopefully by then it might be ex-display as well with a bit of luck. Steve, you're spot on. I think that if I go and buy something now I'll be regretting it by the time summer rolls round, it's always difficult though. I want it now! haha.

Thanks again.


Prominent Member
The other option is to keep your eye on the classifieds for a £400-£500 amp and then sell on in the summer to up grade

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