Decent budget second hand amp

plymman

Active Member
I've just got a load of my vinyl back from my family home and have started to get back into separates after years of using a cheapish 5.1 system.

I have a Rega Planar 1,Q Acoustic 3020 speakers and an old Rotel RA920AX that I still had in the loft.

I'm looking to replace the amp with something different, must have a phono input and I'm looking to get more for my money second hand. Spending somewhere between £100 and £300 what would you suggest that will be a decent upgrade on my old Rotel?
 
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Deleted member 824153

Guest
Options are almost limitless for a used amp in this price range. Condition and questions of reliability will need to be addressed. Arcam, Marantz, NAD, Denon, the list goes on and you’ll get countless recommendations. In my experience, Rotel and Yamaha amps are very reliable and are constructed very well. I also think Yamaha amps work well with QAcoustics speakers. Here are a few starters:
 

plymman

Active Member
Thanks, when I was looking on ebay its an absolute minefield and I'm so out of touch I don't know what I'm looking at so thanks for the recommendations. Would all of these amps be a noticeable improvement on what I have?
 
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Deleted member 824153

Guest
The Rotel is a very good little amp. Rotel made some good stuff in the 90s. Whether a different amp sounds better or not is too subjective for me to answer. The beauty of buying used is that you can sell it on for no loss if it doesn’t work out. Your Rotel only has 20W so you’d hope the newer amps with more power would take a better grip of the speakers. You may not like them, though......
What is it about the current sound you want to change/improve?
 

plymman

Active Member
The Rotel is a very good little amp. Rotel made some good stuff in the 90s. Whether a different amp sounds better or not is too subjective for me to answer. The beauty of buying used is that you can sell it on for no loss if it doesn’t work out. Your Rotel only has 20W so you’d hope the newer amps with more power would take a better grip of the speakers. You may not like them, though......
What is it about the current sound you want to change/improve?
There's not a great deal of separation, it's all a little bit too much middle, not too much bass and although it sounds pretty decent at mid to high volume it loses a lot at low volumes which is where I do most of my listening.
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Well-known Member
Options are almost limitless for a used amp in this price range. Condition and questions of reliability will need to be addressed. Arcam, Marantz, NAD, Denon, the list goes on and you’ll get countless recommendations. In my experience, Rotel and Yamaha amps are very reliable and are constructed very well. I also think Yamaha amps work well with QAcoustics speakers. Here are a few starters:
Can confirm yamaha sound good with qacoustics. I'm rocking a planar 1, with q3050s and a yamaha AS501. More than happy with it, although the amp is a big bugger.

Speaking of upgrades, if you're still using the rega carbon cart, a good upgrade is to move to a AT-VM95e, which is a good upgrade and allows for further upgrades in the future.
 
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Deleted member 824153

Guest
This could be all the amp you ever need. Bags of power, very good phono stage, and streaming.....
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Hi. I used to run a Marantz amp with Q Acoustic speakers. It's a great combo and good condition, 2nd hand PM600X series amps can easily befound for the budget. Good phono stage in them too. Would be what I was looking for with those speakers.
 

plymman

Active Member
Can confirm yamaha sound good with qacoustics. I'm rocking a planar 1, with q3050s and a yamaha AS501. More than happy with it, although the amp is a big bugger.

Speaking of upgrades, if you're still using the rega carbon cart, a good upgrade is to move to a AT-VM95e, which is a good upgrade and allows for further upgrades in the future.
How easy is it to install that cartridge on the planar 1. I assumed because there's very little to no adjustment I'd have to get a Rega cart if I wanted to upgrade.
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Well-known Member
How easy is it to install that cartridge on the planar 1. I assumed because there's very little to no adjustment I'd have to get a Rega cart if I wanted to upgrade.
Its pretty easy, and thats coming from someone who has never done it before. I'm on the 2016 version, not sure which version you are on and whether it'll make a difference in difficulty. The current planar is limited in functionality, which does limit cart choice, but the AT VM range fits nicely. Its two small nuts and bolts and changing 4 wires (care has to be taken removing the wires as you dont want to pull the wire from the connector), plus you'll need a vinyl protractor which you can download from vinyl engine (I think) to align the cart. Theres plenty of youtube vids etc to help.
 

AudioJosh

Active Member
I can also confirm the Yamaha A-S501 pairs well with Q Acoustic 3020 speakers as I have used this combination in the past. I see a few are going second hand on eBay at the moment, wouldn't be a bad purchase if you're looking to get value for money. Marantz also sound good with Q Acoustic speakers if you prefer something that sounds a bit more "musical".
 
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plymman

Active Member
Thanks for your input, here's an update..
I wasn't sure how much of an improvement a different amp would be so I decided to stick to the lower end of my budget and sell on if it didn't make much difference.
Thanks to the advice it was Yamaha or Marantz, spent some time reading reviews and decided on Marantz.
A PM5004 came up on Facebook less than 10 miles from me so I picked that up for £90. Everything is a huge upgrade on my 25 year old Rotel. More bass, better separation, crisper treble, it just sounds like a whole new system, the speakers have really come to life and I can hear so much more in the music. It's also much fuller sounding at low volumes. The turntable sounds fantastic, the only small issue is little pops and crackles are more audible so I guess I need to invest in a beer record cleaner/anti static solution.
Thanks for the input, the upgrade has far exceeded what I expected.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Thanks for your input, here's an update..
I wasn't sure how much of an improvement a different amp would be so I decided to stick to the lower end of my budget and sell on if it didn't make much difference.
Thanks to the advice it was Yamaha or Marantz, spent some time reading reviews and decided on Marantz.
A PM5004 came up on Facebook less than 10 miles from me so I picked that up for £90. Everything is a huge upgrade on my 25 year old Rotel. More bass, better separation, crisper treble, it just sounds like a whole new system, the speakers have really come to life and I can hear so much more in the music. It's also much fuller sounding at low volumes. The turntable sounds fantastic, the only small issue is little pops and crackles are more audible so I guess I need to invest in a beer record cleaner/anti static solution.
Thanks for the input, the upgrade has far exceeded what I expected.
As John Peel said, life has surface noise! However, if they need a clean, some isopropyl alcohol and an old soft t-shirt will do the job just fine.
 

New Forester

Active Member
Thanks for your input, here's an update..
I wasn't sure how much of an improvement a different amp would be so I decided to stick to the lower end of my budget and sell on if it didn't make much difference.
Thanks to the advice it was Yamaha or Marantz, spent some time reading reviews and decided on Marantz.
A PM5004 came up on Facebook less than 10 miles from me so I picked that up for £90. Everything is a huge upgrade on my 25 year old Rotel. More bass, better separation, crisper treble, it just sounds like a whole new system, the speakers have really come to life and I can hear so much more in the music. It's also much fuller sounding at low volumes. The turntable sounds fantastic, the only small issue is little pops and crackles are more audible so I guess I need to invest in a beer record cleaner/anti static solution.
Thanks for the input, the upgrade has far exceeded what I expected.

I was too late to contribute but delighted to know what you did. You will be very happy with the Marantz. There is terrific value in used separates many years old. The first half decent system I bought in the early 90s. included a Marantz CD52. I suspect if I paired one those still around with my present vastly more expensive amp and speakers it will still sound excellent.
 

plymman

Active Member
I was too late to contribute but delighted to know what you did. You will be very happy with the Marantz. There is terrific value in used separates many years old. The first half decent system I bought in the early 90s. included a Marantz CD52. I suspect if I paired one those still around with my present vastly more expensive amp and speakers it will still sound excellent.

I'm blown away by how much of a difference my £90 has made. I think I'll be happy with this system for some time. I only paid £60 for my speakers (q acoustic 3020) and this amp is really getting the best out of them. A kick drum feels like it's hitting you right in the stomach. So rich and tight.

I've spent less than £300 and it's by far the best system I've ever had, I'd love to hear what a 1k system sounds like! I'm listening to all my records and hearing things I've never heard before.
 

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