Streamer amp for Wharfedale Diamond 230

brotakul

Novice Member
Hi guys!
I’m pretty new to HiFi world, building my first setup. I started with a pair of Wharfedale 230 speakers, because they are described as neutral to a bit on the warmer side, easy to listen to. As me and my wife do a lot of home office, especially during the pandemic, the stereo system works all day long, so these speakers seem as a great choice.
I fist paired them with a Yamaha R-N303d, got as used from a friend for a good price and i really loved the streaming side of things, as we use Spotify connect a lot during the day. But Airplay is also required. And i also have a raspberry pi connected to one of the inputs, running Moode Audio for all the offline music, because i find the DLNA/MusicCast a bit cumbersome.
Now, it so happened that the 303d died on me (my fault, too embarrassed to get into details…), so i’m looking for a replacement amp.
I don’t want to go the separates way, as i can’t put too much $$$ into this, but i loved the streaming capabilities of the Yammi. And it was great in terms of separation of instruments, details in the mids (as far as a novice like me could tell), but i felt that the amp, while being able to bet pretty loud in my 3.5x5m livingroom, it somewhat lacked in the dynamics department. Crescendos and changes in rhythm were a bit “flat”, and the presentation more on the “boring” side, if i may. Good details, but i’d say.. un-involved. I don’t know how to express this better.
So, i need to get a replacement for the 303d and i ended up with this list:
  • Yamaha R-N803d (while having a better dac and probably amp section, i expect the same sound.. or is it?)
  • Denon DRA-800h (those HDMIs can be very handy)
  • Marantz NR1200 (sibling of the Denon, but a warmer sound? May be too much for Whatfedales?)
  • Denon AVR-X2700h (heared good things about it)

There would be others like the Cambridge Audio AXR100 that could pair well with my speakers, but they lack streaming and i really don’t want to get separates as it would easily add more than 300€ in my country and it would be harder to use for all the family members. Integrated streamers (or even AVRs - if they can really sound as good as the former) are way more convenient.

What would you guys recommend me?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
  • Denon AVR-X2700h (heared good things about it)
It's an AV amp and has poor stereo music capabilities. Stay away from AV amps if you just want stereo. The Denon DRA-800 is a very good unit.
 

brotakul

Novice Member
It's an AV amp and has poor stereo music capabilities. Stay away from AV amps if you just want stereo. The Denon DRA-800 is a very good unit.
Thanks for replying! Indeed, most people agree stereo units are better on SQ than AVRs, if you don’t need the surround.
For the moment, the Denon DRA-800 is the main favorite, since it’s almost 200€ cheaper than Yamaha R-N803 in my country (no sales whatsoever for Yamaha units…) and has HDMI interface which i find very useful.
How do they compare though, sound quality wise? I hear the R-N803 has more or less the same amplification as the A-S801 amp, but i never heared a Denon before and i know they make good AVRs but in terms of stereo performance… i just don’t know. And i don’t have any option to test such a unit in my town, unfortunately. Otherwise, on paper, the 800H, being better featured and still cheaper, it seems to be a no brainer.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
I would add this to the list but not sure it does air play. (Remember to add vat).

 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Hi. A mate has the Denon DRA800H. Brilliant bit of kit for the pennies. He uses it for ATC speakers and it drives them with ease.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
but i never heared a Denon before and i know they make good AVRs but in terms of stereo performance… i just don’t know.
Denon makes some very good stereo amp at all price points. I have a Denon SACD player and I absolutely love it. I also have a high end Denon AV amp. I don't stream any music so cannot comment on any streaming amps. You'll not go far wrong with a Denon.

If it's at all possible in Romania I would urge you to go and listen on the Denon and the Yamaha before you buy. I may have a very different taste in how I like amps to sound to you. If you can audition it can be a fun experience.
 

brotakul

Novice Member
Denon makes some very good stereo amp at all price points. I have a Denon SACD player and I absolutely love it. I also have a high end Denon AV amp. I don't stream any music so cannot comment on any streaming amps. You'll not go far wrong with a Denon.

If it's at all possible in Romania I would urge you to go and listen on the Denon and the Yamaha before you buy. I may have a very different taste in how I like amps to sound to you. If you can audition it can be a fun experience.
Thanks for advice! Unfortunately, there’s no shop near me to be able to listen to them, let alone have the same test setup with the Wharfedales, so i have to rely on people’s experiences and opinions.
Most people have brighter speakers (Dali, B&W, Focal, etc) so it’s probably easier to pair a Marantz or Yamaha or NAD with those. But i sense the Denon is a bit “crispier” (which i don’t mind) and would probably go well with my speakers, being on the warmer side.
I’m not very pressed to buy the amp right away so maybe i’ll have the opportunity to test the Denon while traveling across the country, closer to bigger dealers.
 

RutherfordTheBrave

Novice Member
Stay away from AV amps if you just want stereo.

Agreed. Think about it, all your money will be going into just the two channels you need. And on that note, check out the Marantz PM7000N. Loving mine. I bought mine from a store that also sells Cambridge. The store owner said he preferred the bass of the Marantz. I'm a sucker for bass.

However if you are deep into Qobuz you may want to consider other options. With the Marantz you'll need a 3rd party phone app to play the high-res material because Marantz doesn't support Qobuz natively yet. The only app available for iPhone is mconnect and it's not great. Android users can use BubbleUPnP, but I don't know how that is.
 

brotakul

Novice Member
Agreed. Think about it, all your money will be going into just the two channels you need. And on that note, check out the Marantz PM7000N. Loving mine. I bought mine from a store that also sells Cambridge. The store owner said he preferred the bass of the Marantz. I'm a sucker for bass.

However if you are deep into Qobuz you may want to consider other options. With the Marantz you'll need a 3rd party phone app to play the high-res material because Marantz doesn't support Qobuz natively yet. The only app available for iPhone is mconnect and it's not great. Android users can use BubbleUPnP, but I don't know how that is.
Only Spotify and Apple Music on my end :)
How is the Marantz with details on the high end? Isn’t it more rolled-off? I was also looking at Marantz NR1200 but scratched it off the list for that particular concern. The PM7000N is well above my budget (currently selling for over 1300€).
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Although Denon and Marantz share many of the same components as they are both owned by Sound United they do have different signatures. Marantz is warm and melodic with Denon being a bit more energetic. It's not a great difference. I have a Denon SACD player and a Marantz SACD player. I prefer the Denon as it is more detailed, brighter if you like. The Marantz is certainly warmer and more laid back, great for acoustic music. I expect the amps to be tuned the same.
 

Costello

Well-known Member
Get the best stereo amplifier you can afford for your budget and then plug one of these in. Best of both worlds.
What budget are you working with?
 

brotakul

Novice Member
Get the best stereo amplifier you can afford for your budget and then plug one of these in. Best of both worlds.
What budget are you working with?
Somewhere close to 800€, if it’s really necessary.
 

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