Looking for a smooth, simple amplifier...

TB Rich

Well-known Member
Marantz Model 30, normally £2500ish, seen a B-stock with 12 months warranty (4 available) here, a touch over budget £1650inc delivery.

All the power to drive a 4ohm load no problem, all analogue too with no DAC or streaming to date it in the years to come, I’ve not heard one but by all accounts leans to the warmer side.

 

FootHealer

Active Member
£1399 for the CD5si which seems to be the price everywhere. Lot of money but it's in a surprisingly congested price point. I have listened to one. Thought I had broken the damn things when the tray swung open. From what I can remember it had a very fluid presentation, quite detailed (this was with my Oppo PM1 headphones so no hiding place).

I was there auditioning the Naim DAC V1 as a headphone amp so not really interested in the player and I think the player was just over a grand then. As I said a lot of competition out there at that price but fair to consider if you want to keep the same make. My cabinet is like the United Nations with players from Denon, Marantz and Pioneer dwelling therein.

Keep an eye on AudioT and SSaV as I'm almost sure I've seen them go as ex-display.
Thanks, Gibbsy. Yes, the CD5si is that price in all retailers that stock it. Seems a bit silly when I there was a pre-owned 5si refurbished by an authorised dealer for £799. I may still consider it.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Marantz Model 30, normally £2500ish, seen a B-stock with 12 months warranty (4 available) here, a touch over budget £1650inc delivery.

All the power to drive a 4ohm load no problem, all analogue too with no DAC or streaming to date it in the years to come, I’ve not heard one but by all accounts leans to the warmer side.

Yes, this one has already caught my interest. Would definitely need to go B-stock on this one. Once I've tried the Quad 34 after it gets it DADA upgrade along with the Quad 306 (already had its DADA upgrade and sounds great), I'll give more thought to the Marantz. Still have a Denon PMA800ne on the way to try. I guess I am looking to get back to the sort of sound I have with the Denon PMA600ne, that muscular, warm presentation, but with just a little more refinement. The Marantz may be worth exploring. Thanks...
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Thanks, Gibbsy. Yes, the CD5si is that price in all retailers that stock it. Seems a bit silly when I there was a pre-owned 5si refurbished by an authorised dealer for £799. I may still consider it.
That all comes down to what kind of warranty the dealer is offering on it. I think even with refurbished from a dealer you are still covered by distant selling regulations so at least that would give you ample time to see if there are any problems. May very well be worth your while.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
That all comes down to what kind of warranty the dealer is offering on it. I think even with refurbished from a dealer you are still covered by distant selling regulations so at least that would give you ample time to see if there are any problems. May very well be worth your while.
I've not heard an Naim system before, but someone I know has one and swears by it. I must admit I am intreged and it may well be on my list if my current options don't work out. I seem to remember then having a 3 month warranty. The Denon PMA1700ne will come with a 5 year warranty through Peter Tyson, free of charge, so its probably my first choice.

EDIT: Denon actually do a 30 day home trial. They pay for the return postage, so no expensive courier fees if I don't like it. Comes with a 2 year warranty though. Something to consider.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I've not heard an Naim system before
I auditioned the XS2 several years ago against the Rega Elicit-R running KEF R300s. Didn't like the Naim, it just couldn't get to grips with the bass. The Elicit was so tight on the bass it turned out to be the one for me. With the DAC V1 I simply didn't want to need the DAC just the headphone amp and so it was too expensive for what I wanted. Did drive my Oppos well though.

Not considered the Denon players?
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
Ok, give it a bit of time. I've read a lot of your posts and know that you're very particular and know the sound you're after - aren't we all (or should be). Mine only sounded promising but congested out of the box, but very good after about 50 hours of use. And I bought a 2nd hand one too but I'm guessing it had been sat on a shelf for a couple of years.
Long story short - for me it beats Marantz pm6006 uk, Marantz hd- amp1 (£800!), Audiolab 6000a, Rotel a11 Tribute, all of which I owned and none hit the spot. Oh and I've heard plenty of CA stuff at Richer Sounds when auditioning speakers, never liked Cambridge Audio. The Denon is good old school, punchy and honest, very slightly warm sounding, and probably not as resolving as the Audiolab (which sounded oh so clinical!) but that doesn't matter in my book as my speakers have sweet, sparkling treble and a rich but articulate mid range so they match with the Denon's character wonderfully well. Don't get me wrong, when I say "character" I don't mean it sounds like the equivalent of a warm bath, just that it has been developed and tuned by people who actually enjoy listening to music. I hope you're not put off by the fixed power chord. I know some are and tbh I'd have preferred it if they'd made it removable but it doesn't spoil for me what is a really sweet little amplifier.:)
Just to confirm which amp are you talking about?
 

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
Yes, this one has already caught my interest. Would definitely need to go B-stock on this one. Once I've tried the Quad 34 after it gets it DADA upgrade along with the Quad 306 (already had its DADA upgrade and sounds great), I'll give more thought to the Marantz. Still have a Denon PMA800ne on the way to try. I guess I am looking to get back to the sort of sound I have with the Denon PMA600ne, that muscular, warm presentation, but with just a little more refinement. The Marantz may be worth exploring. Thanks...
@FootHealer - Do some research on that seller… questionable
 

FootHealer

Active Member
I auditioned the XS2 several years ago against the Rega Elicit-R running KEF R300s. Didn't like the Naim, it just couldn't get to grips with the bass. The Elicit was so tight on the bass it turned out to be the one for me. With the DAC V1 I simply didn't want to need the DAC just the headphone amp and so it was too expensive for what I wanted. Did drive my Oppos well though.

Not considered the Denon players?
I have considered the Denon CD players. I got a matching DCD800ne with the PMA800ne, both of which are on the way (delivery this week). Another option is the DCD1600ne, but its a bit of a jump in price.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I have considered the Denon CD players. I got a matching DCD800ne with the PMA800ne, both of which are on the way (delivery this week). Another option is the DCD1600ne, but its a bit of a jump in price.
I've got the DCD 2500. Superb player, but I do need SACD. Managed to get for a really good price three years ago. Now new they have a RRP of £2099. If you don't need SACD then those players such as the 800 NE may be worth you listening to, but I doubt they would best the Naim, for that you would need the 1600NE for sure.

The 1600 has jumped 20% in value now around the £1200. It's heavier than the Naim, 8.2kg against 5.9kg and I do like heavy when it comes to players, the 2500 is 13.7kg. I'd still be tempted by that Naim. With the way prices are going it's frightening to buy anything new now.

It's a dangerous game buying a player with SACD capabilities. Buying those discs will soon have you on the road to bankruptcy.......if you have any money left.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
I've got the DCD 2500. Superb player, but I do need SACD. Managed to get for a really good price three years ago. Now new they have a RRP of £2099. If you don't need SACD then those players such as the 800 NE may be worth you listening to, but I doubt they would best the Naim, for that you would need the 1600NE for sure.

The 1600 has jumped 20% in value now around the £1200. It's heavier than the Naim, 8.2kg against 5.9kg and I do like heavy when it comes to players, the 2500 is 13.7kg. I'd still be tempted by that Naim. With the way prices are going it's frightening to buy anything new now.

It's a dangerous game buying a player with SACD capabilities. Buying those discs will soon have you on the road to bankruptcy.......if you have any money left.
Yeah....I don't know if I'm ready to hear an SACD. I don't think my wallet or my marriage would take it ;) Actually, my marriage will probably be fine...my wallet, probably not. I have my eye on the new DCD1700ne when it comes out to match the PMA1700ne. If the 800ne combo isn't what I am hoping for, I may do this route. Guess I'll find out later this week...
 

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
Drop a photo when you get the 800’s, a lovely looking set that is !
 

robdmarsh

Active Member
I believe it is this ones.
Those are my speakers but you got the name slightly wrong: Esprit Titus EZ. The name is a mouthful, the speakers themselves are beyond wonderful imho. They are agile, delicate, punchy, expressive, dynamic, versatile... er, and can be described with many more adjectives but I would just end up boring everyone. But serioiusly, I have to stop myself from going overboard with enthusiasm for these little beauties. One thing they are not is shrill, shouty or ear piercing, don't believe the nay sayers, and for my tastes, the bass is more than adequate in a medium-sized room. My room is an open plan living-room so hardly ideal shape-wise but the Titus are pretty forgiving on positioning.

Someone on eBay still has a pair up for £580 including Atacama stands. They've been there for 6 months. Crazy that no one has snapped them up.
 

Kapkirk

Well-known Member
Those are my speakers but you got the name slightly wrong: Esprit Titus EZ. The name is a mouthful, the speakers themselves are beyond wonderful imho. They are agile, delicate, punchy, expressive, dynamic, versatile... er, and can be described with many more adjectives but I would just end up boring everyone. But serioiusly, I have to stop myself from going overboard with enthusiasm for these little beauties. One thing they are not is shrill, shouty or ear piercing, don't believe the nay sayers, and for my tastes, the bass is more than adequate in a medium-sized room. My room is an open plan living-room so hardly ideal shape-wise but the Titus are pretty forgiving on positioning.

Someone on eBay still has a pair up for £580 including Atacama stands. They've been there for 6 months. Crazy that no one has snapped them up.
So are the Titus EZ smaller than the ESPRIT COMETE EZ, do they have smaller drivers and cabininate, and what's the difference between them and the comete EZ 40th anniversary. On reading a review on the 40th anniversary the review said the bass response was poor, does that mean the Comete EZ will also be week on the bass?
 

robdmarsh

Active Member
So are the Titus EZ smaller than the ESPRIT COMETE EZ, do they have smaller drivers and cabininate, and what's the difference between them and the comete EZ 40th anniversary. On reading a review on the 40th anniversary the review said the bass response was poor, does that mean the Comete EZ will also be week on the bass?
Hi Kapkirk, how are you doing? That's quite a lot of questions there, I'll answer them as best as I can. The Titus EZ is indeed smaller than the Comete EZ, quite a lot smaller. They have the same horn surround tweeter and 5 and a quarter inch woofer versus 6 inch on the Comete. There's a guy on Youtube who complains about the lack of bass on Comete 40th anniversary but he's alone in that regard. The bass on my Titus has punch but is not particularly extended. The 40th anniversary has more than just a fancier cabinet over the standard Comete. The tweeter has different materials, I think the woofer is also improved and there is internal bracing on the cabinet. I have only heard the Titus, and if you remember I was raving about them back in October and I still feel that way about them. Sounds like you should give the Comete models an audition but this might not be easy.
 

Kapkirk

Well-known Member
Thanks for that robdmarsh, I've had an interest in trying the Comete at home for some time, I remember speaking to you about it before as you were so impressed with your Titus EZ, I was almost about to order the 40th anniversary model to try at home when I read about the lack of bass issue so it's kind of put me off a little, I do need good bass power as I dont and wont be using a subwoofer. I really like the sound I'm getting from my Elac's but they can sound a little unexciting at times (when at low volume) I find the bass response good on the Elac's and wouldn't want a small stand mount with less, just looking for a bit more energy in the upper mids/treble and with nice imaging, I think the problem with the Elac's is they are too smooth with my amp.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
So, a first impression of the Denon PMA800ne (and matching CD player) compared to the Rotel A11 Tribute. I used the QA Concept 40 speakers.

The 800 hits harder in the bass. It has more weight than the A11, but the Rotel is more accurate and refined.

The A11 has better imaging. Al Stewart in Life in Dark Water is very realistic, as if he is stood between the speakers. The vocals seems to have a feeling coming from a single point. The 800s feel more like the voice is coming from a space, field in front of me. This is similar with imaging left and right, it is as if the sounds are blurred a little. Soundstage width is similar, but that is probably due to the speakers and room.

The A11 seems more tonally accurate. The 800 seems slightly coloured.

Initial impressions are that the 800ne would probably do better with a bright speaker with rolled off or neutral bass. The Rotel seems to work well with the opposite, boosted bass and neutral treble or rolled off treble.

Only 30 mins of listening, so too early to tell, but on first impression, I prefer the A11 Tribute overall, at least with these speakers. But the 800ne...that bass. Less watts on paper, but more power?

I still find the NAD D3045 and Quad 306 (Dada upgraded) power amp better than both of these. The soundstage is huge, detailed, accurate and detailed without being fatiguing. And the bass slams. I'll see how the Quad 34 pairs with the 306 next. For now, I'll spend some time with the Denon. I don't feel deprived in any way. It's a nice amp.
 

FootHealer

Active Member

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robdmarsh

Active Member
So, a first impression of the Denon PMA800ne (and matching CD player) compared to the Rotel A11 Tribute. I used the QA Concept 40 speakers.

The 800 hits harder in the bass. It has more weight than the A11, but the Rotel is more accurate and refined.

The A11 has better imaging. Al Stewart in Life in Dark Water is very realistic, as if he is stood between the speakers. The vocals seems to have a feeling coming from a single point. The 800s feel more like the voice is coming from a space, field in front of me. This is similar with imaging left and right, it is as if the sounds are blurred a little. Soundstage width is similar, but that is probably due to the speakers and room.

The A11 seems more tonally accurate. The 800 seems slightly coloured.

Initial impressions are that the 800ne would probably do better with a bright speaker with rolled off or neutral bass. The Rotel seems to work well with the opposite, boosted bass and neutral treble or rolled off treble.

Only 30 mins of listening, so too early to tell, but on first impression, I prefer the A11 Tribute overall, at least with these speakers. But the 800ne...that bass. Less watts on paper, but more power?

I still find the NAD D3045 and Quad 306 (Dada upgraded) power amp better than both of these. The soundstage is huge, detailed, accurate and detailed without being fatiguing. And the bass slams. I'll see how the Quad 34 pairs with the 306 next. For now, I'll spend some time with the Denon. I don't feel deprived in any way. It's a nice amp.
Very interesting your findings so far, especially your comments that the 800ne might suit a livelier speaker with a rolled off bass. I feel my speakers fit this description pretty much to a T. Others have said that the Triangle Esprit line of speakers are bright but with this amp I'mt not finding this and the match is just about perfect. As for bass, I don't know the specs exactly but I know they don't extend very low, maybe about 55hz. So what you're saying about this amp seems to concur with my findings.

However, and this is quite a big but, I do not find the sound to be detail light and with a lack of resolution. To me the sound has warmth yes, but pay attention and there is plenty of detail and subtlety which draws me into the mix, and this is how I like it. Detail which offers itself up to me without me actually having to listen to the performance is too much for my ears and can be fatiguing. This impression of course, could be down to the speakers, which are definitely higher end than this amp, but whatever the reason, the match is such a good one and produces an overall sound that I'm in love with. The Rotel certainly didn't seem like an amplifier I was going to enjoy. I got it before I had the Triangles, when my speakers were Elac debut b5 (original edition), which were a budget speaker I absolutely adored, not dissimilar to the Triangle, but nothing like as refined. The Elacs did not come alive with the Rotel and there was no engagement to the sound. And the digital volume control on the a11 I hated; it had virtually no sound until the volume reached about 28. I love the fact that on the Denon with the volume pot at just past 9 o'clock I get a rich, room-filling sound.

Just one last point: how long have you run the Denon? I really think for me it was opening up all the time during the first few days of use, but then of course, it could have been me just adjusting to the sound. But then again, maybe not, because I actually had this amp twice and exactly the same thing happened. First time I had a black one, which I didn't really want but I wanted to test it out as I was impatient. After it had it run in I returned it and waited for the silver one, and then I found a great bargain on hardly used example. Double win!

Sorry, I've just read, you've only just started listening to the Denon. So early days yet...
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I would describe the Rotel as tone correct amplifier for some, but there is no personality.

It’s boring, muscular sound.

It lacks emotion.
 

robdmarsh

Active Member
Thanks for that robdmarsh, I've had an interest in trying the Comete at home for some time, I remember speaking to you about it before as you were so impressed with your Titus EZ, I was almost about to order the 40th anniversary model to try at home when I read about the lack of bass issue so it's kind of put me off a little, I do need good bass power as I dont and wont be using a subwoofer. I really like the sound I'm getting from my Elac's but they can sound a little unexciting at times (when at low volume) I find the bass response good on the Elac's and wouldn't want a small stand mount with less, just looking for a bit more energy in the upper mids/treble and with nice imaging, I think the problem with the Elac's is they are too smooth with my amp.
As I said before, I loved my Elacs but they did lack a bit of sparkle in the top end. When I got the Triangles, it was if they were teaching me to love a new sound. They had the subtlety and richness of the midrange of the Elacs but the treble was a revelation. I think they match with the Denon pma range beautifully. The Comete EZ has been out for at least 8 years so I think you may be able to get a good deal on those or look out on eBay.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I also notice the volume control on my Marantz amp is louder, fuller sounding. There is bass slam, not the most dynamic sounding bass.

But you what I do not care about this whatsoever ever. Us and them live version (Pulse) the drums. Awesome! I can hear lot better imagining then Rotel can.

Stage presence is awesome. Also Rotel manuals is hopelessly boring. I made a huge mistake buying the RA1572Mk2. At first I was smitten, then so much.

Who needs 3 optical inputs, 3 coxial inputs. Why Rotel, why?
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Very interesting your findings so far, especially your comments that the 800ne might suit a livelier speaker with a rolled off bass. I feel my speakers fit this description pretty much to a T. Others have said that the Triangle Esprit line of speakers are bright but with this amp I'mt not finding this and the match is just about perfect. As for bass, I don't know the specs exactly but I know they don't extend very low, maybe about 55hz. So what you're saying about this amp seems to concur with my findings.

However, and this is quite a big but, I do not find the sound to be detail light and with a lack of resolution. To me the sound has warmth yes, but pay attention and there is plenty of detail and subtlety which draws me into the mix, and this is how I like it. Detail which offers itself up to me without me actually having to listen to the performance is too much for my ears and can be fatiguing. This impression of course, could be down to the speakers, which are definitely higher end than this amp, but whatever the reason, the match is such a good one and produces an overall sound that I'm in love with. The Rotel certainly didn't seem like an amplifier I was going to enjoy. I got it before I had the Triangles, when my speakers were Elac debut b5 (original edition), which were a budget speaker I absolutely adored, not dissimilar to the Triangle, but nothing like as refined. The Elacs did not come alive with the Rotel and there was no engagement to the sound. And the digital volume control on the a11 I hated; it had virtually no sound until the volume reached about 28. I love the fact that on the Denon with the volume pot at just past 9 o'clock I get a rich, room-filling sound.

Just one last point: how long have you run the Denon? I really think for me it was opening up all the time during the first few days of use, but then of course, it could have been me just adjusting to the sound. But then again, maybe not, because I actually had this amp twice and exactly the same thing happened. First time I had a black one, which I didn't really want but I wanted to test it out as I was impatient. After it had it run in I returned it and waited for the silver one, and then I found a great bargain on hardly used example. Double win!

Sorry, I've just read, you've only just started listening to the Denon. So early days yet...
Hi,

Thanks for your comments. The 800ne is used, but hardly used...the seller said they used it for a 10-20 hours, so it is quite new.

Don't get me wrong, the 800ne has detail, but to me it lacks some focus and tonal accuracy compared the A11, at least with my speakers. Instruments just sound more lifelike to me on the A11 with the Concepts.

But what the 800ne has is guts. It drives the Concept 40s with a power the A11 simply does not match. And yes, my preferred listening level is 60-70db, and this means about 50-60 on the volume dial of the A11 and 8-9 o' clock on the Denon. What I did notice is the Denon doesn't change its sound if I push it a little higher. The A11 loses some composure when I try match the volume and starts to sound a little "not as nice as before", like it is struggling a little. With the Denon, it got loud and I felt there was still plenty of power left to go louder without any strain.

I will keep listening to it, as it is an enjoyable experience. It's warmth takes the edge of some of my CD recordings, but I also loose a little of the clearly defined edges with space between the instruments. With a more detailed speaker, this may not be an issue. Perhaps that is why your speaker-amp combination works so well for you...

With the Concepts though, it seems a little veiled. On occassion, like on some of those Clannad CDs from the mid 80s, this is very welcome thought. I think the 800ne would go well with a revealing or bright speaker, which basically includes most speakers within the same price range as the amp. A smart move from Denon. The Rotel is too fussy and particular to make everyone happy. It definitely needs a specific setup to sound its best.
 
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