What can a more expensive amp offer me?

MultiRoom

Well-known Member
I have just swapped my Marantz SR7001 for an NR1602.

Aside from the Airplay, which is a nice little feature that goes nicely with my iPad, and Audio Sync which is a real bonus, there's not a lot of difference between my old and my new amp. Sound is different, perhaps less warm but I cannot say any better or worse.

The SR7001 when new was circa £1000. The NR1602 when new was circa £450. I paid nowhere near for either, incidentally.

Both these amps are driving Monitor Audio Bronze floor standers and surrounds, as well as a Monitor Audio sub. I have 1 source, a Windows Media Centre, and my display is a 50 inch VT30.

Frankly I'm really happy with the sound, and the video.

What could I expect to see or hear if I upgraded to, say, a Yamaha RX-A3010?

I'm interested to know how much better it can get, if I don't upgrade my speakers or display.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
I think you are under the impression that spending twice as much should or will result in double the quality? It just doesn't work like this with audio components and you pay a lot for very slight improvements. You are not forced to buy the more expensive components, but you will need to do so if you want to improve upon the audio. What you are paying for isn't the gimmicks or features, but the better higher grade components used within the amp, especially in relation to the power supply and capacitors used.

You can expect something more akin to your old SR7001 with the RXA3010.

Your current speakers wouldn't convey much of a difference anyway and you'd ordinarily power higher end speakers with the RXA3010.
 
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Cyruszaydan

Active Member
So would you say that there was something you could describe as a glass ceiling for sound quality as far as speakers are concerned or more of a law of diminishing returns?

The reason I ask is that I was under the impression that as you improved the quality of the processor/amp - the quality of sound ( I know this is subjective!) would improve to a certain degree. I am aware that as you mentioned, doubling the money spent would not necessarily result in double the sound quality.

The other reason that I ask is that I have Monotor Audio RX6 powered by an Pioneer VSX 2021. Although I am not looking to change my speakers for the foreseeable future, I may look to upgrade my receiver. I was looking at receivers like the pioneer sc lx86, Yamaha 3020 and Denon 4520. If they will only make a marginal difference,if and when I do look to upgrade, I may as well save myself £1000 pounds and look at receivers closer to my current one.
 
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dante01

Distinguished Member
So would you say that there was something you could describe as a glass ceiling for sound quality as far as speakers are concerned or more of a law of diminishing returns?

The reason I ask is that I was under the impression that as you improved the quality of the processor/amp - the quality of sound ( I know this is subjective!) would improve to a certain degree. I am aware that as you mentioned, doubling the money spent would not necessarily result in double the sound quality.

The other reason that I ask is that I have Monotor Audio RX6 powered by an Pioneer VSX 2021. Although I am not looking to change my speakers for the foreseeable future, I may look to upgrade my receiver. I was looking at receivers like the pioneer sc lx86, Yamaha 3020 and Denon 4520. If they will only make a marginal difference,if and when I do look to upgrade, I may as well save myself £1000 pounds and look at receivers closer to my current one.
It is very difficult to quantify such things because much of what is perceived is subjective and dependant on an individuals own tastes. One man's meat is another man's murder. Many buy a high end amp and stick with it for many. many years and only replace it when it fails or when newer technology becomes essential. There's also those who buy new amps, flitting from one manufacturer to another in search of a signaturer sound that best meets their personal audio preferences.

I can give you one rule of thumb that can help build a balanced system. The cost of your combined speakers plus sub should ideally equate to at least double the cost of your amp, preferably treble its cost, but not more than that. This rule is by no means written in stone though. Another one is that you should budget 10% of the cost of your components for cabling, but this is less important than it used to be when all cabling was analogue.

I guess it comes down to how much you're willing to pay for something you like the sound of? If a sub £300 amp rocks your boat and you are happy then there's no reason to rush off to buy a flagship amp and appropriate speakers. Will you hear a difference? Probably, but can you afford it or will it be worth it? Only you can answer this.
 
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