Looking for a smooth, simple amplifier...

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I cannot comment if the Rega ones better. Knowing Rega reputation they might be.

Midrange, bass wise I believe for some they are better.

Apparently one reviewer says the PM8006 runs the first 10 watts in Class A.

This video.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew1y_jGmEO0
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Anyone have any thoughts of the PM8006 vs Rega Brio or is the Elex a more relevant comparison ??
In fairness I would say the peer comparison would be the Elex. Difference between the two amps in my opinion the Marantz has always been 'polite'. It does nothing badly but lacks the excitement, for lack of a better word, than the Rega (certainly the Elicit-R) provides. The Rega give you more attack in the mids where you need it.

What was an annoyance with the 8006 at the time for me personally was having to hold the fascia button in for three seconds to engage HT by-pass. Then the same for getting out of it.
 

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
Thanks @gibbsy, tbh I wasn’t even considering amp replacement, the ideas been put into my head as I’ve recently got a CD6006UK off one of the lads on here and have been admiring matching units of late.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Thanks @gibbsy, tbh I wasn’t even considering amp replacement, the ideas been put into my head as I’ve recently got a CD6006UK off one of the lads on here and have been admiring matching units of late.
I ran a CD6006, SA8005 and a Denon DCD 2500NE through the Rega. Both the Marantz gave a slightly warmer experience, less detailed than the Denon and I found the Denon to have a bigger soundstage on SACD than the SA8005 which one would hopefully expect from a disc spinner costing twice as much.

I left the SA8005 running with the Rega and switched the Denon to my Lehmann headphone amp because of it's more detailed performance which suited the headphone better. The 8005 is now linked to my Denon X6500 as I've sold the Elicit but gets played very little with headphones taking up 98% of listening time. I sold the 6006 a long time ago on here when I bought the 8005 and started bankrupting myself buying SACDs.
 

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
🤣🤣 I did spot your Rega Amp for Sale a while back, take it you've gone headphones only.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
🤣🤣 I did spot your Rega Amp for Sale a while back, take it you've gone headphones only.
Yes, not fair on the missus who goes to bed early because of her dicky ticker. Far easier to use headphones. Rega was getting very little use as a music amp just being switched on everytime I used the AVR.
 

Kapkirk

Well-known Member
I think there is a lot of snobbery in HiFi...as there is in many areas of life. Denon is a good brand. Just because something like the 800ne is made in Vietnam using parts from China, does not mean it is rubbish. Price also does not necessarily equate to better. Looking at independent testing of some "high end" HiFi is actually nauseating...especially for people who spend £3000 on a DAC that measures worse than a DAC made in China that costs £500. I am not convinced that the price, location of manufacture or brand name necessarilly mean it is better or worse. I bought a £1600 Quad amp recently, brand new, latest version, and, frankly, it was awful. I prefer the 800ne or the A11. But them I try an old Quad serviced by a Quad-loving engineer, and its absolutely awesome.

@Kapkirk ... your story of the sales person and their snobbery towards your Denon is one of the reasons I avoid these places. I am not saying all high end hifi is a rip off...I am saying that the gap between budget and high end might not be as wide as it was in the past, and the law of diminishing returns may well be steeper than ever. I remember listening to a lecture by Floyd Toole where he described some blind tests of speakers that varied wildly in price. Many people struggle to accurately predict which are more expensive and often prefer less expensive speakers. He mentioned a desktop speaker system by Harman (I believe it may be the Soundsticks system) and how it was rated far higher than any expected despite being far cheaper than some other speakers tested. I bought the Soundsticks 3 system for my wife, used on Ebay, for £60, and frankly, it is flipping awesome. It really sounds great...if I had spend £600 on it, I would have been happy.

Price and name (or Naim) doesn't mean its better. Listen to it. Measure it. That's the way I prefer.
Those little Harmon soundsticks prove you don't have spent a fortune to get great sound.
I run a 2.1 for my computer system with some Creative THX speakers and a home made sub from a Fosi BT30D amp, really impressive sound for what it cost to put together.
I find going into high end hi fi dealers really uncomfortable these days, pretty upsetting when you have saved up £2000 to spend on new speakers and you find they only stock about 3 models under this price and then they tell you you need a better amp to run them. I like great sound but there is a limit to how much I can afford to spend on hi fi. Unfortunately there are not many places I can get a demo near me.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I had similar episode few weeks ago. I asked if Zen DAC’s are better then Node N130, since at the time the Node didn’t have the perfect synergy with the Rotel amplifier.

The dealer more or less between the lines said Bluesound eq were nonsense.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
So, a little more listening, and I'm sorry to say that I definitely prefer the Rotel A11 Tribute to the Denon PMA800ne when paired with the Q Acoustics Concept 40 speakers.

On the plus side, the Denon has more bass. Not better, just more. The A11 produces bass that seems a little better controlled, but lacks the weight of the bass produced by the 800ne. It is a little more "fun" than the Rotel and doesn't make a serious effort to sound more expensive than it is. It sounds like a £500 amp, and a good one. The Rotel tries to sound like a £1000+ amp and can, given a dozen specific conditions, but outside those conditions, it shows it is rowing amongst the big boys.

But for me, the Rotel wins overall. I took me a long time and lot of work (and money) to get it set up in a way that makes it sing, and it does, most of the time. I still long for more warmth every now and again, but will use the Quad for that. I prefer the look of the A11. The imaging is more detailed, with more space between instruments. The music, especially female vocals, have a sweetness the Denon doesn't have. Voices and instruments just sound a little more natural. Some of this was due to the matching CD players. The CD11 Tribute was superior to the Denon DCD800ne. The DCD seemed just a little less resolving. The CD11 brought more clarity, but also a sweetness that matches the A11 Tribute well and even helped the PMA800ne.

All in all, both pale in comparison to the NAD D3045 as a pre-amp and the Dada-upgraded Quad 306, so I am sticking with that and maybe the Quad 34 when it comes back from being upgraded. I will keep the Rotel as a second system or maybe sell it later on.

The Denon is a nice amplifier, and much more user friendly than the Rotel. I imagine it will probably pair well with a wider range of speakers and range of musical tastes. It has better connectivity. It has an "old skool feel" some people may like. It has bigger bass, which is great for smaller speakers, and enough warmth to perhaps tame a speaker with a brighter top end. But my Concept 40s don't need taming and they sure as sugar don't need a bass boost. So, unless I start looking at changing speakers again, the Denon isn't a great fit for me personally. And I am not going there for a while. But I can see why the Denon PMA800ne is popular. It's an easy, fun choice in a sea of temperamental budget amps.
 

robdmarsh

Active Member
Wow, that is so interesting. What you're saying says quite a lot about our personal tastes but I think it also says a lot about equipment synergy. What I hadn't talked about with the 800ne and the Triangle Titus combination was the sweetness of the sound, (the very thing you seem to get from the Rotle and the Concepts) and how vocals and the timbre of certain instruments produce regular hair standing on the back of the neck moments for me when listening so I can only deduce that the synergy between Denon and Triangle is just doing something so right for the sound that I enjoy. It does make me wonder how the Rotel would have performed with the Triangle, on the other hand.

Others as I said insist that Triangle have a bright tweeter but I can assure you, I run a mile from brightness or harshness, and I think those critics are probably going by Triangle speakers of old. What you say about the tone of instruments puts in mind of what others say about the Titus and Comete speakers: that a saxophone sounds like a saxophone, a cymbal sounds like a cymbal and so on. When you say you've got sweetness but maybe a lack of warmth with the Rotel I am a little confused. For me sweetness is warmth, I don't mean fuzziness or bluriness, but an almost palpable human quality to voices or the tactility of instruments (wood of acoustic guitars, metal of brass instruments etc). Maybe I should talk about music choices: I don't really do metal or hard rock, but I do listen to most other things besides. I very much like alternative rock, folk, alt country, 60s and 70s rock, (not an 80s fan with a few notable exceptions) and jazz, particulary Brazilian jazz. I like classical but this is the most hard to reproduce genre in home audio: chamber music works much better than full scale symphony orchestras as with the latter you have to constantly adjust the volume to be able to hear the really quiet passages and turn down the loud ones so as not to p*** off the neighbors.

All in all, I think you're a bit of a tinkerer like me. It's great fun tinkering and if you tinker again with speakers, may I suggest Triangle. I'm going to home trial a pair of Dynaudio Emit 20 for a bit of fun. I bet they won't beat the Titus.😉

Oh and by the way, did you ever get to hear Concept 30s?
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Wow, that is so interesting. What you're saying says quite a lot about our personal tastes but I think it also says a lot about equipment synergy. What I hadn't talked about with the 800ne and the Triangle Titus combination was the sweetness of the sound, (the very thing you seem to get from the Rotle and the Concepts) and how vocals and the timbre of certain instruments produce regular hair standing on the back of the neck moments for me when listening so I can only deduce that the synergy between Denon and Triangle is just doing something so right for the sound that I enjoy. It does make me wonder how the Rotel would have performed with the Triangle, on the other hand.

Others as I said insist that Triangle have a bright tweeter but I can assure you, I run a mile from brightness or harshness, and I think those critics are probably going by Triangle speakers of old. What you say about the tone of instruments puts in mind of what others say about the Titus and Comete speakers: that a saxophone sounds like a saxophone, a cymbal sounds like a cymbal and so on. When you say you've got sweetness but maybe a lack of warmth with the Rotel I am a little confused. For me sweetness is warmth, I don't mean fuzziness or bluriness, but an almost palpable human quality to voices or the tactility of instruments (wood of acoustic guitars, metal of brass instruments etc). Maybe I should talk about music choices: I don't really do metal or hard rock, but I do listen to most other things besides. I very much like alternative rock, folk, alt country, 60s and 70s rock, (not an 80s fan with a few notable exceptions) and jazz, particulary Brazilian jazz. I like classical but this is the most hard to reproduce genre in home audio: chamber music works much better than full scale symphony orchestras as with the latter you have to constantly adjust the volume to be able to hear the really quiet passages and turn down the loud ones so as not to p*** off the neighbors.

All in all, I think you're a bit of a tinkerer like me. It's great fun tinkering and if you tinker again with speakers, may I suggest Triangle. I'm going to home trial a pair of Dynaudio Emit 20 for a bit of fun. I bet they won't beat the Titus.😉

Oh and by the way, did you ever get to hear Concept 30s?
Hi @robdmarsh ...

Yes, synergy is important.

To me, "warmth" implies something different that "sweetness". I guess maybe my definitions aren't correct, so I will explain more fully. Warm to me is like a Vermeer painting. Everything is there...it isn't rough and wild like a Van Gogh or Picasso, and at first glance the painting looks like a photo. But if you look closer, you'll see the lines are slightly blurred into each other (Vermeer painted wet on wet), and the colours are slightly different than they would be in real life, giving the painting a beautiful, cosy, intimiate feeling while being clearly a coloured/altered version of reality. I know it is not real, but I actually prefer that to what is real. It is just so easy on the eye. The Rotel is more like a photograph with a decent camera. Accurate, but lacking the beauty and velvety butteriness of the Vermeer. My eye darts from one part of the photo to the other, trying to take the detail in. With the Vermeer, it is all there. I can just soak it in. The same happens for me with music. Warmer, richer, fuller, less detailed components can do this for me.

Man...this is turning it a word salad!

Sweetness is something else. Listening to the Japanese singer Kokia this morning, I was surprised to hear that the Denon-Concept combination did not convey her voice as I usually expect it. She is a tiny, delicate looking woman, with a sweetness and light appearance and voice. I truly feel she sings from the heart, not just to make money, but to share her feelings about something she cares about. And that was partly lost with the Denon-Concept combo. The words and notes where there, but that sweetness was missing, that something that says, "I am listening to someone speaking to me from the heart". The Rotel-Concept combination...I could easily pick out all those very subtle little sounds and changes in her voice as it dances around. She is dead centre between the speakers. It feels as if her voice is coming from a small area, as it would in real life. I guess the ear and brain is sensitive to the human voice and all its subtle changes so we can judge what others are feeling and respond accordingly. Its about survival. I feel the Rotel allows this level of clarity and realism that the Denon just doesn't quite get.

Anyway, I am trying to say in words what is a very internal and personal experience, and feel I have almost entirely failed. If I use any more adjectives, I fear I may get headhunted to write reviews for WhatHiFi, so I'd better stop there ;)
 

robdmarsh

Active Member
Don't apologize for your word salads, I think you actually get over in words what you find pretty well. The main thing is you're really getting a lot out of listening to music, which I am too. Much better than binge watching Netflix... "binge listen and fill your soul with happiness!" says the Cheap audio man, and I think he's quite right. I'm going to do a search for Kokia on Amazon music unlimited and see if I get the sweetness. I love finding new artists and music.

Btw, I was just in Richer Sounds Oxford and they are such nice blokes there, they asked me if I wanted to listen to anything just spontaneously and I thought Dali Opticon 2 mkii looked in nice esp in white so I thought I'd give them a whirl. Well, nothing special at all is how I'd sum them up, and they were on the end of a Cambridge cax 61 and some seriously expensive Chord speaker cables. Of course, I'm polite and didn't tell them I thought they were pretty meh, the young lad was enthusing about them all the while. 😉
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Don't apologize for your word salads, I think you actually get over in words what you find pretty well. The main thing is you're really getting a lot out of listening to music, which I am too. Much better than binge watching Netflix... "binge listen and fill your soul with happiness!" says the Cheap audio man, and I think he's quite right. I'm going to do a search for Kokia on Amazon music unlimited and see if I get the sweetness. I love finding new artists and music.

Btw, I was just in Richer Sounds Oxford and they are such nice blokes there, they asked me if I wanted to listen to anything just spontaneously and I thought Dali Opticon 2 mkii looked in nice esp in white so I thought I'd give them a whirl. Well, nothing special at all is how I'd sum them up, and they were on the end of a Cambridge cax 61 and some seriously expensive Chord speaker cables. Of course, I'm polite and didn't tell them I thought they were pretty meh, the young lad was enthusing about them all the while. 😉
Kokia is probably not well known outside of Japan, although she does tours, so I guess she has a fan base in other places. Like many people I discovered her from some of the many songs she wrote for anime shows and movies. For me it was the title song for "Origin of the Spirits". Quite a song. It's called "Chouwa oto - with reflection". Makes my hair stand on end!

The song I was listening to this morning was "Shiroi Yuki" of her "Songbird" album. I don't speak Japanese, but I believe it's a song comparing a winter's day to a relationship gone cold and about to end. I believe she writes all her own material.

Be warned...some of her songs are SUPER cheesy. I have several favourites, and others I skip by very quickly. But there are such beautiful, heartfelt gems scattered throughout her work, its worth keeping an open mind. Listen for yourself. Songbird is on Spotify, I believe.
 
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musicphil

Active Member
Willsenton R8 ticks the boxes you were/are looking for.
Added bonus KT88 for rock, electronic and blues, or swap over to EL34 for acoustic, jazz and vocal music.
Sweet and powerful.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Willsenton R8 ticks the boxes you were/are looking for.
Added bonus KT88 for rock, electronic and blues, or swap over to EL34 for acoustic, jazz and vocal music.
Sweet and powerful.
Looks nice. I have spent far too much money recently and have decided to settle in with what I currently have for a the time being. Actually, I need to sell some stuff. My wife is complaining that I am taking over the house with HiFi. I'd be tempted by valves, but I'd like to hear some first, as I have never had the priviledge.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Can’t you have the Denon as backup amplifier if the Rotel doesn’t suit new speakers in the future?

More stage presence with the Rotel amplifier vs the Denon. Sound is subjective, that’s what so fun with hifi.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I did own the Arcam A80 few years ago. This amplifier is amazing. The midrange is fantastic. Voices sound romantic. No harsh top end.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
You might see and if you can get good deal on A32. A38. I believe you well get the same Rotel sound with Denon warm sound.
 

hifinutt

Active Member
I did own the Arcam A80 few years ago. This amplifier is amazing. The midrange is fantastic. Voices sound romantic. No harsh top end.
i use an a85 as a power amp... its quite delightful . matches well to a bel canto c5i as a pre amp . incredible vfm
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Hi everyone,

I thought I would post a quick update for anyone who might be interested. I have now received the Quad 34 (MKII) back after it was refurbished and after the DADA upgrade kit has been installed. I paired this with the matching Quad 306 (also recently refurbished and upgraded). And, well, its fantastic. Sure, it is missing some modern features, like a remote control, but the sound is smooth and detailed, in a way the Rotel A11 Tribute or Denon PMA800ne couldn't match. It isn't as "clean" as the Rotel, but actually has more detail and is easier to listen to with no issues with bass. It has the same bass capacity as the Denon and raw "grunt", but with more detail and better imaging and more space between the instruments. Voices, unlike my experience with the Denon, are not coming from a field in the centre, but sound as if there is a mouth singing them, a discrete point of sound. The soundstage is wider than the Rotel and I am hearing little details I didn't hear with either. If anything, the bass on the Rotel is maybe a little more defined and clean...but the Quad has the power of the Denon, which the Rotel lacks, and is probably half-way between the two in terms of control.

The Quad 306 and NAD D3045 combination was very impressive, but a little too detailed, clinical and, dare I say, "bright" (at least according to my taste). I don't think the combination were really good match in the long term.

Some of the features on the Quad 34 are also cool...especially the Tilt Control. On slightly bright recordings, I can tilt the EQ towards warmth and it takes the edge off nicely, but vocals, snares, cymbals, etc, still sound natural and realistic, just a little less hot. This isn't the same with a normal treble tone control. There is definitely a more natural sound with the tilt option. On really nasty recordings, the F1 EQ button seems handy too. I think this engages a modest roll-off at 10kHz. I find the others too colouring, but the F1 option is handy.

Overall, I am very impressed. I didn't realise an 30-something year old amp could sound so good (although its hard to tell how much is due to the upgrade as the unit sounded dull when I got it, as several parts needed cleaning and replacing).

I have found a smooth, simple amplifier.
 

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
Great result ! Now lock those credit cards away 🤣🤣

Seriously though, had never heard of this amp, seems they still fetch a fair price so guessing they were a high end pricy set in their day ?
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Great result ! Now lock those credit cards away 🤣🤣

Seriously though, had never heard of this amp, seems they still fetch a fair price so guessing they were a high end pricy set in their day ?
haha....my wife told me she'll take my cards away if I keep buying more and more HiFi ;)

This is a pretty old pre-amp and power-amp combo from the 80s. Quad appear to have a strong following of tinkerers and modders. I can see why. The sound isn't what most modern equipment strives for. It is coloured, and clearly so. But I like that colouration. It has that "Vermeer" effect I have mentioned before, not aiming to create a photo-like painting, but painting wet paint onto wet paint to create blurred edges and a softness that is just beautiful to behold. The Quads, to me, are a little like that sound-wise. Not "accurate", but great to listen to.

I have no idea how much they cost when they were released. Quad stuff today seems somewhat pricey, even though it is now made in China. I believe the units I have were made in the UK about 1.5 hours drive from where I live in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. I actually worked there for a while. Never heard of Quad back then. Wish I had...
 

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