Stereo Amp with Wi-Fi - £500

RoboDog

Active Member
Hi All,

Firstly I must apologise for my indecisiveness (multiple threads started by me in different forums), because after much procrastination I have decided to go down the stereo route.

Just a quick refresher – I listen to all my music from the YouTube website accessed on my laptop and streamed to a Logitech Bluetooth receiver that is connected to my Marantz PM6003.

I’ve recently found out that I should switch from Bluetooth streaming to Wi-Fi streaming as I will be losing a significant amount of audio quality through Bluetooth streaming, so I looked into replacing my Bluetooth receiver with a Wi-Fi streamer (started a separate thread for this). A Yamaha WXAD 10 was suggested, but then I figured that if I am spending that much on a Wi-Fi receiver then why don’t I spend a bit more (£500 budget) and upgrade my amp to a new stereo amp with an inbuilt Wi-Fi receiver.

The benefits, as far as I can tell, are that I could get a stereo amp that is a step-up from my current one and that can handle floor standers, in case I ever upgrade my bookshelf speakers to floor standers, and I would also get an improvement in sound quality from switching from Bluetooth to Wi-Fi

I have some questions that I would really appreciate it if you could help me with –
  1. My research keeps pointing me towards the Denon DRA800H. Do you reckon this is a good option? I will audition, but was wondering what else I should consider
  2. If my budget is £500 then do you reckon there are better amps out there without the Wi-Fi connectivity that I could get and then get a separate Wi-Fi streamer? Both within the £500 budget
  3. OR do you think there are stereo amps out there that have superior Bluetooth connectivity that would sound better than a Wi-Fi connected stereo amp?
  4. A major concern of mine is the interface. My current setup is great because the laptop is always connected to the Bluetooth receiver so all I have to do is play YouTube videos from my laptop and listen to the music on my speakers. No other steps, no apps etc. Would I get the same, or almost the same from a Wi-Fi stream?

Once again I am so sorry for all the questions. Just want to make sure that I get as much information as possible before making any purchases.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks a million
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
I listen to all my music from the YouTube website

I’ve recently found out that I should switch from Bluetooth streaming to Wi-Fi streaming as I will be losing a significant amount of audio quality through Bluetooth streaming

As far as I can see Youtube audio quality is lower than bluetooth is capable of so you are very unlikely to gain from the switch to wifi alone. If you want to change hardware then look at changing source first.
 

RoboDog

Active Member
As far as I can see Youtube audio quality is lower than bluetooth is capable of so you are very unlikely to gain from the switch to wifi alone. If you want to change hardware then look at changing source first.

Fair point. Should also point out that I listen to my own music collection, which is tracks saved on my laptop.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Fair point. Should also point out that I listen to my own music collection, which is tracks saved on my laptop.

What format & quality are they?
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Don’t the Yamaha has all the features you need/want? Supports lossy, lossless and Bluetooth. Then use the existing money on better speakers.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
This way should be available to ditch the Bluetooth receiver entirely. Then use the laptop basically as a remote.

I don’t know exactly how you transfer the sound from the laptop to the Yamaha, but I believe you just enable Bluetooth on the streamer.

I don’t believe the interface we’ll be different then, since you already are using the laptop with the exiting interface.

I am not sure..

I only use the Node2i. It’s pretty handy streamer. You add usb flash drive with all your ripped CDs to it. Then use the Bluesound app to control the music library by using iPad wirelessly.

Node2i supports most formats. Sounds spectacular also. This is one the most popular streamers on the market. It has been unstable after the lasted software upgrade, but it seems this has been resolved by the Bluesound team/support.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Just watch out, you can't really afaik cast YouTube over wifi without sending pictures also so your format isn't audio it's a video file (I'm open to correction), hence why I mentioned on the other thread an ifi blue tooth unit might be a better move.

Your amp is very high quality also, be careful you don't downgrade it with a 500 pound multi unit
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Here’s some suggestions. Probably repeating myself... Sorry if do. Get the Node streamer, Yamaha streamer. Both supports all the features you need.

Then buy the Marantz PM6007. You should notice better sound. Fuller midrange, bass. Smooth treble. Then save up some money-buy new speakers.

Or use the existing setup you have now. If you’re happy with the sound quality, then that’s what matters. Then get new speakers, amplifier.

So many options to consider..

My choice would either be Yamaha or Bluesound. There’s always the risk streaming amplifier may shut down after awhile. Firmware issues which can’t be fixed. Then you need to send it back to the service shop. Let’s say the external streamer suddenly shuts down/problems, then you still have the amplifier.

Still the Denon DRA800H is very popular. Same with Yamaha 803D.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Then buy the Marantz PM6007. You should notice better sound. Fuller midrange, bass. Smooth treble. Then save up some money-buy new speakers.
I respectfully disagree. The marantz pm6*** series are very close sound wise apart from digital inputs.

A Bluetooth input upgraded to a wifi or higher res would imo be a better way to go. Output directly related to input
 

gava

Well-known Member
I think the Denon is an excellent choice for your budget. Heos doesn't support Youtube music but you can of course continue to play via Bluetooth.

Also you can convert your playlists to Spotify/Deezer/Tidal/Qobuz using Soundiiz and then play via Heos.

You will be able to stream your music files from your laptop to the Denon using DLNA.

However a better solution is probably to get a Bluesound Node and connect it to your amplifier using a cable then you can stream easily.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I respectfully disagree. The marantz pm6*** series are very close sound wise apart from digital inputs.

A Bluetooth input upgraded to a wifi or higher res would imo be a better way to go. Output directly related to inputs.

There’s always the classic dilemma; “Should I change the amplifier because someone says it is better?”.

It’s up to him.
 

Onlythesound

Well-known Member
I have the Denon DRA 800h. It’s great value for money . I also watch a lot of you tube and listen to Spotify/Apple music.
Get Richer sounds to let you try it at home. Mine powers a pair of Q acoustics Concept 20s and a pair of B&W 606s.

A good test of the amp’s capabilities on YouTube is the Dave Grohl guesting at the White House, doing Band on the Run-superb! Or the series of Mark Knopfler songs (2009, I think.) from his ‘An evening with…’

Have fun!
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Yamaha WXAD 10 appears to not support gap less playback! Imagine Floyd..
 

RoboDog

Active Member
I have the Denon DRA 800h. It’s great value for money . I also watch a lot of you tube and listen to Spotify/Apple music.
Get Richer sounds to let you try it at home. Mine powers a pair of Q acoustics Concept 20s and a pair of B&W 606s.

A good test of the amp’s capabilities on YouTube is the Dave Grohl guesting at the White House, doing Band on the Run-superb! Or the series of Mark Knopfler songs (2009, I think.) from his ‘An evening with…’

Have fun!

Thank you! That is useful information. Will keep that in mind. Silly question - are your B&W's and Q acoustic speakers in the same room and do you listen to them at the same time?
 

Onlythesound

Well-known Member
Yes; they are in the same room.
I use them together when listening to music and add my sub to the equation when we watch films.
Some say, quite correctly I’m sure, that they shouldn’t work well in that configuration - setting up all sorts of sonic waves which cancel each other out ( not sure of the technical terms) but it works well for me😀. Must be something to do with having only one working ear. 🤨
I also like the way I can transfer a song from my HomePod located in the kitchen, to the Denon with a tap on the Apple Music App.

A good value amp!
 

RoboDog

Active Member
Hi All, just wanted to check back in to let you know how things progressed -

So I popped in to Richer Sounds last weekend for a demo and listened to the Audiolab 6000A (£650), Denon DRA800H (£480) and a couple of others that were within my budget. The Audiolab was clearly the best, but not by enough to justify the higher price.

I purchased the DRA800 and brought it home, but wasn't overly impressed by how it sounded on my speakers. Also, the interface was a bit temperamental and buggy. There were a load of bells and whistles that were quite unnecessary for me. Then the Bluetooth connection was acting up and the amp kept getting frozen with a "please wait" on the screen. This didn't bode well with me and I was feeling pretty let down by it.

Then, as luck would have it, I found a 6000A on clearance on the Richer Sounds website (£550 - 10% VIP discount = £495) and picked that up after handing in the Denon (they might still have them on clearance, in case anyone is interested). Hooked it up this morning and am astonished by how much better it sounds, even for YouTube videos streamed on Bluetooth. It's quite phenomenal and I'm so pleased that I finally got it after years of procrastination and multiple threads started on this forum. Thanks for all the help and information that all of you gave me.

My only complaint is that you can't seem to change the bass and treble from the amp itself and I'm having an issue with Netflix audio, but I'll start a separate thread for that.

Thanks again :):)
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Exactly what sound issues do you have with Netflix? Be sure to set the sound to PCM sound otherwise wise you won’t get sound. Then add cables. RCA, optical from the amplifier to the source you are using.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
After reading trough the other tread I find it odd you are having problems getting sound from Netflix. It should work if you adjust the settings to PCM, which is stereo sound.

Have you tried accessing the menu on the Netflix app? It should be menu where you can adjust subtitles, audio. It could help. If the problem persists. I would try RCA cables, if you don’t have done it already.

Most TVs probably only supports digital outputs. Are you sure the optical cable are firmly connected? If the tuner/decoder supports Netflix you can try his also.

Or you can try Bluetooth from the amplifier, if the amplifier supports Bluetooth.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
@RoboDog, I had the same speakers as you have back in 2002.
B&W voicing to day are much more detailed then yours speakers. The new 600-series could suit the amplifier you have now.

Hifi is dangerous hobby😊
 

Onlythesound

Well-known Member
When I had the 6000a, I could not get it to work properly with my tv (Samsung curved 55 ins) As I recall I got a lot of white noise when connected via optical.
Really, swapping it for a DRA 800 h was a good move for me re versatility and sound. My room though is a very different sonic beast to yours tho’.
 

RoboDog

Active Member
After reading trough the other tread I find it odd you are having problems getting sound from Netflix. It should work if you adjust the settings to PCM, which is stereo sound.

Have you tried accessing the menu on the Netflix app? It should be menu where you can adjust subtitles, audio. It could help. If the problem persists. I would try RCA cables, if you don’t have done it already.

Most TVs probably only supports digital outputs. Are you sure the optical cable are firmly connected? If the tuner/decoder supports Netflix you can try his also.

Or you can try Bluetooth from the amplifier, if the amplifier supports Bluetooth.

Thanks Helix. The only audio options in Neflix are 5.1 and original. I set it to original. Still no joy.

Yes the optical cable is definitely firmly connected because YouTube (app on the TV) works fine. Also, I watched downloaded content saved on a USB flash drive that's plugged into the TV and that sounded fine as well.

I think I might have to use the RCA cable unfortunately.

@RoboDog, I had the same speakers as you have back in 2002.
B&W voicing to day are much more detailed then yours speakers. The new 600-series could suit the amplifier you have now.

Hifi is dangerous hobby😊

Thanks for letting me know. I should be upgrading my speakers in a few months and the B&W's are right on top of my audition list. They were tempting when I went to the store, but I figured I would spread it out a bit so that I can spend more £££ and get some top-quality products.

When I had the 6000a, I could not get it to work properly with my tv (Samsung curved 55 ins) As I recall I got a lot of white noise when connected via optical.
Really, swapping it for a DRA 800 h was a good move for me re versatility and sound. My room though is a very different sonic beast to yours tho’.

Have to admit that the DRA800 sounded almost as good as the 6000A in the Richer Sounds demo room (to my ears), but when I hooked it up at home I was a bit disappointed. Also it was acting up and freezing, which made me feel very uncomfortable. Then I found the 6000A on clearance and only ended up paying £45 more for it, and it sounds wonderful. Obviously it's all subjective.

Now I'm just hoping to fix this optical issue, which is clearly a problem with the TV / Netflix and not the amp. I'm probably going to have to bring out the old RCA.
 

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