Older Arcam as a preamp into my (Upgraded) Naim Nap 200 power amp?

sparkymarky

Active Member
HI guys,

I demoed the Arcam SA20 as a standalone and LOVED its sound. First Arcam amp i've heard. Funds do not allow that at present as am moving house.
Looking at something cheap to use as a preamp between £100 to £200.

Would an Arcam A75/A85/A90 or even the older Alpha 8r as a preamp give me a similar sound? That warmth and darkness inbetween sounds. Any benefit to going to an FMJ model bearing in mind i'm trying to keep cost to a minimum?

Note: I would be using the analogues out and therefore the DAC in whichever Arcam I use - the Naim is a pure 110w per channel power amp with no digital in.



Thankyou :)
 
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larkone

Distinguished Member
None of those older Arcam amps have a built in DAC, you would need an external DAC
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
You’re going to be fairly lucky to get any half decent pre in that budget at the moment. I’m fairly sure you won’t easily get any Arcam and it would be amazing if you got one with any digital in it. Your best bet up to £200 is going to be a Rotel, but not digital.
 

sparkymarky

Active Member
Ah sorry, my fault - I didn't twig that there isn't any digital inputs in the Arcams i mention.

Intention is purely to connect a streamer to an Arcam for spotify - so, I would need a streamer with Dac and connect that to Arcams analogue inputs, for the Arcam to then process/pre amp and pass onto the Naim power amp?
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
You need a streamer of some kind which sends analogue to the pre which amplifies somewhat then sends analogue to the power to amplify to speaker level. Or you ignore the pre and power and use active speakers.
 

sparkymarky

Active Member
Price wise the FMJ was over ambitious, agreed.
There is an A65 for sale for £150 at the moment though. I have also found an Arcam Rplay streamer for a good price (I know the Rplay app DtsPlay can be woeful but i'll be using Spotify only which circumvents the DTSapp - I believe)
Rplay has a Burr brown/Texas DAC PCM5102 - unsure if that is any good/worthwhile.

I 'think' i could connect the Naim straight into the Rplay as the Rplay has volume control i believe..
But...... I want tone controls and a proper volume remote control, hence why i'm thinking Rplay > Arcam preamp (eg A65) > Naim power amp.

Or is there a better way to do this and get tone controls and that arcam sound?
 
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sparkymarky

Active Member
You need a streamer of some kind which sends analogue to the pre which amplifies somewhat then sends analogue to the power to amplify to speaker level. Or you ignore the pre and power and use active speakers.

You just pipped me to it :)
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
For the moment I’d consider something like a chrome cast audio (not new but heh) and stream from your phone. Older streamers have a nasty habit of having apps that are either rubbish, broken or none existent. Personally I’d stick with streaming companies phone apps as they’re up to date etc etc. Bluetooth streaming is another avenue to consider but look as the codecs in the receiver and phone. Easy eh :D
 

sparkymarky

Active Member
For the moment I’d consider something like a chrome cast audio (not new but heh) and stream from your phone. Older streamers have a nasty habit of having apps that are either rubbish, broken or none existent. Personally I’d stick with streaming companies phone apps as they’re up to date etc etc. Bluetooth streaming is another avenue to consider but look as the codecs in the receiver and phone. Easy eh :D

so chromecast > Arcam preamp (eg A65) > Naim power amp ?

Just did a quick google of the DAC in the CCA (measured review on ASR fourm), and its average to say the least but its cheap so I hear you :) I also read that the chromecast software does some nasty things - not 'bit perfect' when casting using chromecast: Review and Measurements of Chromecast Audio Analog Performance and see the link to the Optical out test which details the issue more.

When using spotify app on my mobile to the chromecast, i assume that would be using that chromecast software which causes the issues....? or does that issue solely relate to using a BROWSER on your laptop/pc to chromecast? I got lost :)
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Correct layout. Ignore the measurements for now. You’d use a Spotify app on your phone and in that play to the CCA instead of phone speaker. Another possibility if you have an iPhone is using an airport express or Apple TV for airplay in the same way. This is what I do at the moment and it can be far better than experts would you have you believe.
 

sparkymarky

Active Member
Understood and thankyou (Android - Samsung S9 btw)
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
You’re welcome. Let us know how you get on.
 

sparkymarky

Active Member
Just an update:

I have a streamer now but still no dac. But it was free; I managed to get spotify installed onto a Android Xgody Box I had lying around.
It works as hoped - Samsung s9 spotify app cast to > Android Xgody box > hdmi to tv for Spotify visuals and optical out to my living room Denon AVR-3600 - it sounds 'i think' the same as spotify connected directly to the Denon from my phone, albeit requiring more volume on the Denon using the 'streamer'.

Bass, timing and openness sound the same i think. (had it connected via hdmi output initially and that sounded flat,thin, lacking rhythm even if turning the volume up.

Now need a dac/preamp to connect to the Naim poweramp in the music room..... so i still have the same issue as before this post - no dac at present and the Arcams i mention dont have one, so this streamer hasn't really SOLVED anything i know :D
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Couple of comments - using the chromecast or Xgody and spotify connect the phone does not cast to the phone it just acts as a remote control and the chromecast/xgody drags the data directly from the web.

If the Xgody/TV has digital out (coax or optical) then just add a Sanskrit 10th mk2 (Ak4493 version) Dac, hook it directly to the power amp and use the volume control on the Dac. For £100 from Amazon got to be worth a try and that dac measures extremely well and should give a very clean sound. If your xgoody will run a virtual equilizer (for PC something like APO Equilizer with peace GUI) then you cna play around with the "tone2 until you get the sound you like.

Personally I would also leave the AP and Xgody volume at 80-90% and then control volume with the DAC, this make sure that any software volume control errors that may affect the sound are reduced.
 
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sparkymarky

Active Member
The sanksrit is interesting, thankyou :) found it for £84.

Its led me back to the idea of a topping dx3 pro mainly as i prefer the look to the sanskrit.

Obviously i was after that 'Arcam' sound so i'm guessing i wont get it with these external dacs, but funds dictate i think this is the best option for now as you suggested at

Depends whether i can get the tone controls on the xgody as you suggest :)
 

3rdignis

Active Member
Asr have done me right with a dac, then headphone amp. I would try this
On Amazon.
An older more complicated analogue/digital preamp for £200 would colour/degrade? More than a modern digital only dac which wouldn't really have any sound.
 

mseve1

Active Member
Its led me back to the idea of a topping dx3 pro mainly as i prefer the look to the sanskrit.
Yes, the Topping DX3 pro (and cheaper E30) should be considered alongside the Sanskrit. Incidentally, you shouldn't underestimate the value of a physical volume control such as that fitted to the DX3 pro which could prove very useful if you lose the remote or quicky need to make an adjustment.
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
I've not heard the SA20 so don't know how older Arcam models compare but rather than buy an old Alpha as a pre-amp only, you may want to consider an old FMJ AV8 which you may well find very cheap. They are very good for 2 channel in direct mode.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
I've not heard the SA20 so don't know how older Arcam models compare but rather than buy an old Alpha as a pre-amp only, you may want to consider an old FMJ AV8 which you may well find very cheap. They are very good for 2 channel in direct mode.

Still over £200 unfortunately.
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
Still over £200 unfortunately.

Looking at ebay completed listings, it doesn't look like they go for an awful lot more and a buyer may save a bit by buying on the classifieds on here if he can find someone wanting rid of one. Either way, they may not be of much interest to people for av use these days but are a bargain for stereo use.
 

Paul7777x

Member
As you like the Arcam idea I’d suggest you get one of the older AVRs and use it as a preamp.

They have any number of digital and analogue inputs and are a serious bargain after a couple of years.

Makes even more sense now you have the streamer.

These for example will, I’m confident, easily outperform cheap dac/preamps without doubt.

And when you’re done with it you’ll get most of your money back.

 

DT79

Well-known Member
If you find an Arcam AV8 on a ebay auction you might get it for under £200. I did a couple of years back. That’s a great pre-amp/DAC for music. Maybe even an AV9.

Or possibly sell the NAP200 to fund one of the SR250s Paul has suggested? Second hand Naim is very much a sellers market.
 

sjackson

Well-known Member
I recently picked up a mint A80 for about £135 and I'm using it with a Chromecast audio. Working well for me.
 

sjackson

Well-known Member
Also this AV8 on eBay. Seller is looking for offers in the region of £200 (I got an offer of £200)

393029035621
 

enjdee

Standard Member
I loved my AV9, it was an amazing device, sounded fantastic, and a perfect HiFi pre-amp, with the benefit of digital inputs and a high-quality DAC. I'd say that's your perfect compromise, multiple input options, and from a hifi perspective completely future proof - if you're really lucky you may even pick one up with the optional phono card, so you could add a turntable sometime.

I only sold mine because I was upgrading to the AV950, but I really miss the AV9, its reliability, simplicity and build quality.

Seriously, stretch your budget to the AV8 or AV9, you won't regret it!
 

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