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Stereo amp recommendations please - up to £2.5k

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Godfather, Oct 3, 2003.

  1. Godfather

    Godfather
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    I'm planning to replace my Arcam FMJ A22 with a new amp to drive my Dynaudio Contour 1.3 MKII. I've a budget of up to £2.5k, though I'm hoping to spend less. I'm trying to compile a short list of amps to audition - either integrated or pre/power. I listen to mainly classical, jazz, Cuban. I've demoed the Arcam A32 and feel that it doesn't offer quite enough of a step forward from its predessor.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    Godfather - the next step (and quite a big one sonically) up in the Arcam range is the C30 preamp and a P35 power amp - a little over £2000 IIRC. Even better than the P35 is a pair of P1 monoblocks, but that will push up the price significantly over budget. The C30/P1s are rather special though :)

    The C30 is shipping now; the P1s start shipping in a week or two.

    HTH.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  3. Godfather

    Godfather
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    John,

    I'm very interested in the C30. Do you have any more info about it? I can't find it on your website.

    Thanks,

    Henry
     
  4. ukaudiophile

    ukaudiophile
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    Hello Godfather,

    There are two amps I'd think of using with the Dynaudio speakers.

    My choice would be to go for either a Musical Fidelity A308 integrated, or a Bryston B60. I've heard both of these and within your price range I think you would be very impressed.

    The Dynaudio speakers are very transparent and revealing speakers with a potential to throw a huge soundstage, make no doubt it that both of these integrated's can achieve this, together with outstanding bass slam, and excellent transparency and purity through the midrange and high frequencies.

    With the A308, you'll also get far more power than you're likely to need, whilst the B60 comes with a 20 year warranty.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Best wishes,

    Dave
     
  5. Godfather

    Godfather
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    Thanks. The MF A308 integrated has been at the top of my list for a while. I just never got round to getting a demo with my speakers.
     
  6. 337GUS

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    Hi

    The MF308 gets another vote here.

    You might be able to get the 308 Pre/Pwr in budget ex dem or used, this is another step up in performance still.

    One of the best features these amps have is the ability to run the HiFi and AV systems seperately either by a direct input on the integrated or a seperate push button on the 308 power.

    Enjoy choosing!

    Regards

    Gus
     
  7. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Off the wall suggestion- Audio Note Oto SE or a Meishu? Neither of them are exactly rockers but for jazz and other similar music types, they are fabulously involving. I'm also a big fan of the Marantz PM14 KI Sig but can't actually remember how much it costs :blush:
     
  8. YS-YS

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    another vote for the Musical Fidelity 308, though if you want to save a bit of cash try the Quad99 Pre and 909 power. it is very good for the money.

    btw a 308 pre and power new, will set you back £3800.
     
  9. Godfather

    Godfather
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    I've now demoed the MF A308 integrated and the A3.2 pre/power. Both very impressive and a significant step forward from the Arcam. I'll wait for the C30 to hit the shops before making a decision. I also need to find a job first!
     
  10. texasboy

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    MF308 get my vote!
     
  11. Boxinghris

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    Given your choice of music the obvious choice is the Sugden A21a at just under a grand which will be an excellent match for your speakers, and will give you a taste of the high-end being biased very heavily into Class 'A'; this amp is music rather than hi-fi and adding the matching Sugden power amp will have you experiencing multiple orgasms of audio delight.
    Go for the more popular (ie, What Hi-Fi darling) Musical Fidelity designs if you want but bear in mind that the Sugden has always been regarded as the best sounding unit in it's price range and above by those in the know, and coincidentally it was recently judged to be the best sounding in a group test of the aforementioned........What Hi-Fi!
     
  12. YS-YS

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    you might not know but Musical Fidelity wont give What Hi-Fi stock to test.
     
  13. Boxinghris

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    Interesting; Any idea why?

    Up until around 2001 when I stopped buying the odd issue almost every new MF product was reviewed in What Hi-Fi and this is now taken to new heights over in the states where Stereophile's relationship with MF has raised a few eyebrows among the more cynical readership.
     
  14. Godfather

    Godfather
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    Regardless of what the mags say, the MF amps I've listened to do sound very good.

    I'm open minded and so will definitely try to dem the Sugden. Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  15. Boxinghris

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    They are very good and excellent value, but the Sugden is better; :rolleyes:
     
  16. martinmunt

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    It's got to be worth trying some of the new Naim kit with Dynaudios. The combo would really get your feet taping. If not your bag I'd go the Sugden route for a more sedate yet very enjoyable sound.

    Get the stuff in at home for a loan see how it reacts in your environment.

    Good luck!

    Martin
     
  17. marck

    marck
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    How about a 2nd hand Krell amp - say the KAV300i? This can be hand for around £1300. The KAV300iL is the newer version and is around £2.5k.
    Also, the Copland amps are worth cosidering...the 5 channel amp is around £1.6k new, I think the 2 channel is about the same price.
     
  18. Hungarian Boy

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    The Sugden is a great amp, but the Contour eat it for breakfast. These speakers need muscles too.
     
  19. Hungarian Boy

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    Godfather,

    did you demo the Musical Fidelity at home in your own system, or in the store?
     
  20. Godfather

    Godfather
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    I had the demo in store but brought in my Dynaudios.

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll look into the 2nd hand Krell option.
     
  21. Godfather

    Godfather
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    I've heard Naim kit in the past but didn't really get on with them, unfortunately.
     
  22. 337GUS

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    Nope not better, just different ;)

    Just heard the Arcam C30 and 2 x P1 at a HiFi show at the weekend - ok not ideal conditions being in a smallish hotel room, but not that impressed considering the cost.

    Have heard the Copland stuff and was really really impressed, speakers were Martin Logan Clarity which I am thinking of upgrading to.

    Audio Research VSi55 also worth a listen.

    I also do not go for the Naim sound.
     
  23. michaelab

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    Interesting thread - I'm in almost exactly the same position: Arcam FMJ A22 and Dynaudio Contour 1.3MkII - and thinking about an amp upgrade :)

    For £2.5K I would urge you strongly to listen to the SimAudio Moon i-5 integrated. I've heard it in my system and it's fabulous!

    It's worth noting that Dynaudio choose to use SimAudio amps when demoing their speakers at shows ;)

    The i-5 can be had s/h for around £1500 but they don't come up very often.

    Other options:
    I've heard very good things about are the Audio Research VSi55 - 50W valve integrated but apparently a gorgeous sound. Can be had s/h for around £2K.

    The latest Krell integrated KAV-400xi has had good reviews. It's £2700 so a bit beyond your budget but of course it's predecessor the KAV-300iL is available for less (esp. s/h).

    Another amp on my shortlist is the Belcanto eVo2i. A superb integrated with a digital (PWM) power section giving you the clout of solid state with the mid-range sweetness of valves. Unfortunately it's about £3K in the UK and there are very few dealers.

    Michael.
     
  24. Godfather

    Godfather
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    Thanks for the interesting suggestions Michael - I'm not familiar at all with SimAudio but if it's good enough for Dynaudio... :)
     
  25. Godfather

    Godfather
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    Unfortunately my maximum budget has dropped to £2k though.
     
  26. marck

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    Krell 300i for £1300 2nd hand and you will have enough for some very good cables.
    If you want new, then you wont get better than the Copland - again within your budget.

    All this is off course IMHO!
     
  27. michaelab

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    You should be able to get a s/h SimAudio i-5 for around £1500. I think there's one for sale at the moment but I can't remember where - I'll try and dig out the details.

    Check out the SimAudio website though:

    http://www.simaudio.com/mooni5.htm

    ...and here's the HiFi News review by Ken Kessler:

    http://www.simaudio.com/reviews/images/HiFiNews_i-5.jpg

    Michael.
     
  28. Godfather

    Godfather
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    Thanks I've already read both. Now just need to find a good second hand one or a UK dealer for a demo!
     
  29. michaelab

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  30. Godfather

    Godfather
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    Thanks for that Michael. The UK RRP is an absolute rip off. They sell for around $2000 in the US. My dad is in Hong Kong at the moment and may be able to pick up a brand new one (240V) for around £1400.
     

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