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Old vs New - amp development?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by mrrinse, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. mrrinse

    mrrinse
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    Hi,

    I'm wondering how much hi-fi technology has advanced in the last 8 - 15 years... would say a new, cheaper amp (maybe a Cambridge AUdio Azur 640 at 250 pounds) give, say, a Marantz PM66 SE KI SIG a run (400 retail back in 97) a run for its money. And how would both compare to say a Pioneer A400? (1990).


    How far have things have really advanced recently on all this front (or is it just a conspiracy from the manufacturers to encourage us to upgrade!!!).

    Without the facilities for A/B comparison, I'm feeling a little lost and am debating the new vs second hand market... any thoughts appreciated.
     
  2. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    The 640/PM66KI is an interesting comparison because we have used both in our office system (connected to a CD6000KI, a pair of MS904's and a Cambridge DAB300). The 66KI was the original amp we were using but we changed to the 640 simply because it was a much less fatiguing listen than the KI. Bass motors nicely and there is a much more creditable soundstage with the Cambridge. Whether this is indicative of design progress or design ethos is something I don't know about. I would however choose the £250 640A over the older £400 KI.
     
  3. Jules

    Jules
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    The Pioneer A400 (not the A400X), was an absolute belter and an achievement none of the major brands have come close to since IMO.
    I sold mine when I first got the AV bug, but I wish I hadn't.

    It could be nostalgia, but I havn't heard any modern amp upto around £500 that sounds as good.
    I bought a NAD370 (£450) a couple of years ago to get back that 'real' hifi sound.... but although the 370 in iteself is very good amp, I've only used it once.

    I therefore don't think mdoern HiFi amps have come on at all. They might actually be inferior as the market for them is smaller with more and more people getting into AV.

    If I could find a cheap Pioneer A400 in perfect condition, I'd buy it today.
     
  4. superkully

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    Remember that electronic components degrade over time too, capaciters especially. This mellows out the sound coming from an AMP fe.
     
  5. alexs2

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    Relatively speaking,value for money has dramatically improved over the last 10 yrs,with rising power outputs available for somewhat less money than before.

    Sound quality in the budget sector has also improved,and most of the manufacturers in the £200+ bracket can now turn out products with decent build,and sound quality,but with respect to used gear,there are plenty of good items to be had,if you avoid obviously thrashed or notably unreliable gear,and whilst electronic components do degrade with time,as superkully says,with caps and attenuators being most subject to that,it's often nowhere near as bad as you may think.

    Of course,manufacturers want us to upgrade,but I would avoid lower priced,or older switching(often named digital amps,with varying degrees of correctness) amps,as the sound quality can be very poor in some cases.....it's an evolving technology,and some manufacturers,like Tact,and some others,make excellent products,very light and efficient,but still pricey.
     
  6. Stimpy

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    What happend with the A400, is that we went back to basics and concentrated on sound quality rather than gimicks. Once that was sorted gimicks have been added back on.
    Then when something new comes along (AV) it was 'sod quality lets throw a bunch of cheap power amps in one case with a cheap DD/DTS decoder and flog for a fortune'
    We all bought it of course, gadget count went up again, while sound quality stayed crap. Only now do I think we are going back to basics again with real sound quality coming be at the forefront.
    I wouldn't be supprised if we got an amp in the near future with 5/6/7 high quality power amps a simple but high quality decoder (just DD/DTS) and nothing else.
     
  7. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I suppose it depends what you're looking for. Semiconductor technology has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years (as demonstrated by the colossal power and low price of modern PCs), this is obviously demonstrated in the AV sector where you can get a hell of a lot of AV amp or DVD player or projector for comparatively little money. Especially when compared to older models.

    Class A and B power amplifiers, however, havn't evolved anything like as much over that time frame. So for hifi the differences aren't obvious aside from the advances in manufacturing technology and trickle-down from the higher end gear.
     
  8. Londondecca

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    Although some elements of equipment have evolved quickly, the basics of building and designing an amp are relatively unchanged. Power supplies are still very expensive and quality always costs more.

    The A400 was a decent amp for its price range but it did not threaten the more expensive amps.

    I would disagree with the life of capacitors, in say a 20 year amp or CD player, the caps would be past their best and good results would be gained by swapping them.
     
  9. Spoonfed

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    Digital amps, and Digital Path Receivers anyone? 90% vs 50% effciency, small size, cool running, and taking say the panny XR45 as an example in sound quality it hits way above it belt. Oh not to mention save the $'s trying to get quality analogue audio from a CDP at cheap $ (ie negates the need for DAC's, analogue etc).
     
  10. Bassbin

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    I'm very happy with my old Rotel pre power amps (RC870 + 2x RB850 and RC972 + 2xRB870). I bought the first of them 15 years ago and recently decided to add a second used set. I looked at the newer Rotel power amps but the spec was far inferior (lower weight and current delivery) so I assumed that any incremental advances in technology were probably being compromised by engineering the products down to a price point.
     

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