Mid-end amps


Active Member
As you can see from the signature, I currently have an Arcam R dock going into a 30 year old Pioneer amplifier's (the SA-130) auxilary, which powers the Monitor Audio BR2s.

It actually sounds really good, and all the better when the volume's switched up, but maybe could do with slightly greater control of frequencies.
I imagine that changing the very old amplifier for a new one would result in a fairly noticeable improvement in sound - is that assertion right?!
While I appreciate that replacing the Pioneer with a mid range amplifier would seem excessive considering the level of my current speakers, I thought that in the long term I would prefer to not perform 2 upgrades if I can make one. Whilst aware that for the time I decide to keep the MA BR2s they won't be revealing all the resolution, soundstage, dynamics etc that the amp upgrade is capable of, it won't sound detrimental will it, making the BR2s actually sound worse? If not then I was thinking of doing something like:

Current system
Arcam rDock (apple lossless files) > Pioneer SA-130 > MA BR2s with custom design stands


Arcam rDock (apple lossless files) > naim nait 5i > MA BR2s with custom design stands

Perhaps then going:

Arcam rDock " "> naim nait 5i > Ruark Sabre III (I currently can't identify many other speakers below the £900 mark that would really perform that much better than the BR2s. IMO the BR2s really hold their own against models below the £500 mark quite well. I would have to make sure that there's system synergy with the Sabre and Naim obviously)

I appreciate that I have not factored in changing the source up to this point, but I guess I'm not convinced that CD playback will offer me that much more than the rDock provided the files are encoded well enough. being able to choose from your entire music collection is fantastic, so I'd want to keep this functionality. I suppose the next step up, which some may see as more of a quantum leap if the press actually aren't full of hyperbole, would be:

NAS connected to ethernet port > Linn Majik DS > naim nait 5i > Ruark Sabre III

My main reservation about the DS (other than the high price) is the user interface. It sounds like a bit of an aftethought. I think I would want a bit more lifestyle user interface/simplicity to it, whilst as it is I appreciate they've gone down the audiophile route (rightly so) but with the system control perhaps as an after thought.

NAS connected to ethernet port > Linn Majik DS > naim nait XS > Ruark Sabre III

I think then I'd just stop and listen.
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Active Member
Hi John I thought you would be very impressed with the BR2's I previously a pair of AE Evo Ones and I personally felt they were very good speakers but was blown away by the sheer audio quality of the BR2's. The bass was suddenly much deeper, the frequencies were much more controlled, the focus of the midrange was much tighter, there was wonderful rhythm, attack clout and presence. I am extremely happy with them I have to say but regarding your question, you need to be thinking about Arcam, Marantz, Rotel and Nad. You already know I am a big fan of NAD and going from my own ears and what has been recommended by many hi fi enthusiasts, the NAD C352 and the BR2's are a great pairing.

As I have pointed out previously though, my knowledge of higher end amplifier is not very good but when you have a belting sound emenating from the system, who cares!. In the future I could always upgrade but at this moment in time I am extremely happy with the sound quality. A much as you can, try to form a triangle between you and the speakers i.e. ideally try and have the speakers at least 6 ft apart and thus you sit back 6 feet from them in the middle. Of course that's very much a judgement call your own ears will make but good to see you are pleased with it :thumbsup:.

Incidentally forget custom stands, Atacama Nexus 6 fillable stands are very strong and sturdy, that's all you need.


Active Member
Do you think the c355 is actually an improvement on the 352? Because the 352 actually gets better reviews, but was obviously being held up against inferior competition to the 355, at the time of it's release.

I've heard people say it's sound is a bit too up front, which when matched with the reasonably upfront Br2 speakers might not be ideal.
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Well-known Member
Jonny I think your better off upgrading speakers and using your old amp for the time being – speakers to me are usually a log jam when someone is unhappy. When funds allow upgrade your amplifier too. I have heard £100-200 second hand amplifiers available on Ebay give £1500 new amplifiers and that is firing into £1300 speakers. Do a search on Sony ES and HK6550 – HK680 amplifier wise and read the views. On Google as well.

BTW the Nait5 is a lobely little amp, but I'd start looking at your speakers first.


Active Member
I'd say if you would like a warm deep sound with bags of slam and soundstage then you would really like it but I would however recommend that you demo this if you can. There is no real difference between the C352 and the C355 to be honest, it's just rejigged circuitry but nothing that stands out.


Active Member
I don't really want to change my speakers before changing the amplification. I've only just got the BR2s - I may have been foolhardy and perhaps should have stretched to the most I could afford, but I thought they were too much of a bargain to miss!


Active Member
Exactly, John you are very happy with your speakers and since you are, then I would dismiss any notion of upgrades. You have a very old amplifier and you are looking to perhaps get another one.

Is there no hi fi dealerships near you? and the BR2's aren't exactly bright so lets say for a minute that the C355 was bright, it would be counterbalanced by the speakers. There is of course the general advice that 2 bright components will be overbearing but you won't find this from the C355.


Neat Motive 2 s would sound nice with the 5i, or better still the Motive 1s (1350 rrp but you might well get a deal because of the recession). Both speakers are developed with Naim amps and if you want to upgrade your amp at some time they sound stunning with the Naim SuperNait.


Active Member
Do you think if I could get the latest version of Nait 5i for less than £500 inc. delivery it would be a good deal?


Active Member
How about prove it either way to yourself.
Book yourself a dem with a decent dealer who can dem a variety of kit, then compare the benefits from changing the speakers, to the benefits from moving to a new amp.
My guess is that you'll get more useful improvement from changing the amp, after all 35 years is a long time for electronics, and I would guess that some of their capacitors will have seen better days.

Having said all of that, you're talking about moving from a 70s Japanese amp, which is probably a little laid back, to one of the most rockin' and upfront amps available. If you like the presentation of what you have now, the Naim might be a bit of culture shock.

All I can suggest is go have a listen to some options, and go with what your ears tell you.


Active Member
The main candidates at the moment are the Naim Nait 5i, Cambridge Audio 840c, Roksan Kandy K2, Arcam A32 and Exposure 2010s new/3010s ex demo.

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