Need help choosing an amp!

Sine Slave

Member
Hi everyone.
I have just started my journey in the world of hi-fi. I am an experienced audio engineer, so it’s strange for me asking for audio advice, but I am seriously baffled!

I am already familiar with high end speakers/ flat audio when mixing in studios, but I think I want a warm mid and warm highs and deep bass, rather then everything being incredibly clear.

Turntable:
I have been given an old customised 1976 Rotel RP-5300 direct drive turntable with high end RCA cables wired into it, with a Shure m75ed stylus.

Speakers:
I have also been given a pair of Acoustic Research Ar18BX which has a fairly flat/neutral sound to them. Good stereo separation, and nice upper mids, and highs. The bass is a little lacking unfortunately. I think this is wear the problem lies, the cheap amp I have been given. I want a more warmer sound from the speakers and better bass.

Amp:
I have a cheap Sony TA-FE330r. Not a bad amp, punchy mids but highs are a bit brittle, decent phono stage but I definitely need to upgrade! I don’t want to spend too much, and I know your going to be like why! But I want to buy a vintage amp rather then new to start out don’t judge me. Under £350.

Things to consider:
I have a Nagoaka MP-200 needle on the way, and a Schiit Mani phono preamp coming I’ve heard that these combined will give me even more balance. I just need some help with the amp!

I was looking at getting either the Audiolab 8000a, or Nad 3020, or Cyrus 2. I hear the Audiolab is the best in clarity and separation. I like the sound of that, but I am scared it’s going to be flat/cold sounding like what I am already familiar with considering the Mani preamp is already cold sounding. So my question is would it be better to get the Nad or Cyrus for a bit more warmth but still a great balance? I don’t want to jeopardise clarity to much though and have a muddy sound.

Does anyone have experience with the Ar18BX speakers and perhaps one of these amps? Maybe even the mani preamp and nagoaka needle!! Please help me decide.
Thanks 🙏🏼
 

Attachments

  • CE0CC723-F2AB-42ED-8362-FDA572A91361.jpeg
    CE0CC723-F2AB-42ED-8362-FDA572A91361.jpeg
    229.2 KB · Views: 42
  • 1F03D1FD-4BDB-4E58-B67C-890B57071324.jpeg
    1F03D1FD-4BDB-4E58-B67C-890B57071324.jpeg
    199.8 KB · Views: 42
  • 3664BDB5-ACFD-4F27-93F2-4060B1816B8C.jpeg
    3664BDB5-ACFD-4F27-93F2-4060B1816B8C.jpeg
    244.4 KB · Views: 42

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
No experience with the other question you have, but if you want the soundstage to be laidback Marantz is great choice. Airy rolled of top end, full midrange, full bass. Can lack some attack if you listen to hard rock.

Speakers: Dali, KEF, QAcoustics have a warm soundstage.
 

Nico72

Active Member
Audiolab and Cyrus are considered to be leaning towards the neutral to bright end of the spectrum. The NAD should be warmer sounding, although I have never heard the 3020.
If you can get you hands on an Arcam A38, A28, A90 or a Marantz PM 7001 KI or PM 7200, they should have a warmer sound.
Or maybe some vintage Quad, but they tend to be pre-power combinations, and usually over the budget you set. Musical Fidelity maybe?
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I don’t follow your post; you don’t wanna to buy a new amplifier but use the one you have?

If so the Marantz PM7200. It is one of the best amplifier I’ve hear. Pure class A with push of button on the front display.
 

password1

Distinguished Member
I have.owned the arcam.alpha.7r and currently own the A28 and Alpha 9r amps. The alphas are warmer.

Some vintage Celestions with the passive bass radiators would be really warm sounding with a rolled off tweeter.but lack upper mid and treble clarity.

I would keep your Sony amp and go for a pair of Mission LX3 mark 2..the smaller LX2 mark 1 and mark 2 are award winning and are well reviewed on this forum. I have not heard the mark 2 but used to own the LX1 mark 1 which were very good, a bargain and work well with alsorts of amps.
 

Sine Slave

Member
I don’t follow your post; you don’t wanna to buy a new amplifier but use the one you have?

If so the Marantz PM7200. It is one of the best amplifier I’ve hear. Pure class A with push of button on the front display.
No I am going to replace the Sony amp, as that was just a basic cheap amplifier. My system already sounds nice, I just want to improve it. I will look into the PM7200 in more detail. I have heard that the modern Marantz amps can be a little too bright rather then warmer. I only want an amp purely for vinyl not cd or anything else.
 

Sine Slave

Member
I have.owned the arcam.alpha.7r and currently own the A28 and Alpha 9r amps. The alphas are warmer.

Some vintage Celestions with the passive bass radiators would be really warm sounding with a rolled off tweeter.but lack upper mid and treble clarity.

I would keep your Sony amp and go for a pair of Mission LX3 mark 2..the smaller LX2 mark 1 and mark 2 are award winning and are well reviewed on this forum. I have not heard the mark 2 but used to own the LX1 mark 1 which were very good, a bargain and work well with alsorts of amps.
Thanks I will check out the alpha range. I think I am going to stick with the acoustic research speakers as I have been told they are good and need a good amp to get the most out of them. I will try switching the amp first before speakers.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
No I am going to replace the Sony amp, as that was just a basic cheap amplifier. My system already sounds nice, I just want to improve it. I will look into the PM7200 in more detail. I have heard that the modern Marantz amps can be a little too bright rather then warmer. I only want an amp purely for vinyl not cd or anything else.
Depending on room, taste, speakers-yes Marantz can be bright by some owners.

Rather then bright I’d say they are are more refined then before, and this can be misunderstood.

Still every manufacturer changes their voicing when they release new amplifiers.

Marantz back in early 2000’s were more slow sounding in bass (think boooom, and not boom!) And they were fuller in midrange giving voices a more romantic feel. Rolled of treble.

But still today they have that sound signature, just more neutral.

If you don’t wanna buy a vintage amplifier, then the PM6007 is a good choice, or go for the PM7200.
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
I had a pair of AR speakers many years ago (80's) and loved them at the time but it was so long ago I have no idea how they compare to anything I'm currently familiar with. I'd give the 8000a a try. It's a cracking amp and it's legendary status means you can easily sell it on at no/little loss as long as you don't pay over the odds for it.
 

Oldbillgoggles

Active Member
There's a few Quad pre/power combis on the popular auction site. If you look up quad 405 - there's a few with starting price circa £300 with no bids yet.
They are old but I'm a big Quad fan and think they sound FAB.
 

Kapkirk

Active Member
The Shure m75ed cartridge was a good model back in the day and if the tip is still good should still sound very good, would I have spent £350 on a Nagoaka MP-200? I don't think so with your current set up and TT, I would have gone with an Audio Technica AT-VM95ML (microline) and put the other £200 towards the amp which I guarantee will be the weak link in your system.
I do love vintage amps but personally I just wouldn't take the chance going second hand especially over 10 years old, you'll very likely run into issues with knackered switches and Volume pots and dried up capacitors etc plus newer amps will sound so much better. I would put your hard earned cash instead into a new amp like a Quad Vena 2 or Arcam SA10 if you want a warm rich sound, also very underrated are the new Denon PMA/ne series of amps like the PMA 600/800, warm punchy but with superb clarity and with the convenience of tone controls should you need them.
There is a Quad Vena currently on eBay at £310 with 1 day to go so worth a look.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
There's a few Quad pre/power combis on the popular auction site. If you look up quad 405 - there's a few with starting price circa £300 with no bids yet.
They are old but I'm a big Quad fan and think they sound FAB.
If you do this, you can then organise to get them serviced by quad, assuming they still do this. Will beat anything else being discussed after that.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Agree with the above Nad and Cyrus are opposite ends of the spectum in that era - Nad warm but bass can be a bit flabby, Cyrus is generally bright. Also agree that Arcam is a good shout A32 is the daddy but probably above budget, A19 is very well reviewed, a bit more modern but should be in budget. As for vintage the Marantz PM7200 would be worth looking at with its Class A function. And Quad are always a solid buy, maybe the integrated from the 66 or 77 range, or a 33/306 combo.

I you still Fing the bass lacking you can always add a sub, the BK Gemini is a good starting place.

If you want to save a bit of cash then the Yamaha AS500 micgth be a good shout and is a good looker in the brushed silver colour. Plenty of power, good clarity and slightly on the warm side of neutral with plenty of inputs and a sub output if needed.

 
Last edited:

Baron Mole

Active Member
If you do this, you can then organise to get them serviced by quad, assuming they still do this. Will beat anything else being discussed after that.

I have a Quad 33/405 bought new in 1975. The 33 wouldn't switch one day (IIRC 1994 )and I wanted better tone controls and filters so bought a used 44.

They are still going strong and sounding good. The 405 was serviced (caps replacement in 1992). Have looked at them and no obvious issues - but should probably give them a service.......

Just done the maths the 405 is 46 years old - so OK value for money :clap:

Still haven't got round to sending the 33 to Quad........
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
If you do this, you can then organise to get them serviced by quad, assuming they still do this.
Quad were definitely doing this up to a few years ago (IIRC 2017) at ludicrously cheap cost.

Someone will probably know - but I am considering using that new-fangled device called a telephone if no-one tells us.

If Quad are not doing this there are other specialists in the UK who advertise on a well known auction site.

There's a firm in Holland who do upgrade and service kits for DIYers or will do it themselves. Obviously all now more expensive from1 January 2021.
DADA Electronics

Some other links
Quad Spot
Our Story - Quad
Quad 33/303 (Vintage)

BTW having problems with my spelling since yesterday - so please excuse any errors
 
Last edited:

Sine Slave

Member
There's a few Quad pre/power combis on the popular auction site. If you look up quad 405 - there's a few with starting price circa £300 with no bids yet.
They are old but I'm a big Quad fan and think they sound FAB.
Thanks for this good advice, looking at it now mate 👍🏻
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Ps, the foam surrounds on the speakers look as though they’ve been replaced and rather poorly too. And perhaps with the wrong size surround.

You might check out Wilmslow audio for a new pair if you’re happy to do the job yourself, or ask them for a price to do the more for you.


And it would be worth checking the x-over components on thirty year old speakers too.
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
You might check out Wilmslow audio
FWIW I dropped off a pair of my speakers at WA 1 feb 21 to have capacitors replaced, service and a couple of upgrades. Due workload and component supply issues and covid their expected 4 week turnround was 3 months
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Sky Glass, Epson Laser Projectors plus Home Cinema Subwoofers and More…
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

What's new on Netflix UK for November 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
PrimaLuna debuts Evo 300 Hybrid integrated amplifier
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Astell&Kern announces AK ZERO1 in ear monitor
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
McIntosh launches MI1250 power amplifier
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 13th October 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom