Pre-amp / Amp combination

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by norskmac, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. norskmac

    norskmac
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    Hello,

    I thought I would tap into the experience of the forum:
    I'm considering a pre-amp /Amp combination (as I primarily listen to music, and I don't mind my DVD down mixing the audio into 2 channel DV139)

    Arcam C31 + P35
    Primare Pre30 + A30.2
    Naim Nac 202 + Naim Nap 200

    I've considered integrated amps for a bi-amping solution in

    Arcam A32 + P35
    Primare I30 + A30.2

    but I'm not sure there would really be a benefit. or would there?

    I'd be interested to know how people feel about the above mentioned setups, or if they feel there is a better solution in that price range.

    As far as speakers go, I've pretty much narrowed it down to:

    B&W 704, Monitor audio GS20, ProAc Studio 140, Ruark Talisman III's or Wilson Benesch Square One.

    Any help would be greatly apperciated!

    NM
     
  2. cwilson

    cwilson
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    I would suggest you use a pre/power, from your list, or maybe a rega cursa/maia and decide on your speakers. When you chosen them, then try bi amping with a pre/2 powers or in the case of Rega 2 x exxon monoblocks, and see what differences you hear.
     
  3. Mr_Sukebe

    Mr_Sukebe
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    My experience is to not worry about how many boxes you have, and concentrate on what sounds better.
    Go have a listen to kit within your price range, regardless of how many shiny boxes you get.
     
  4. grimep

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    Also consider Quad 99pre / 909 power. Its a tough one starting from a blank canvus as the permutations when it comes to auditioning are almost endless..
     
  5. Helicon

    Helicon
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    I would ignore the bi-amp solution. On one hand it does have it's benefits, but the integrated amps preamp section won't match the dedicated preamp. Start with a pre/power and you can add another power later on for bi-amping. At least that way you're getting the most you can from each box and leaving yourself open for upgrade.

    From a personal point of view, i'd be leaning towards the Naim combination. I just prefer it's presentation, and the fact that it matches some top notch speakers like Dynaudio's Focus range, Proac's studio and D series, Wilson's Square range, Spendor, ATC, Sonus Faber etc is a bonus. After hearing the Naim 122x/150x pre/power combination recently with Wilson's Square Two's, i'm loving it. So open and detailed....you're so much closer to the music than most systems at the same price can even comprehend.

    But it's your choice, you have to live with the system. Work out what you want to hear and arrange a demo at a dealer that has as many as possible in one place. Ask for their favourite too, and if it's different, try it. Take along some music you know very well. Be prepared to spend a bit of time to get it right. It's easy to get confused trying many thing out at the same time, but here's an easy way of doing it. Start with any amp combination and quickly listen to a few pairs of speakers and choose the pair that you initially like or think are quite neutral (you choose the criteria for picking them - hell, even choose them because you like the look of them!). Compare two pre/power combinations at a time and dismiss the one you like the least. Then try he winner against the next one, and do the same. Winner stays on so to speak. Much easier than going backwards and forwards between 5 amps and 5 speakers (25 combinations!), and whichever you dismiss, you can blank from your mind to concentrate on the two in question.

    Good luck and enjoy!
     
  6. trailer

    trailer
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    With the 202 you can put a NAPSC and/or a HiCap/FlatCap on later as funds allow.
     
  7. norskmac

    norskmac
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    Thanks a lot, I'm going to try to set up a demo of the naim setup in the next week or so and post my impressions on this thread.
    As a general rule I prefer to buy from the people that have had the patience to deal with me as a customer, and help me trough the decision process rather than use their expertise and get it from a cheaper place.
    Living in London, I've seen a few of the naim dealers on the naim website, however, are there any in particular ( or others) that people would reccomend for price/quality of service?

    Thanks,

    NM
     
  8. Tice

    Tice
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    Which part of London?
     
  9. norskmac

    norskmac
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    I am currently in central london, near notting hill/Queens Park.
     
  10. norskmac

    norskmac
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    I'm off to have a listen to the Naim 202/200 combination on thursday so pretty excited!

    It's a shame they don't have the supernait for demoing as I would have liked to compare the two.

    Has anyone here demo'ed the supernait and could compare it to the 202/200.
    The retailer seems to think the 202/200 sounds better.

    from my initial speaker list it's actually changed someone to:
    Wilson Benesch ( square 1's or 2's), Rega R7 ( had a listen to them and was very impressed) and PMC's FB1+ (as the OB1's are a bit over budget) and ATC SCM 40's.

    O.
     
  11. gazza73

    gazza73
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    The OB1's are well worth finding the extra money if you can. The 3 way design is a peach and the huge dedicated mid range driver (wich is also used higher up the PMC range) projects vocals beautifully and realistically. Also a if you become like the other usual Naimes and upgrade you hi-fi every 18 months, the OB1 will never be the weak link, thus saving you money in the long run.

    Have a listen to them because I found them jaw droppingly good!
     
  12. cwilson

    cwilson
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    If you like the Rega R7's and the dealer has Rega electronics try and hear the 7's with a Cursa/maia, or better still Cursa/exons
     
  13. norskmac

    norskmac
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    thank you all.
    I'll be sure to post my comments post-listening, but if the dealer allows for a set of 3 or 4 payments instead of cash up-front... i may go the extra mile to get the ob1's or square 2's...
    will let you know... eager to listen to the system tomorrow...
     
  14. norskmac

    norskmac
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    So I'm back from my listening session !

    For starters I wish to reccomend Cornflake on Windmill street (London W1). Dominic who looked after me was great!

    I went there mostly to listen to the Nac 202/NAp 200 combination and try to match speakers with it. Unfortunately they did not carry an Arcam DV139 but had a DVD5 instead, but as this was primarily an audio demo it was fine.

    So armed, with Holst's "The Planets", Rachmaninov's 2 concerto, the dresden dolls debut album (with only piano/drums/voice) and Booka Shade's "Movements" ( Brilliant electro!!) I had quite a bit of speaker teasing to do!

    I won't go into the expert tech talk of soundstage, depth of bass, and so on, simply because I wouldn't have a clue what I was talking about, and this will naturally be a personal taste thing.

    Heeding the advice given to me (and the lack of Square 2's) I auditioned the PMC OB1's. verdict: Great Speakers!!
    The last speakers I had heard were monitor audio GS20's and this was a completely different league.
    The immersion in sound was complete! IT sounded very balanced, no excessive base, and not overly bright. However they seemed to struggle a bit with some parts of "Mars - bringer of war", the sound getting a bit messy at times ( I suspect it's the higher end of the frequency range: strings and mid-high wind/brass instruments). I could not complain about the performance of Dresden dolls "missed me"; "girl anachronism", or "coin operated boy" - just A grade!!

    Dominic ( the dealer) suggested I listen to the ATC SCM40 rather than the other options I had shortlisted based on the my music taste and the fact that I was quite used to using monitor speakers for my home recording studio - and there is something to be said for people who know their business.
    He plugged the ATC's in for me, and we worked our way back down the order of cd's. I know I said the OB1's were great speakers, but these were the ones for me! Not only are they sealed boxes making them easier to place near walls and corners, but the sound was exactly what I wanted to hear! it was Crisp and neutral! the OB1 sounded slightly veiled and warm in comparaison, and although the ATC require a bit more power to drive them, the fidelity and precision was just jaw dropping. (No messy strings and brass on Holsts' Mars)

    By then it was time for another customer, but I left know two things: I will be getting the 202/200 and a pair od ATC's! :thumbsup: ( thank you very much dominic!)

    The one regret I had was to be able to test the DVD5 and DV139 back to back. I have heard both but weeks apart and on different systems. From memory the video quality of the 139 is better than the DVD5, but from an audio perspective, I'm tempted to say it's close ( but there were so many differences in the setups to really judge)

    That's it for me I think... though I would be interested to know what people think of a DVD5 vs DV139! :confused:
     
  15. trailer

    trailer
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    A very worthwhile first upgrade would be a NAPSC for the 202.
     
  16. gazza73

    gazza73
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    Good choice!

    The ATC's were on my shortlist of speakers but when the wife saw them she said there was no way those ugly boxes were going in her living room. I personally think they have an 'engineered' style to them but what do I know, I'm only a bloke.

    You must have pretty exact ears though if you think the OB1's sound warm. You should try listening to a Proac or Spendor speaker. You can actually toast marshmellows while listening to them.:laugh:
     
  17. gazza73

    gazza73
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    Missed this before but do you see what i mean about Naimes...... never satisfied.:laugh:
     
  18. trailer

    trailer
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    Whereas if you went with other brands you would have to be. :devil:
     
  19. norskmac

    norskmac
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    Well, now i think the pre/power + speakers is really done and dusted.
    i'm just struggling to hear the dv139 on that setup.. as it's clearly the best picture i've seen for SD DVD's, but i would really like to test it's sound quality, especially on a naim system.
    if it is anywhere as good as the dvd5 (soundwise) - i'll be more than happy.
     

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