Looking for an amp under £400

WozzaB

Distinguished Member
Hi all,

I need a little advice on choosing an amp under £400. I want to get away from using the AVR for music but won't be able to listen too often so don't want to spend too much money.
It will be driving Q3050i speakers, but they may change to MA Silver 300 so they match my MA centre. Sub out via rca would be handy I guess, but I'm not sure if I would have control over the bass as the subs are set up for HT use and don't have high level inputs.
Source will be a CDP and I don't really stream anything.

So far I've seen:
Rotel A11 Tribute £349
NAD C328 £349
Denon PMA-600ne £359

Any advice on those or any other amps I should consider?

Cheers!
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Distinguished Member
Has your AVR got pre-outs? If not you'll need a speaker switch as well (there is a recommended one but cannot remember the name of it).

If you do have pre-outs then ideally you'd want an amp with HT bypass allowing the stereo amp to work as a power amp when watching films without need for manually setting volume. Then when listening to music you just have your stereo amp on (music sources connect directly to stereo amp). However the cheapest amps with this feature are probably the audiolab 6000a and cyrus one, but both are above your limit.
 

WozzaB

Distinguished Member
Has your AVR got pre-outs? If not you'll need a speaker switch as well (there is a recommended one but cannot remember the name of it).

If you do have pre-outs then ideally you'd want an amp with HT bypass allowing the stereo amp to work as a power amp when watching films without need for manually setting volume. Then when listening to music you just have your stereo amp on (music sources connect directly to stereo amp). However the cheapest amps with this feature are probably the audiolab 6000a and cyrus one, but both are above your limit.
Yeah it's an X3500 with preouts, but I'll probably only get the listen to the amp once or twice a month so I'll just run another pair of speaker cables with banana plugs and just swap over when I need to.
I had the 6000a before and just couldn't stomach something worth £600 just sitting there unused most of the time, it probably sounds odd but £350-400 is more acceptable in my mind😅
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Distinguished Member
Yeah it's an X3500 with preouts, but I'll probably only get the listen to the amp once or twice a month so I'll just run another pair of speaker cables with banana plugs and just swap over when I need to.
I had the 6000a before and just couldn't stomach something worth £600 just sitting there unused most of the time, it probably sounds odd but £350-400 is more acceptable in my mind😅
You can use a stereo amp without ht bypass, just means you would have to set the stereo amp volume manually when using the AVR.

I can see where you are coming from, and agree if its not going to get lots of use then no point paying too much.

I would have suggested the yamaha as501, for just stereo duty as its a fantastic amp (bloody huge though) but its shot up in price above your budget. The Rotel seems to be getting plenty of praise though.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
I'd buy this -


Arcam A32, one of the best amp Arcam produced and becoming a classic.

It has a Pre-In connector so you could use it in HTBypass mode but it is a little inconvenient as you have to use a button on the rear panel to switch between integrated and Pre/power. Or, it has volume setting in numbers so you could always set it up on one of the other line in with your AVR at a set volume and just return it to that volume after using it in stereo mode. Either of these ways may also enhance you movie system as well (slightly).

If you like the NAD then Sevenoaks have a C338 on clearance at £399.
 
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WozzaB

Distinguished Member
I'd buy this -


Arcam A32, one of the best amp Arcam produced and becoming a classic.

It has a Pre-In connector so you could use it in HTBypass mode but it is a little inconvenient as you have to use a button on the rear panel to switch between integrated and Pre/power. Or, it has volume setting in numbers so you could always set it up on one of the other line in with your AVR at a set volume and just return it to that volume after using it in stereo mode. Either of these ways may also enhance you movie system as well (slightly).

If you like the NAD then Sevenoaks have a C338 on clearance at £399.
I noticed the C338 when I found the C328 on there for £349👍
 

WozzaB

Distinguished Member
You can use a stereo amp without ht bypass, just means you would have to set the stereo amp volume manually when using the AVR.

I can see where you are coming from, and agree if its not going to get lots of use then no point paying too much.

I would have suggested the yamaha as501, for just stereo duty as its a fantastic amp (bloody huge though) but its shot up in price above your budget. The Rotel seems to be getting plenty of praise though.
The Yamaha is a lump, not sure I've got enough height to allow for ventilation!
 

hifinutt

Active Member
I'd buy this -


Arcam A32, one of the best amp Arcam produced and becoming a classic.

It has a Pre-In connector so you could use it in HTBypass mode but it is a little inconvenient as you have to use a button on the rear panel to switch between integrated and Pre/power. Or, it has volume setting in numbers so you could always set it up on one of the other line in with your AVR at a set volume and just return it to that volume after using it in stereo mode. Either of these ways may also enhance you movie system as well (slightly).

If you like the NAD then Sevenoaks have a C338 on clearance at £399.
yes arcam make lovely amps . big fan of them
 

WozzaB

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the info guys.

The Nad and Denon have a sub out RCA connections so I could use one of my subs if I wanted to, is it worth having this feature as I know I won't have any control over the bass as the sub is set for HT use and doesn't have high level connections to run separately from the HT side?
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the info guys.

The Nad and Denon have a sub out RCA connections so I could use one of my subs if I wanted to, is it worth having this feature as I know I won't have any control over the bass as the sub is set for HT use and doesn't have high level connections to run separately from the HT side?

I wouldn't have thought you would really need a sub for music with MA 300's unless you really want big low end for dub reggae or similar. I recently set up an Arcam SR250 (stereo amp with sub out and Dirac room correction) using stand mounted MA GR10's. After lots of experimenting I have still decided not to use the sub for music even though I have it permanently connected for TV watching, it just doesn't seem needed.

Oh and that Arcam A32 gets my vote. I would also consider an A22 or Alpha 10 if you come across them as they are similar spec and all great value amps at the prices they sell for these days. All have HT bypass too.
 

WozzaB

Distinguished Member
I wouldn't have thought you would really need a sub for music with MA 300's unless you really want big low end for dub reggae or similar. I recently set up an Arcam SR250 (stereo amp with sub out and Dirac room correction) using stand mounted MA GR10's. After lots of experimenting I have still decided not to use the sub for music even though I have it permanently connected for TV watching, it just doesn't seem needed.

Oh and that Arcam A32 gets my vote. I would also consider an A22 or Alpha 10 if you come across them as they are similar spec and all great value amps at the prices they sell for these days. All have HT bypass too.
My sensible side is wondering whether it's worth getting an amp at all considering how little use it will get😅
I might pick up something a bit cheaper and used, I'm sure most dedicated amps will be a great improvement over the AVR, everything sounds pretty flat and lifeless through it, especially the bass!

As an example I can grab an older amp, like a Denon PMA-510AE for £65, or I've just seen a PMA-520AE for £100, or would I be compromising too much and not getting a decent upgrade over what the AVR can do?

I should say I have never listened to a top quality system before, so my expectations aren't too high!
 
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Timmy C

Distinguished Member
If you want to lower your budget and just dip your toe in to see how you get on then this would be well worth looking at. I've never had this exact model but have owned similar and have no doubt it would do a better job than than most AVR's for music.

 

WozzaB

Distinguished Member
If you want to lower your budget and just dip your toe in to see how you get on then this would be well worth looking at. I've never had this exact model but have owned similar and have no doubt it would do a better job than than most AVR's for music.

Cheers, I think the used market would suit me better in the circumstances and to dip my toe in as you suggested.
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
The amps you suggested may also be worth looking at. I just don't have any experience with them so would rather not comment. I've always felt Arcam 2 channel amps at any level have been good value though with used ones often being money well worth spent. Just be a little careful if looking at Alpha or Delta ranges though as some models share a common problem with volume and switching controls playing up.
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
I wouldn't have thought you would really need a sub for music with MA 300's unless you really want big low end for dub reggae or similar

Agree - these speakers still have alot of energy down to 30Hz depending on positioning so will tend to compete with rather than integrate with many smaller subs. I do use a 12" sub with mine, but with crossover at 40Hz just to fill in below them down to around 20Hz. For a lot of music I can switch the sub off and not notice a difference.
 

WozzaB

Distinguished Member
The amps you suggested may also be worth looking at. I just don't have any experience with them so would rather not comment. I've always felt Arcam 2 channel amps at any level have been good value though with used ones often being money well worth spent. Just be a little careful if looking at Alpha or Delta ranges though as some models share a common problem with volume and switching controls playing up.
I'll keep that in mind with the Arcam stuff👍
Agree - these speakers still have alot of energy down to 30Hz depending on positioning so will tend to compete with rather than integrate with many smaller subs. I do use a 12" sub with mine, but with crossover at 40Hz just to fill in below them down to around 20Hz. For a lot of music I can switch the sub off and not notice a difference.
I still have the Q3050i at the moment, so whatever amp I get will be running those for a couple of months at least. Subs are XTZ 12.17 Edge, one front left and one rear right, but I'd probably only connect up the sub at the front nearer the amp if I did decide to use one of them.
But I'm thinking I'll just run the stereo setup without a sub and just let the Q's or MA's if I get them do their thing.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I’ve owned Arcam A80. Nice organic, spacious sound. Gorgeous airy vocals. Not very powerful though. This means both A80, A85.

A32 all the way!
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I’ve heard the Tribute amplifier is not powerful, even if it’s Rotel. If this is the case. I wouldn’t bother combining it with Silver 300, should you buy this speakers.

Yes, 90 dB sensitivity. Sill large speakers. This speakers needs an amplifier around 100-150 watts.

I’m afraid the Denon amplifier mentioned won’t suit them. Then go for the Nad amplifier.
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
This speakers needs an amplifier around 100-150 watts.

Not really unless planning on listening in a vast room at an unusual distance.

The sensitivity of these speakers means you can get away with quite a low power amp so long as it can cope with the peak current demands (minimum 3.5ohm load) at your highest listening levels.

Ie look for relatively high dynamic power into 2-4R if specified (mine for eg rated 90W into 8R, but specified as dynamic power into 2R of 220W - ie momentary peaks).
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I can only attest my new amplifier has totally controlled over the speakers.

More bass, headroom. You name it. C-Cam drivers are stiff drivers. Yes, sensitivity speakers.

Most likely on full blast 1-3 watts. You don’t need any more then this. Let’s say an amplifier with 40 watts just to be safe, to in theory you can drive this speakers with 20 watt 20 tube amplifier, and solid state.

But as mentioned 1-3 watts. As mentioned this are large speakers. Two 6 inch bass drivers.

I don’t listen in large room either.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Me new amplifier has 300 in damping factor, the other does not. Only 100.

Most likely never going back to Marantz. But the build quality is top notch.

This speakers need an amplifier around 40 watts, but I would never buy 40 watts amplifier regardless if says Yamaha, Marantz, Rega.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
The damping factor might be the case the sound is better.

You have amp with 40 watts which can drive the speakers, but I rather at least have 100 watts.

Also 100 watts in RMS in 8 ohm, same in 4 ohm.

I have no doubts an amplifier which has 100 watts in RMS in 8 ohm can drive most speakers.

Then let’s say 60 watts in 4 ohm in dynamic peaks-1khz.

Probably we’ll have no problems, though I like 100 watts in 8-4 ohm-RMS
 

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