Rock / Dance amps?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by nicnic, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. nicnic

    nicnic
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    Hi all.

    I'm looking to upgrade / replace my existing kit:

    Arcam a90
    Arcam p90
    B&W Nautilus 805

    I just don't feel they are suitabed to my style of music which is mainly Indie and dance. Both Leftfield albums would probably my reference audio so needs to potray powerful, musical, bass and tons of sound staging..

    I've posted on the speaker forums that I'm interested in getting some Acoustic Energy AE1 MK111 speakers as I have a small room, and possibly a sub at some later date.

    So the missing link is amplification. Ideally, I'd love a pre/power combo but as the AE's only have one set of terminals not sure if this is possible? Is a pre + 2 mono's the only way to go in that respect? Any recommendations amp wise to match the ae's for a dance and rock orientated set up?

    Thanks in advance..
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Nicnic....read my reply in your other post about the speakers.....you could do a lot worse than a Krell KAV300i or 400i if your budget will stretch that far,and either will provide you with more than sufficient power,plus the ability to do most things very well,and will be pretty much unbreakable into the bargain.

    In all of these things,do try before you buy,as the combinations of amps and speakers can lead to very marked changes in tonal balance of a system.
     
  3. nicnic

    nicnic
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    cheers alexs2 =) How about the newer KRELL KAV-400xi? have you heard one? Read that Krell and bass are synonomous which is what I like to hear :)
     
  4. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I think that the statement is probably a bit of a misnomer....Krell traditionally have amongst the best bass control and load tolerances of any amplifier manufacturer,but you wont find that they favour any particular part of the spectrum....you simply get out what you put in.

    I've owned older Class A Krells for many yrs now,and found very little to compare in terms of power,control and reserve,but the KAVs offer very good performance for the money also.
     
  5. nicnic

    nicnic
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    AE1's purchased for £950 courtesy of eBay :)

    Gotta decide what is next! My options seem to be an integrated Krell or Musical Fidelity for a good match within my budget.. Budget incidentally is absolute max £2000 on the second hand market.. Hopefully, £1500 or less.

    Next stop classifieds section to sell my wares!
     
  6. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    the MF A5 is a staggeringly good amp for the money brand new at £1,500......oodles of power, loves to drive in the bass riffs with cleanliness and truthfullness (by this i mean if the noise is supposed to be grumbly, you get grumbly, if supposed to be tight, you get tight, i demoed this amp against a bunch of others, mostly combinations of Arcam, but others too, and the Arcams were tightening up even the grumbly bass too much and it lost its natural appeal...)

    if you go second, you could go for a A5 pre-power if you wanted....the A5 pre doesnt connect to the speakers, its purely a preamp, then the power amp powers the speakers....dunno how likely you would be to get them second hand, they seem fairly popular in their owners hands....lol

    all i know is they drive my GR10s gorgeously to the point where they sounded better than any other speakers up to £2,000 in the shop i go to for hifi :)

    (to my mind anyhow....lol......the guy doing the demo with me, which went on till around 2am incidently, preferred the B&W 703's sound.....but he said he's always like B&W....so i guess thats fair..heh)
     
  7. Knightshade

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    Check out the Densen range of amps. Certainly well worth a listen for dance and rock music. They don't often come up second hand and dealers are few and far between but they may be just what you're looking for. Sound good with AE speakers as well. Revel sound better but that's just my opinion.....:D
     
  8. nicnic

    nicnic
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    Knyght_byte would there be a quantifable difference between an MF A5 intergrated and an MF A5 pre/power combo? Other than price lol

    And just to clarify the MF A5 pre/power combo would work with the AE1's which aren't biampable?

    I'm kind of torn between the Krell 400xi and MF. I suppose it comes down to what becomes available on the 2nd hand market. I don't have the luxury of buying 1st hand and it's also a bit cheeky asking a dealer for demos when I have no intention of buying from them! So relying on others [read: you lot!] experience and bargain hunting.

    Knightshade I'll do some research but if they don't come up second hand I'm rather limited :p
     
  9. nicnic

    nicnic
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    Incidentally, can anyone give me a rough price check on the following I will shortly putting in the classifieds..

    Arcam a90 (black)
    Arcam p90 (black)
    Arcam dv89 (black)
    Dynaudio Contour 1.1 (Beech)

    Muchos gracias!
     
  10. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    the difference between the A5 integrated and the A5 pre and power combo is fairly slight on cheaper speakers, but on more expensive speakers the difference is more noticable, separation seemed to be the most obvious improvement, despite being good already with the integrated, i noticed it even more with the pre/power combo (and hot damn u should hear the KW range...hahahaahah...i sooooooooooooo wish...heh)

    the main reason for getting a second hand pre-power for close to the price of a brand new integrated with the A5's is that the pre has a switchable mm/mc for vinyl, if u dont use vinyl however thats negated...lol.....

    oh and to clarify, the preamp is just a preamp, meaning it doesnt connect to the speakers itself, instead it feeds a signal to the power amp, the speakers connect to the power amp....so dont worry, it'll work ;-)

    what you couldnt, or rather wouldnt do really i guess is buy an A5 integrated AND a power amp for single wire speakers........the integrated would be relegated to a pre-amp but would be compromised by having its own onboard power amps, which is what you are trying to get away from with the pre-power route.........however if you had biampable speakers then it would be worthwhile for the extra power, on my GR10's it would be overboard with A5 essentially, but i'm likely to get one for future speakers...

    in case that confused you in any way, you are fine using either just the integrated or the pre-power combo.....it will work on the AE's, i'd even be inclined to say it would be worth a good thunk as they are more expensive than my GR10's but i havnt heard yours...so wouldnt like to say there would definitely be a quantifiable price difference... ;-)
     
  11. nicnic

    nicnic
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    Thanks m8y. The dilema is I've found a 2nd hand MF A5 INT for £875 (bargain! probably gone!) whereas I've seen a MF A5 Power Amp for currently the same price and climbing, plus I'll then have to find a pre from somewhere, for probably the same again!

    Guess it all boils down to wether the pre/power is worth twice as much wedge!!

    Edit: OMG Knyght_byte 86in screen!! You trying to compete with iMax or what! Got any pics m8?
     
  12. Falp

    Falp
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    Try to add a good REL or BK sub to your system...:thumbsup:
     
  13. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    if you can get the integrated for £875 and its in good cond, get it!! halfprice is more than worth it!!...lol

    if u could get the power amp for the same price then you would need to kind of hope for a pre to come up cheap sometime soon...lol...otherwise its £1,500 brand new....which makes around £2,350 total........i'd probably go so far as to say that difference over £1,500 for a brand new integrated is worth it, however £3,000 for pre-power brand new is more debatable, possibly on the AE's it would be, not on my GR10's tho.......

    i'd say get the integrated, you could always if a preamp comes up cheap sometime buy teh pre-amp, turn the integrated into a power amp via the HT input untill you see another power amp going cheap then sell your integrated to fund it?....sound good?..lol


    oh, 86in screen? thats relatively small mate...lol....check out the projector section, guys down there with 120in easy....heh
     
  14. nicnic

    nicnic
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    Now there's some good advice!! Nice one!! That's exactly what I will do :thumbsup: After selling my old kit I probably won't be too far off the price of the AE1's + A5 Int., so kind of a cheap upgrade and I'm sure is gonna sound a damn site better.

    120" jesus! Some serious screen there.. nice 42" plasma will do me one day :)
     
  15. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    well, i hope you get the sound you are after, one thing i will say is the A5 amps have no problem relaying bass from the source, so if you still dont get enough then its the speakers..but i get oodles from my GR10's so you should be ok...i hope..heh

    oh, good quality 50in Plasma/LCD = £3,000 minimum

    good quality projector with screen size as big as you can fit in a house (86in-150in easy) = £3,000.......

    i know which i prefer...heh
     
  16. nicnic

    nicnic
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    Yea more a question of space though mate! But when you put it like that makes sense :)
     
  17. gallium

    gallium
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    I second the MF A5. I would also look at the Elektra Reference 2 channel amp which is also very musical.
     
  18. nicnic

    nicnic
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    Puchase of the A5 agreed should be paying Monday =)
     
  19. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    make sure you post back in this thread to let us know how it all sounds :)
     
  20. nicnic

    nicnic
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    Oh I will!!
     
  21. nicnic

    nicnic
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    Well it's all here, connected up and playing as I type. Ignore the harlequin walls. As you can probably guess I'm in the middle of decorating!

    [​IMG]

    So I came here looking for a replacement/upgrade for my B&W N805’s, Arcam A90/P90/DV89 setup. Why? Well I felt that a) it was missing serious bottom end unless EQ’d with a DJ pre-amp, b) I wasn’t hearing what I’d consider to be audiophile quality and c) well it all sounded a bit dull and flat. I guess the Arcam’s simply didn’t have enough power to drive the N805’s, but rather than upgrading the amp I decided to start over.

    From the recommendations of this forum I purchased a Musical Fidelity A5 Integrated amplifier, a pair of Acoustic Energy AE1 MK3’s speakers and a pair of Atacama R724 Reference stands loaded with 18kg of Atacama Atabites each (thanks Crustyloafer). Total cost £1800.00 on the second hand market. That’s pretty much spot on half the list price. For now I’m using my old Arcam DVD 89 as source and a (gasp) 5G iPod.

    I’m not even going to attempt to write a review as I don’t have either the vocabulary or the techy jargon, but I can give you my considered opinion for what it’s worth. I searched high and low for reviews of the AE1 MK3’s and found 2 reviews on the whole internet, and although both gave props to the AE’s, another personal opinion may be interesting to someone else like me.

    As soon as I’d wired everything up I played 3 of my all time favourite CD’s from start to finish. 1) Leftfield – Leftism, 2) Stone Roses – Stone Roses and 3) DJ Tiesto – Just Be. 10 seconds in to the first track on Leftism I thought I’m gonna love this HiFi. As soon as DJ Tiesto had finished playing I knew I was.

    The difference between the what I had previously and what I have now is immeasurable. The bass is crisp, tight and very well controlled. When the music demands, it can swoop extremely low and envelope the entire room giving you a warm, fuzzy glow. Some serious hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-the-neck stuff. The mids/highs on the B&W’s were always a little too shrill for me, bright I think those in the know would call it? On the AE’s its nothing of the sort. And once again it’s crystal clear.

    I’m nothing short of astounded by how good this all sounds. For the first time I’m hearing a soundstage and phenomenal seperation. But when I look at the speakers while I’m listening its as though they’re not even connected. Other than the fact that even at high volumes the bass drivers hardly move, the sound just doesn’t perceivably emminate from the tiny boxes. Instead it paints a tapestry in front of you. Every single instrument seems to have it’s own space, so much so you can almost see each one and track their movements. Leftism in particular takes you on a journey of music, which I’ve always felt but never experienced quite like this. It just sounds so pure, so rich, so precise and so good all at the same time. On top of that they seem to be a lot less orientation dependant than my previous system. Things still sound stunning even when walking about or sat in at the other end of the room. Of course sitting directly between them and you receive the full thrust of the production.

    I’m hearing new things in my favourite albums that I just didn’t know were there. Some are extremely subtle but when you know and love the music inside out and then hear these subtleties you’re momentarily left in awe. I frequently rewound tracks in disbelief that I had actually heard or felt that. To me this is more of a presentation that you’re attending rather than just lumping down and passively listening to some music. In fact, I couldn’t passively listen at all. I was completely engaged from beginning to end.

    Can you guess I’m impressed? I’m no expert and I’m sure there are many systems out there that would eat mine for breakfast, but I guess it’s down to personal expectations and so far this has fulfilled and exceeded all of mine. This is what I would deem to be a utterly incredible sounding combination of kit. If it were a car it wouldn’t be flashy or arrogant. It would effortlessly cruise whilst being quietly confident in the knowledge that it’s cool as ****. For just under 2 grand second hand it’s certainly not cheap, but for the above average connoisseur looking for the wow factor I would strongly urge you to give it a listen. Or in my case just buy, buy, buy!

    Thanks for all the feedback from the forum and putting up with my newbieness. Now.. a few have mentioned a sub would be a good idea.. no not just yet.. hm on second thoughts perhaps I might.. ;)
     
  22. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    So, do you you like it or not??? :D
     
  23. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Very glad to see you've got a good result from all that!.....often a complete change is as good as any other upgrade,albeit sometimes rather more expensive in the end,but as long as you're pleased with it.

    Upgrading the amp was probably the single best move,as both the AE I MkIIIs and the 805s work best with powerful,load tolerant amps.

    Hope you have a lot of enjoyment out of it.
     
  24. Falp

    Falp
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    Have you got a Sub...? If you don't, you don't know what your missing...;)
     
  25. nicnic

    nicnic
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    Do I like it? Ah yea it's not bad!!

    Yep a sub is definetly on the shopping list Falp, but not just yet.

    Any of you guys looked at the Squeezebox? Planning on getting me 500Gb's of NAS (Network Attached Storage) too and rerip all my music to Apple Lossless :) If you go in the forums there is an audiophile section, some of it's users have some extremly expensive kit and pair it with the Squeezebox. Also, there are mods you can do to replace the powersupply and DAC etc to make it even better :)
     
  26. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    heya nicnic, glad u happy with the new setup :)

    i'm staying with CD/SACD myself.......have tried playing windows lossless files but still doesnt sound quite the same........pure wav recording is better.....but i dunno, compared to the original CD (a well recorded one that is, get the MF test CD from their site for an idea of how well CD can be recorded) or an SACD the puter stored stuff seems to lack that extra quality.........i would say it could just be the placebo effect, but it isnt, it may just be the equipment being used....after all you dont normally get the highest quality components used with more PC based equipment.....they cut costs even more than hifi....lol.....
    dunno about the squeeze box itself tho to be fair, havnt heard one, but my computer aint exactly cheap and i'd rather use my 3910 DVD player for CD's than it.....

    edit: oh and to avoid being pounced on by a pointless flame by anyone, yes i'm aware of how music is often made/recorded/mixed these days, by both studio equipment and computers, but these cost a hell of a lot more than a squeezebox or household PC....and given i've known people who did stuff in their own homes on kit i can quite happily say it doesnt compare to whats done in the studio.....
     
  27. nicnic

    nicnic
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    Well from what I can gather Lossless is exactly that.. an exact duplicate of the original. It's like zipping up a file on your computer, the file does not loose any data, all the bits are fully in tact when you uncompress it. So I don't agree that the the format itself will sound ANY different, but of cource HOW you play it will.Not to mention how it was recorded in the first place.

    That's what's interested me in the Squeezebox, it uses a high quality DAC. Ook its only a couple of hundred quid worth of kit and probably never going to compete with a 2 grand CD player, but then you are not paying for a huge box, expensive lasers, cd trays, etc etc. that comes with a CD player.. have you read the audiophile forum on their website? A heck of a lot of positive feedback on the sound quality.. plus they can be modded with superior DAC's and power supplies..
     
  28. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    i think i posted this somewhere else, possibly...lol

    a computer file can be compressed due to the fact that there are often 'gaps' in the scripting that arnt strictly necessary......you cant actually remove data itself in a computer program otherwise it wouldnt work, think back to the days of Amstrad 464 tape loaders, the ones you programmed your own game using Basic 1.0, just one character wrong in a 1,200 line program and it doesnt work........

    music is different, all the data recorded is relevant but can be removed and still work, it'll just sound a little different.....so if you take a filesize of approx 500mb and reduce it to approx 400Mb which if i remember right is approx the compression in lossless...then you have removed data, there is no 'gaps' in a music file......so the sound HAS to be different somehow in some way.....

    however, as all equipment is made differently, we all know things sound different, so a slightly compressed file fed thru more expensive DACS etc will probably still sound better than a lot of CD players......but the original file (whether on the disc or in the original file format on the recording computer) played in a CD player using equivelant quality DACS etc should sound better and more lifelike......

    i say should, obviously this is argueable to personal preference, equipment involved, quality of recording etc.......but to my mind, having used windows lossless and compared it to my Denon 3910, i prefer the Denon......(my PC uses a SB Audigy2 btw so ya know...)

    but hey, use what sounds best to you, as usual, demo if you can...heh
     
  29. nicnic

    nicnic
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    Sorry but i totally disagree with you once again!

    I'm a web programmer I know about gaps in code, and yes scripts can be optimised by removing redundant white space etc. But that's not what a zip file does! Are you saying that when you zip up an executable file, winzip decompiles the code and strips out the comments and extra line breaks? lol That's illegal for a start!

    Music files, Word document, and this webpage all have one thing in common. They are digital. At the very lowest level they are one very long string of 0's and 1's. No gaps.

    Lossless compression performs an extremely complex algorithm which is able to compress the raw 0's and 1's. The compressed state is unusable. But the uncompressed state is a 100% exact complete and utter clone of the original. If you zipped up a word file ten times and each time a word changed I don't think winzip would be such a popular tool!

    In contrast MP3's for example use Lossy compression, which does remove bits and is irreversable. Sound quality is lost and can never be returned.

    When you play a lossless file you do not listen to the compressed version, it is decompressed as it is executed and thus it's exactly the same as playing the original CD!!! Taking that one step further, if you rip a CD to 190kbps mp3 and then rip the same CD, but previously encoded to Lossless, you will have two identical mp3 encoded albums.

    If you were able to play your Lossless file through the same DAC that is in your Denon it would sound indentical.

    Playing it through a 1/200 quid pc soundcard is never going to compete. This is the difference. The format has no relevance in this case. SoundBlaster cards are good for computers but are obviously in a different class to audiophile players. The Squeezebox has a fairly high end DAC, much, much better than consumer pc sound card. Plus if you use digital out you can feed it to an outboard DAC, perhaps even on your Denon? Doing the latter and adding a NAS and you can have all your cd's available at the touch of a button in any room in the house ith exactly the same sound quality. Sounds good to me!! I don't work for SqueezeBox incroporated plc ltd america or what ever it is by the way!
     

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