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Opinion sought


Novice Member
Id like opinions please.
System probably 30 years old, comprises;
Aiwa 8200
Wharfedale Laser 80's
Garrard GQ100 quartz

I'm fine with it but would like to get the best out of playing vinyl and was thinking about a valve amp. But as I know nothing I was wondering about what advice from people in the know might be.
Any suggestions?

Much appreciated....


Distinguished Member
Tube/Value Amp tend to be very expensive and generally under powered, or at least anything remotely high power cost 'high' money.

They can sound good, but they have their problems. For example, the Tubes get burn your fingers and potentially start fires hot. Though the fire aspect would be pretty rare. Because of the heat, they need more ventilation than common Solid State Amp which also need sufficient ventilation. You can't stuff a Tube/Valve amp into a tight cabinet between narrow shelves.

You are also not likely to get the new features that are more common in modern Solid State Amps.

Yes, tubes can be good under the right circumstance for a person with a fat enough wallet. Though I will say, that if you are willing to by no-name Chinese made amps, you can get a better price on Tube Amps.

You have to regard Tube/Value Amps in the modern age as more of a hobby and as a novelty.

But then ... that's just my opinion.

Can you give us the specs on your current amps, specifically what is the rated power? And is it an Integrated Amp or Stereo Receiver? And can you give us the full model number so we can attempt to look up the specs?

Also, can you give us some sense of your Budget for this project?



Novice Member

Thanks for reply. Specs;

8200 AIWA stereo amplifier
2x 70W rms into 8 ohms
toroidal transformer
vumetru LED power indicator
DSL - super dynamic loudness
speakers AB

Laser 80's;
Specifications :
Nominal impedance : 6 ohms
Power Handling : 55watts RMS, up to 85w music
Frequency Range : 52Hz to 30kHz
Drivers : Bass: 200mm cone, midrange: 100mm cone, tweeter: 19mm LMP dome
Cabinet internal volume : 20 litres

No spec for Garrard deck I'm afraid

Budget is a few hundred, but not sure if what I've got as any good or not so hence opinion sought.



Distinguished Member
Is the amp still 100%, do all the features and controls still function properly. If so, while you might find more features in a new amp, you probably won't find a better amp.

Yamaha Amp are generally a bargain, but you are talking about roughly £300 for the Yamaha AS501 Integrated Amp with DAC, which has 85w/ch, and about £400 minimum for the Yamaha AS701 amp with DAC with 100w/ch.



Distinguished Member
I assume that the Garrard GQ100 Quartz is your turntable. Garrard were OK turntables but not especially sophisticated. I'm having trouble finding a Photo of that particular turntable so I can't say how sophisticated it is or isn't.

Though given that I can find other Garrard Models, the GQ100 must have been rare. The Garrard DDQ650 seems to have been very popular.

Also Stylus/Needles wear out. So, a new turntable could be to your advantage, and within a reasonable price would provide both a turntable and cartridge upgrade. Though again, I can't see your turntable so I don't have any sense of where it ranks on the general scale of turntables.

From what I can gather, the Wharfedale Laser 80 are an 8" (200mm) 3-way speakers -


Wharfedale Laser 80 - Hi-Fi Database - Bookshelf and Standmount Speakers

The one major problem that can occur with Speakers is that the Surround, that soft rubber/foam ring that attaches the cone to the frame, can deteriorate over time. Foam Surrounds especially can disintegrate over time. Fortunately, they are relatively easy to replace if it become necessary.

So, you need to evaluate the condition of your speakers and of the speaker surrounds. If every thing is good, we can shift our priorities elsewhere.

If the speaker are in good shape, and the amp is in good shape, then with the limited information I am able to gather, I would speculate that indeed the turntable is the weak link.

If you were going to replace one component in your system, what would your budget be for that component?



Distinguished Member
One of the most often recommended (more or less) Entry Level Turntables is the -

Project Debut Carbon with Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge - £350 -

Project Debut Carbon Turntable With Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge - Superfi

That is a pure manual turntable.

If you want a turntable with the Auto-Start/Stop feature, there is really only one that is readily available and that is the -

Denon DP300 - £299 -

DENON DP300Black Turntable

The Denon comes with a pretty basic generic cartridge, but in upgrade bundles it is often packaged with the Ortofon 2M Red. The point being, that while the generic cartridge might be enough to get you started, you are probably going to want an upgraded cartridge to get the best performance -

Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge - £84 -


The other alternative Entry Level Turntable is a REGA Planar 1, preferably with Performance Pack which includes a cartridge upgrade.

Regap Panar 1 Turntable - £250 -


Rega Planar 1 with Performance Pack - £333 -


If you can push it up a step from there -

Rega Planar 2 - £375 -


Or the preferred -

Rega Planar 2 with Performance Pack - £460 -


There is also an improved version of the Project Carbon Debut to consider -

Project Debut Carbon Esprit with Ortofon 2M Red Cartrdige - £450 -


If that is too steep for you, there are others to consider from TEAC, Audio Technica, Reloop, Lenco, even Project that can take the budget down a bit lower.

Here is a cross section of lower cost but still worthy turntables, though most are in need of a cartridge upgrade -









That should at least give you a starting frame of reference for turntable upgrades.

But value in a quality turntable with an Upgraded Cartridge are the Project Debut Carbon at £350 and the Rega Planar 1 with Performance Pack at £333.


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