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Upgrading from Nad C352...

bealehere

Active Member
Hi guys,

I recently bought a set of KEF r700 speakers, which are fantastic coming from a set of Monitor Audio RS1 and M&K subwoofer, they are something else!

The Nad seems to drive them well, but:

a) the amp occasionally keeps turning itself off and giving me an orange light. I watched a whle film and listened to music for around 4-5 ours lasty night as was fine, today put it ona turned off within 5 minutes.

b) I cant help feeling the Kefs' need a bit more control and lower down power possibly.

c) I have lost the remote to the Nad as well!

Would an Arcam A85 be a good upgrade, or is that going sideways a bit and I should be going form something more extreme. Id love a set of Monoblock amps, but I'm not sure if I can justify the cost.

Any help would be great.

Thanks

Rich
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The R700s do like power, a lot of it. Even though your NAD gives you 80 watts into the R700s 8 ohms and 89dB sensitivity they just may be a bit too much for the amp. The shut downs may be due to the amp working hard and not having adequate ventilation. The harder you drive the amp the hotter it's going to get.

Saying that, I think the NAD doesn't do the 700s justice. You should be looking at amps of at least £1000 with a power output of around 100 watts per channel. I'm driving R300s with a Rega Elicit-R which is pushing out 105 watts into 8 ohms.
 

bealehere

Active Member
The R700s do like power, a lot of it. Even though your NAD gives you 80 watts into the R700s 8 ohms and 89dB sensitivity they just may be a bit too much for the amp. The shut downs may be due to the amp working hard and not having adequate ventilation. The harder you drive the amp the hotter it's going to get.

Saying that, I think the NAD doesn't do the 700s justice. You should be looking at amps of at least £1000 with a power output of around 100 watts per channel. I'm driving R300s with a Rega Elicit-R which is pushing out 105 watts into 8 ohms.

I think the shut downs are not related, as I was running it HARD last night and it was only warm to touch, not hot! Also it never shut down last night.

This morning it had been off for all overnight and just turned off after 5 minutes and id only just put some tv on through them!
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
As above, but I’ll add that the A85 is a step down. No where near enough current for your speakers.

And I can’t help but thinking that there must be something wrong with your amp perhaps. Unless you’re seriously whacking it right up without adequate ventilation?

I’d suggest something with the current generating capacity of this to be what you’ll need to get the best from your speakers.

Quad 606 Mk II mark 2 analogue power amplifier amp | eBay

Or this one.

ROTEL RB-1070 STEREO POWER AMPLIFIER 672563947117 | eBay

Both are massive capable power amps for a very reasonable budget, and it’s about the least you’ll need to spend to improve noticeably on the Nad.

Then you’ll need a preamp of course. But the pre-out of the nad will suffice until you’ve saved enough for a more capable preamp. At which point you’ll be delighted
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I think the shut downs are not related, as I was running it HARD last night and it was only warm to touch, not hot! Also it never shut down last night.

This morning it had been off for all overnight and just turned off after 5 minutes and id only just put some tv on through them!

Then there’s definitely an issue with your amp.
 

bealehere

Active Member
As above, but I’ll add that the A85 is a step down. No where near enough current for your speakers.

And I can’t help but thinking that there must be something wrong with your amp perhaps. Unless you’re seriously whacking it right up without adequate ventilation?

I’d suggest something with the current generating capacity of this to be what you’ll need to get the best from your speakers.

Quad 606 Mk II mark 2 analogue power amplifier amp | eBay

Or this one.

ROTEL RB-1070 STEREO POWER AMPLIFIER 672563947117 | eBay

Both are massive capable power amps for a very reasonable budget, and it’s about the least you’ll need to spend to improve noticeably on the Nad.

Then you’ll need a preamp of course. But the pre-out of the nad will suffice until you’ve saved enough for a more capable preamp. At which point you’ll be delighted

I’m not disagreeing with you at all, but what do these amps do that the NAD doesn’t?im just trying to understand that’s all! I don’t want to pay £1k for an amp and then realise it’s not right for my needs.

Do they put out more amps? I’m tying to understand the difference between all these amps, as some are lower wattage but have more power, and some more wattage but not as much power.

What should I be looking for please? I know it’s not all about watts!

Thanks
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Don't take anyones word it as how an amp sounds is very subjective and personal. I do know that powering my KEFs with a more powerful and higher tier amp has greatly increased my music enjoyment. The KEFs do perform better with the better power delivery, the more expensive the amp the better than power delivery is because of the better and more able components.

It would be almost impossible to lug those monster 700s around to dealers to audition amps and you must audition them, hopefully with a home loan review. Always pick the one that puts the biggest smile on your face. For me that would not be your NAD, not with 700s.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
The Nad is a budget amp, and therefore has budget components.

Not poor ones, Nad don’t make poor amps. They make excellent amplifiers at several price points.

But the speakers are in a class above your Nad. The 700s will appreciate, especially in the preamp section (or separate), the extra money, care and optimal design spent on the components and topography.

As for the power amp section (or separate) then what counts is current delivery, size and replenishing speed of the power supply, and that both are more than up to the job of the most that your speakers will ask of them. And the Kefs are power, that is current, hungry.

Therefore, for your excellent speakers, to get the best out of them, and that’s why you bought them, you’ll need an amp that can provide a top class signal and more than enough welly to drive that signal through your speakers with zest.

If you like the Nad, then I’d suggest this to be the least you really need to be balanced with the quality of your speakers.

Nad Amplifer C 375 Bee | eBay

Or, add this to your 352 until you’ve saved for a better preamp.

NAD C275 BEE Power Amplifier 5703120221151 | eBay

Both will have no trouble at all in getting close to the very best from your speakers.
 
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bealehere

Active Member
The Nad is a budget amp, and therefore has budget components.

Not poor ones, Nad don’t make poor amps. They make excellent amplifiers at several price points.

But the speakers are in a class above your Nad. The 700s will appreciate, especially in the preamp section (or separate), the extra money, care and optimal design spent on the components and topography.

As for the power amp section (or separate) then what counts is current delivery, size and replenishing speed of the power supply, and that both are more than up to the job of the most that your speakers will ask of them. And the Kefs are power, that is current, hungry.

Therefore, for your excellent speakers, to get the best out of them, and that’s why you bought them, you’ll need an amp that can provide a top class signal and more than enough welly to drive that signal through your speakers with zest.

If you like the Nad, then I’d suggest this to be the least you really need to be balanced with the quality of your speakers.

Nad Amplifer C 375 Bee | eBay

Or, add this to your 352 until you’ve saved for a better preamp.

NAD C275 BEE Power Amplifier 5703120221151 | eBay

Both will have no trouble at all in getting close to the very best from your speakers.

Thanks for your time in replying, I do appreciate it!

Would something like this be good for the Kefs?

Audiolab 8200MB black monoblock power amplifiers, Pair | eBay

And use my bad as the pre until I can get a good/matching pre to use with them? Or is this possibly a little overkill?

Thanks
 

bealehere

Active Member
Well I’ve just won on eBay a Roksan K2 integrated amp for mega cheap. I will try that out for a bit and see how I get on with it.

I was just browsing and it came up and was ending cheap!

Thanks for everyone’s help

Rich
 

wokeye

Active Member
I did exactly the same as you with my Kef R500's. When driving them hard my Arcam Alpha 9 & 9P combo kept cutting out. They are 70 watts RMS. I got the same amplifier as you the K2. Mine had a fault so I returned it, it would sometimes not come out of standby, until totally switched on and off. The K2 has more power than my old Alpha 9, but it's got it's own sound, you will either like or hate it, it alters the sound more than any amp I've tried I personally didn't mind it. The other thing with the K2 is when you drive it really hard the sound gets really harsh with the high frequencies, just back off the volume to reduce it.

It depends what your into and what music you listen to. You might love it. I returned it and spent a bit more on an Arcam FMJ A39 ex demo. In my opinion its a superb match for the R500's for what I listen to. It's detailed, neutral, but never really harsh or thin sounding. when pushed it never gets harsh sounding.

The problem is everybody will recommend what they have, that suits their taste of music. I like a detailed but not thin or harsh sound. Which is why I like the Arcam stuff. Everybody to their own though. When trying to save money I also had a Yamaha A-S801, it had power but not as good to my ears as a 20 year old Alpha 9. My local hifi dealer tried to sell me a Naim all-in-one streamer amp for 2K, I was really underwhelmed with that for the money also. Not to say somebody would say that about my setup though. Hope you like the K2, it's good for the money, but not quite as good as what hi-fi made me believe. Then again I don't know why I take any notice of that..
 
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Fraziel

Active Member
I have a NAD C352 and a set of Kef LS50's. The Nad has plenty of power so if its shutting off its unlikely to be due to that. I think its 80w into 8 Ohms and 200 into 4 according to the manual and i think the official spec is being conservative. It drives my Kefs ok but you're right in that its not a good enough amp to do your speakers justice.

The Arcam A85 is one of the best amps i have heard. It is a significant step up in terms of quality compared to the NAD. When i bought the NAD it was £350 new and at the same time the Arcam was around £750. That was ten years ago. I borrowed one to listen to just for fun as i knew the guys in Sevenoaks and it is superb and more than good enough for the Kefs in terms of quality but whether its powerful enough is a different matter. Its 85W into 8 ohms.

I am also looking for a new amp to upgrade. Difficult choice to make but I am looking at Cambridge Audio 851a, Creek Evo 100, Arcam FMJ A29 and A39, Arcam SA20, Nad C368, C388. Cost will play a part. I fancied a Yamaha a-s1100 but its enormous and won't fit on my rack.I have a feeling the Cambridge might be a little bright so i would be curious to see what you think of the Roksan which might be brighter still. Nad,Arcam and Creek should all go well with Kef I think. I just worry they might be a touch soft. Let us know what you think of the Roksan.
 

bealehere

Active Member
Right....Well i took my NAD apart an blew it out with my compressor to see if it was any dust making something hot at all. I was fine for a good few days then turned off again. I will try with some other speakers hooked up and see what it does to rule that out.

I have now collected and hooked up my Roksan K2 Integrated amp. My brother runs exactly the same amp as I do, and also the same speakers as we both got a set at the same time, and he told me to go for it.

Honestly, I cant hear much difference from the NAD that I was running before on these speakers. Now bearing in mind that the Roksan was near £1k when it was new ( I paid £350 for the NAD brand new I think) I was expecting amazing things! I am not saying it sounds bad at all, far from it, it sounds good, and not bright from what I had read up about the amps. It does have good drive though, and handles the speakers well!

Am I really going to gain a huge amount from a set of monoblock amps do you think? I have been eying up some Audiolab MB8200 possibly. But I am not sure I will be gaining a huge amount other than some power. Will this gain me more control? I could use the Roksan as the PRE, or should I be using the same brand PRE and POWER?

Am I hunting for something that I am not going to gain much by spending a load more out? Am I going to find the limit of the speakers if I have an amazing amp setup, having said that I do really rate the KEFs!

Thanks

Rich
 

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