Question Is the Arcam SA20 good when pair with Tannoy XT6F?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by rambits, Jul 20, 2018.


    1. rambits

      rambits
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      I'm currently having a set of Tannoy XT6f, XTc and Xt6, powered by Marantz SR7012 AVR. Im thinking of getting an Arcam SA20 or similar so it can be used as an power amp when watching movie, and be used as an Integrated Amplifier when playing music. Is the SA20 any good to pair with the Tannoy? Or is there any other choice? maybe Cyrus one? Thanks in advance.
       
    2. gibbsy

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      The Arcam should go pretty well with the Tannoys, but there again so would many other amps. It's hard to give a definitive answer because we all have different likes and dislikes when it comes to speakers and amps. The best thing to do is at least get an audition with the Arcam paired with Tannoy speakers. Even better find a dealer that will allow an Arcam on home demo, which is the very best way to listen.

      You should audition others alongside the Arcam. I went for an audition convinced I was going to come away with a Naim Nait 5si but was completely blown away by a Rega Elicit R. The dealer was able to pair all the auditioning amps with the outlets KEF R300s and I took my own SACD player with me.

      If the Arcam sounds good with the speakers for music that is the main thing as it should blend perfectly with your receiver for film use.

      I would certainly look at Naim Nait 5si as it proved to be a very musical amp and may prove better with Tannoy than it did with KEFs. Musical Fidelity M3i although this amp is getting harder to find. I also tried the more expensive Naim Nait XS2 after listening to the Rega just to confirm how good the Rega was.

      A fun, if somewhat hair pulling couple of hours but a must when spending a grand or so.
       
    3. Rachel H

      Rachel H
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      The most important advice about the Tannoy 6f's is that you aren't going to have any extra 'punch', they're a really engaging speaker that draws you in with the musical balance, what the Arcam and most other amps would bring is the possibility of more detail in the music.
       
    4. rambits

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      Thanks so much for the reply. I need to know will that be a big differences from Marantz SR7012 to a stereo amplifier when listening the music? I know it is better to have a demo rather then asking this question, but I need to convince my Mrs before making any decision e.g. a home demo. :(
      The Rega Elicit R has very good reviews, but a little bit expensive. Is there any other recommendations below the 1k budget?
       
    5. Ugg10

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      There is the Elicit's little brother, the Elex R which is in budget.

      Others on here have found the Musical Fidelity M3i good for integrating into a surround sound setup but I think they have been phased out for the M3Si which is still in budget if ex display. Therefore .........

      Just a thought, have you considered how you will connect these up.

      The usual method is to get a stereo amp with HT bypass function that is connected to the Front l/r pre-outs in the av amp. The HT bypass enable the stereo amp to effectively work as a power amp and the volume controlled by the AV amp when listing to surround but then using any of the other inputs (cd, turntable, tuner etc.) the stereo amp controls the volume as normal. This seems to be the best of both worlds, Av amp setup for surround with the stereo amp running the fronts but when listening to music you can use the stereo amp in normal mode.

      As for sounding better than the Marantz, I would say a £1k stereo amp with sound better with music than a £1k av amp with 9 internal channels - simple economics - £1k stereo amp with built in preamp and two channels give about £400 per power amplifier, AV amp with 9 channel plus a load of software/decoder chips etc. spread across £800 works out at about £80 per power amp channel.

      Looking at the spec of the SA20 it does not look like it has HT bypass so I would check when you go for an audition otherwise if you connect it to the Front l/r pre out on the AV amp and do your speaker set up you will have to return the stereo amp volume knob back to the same place every time when watching surround. This may be easy if there is a db style readout on the display i.e. you can set it to say 30db every time, if not it is a bit of a gamble whether the surround will be balanced each time.

      Amplifiers with HT-bypass - update 03. September 2017

      So finally, I would check that the stereo amp has a HT bypass function (i.e. by pass the volume control on one input) and plug anything you listen to music on (CD, tuner, turntable, Chromecast Audio etc.) into the stereo amp leaving the av amp for DVD/Bluray/TV in surround sound.
       
    6. rambits

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      Thanks UGG10, the HT-bypass is the way I missed out. The reason of choosing the AS20 is because it has built-in DAC plus an optical port to connect with. How is the DAC on SR7012 compare with the ones on stereo AMPs?
      From the list in the link which you provided, it seems that there is no HT- Bypass on Rega Elex R, so is the Musical Fidelity m3si can beat the SR7012 completely?
      Leaving the HT-bypass feature, is the Arcam A39 better than the Rega Elex R or MF m3si or Cyrus ONE?
       
      Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
    7. Ugg10

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      Looking at the Arcam SA20 manual

      https://www.arcam.co.uk/ugc/tor/SA20/User Manual/DISPLAY_SH295_EN-FR-DE-NL-ES-RU-IT-CN_Issue1_230118.pdf

      looks like you can dedicate one of the inputs to a "processor" mode that fixes it's level allowing the AV amp to control the volume, basically a HT bypass mode so looks like you are set for the SA20. If you audition may be worth checking this setting out.

      In terms of connection - how do you connect the Apple TV - I am guessing you have a version 1, 2 or 3 as the later models do not have the optical output. So, optical output into the, lets say, SA20 and HDMI into the Marantz. So you can listen to music directly through the optical stereo spdif and video through the hdmi with surround sound. I do not have an apple TV so only guessing. Do you have any other sources (DVD, Blueray, CD etc. ?) or does everything go through the apple TV box?
       
      Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
    8. Rachel H

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      I'm going to give you the best answer to your question you can possibly hope for:

      All three of those amps are really good in their price range, you couldn't go wrong with any, but which is best is up to your ears.
       
    9. gibbsy

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      The Rega Elicit R is the first of the Rega models that has HT bypass which, as you have said, is over budget. I was under the impression that the AS20 does have HT bypass, but I cannot see any analogue input labelled as direct. Is so that is a real shame.

      As to the Musical Fidelity M3i being better at stereo music than the Marantz receiver, absolutely, as will any of the amps you've mentioned. My Denon X6200 simply cannot compete with my Rega Elicit R. The Rega just shows how good my speakers can perform.

      The Marantz PM8005 has HT bypass and a DAC, I thought they were all sold out some time ago and it was a serious consideration for me, fits in with your budget. Really excellent headphone stage as a bonus.
      http://exceptional-av.co.uk/marantz...erm=4579191051829632&utm_content=All products
       

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