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Best AMP for vinyl for £200 - £350

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by matt bellamy, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. matt bellamy

    matt bellamy
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    hi,

    I'm considering buying a turntable (probably project 1 Xpression turntable) and was wondering what would be the best way to connect it (what cables etc.) and what AMP to buy for about £200 - £350.

    thanks
     
  2. 337GUS

    337GUS
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    Phono amp or Integrated amp with phono stage?

    What hifi do you have at the moment?

    Gus
     
  3. rozzar

    rozzar
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    i would say Marantz PM7200 is my fave sub £350 amp at the moment and it has a fairly decent phono stage..


    secondhand, look for an Arcam A85 but with the phono preamp built in.

    btw nuff respect for above posters with 2x logrhythms!!!
     
  4. 337GUS

    337GUS
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    Cheers :thumbsup:


    Rega Brio integrated. http://www.rega.co.uk/index2.htm

    Alternative to the Project is a Rega Planar 2 TT, well worth considering.

    Think an A85 would be about £400-450, sold mine for £420 without phono stage not long ago.

    Not familiar with them but I have seen NAD and Rotel budget integrateds often recommended.

    Gus
     
  5. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    The Rotel RA-01 and RA-02 at £250 and £350 have a decent phono stage too.
     
  6. matt bellamy

    matt bellamy
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    Whats a phono amp and phono stage. My pioneer hifi has just broke so will be buying seperates. The most important thing for me is a good turntable and amp for vinyl. CD player, tuner and cassette aren't quite as important.

    thanks for your help guys
     
  7. 337GUS

    337GUS
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    Matt

    A turntable can either have a low or high output cartridge, usually MM(moving magnet) is high and MC(moving coil) is low.

    In both cases however the signal is too weak to just go into an amplifier, unlike a CD, cassette deck or tuner.

    What has to happen is this weak signal has to be increased before the amplifier can do it's job, this is done either before the signal gets to the amp by an outboard phono amp (sometimes called a phono stage) or by a phono amp built into the amplifier.

    These phono amps generally come with both MM and MC capability except at the budget end of the market for offboards and the budget to mid end for built in ones.

    Generally for TT's around £200 the cart is MM and the phono leads are captive (not easy to change), you plug this into an integrated amp like the Rega or Rotels phono input where it is boosted and then amplified. If you plugged it into either the Aux or CD input you would hardly hear any volume.

    There is a Project TT with a built in phono stage (Debut SB) which would increase your choice of amplifier as does opting for an offboard stage. An offboard stage also allows you to upgrade in time.

    Gus
     
  8. Knightshade

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    Just to second Gus on the Rotel and Rega recommendations.
    If you were prepared to consider second hand a Rega Mira with Phono stage would sound very nice.:) Should be around the £250 mark. Very underated!
    Also it's worth considering Rega's pedigree in Vinyl.
    HTH
     
  9. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Alternatively choose any amp you like remembering that NAD, Pro-ject and now Cambridge Audio all make smart good sounding external stages. The pro-ject and the Cambridge ones in particular sound better than the one in my Marantz and they cost £30-40.
    Ed
     
  10. overkill

    overkill
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    Before making any recommendations matt, what sort of sound do you prefer? Laid back, upfront (bright), bass rich? What speakers will you be using? What size of room will the kit be used in? Any, or all of those three, will narrow choices right down. ;)

    Cheers
     
  11. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Very sound advice.

    Even more sound advice.
     
  12. matt bellamy

    matt bellamy
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    The preferred sound would be upfront as I will be listening to mainly rock music.

    What do you think of the following setup?

    Project 2 turntable

    ROTEL RA01 AMPLIFIER

    MARANTZ CD5400 CD PLAYER

    KEF Q5 SPEAKERS

    Is there a weak link in the setup such as poor speakers for vinyl or AMP not suitable for CD and are there any cheaper speakers (around £300 - £400) that will do the job?

    Thanks
     
  13. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Do you definately want floor standers?
     
  14. matt bellamy

    matt bellamy
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    Not necessarily, I just assumed floor standers were better
     
  15. overkill

    overkill
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    Got to admit, that system will be "upfront"!! :D I would be wary of partnering the Marantz with the Rotel and Kef speakers. Might be a tad bright.

    The project TT is fine, as is the amp, but I would look at a different CD/speaker lineup. Might be worth looking at the cheaper Arcam CD players or trying to grab a 2nd hand Exposure 2010. If you want a cheap, but good floorstander, the Tannoy R2 is a good buy, and a little less bass shy as well.

    Floorstanders are good if you can spare the room, or need to move the air in a big room. Stand mounts (on good stands) can sound just as good, and depending on price, better.
     
  16. matt bellamy

    matt bellamy
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    How can you tell it will be "upfront" and how do you know what amps,cd players, TT and speakers will sound good together?

    Anyway, will the Project 2 turntable, ROTEL RA01 AMPLIFIER, an Arcam CD and Tannoy speakers be a better setup.

    There is also this setup which seems pretty good:

    NAD C320BEE AMP and NAD C521BEE CD player

    NAD 533 TURNTABLE

    Would I need a Pre amlpifier like the NAD C162 PRE AMPLIFIER to connect the Turntable to the AMP or could it be connected straight to the NAD integrated AMP?

    Also, what would be the best speakers for this system and would choosing seperates from the same manufacturer mean better sound quality?
     
  17. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    To connect the turntable, you'd need an external Phono stage. Looking at the units selected, a NAD PP2 might be the best choice :). CD and amp are pretty good but the turntable is nothing to write home about.
     
  18. matt bellamy

    matt bellamy
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    Thats excellent, thanks.

    So so far my setup will consist of:

    NAD C320BEE AMP
    NAD C521BEE CD player
    NAD PP2 external phono stage
    possibly project 1 Xpression turntable

    but I'm not sure what speakers. Overkill recommended Tannoy R2 floor standers which seem to be a great choice but what about the MISSION M35 SPEAKERS?
     
  19. overkill

    overkill
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    Practise my son, practise. ;) The NAD amp is good as is the CD player, but as Ton's says, the NAD TT's nothing special so the Project would be a better buy. I have never liked Mission speakers, so I'll let others comment. They lean too far on the bright side of neutral for me.

    Try and get a demo of the bits you fancy, with as many options as possible. If your dealers helpful, but a bit pricey, then buy the kit you like online - after demoing. To repay their efforts make sure you buy a few bits off them, cables, CD's etc - if they're not too pushy! ;)
     
  20. dan1979

    dan1979
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    I have that amp and speakers and am very pleased with the Monitor Audio Bronze B2's I bought (£177)
     
  21. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Get the R2's over the Mission's, Matt. Great floorstander for the money (about £240 from Peter Tyson - bargain). They might not look as "cool" as the Mission M35's, but they sound a whole lot sweeter. Mission speaker tend to be very "forward" in their presentation - erring on the bright side of neutral, as Overkill says.

    The Tannoys are more neutral, have an excellent mid-range (IMO) and can produce plenty of bass when needed. Integration between mids & highs is superb too.

    Might not be the best choice for small rooms though. They don't like being near walls, either - bass can overwhelm in this situation. If the room is small, Kef Q4's would be a better choice.

    I have used Rotel's similar to the RA-01 with my Tannoys and it sounded great. Rotel build quality and reliability is excellent. Beats anything else in the budget sector - Cambridge, NAD, Marantz, Sony, Yamaha etc. I can't think of anything else I'd rather have at £250. No brainer IMHO.

    As for CD players (setting himself up to be laughed at here :cool: - please consider how hard it is to come out-of-the-closet and say this); You could get a Pioneer DV-565 universal dvd player for £150 instead.

    Compared to the NAD, I think it sounds just fine - and you get SACD & DVDA compatability as well. I've tried using it with offboard DACs up to £250 (including the MF X-24!) and have heard no improvement. Some dvdp's are horribly under-rated in this department. They all seem to be tarred with the same "dvdp's are rubbish cd players" brush.

    I remember a thread a few months back where someone did a blind test of CA's 540c & 540d and came out prefering the 540d for cd playback!

    For the money, you are getting a much better transport, better DACs and greater format flexibility. Further-up the cd player ladder, they start to massively out-perform similarly priced dvd players, but not at the sub £200 level, IMO.

    DT
     
  22. matt bellamy

    matt bellamy
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    Thanks for all your help guys, I'm going to get a demo of some speakers saturday but am currently leaning towards the Tannoy's. As for using a pioneer dvd as a cd player would I need to connect to a tv to select the tracks or does it have a display?

    I have been looking around for more info on the NAD setup and came accross this nice looking DENON system. I've heard good things about DENON in general but aren't sure about this particular setup. On the plus side it has a phono(MM) input, a 24bit CD player and tuner but on the downside it's a mini system. I would probably buy a Project 2 turntable and decide on the speakers after I have sampled a few different makes and models. So, what do you think of this DENON system or should I stick with the NAD amp and CD player?
     
  23. overkill

    overkill
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    For what they are, the Denons are nifty little systems. Note: for what they are . The NAD setup you are looking at will give a much better overall sound, and in particular, a more detailed sound.

    Rule no.1 in buying hi-fi, don't be seduced by shiny boxes! :D

    I would stick with the NAD/Project/Tannoy lineup subject to hearing it.

    No matter how good the brand, Midi/Micro's are always built around compromises.
     
  24. matt bellamy

    matt bellamy
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  25. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    Rotel will be much more lively and detailed than the NAD rig. The RA-01 outclasses the C320BEE.
     
  26. overkill

    overkill
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    Agreed, but I think the guys looking for a good quality system on a "deal". The NAD's fit the bill. Rotel aren't currently running any deals like that - unless someone can come up with one?

    Funny how times change isn't it? I would agree, now they are, but once upon a time it was hard flogging them, as when they were owned by Rank their kit was awful reliability wise.

    Sorry about that! :blush: Your point just brought back a few memories........... :D
     
  27. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    True - since Rotel is distributed by B&W they no longer seem to offer any discount.

    Couldnt comment, that was probably before my time :D
     
  28. matt bellamy

    matt bellamy
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    After a lot of thought (and I mean A LOT) I have decided on:

    ROTEL RA01 AMPLIFIER

    NAD C542 CD PLAYER

    TANNOY REVOLUTION R2 SPEAKERS

    PROJECT 2 TURNTABLE

    The only problem is that the amp is 8 ohm and the speakers are 6 ohm. Will this be a problem and how can I overcome it?
     
  29. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Trust me, Matt, the RA-01 will be able to drive the Tannoys.

    In fact, I think 40 watts is about the perfect amp rating for these, as its enough to drive them loud, but not enough to burn the coils out (something I'm very adept at :rolleyes: ).

    You can pick up the matching RB-03 power amp at a later date, should you want to really annoy the neighbours (they go for loose change 2nd-hand - less than £150 sometimes :eek: . great power amp for very little money).

    Overall, that system sounds very good to me - go get it!

    DT
     
  30. SKA.face

    SKA.face
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    If it's too late,I would like to add,a offboard phono stage is much better than an onboard one,this will bring far greater enjoyment from vinyl.

    I prefer Rega to Project,better build and resale value.A Rega P2 or 3 into a Creek OBH series,INHO will bring greater rewards and upgradabilty prospects than your current ideas.
     

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