Meridian 558, Arcam P7, Bryston 9B - Ex-demo price and availability?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by NicolasB, Dec 13, 2002.

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  1. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Right, I've narrowed my choice of amplifier down to the above three: Arcam P7, Meridian 558 or Bryston 9B. Meridian and Bryston amps both sound a bit better than the Arcam, but are also far more expensive per channel. (Per-channel costs: Arcam £357, Bryston £660, £733).

    Now, my first instinct is to buy the Arcam, because given the sort of speakers I'm likely to be using (B&W Nautilus 803/HTM1) either of the other two amps is probably heading into diminishing returns territory - that's to say I'd get more benefit to the sound from spending the extra money on fancier speakers. And the Arcam also leaves open the option of adding a 2-speaker surround back channel later at no extra (amplification) cost. The only problem is that I can't find anywhere that's selling a P7 ex-demo, while I have found a couple of places selling ex-demo Meridian amps. One place in particular is offering a 558.2 amplifier, only two months old, for £2565 which is (I think) £1100 off the new price. The cheapest I've found an Arcam P7 is £2300 new. And at those prices the Meridian may be the better buy.

    Does anyone know where I could get an Arcam P7 ex-demo for a reasonable rate? Failing that, does anyone know where I could find an ex-demo Bryston 9B?

    More general comments are also welcome, of course.

    Incidentally, has anyone had a chance to compare Meridian 558 and 558.2 amps? I've only heard the mark I version (and was very impressed). It would be nice to know they haven't messed up the mark II.
     
  2. michaelab

    michaelab
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    An ex-demo P7? You must be joking, they only just came out! Which pre-amp/processor did you get in the end?

    Michael.
     
  3. James45

    James45
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    isn't the P7 pretty much brand new? Doubt anyone would be flogging an ex-demo so soon after release.
     
  4. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    If someone's selling a two-month-old Meridian 558.2 ex-demo I don't see why no one should be selling a P7....
     
  5. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Haven't. :) Cash flow restrictions mean that I have to spead the purchases out by quite a lot. :( I'm going to get the power amp and left and right front speakers first and keep on using my TV as a Pro-Logic decoder. I'll be adding a centre speaker and processor a bit later.
     
  6. Lowrider

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    Those B&W are not easy to drive, I would go for the Bryston, better safe than sorry, + the 20 year warranty...
     
  7. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Chap at Graham's HiFi recommended the combination of Arcam FMJ kit and Nautilus 803 speakers. In fact he actually said the P7 would be good enough to drive 802s safely if you wanted to. Unlike most HiFi stores I think the people at Graham's actually know what they're talking about. In any case if I were using the P7 then at least initially I'd be bi-amping the 803s, and that'd be plenty. I don't think there would be a problem.

    I would be very happy to buy a Bryston, other things being equal, as it's definitely superior to the Arcam in sound quality terms, and I like the idea of a 20-year guarantee too; but again it's a matter of price. If I could find one ex-demo for <£2500 I'd probably go for it. But I can't. That's kind of the point of this thread. :)
     
  8. Lowrider

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    It´s your money, a friend bought TAG 5x100, and after testing the Bryston, he regrets it, and now will waist some cash...

    Michaelab will be in my place today, I hope he will post a review of my system... :rolleyes:
     
  9. uncle eric

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    Nicolas,
    I agree with Antonio, the Arcam amp just doesn't have enough guts to drive the B&W's into top form. On paper, the 803's seem efficient enough but that doesn't tell the whole story.
    Something more powerfull from Bryston or Parasound would be a better choice when finances allow.

    John Dawson,
    The P7 is obviously a quality amp, but I think folks with hefty difficult to drive speakers, larger rooms or both, would perhaps want a more powerful option. If you're not working on one already, it might be something to consider.
     
  10. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    I'd already written off the Tag power amp. Don't like it one bit.


    I must admit I'm a bit surprised to hear that. At any rate I wouldn't have thought the Bryston 9B would have an easier time of it. The Arcam's rated at 150W per channel into 8 ohms or 230W into 4, and even with a 4 ohm load that's with all seven channels fully driven. The reviews I've read that actually measure the output power seem to think that those figures are actually on the conservative side. The Bryston is officially rated a little lower than this - 120W/200W. (Again, reviewers say that this is conservative).

    Plus I've actually listened to the P7/803 combination and it sounded really rather good. (Of course as Uncle Eric has already pointed out more than once eslewhere, I tend to listen to things at rather low volumes;)).

    However, having said all that, I've just found a shop that's selling off their for-demos, two-years-old, used-for-a-couple-of-hours-a-week Bryston 9B amp (the ST rather than SST model, obviously) for £1750, and I think I'm going to go for that. Normally I'd be slightly wary of a 2-year-old component, but the 20 year guarantee reassures me. What do you reckon, good deal?
     
  11. russraff

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    The watts per channel aren't that important. I’m sure you already know that you will need 10x the watts/channel to subjectively double sound output. I think that current delivery to the speakers is a more important factor when dealing with high end, difficult to drive speakers. This is where the Bryston/Meridian amps may out-perform the Tag/Arcam alternatives. In fact I have heard some Naim amps significantly out perform higher (wattage) rated kit. I can only assume that the Naim amps had more current than the alternatives.

    I'm not sure on the science of this; though I'm sure someone might help out if I'm wrong!

    Russell
     
  12. EvilMudge

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    A 3dB increase in volume is requires a 4x increase in power. Thus the following SPL figures from a 90dB/1W ideal speaker.
    1W 90dB
    4W 93dB
    16W 96dB
    64W 99dB
    256W 102dB
    1024W 105dB
    Gives you some idea of how powerful reference level kit really has to be in order to give you enough headroom!
    Oh and yes, in terms current delivery, more current from the amp, allows the driving of a lower impedance speaker with less in the way of audible side effects.
     
  13. Lowrider

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    Go for it Nicolas,

    I bought my Bryston demo, 5 years old, and it is as good as new, and better than "more powerfull" others, remember, my 200 watts, high current, Rotel would clip at medium levels...
     
  14. Lowrider

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    Evil,

    You got carried away there, its "only" twice the power for 3db increase...
     
  15. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    If it's the current that makes the difference rather than the power output then that makes sense.

    Strictly speaking +3dB = 1.995 times the power. :)
     
  16. uncle eric

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    Pardon :devil:
     
  17. EvilMudge

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    Yeah, sorry. My mistake. Forgot that dB is a measure of power. Was thinking voltage - as in power = voltage/\2 over resistance.
     
  18. EvilMudge

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    Nothing to do with my previous post but I have heard that the 10 channel version of the Tag amp, when used to bi-amp each channel is actually a bit of a bargain. I haven't tried this or demo'd it, but this might be the saving grace of the Tag.
     
  19. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Here's something you may not know about Uncle Eric. You see that photo he's using as an avatar, just below his name? You probably thought it was Peter Cushing. Actually, no: that's Eric himself. Be warned children: this is what happens to you if you spend too much time too close to a Velodyne HGS-18.:D
     
  20. michaelab

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    I will post a review tomorrow...today has been really busy - sorting out the installation of a Trichord digital output board to my CD player and playing with my new Arcam FMJ A22 amp :D ..which I got new for only €900 :D :D

    Now I have a decent integrated which can be used as a 2ch. power amp, all I need to find is a suitable 3ch. power amp (any ex-demo or s/h FMJ P25/3s around?) and then I'll be in the market for a processor. Allthough I don't know any details I have heard from an 'inside' source that Arcam may well be bringing out a cheaper version of the AV8 sometime next year...;)

    Michael.
     
  21. uncle eric

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    Nicolas has been called many things but surely calling the man a mole is out of order :D
     
  22. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Yeah, look at the picture, man, I'm not a mole, I'm a cat. (Baggy, and a bit loose at the seams).
     
  23. martintyler

    martintyler
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    If you are bagpuss, surely you could just buy a knackered old processor and get those mice in the organ to fix it up for you? Or is that what you intend to do by getting ex-demo kit? :)
     
  24. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Well, what can I tell you? Charlie Mouse and his friends are not as motivated as they used to be. They just hang out all day smoking a joint and singing "We will smoke it, we will smo-o-oke it, we will sit around get-ting high...." You can't get the staff these days.
     
  25. alexs2

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    Glad to see you've all got the dB vs.power business sorted out!

    As an aside on the TagMclaren and other power amps,although many measure equally,few sound the same...the Tag is very soft in the bass although ostensibly having plenty of power.
    The Brystons certainly do have good bass control,and at that sort of price range,even a used Krell multichannel amp may feature secondhand.

    Arcams generally are nice,but again a bit lacking in current delivery,and the Meridians once again often have problems delivering current into low impedance loads,and the B&W's you mentioned certainly do have some fairly large low impedance swings at low frequencies.

    I've certainly heard my Nautilus 805's cause Tags to struggle when demo'ing them in the shop prior to buying.
     
  26. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    I made my mind up to buy the ex-demo Bryston - but the damn shop is shut on Mondays! :mad::mad::mad: Left a message on their answering machine, but now I have to sit here chewing my fingernails until tomorrow morning wondering if someone else has got in before me....

    If I manage to get it and it doesn't sound good with the 803s then I shall blame every single contributor to this thread PERSONALLY! :D:p
     
  27. alexs2

    alexs2
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    If thats Audio-T,Nicolas,I know what you mean!....makes you sweat a bit waiting to buy something you really want...but it should sound great with the B&W's....at least it has the current delivery you'll need!....good luck.:)
     
  28. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    No, it isn't Audio-T, it's- Hey, wait! You're just trying to trick me into revealing where it is so you can buy the amp yourself! :eek::eek::eek:
    ;)
     
  29. alexs2

    alexs2
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    LOL,Nicolas....no thanks...I've got enough floor hungry amps at home already with a small(!!) collection of Krells.....the wife would have a fit if another amp appeared. ;)
     
  30. Lowrider

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    FMJ DV27, Bryston... all you need now is the TAG AV32R... ;)
     

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