New amp,

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by silky22, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. silky22

    silky22
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    Hi, now had time to bed my marantz cd6004, the next stage his to upgrade the amp, think the pm7004 or Cambridge 651a or hardon karmen 990 or roskan series any one got any opionion on this?
     
  2. silky22

    silky22
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    Sorry am upgrading from a Cambridge 350a
     
  3. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Well, how do you like the sound of your Cambridge 350A? If you like the Cambridge sound, then that is an avenue worth pursuing.

    Each amp has its advantages and disadvantages.

    The Marantz is a straight forward quality amp with tone controls, and about 70w/ch. It has the advantage of having a built-in PHONO input if that is of any value to you.

    The Cambridge 650A is a well regarded amp, and by some is considered best in its class, and I believe they are on discount right now, as Cambridge (presumably) is about to introduce new models. I'm not sure what improvements have been added to the newer Cambridge 651A, but I'm sure they are worth the price.

    The Harman Kardon HK990 is a special amp that is virtually a 2.2 AV amp. It has room Compensation/Equalization, is has subwoofer management, digital input (2x optical+coaxial, no HDMI) with internal DAC, a massive 150w/ch with very high current amps, MM/MC PHONO inputs, Pre-Amp outs, and 2x Subwoofer outs. At about £1000 it is something of a bargain. But, you don't get something for nothing. The HK is a very nice amp, but I think the build quality would be considered consumer grade.

    But the prices on these selected amps are very different -

    ~£550 = Marantz PM7004 (70w/ch, w/PHONO)
    ~£450 = Cambridge Audio 651A (75w/ch, no PHONO)
    ~£800 to £990 = Harman Kardon HK990 (150w/ch, plus features listed above)

    The Roksan Kandy K2 amp ranges from about £650 to £750 depending on the source. These are regard as good amps with about 125w/ch; no PHONO, no tone controls.

    Another amp to consider is the XTZ A100 D3 (Black, Silver, Black+Silver) -

    XTZ Class A-100 D3 Integrated Stereo Amplifier Silver and Black | Integrated Amplifiers | Amplifiers | Audio Sanctum

    Class A100 D3 Black/Silver - XTZ | Sound in balance

    110w/ch, internal DAC, several Digital inputs (1x optical, 5x Coaxial), Class AB or Class A operation, PHONO pre-amp, but no tone controls. Priced, as you can see from the link, at about £625. You will find several threads discussing this amp, and all the XTZ products have received very good reviews and responses from customers. An amp of this quality with these features is considered something of a bargain.

    Another amp to consider, on the high side of your implied budget is the ARCAM FMJ-A28 -

    Arcam A28

    75w/ch, MM PHONO input etc....

    At about £500, the Marantz and Cambridge are certainly worthy choices. If it has the features you need the XTZ A100 is an outstanding amp for the money. On the higher end, if you actually have need of the features, the Harman amp is a worthy consideration ... if you need all the many features listed. There is no denying the quality of the Arcam amp, and the Roksan has a high reputation as well.

    One consideration, is tone controls; do you want then and do you need them? I like having them, though I rarely use them, however I think I would make an exception for the very impressive XTZ A100. Though, the Roksan, while not my style, is certainly a highly regarded amp.

    In short, weight the amount you want to spend, against the specific features that you really need. The Digital inputs are nice, but they may or may not be necessary for you. The Room EQ and all the features of the Harman amp are only of value if you actually need them.

    In the end, you have to refine you Budget, and your requirements a little more to determine which of these amps best suits your needs.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  4. silky22

    silky22
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    The Cambridge audio 350a like the sound but the drums paired with the marantz cd6004 see a bit distant in the mix, my main aim his to get the best audio possible from a laptop with iTunes on but the laptop got really poor sound quality so that the main aim to improve this!
     

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