Which sub £500 amplifier?

CraigUK

Novice Member
I'm looking for an amplifier to replace my old onkyo 2.1 receiver, to be used for listening to music streaming (spdif or optical required) and also connecting to a 65"TV.

My speakers are entry level Cambridge Audio SX-80 which with a Marantz PM6005 amplifier that I had a quick test with make a pretty decent sound especially compared to the onkyo.

So I'm looking for an amp, less than £500. In an ideal world possibly something I can stream Bluetooth music to but only if it does not compromise the quality of the amplifier.

Although the Marantz PM6005 is now 2 generations old I'm still impressed with the output quality. I'm sure the PM6007 will be an upgrade but it's not necessarily something that I require. Does anyone have any real world experience on how say a Yamaha RN602 or a Cambridge Audio AXR100 might sound when compared to the PM6005?

In an ideal world a visit to a hi-fi shop would be helpful but COVID is not helping me with that.

Opinions and advice welcome.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I have the pm6006 and had the pm6005. All reviews said the 6 was better than the 5, I could here no difference. They say the 6007 is better than the 6006, I'd doubt it's by a hair if there is a difference.

I'd say if the 6005 does what you need and the price is right you won't go far wrong, however, the 6006 does have an extra optical input, I think the 6007 has a sub out should you need one
 

CraigUK

Novice Member
Thanks for that, what you have said confirms my suspicions.

I already own the PM6005 but have it setup in a separate cinema and music room. The new amp will be for my living room. If I could get a PM6005 for a good price I would definitely go for it. That is of course unless either the Yamaha or Cambridge Audio options I mentioned are comparable in which case their added Bluetooth functionality may well swing it.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I read good things about the Yamaha. Cambridge audios previous version of that receiver was supposed to be good. I'd say they are all good choices,I'd bet musically the marantz is the best (a totally unscientific biased opinion 😃)
 

CraigUK

Novice Member
I read good things about the Yamaha. Cambridge audios previous version of that receiver was supposed to be good. I'd say they are all good choices,I'd bet musically the marantz is the best (a totally unscientific biased opinion 😃)

I've read good things about Cambridge Audio too, apparently reliability can be cause for concern which is less than ideal.

Musical preference is a very personal thing. I suppose what one person warms to may be different to another. For me too the Marantz is definitely a great sounding amplifier
 

muljao

Well-known Member
At the moment rs have a marantz nr1200 for 499. It's a bit of a different beast but I've looked at it and it has got some greta specs and reviews
 

CraigUK

Novice Member
Yes another interesting choice and one that's comparable to the Yamaha and CA units. One review on Richer Sounds said that the sound was lacking compared to the PM6007 which could be a concern. Unless of course the 6007 is streets ahead of the 6005.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
I think we need more details -

  • Do you need a Radio (receiver)?
  • Do you need a Phono Input?
  • Do you need a DAC built in?
  • Do you need Bluetooth? (it seems so)
  • Would you like Network Streaming?
  • Do you want High Quality/Low Power or Consumer Quality/High Power.

The Marantz are very nice amps, but with modest power.

I tend to recommend Yamaha because they are very high value.



The Yamaha RN602 is 80w/ch with Bluetooth, DAC, Phono, and Network Streaming,...

Here is a 100w/ch amp with DAC, though a bit above budget -


Steve/bluewizard
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I'd question if that rn602 is "really" more powerful than a marantz pm6005. All jokes aside, I do have marantz, but absolutely no brand loyalty. I had a yamaha (av receiver) running two channels that was supposed to be 100 wpc before I had the marantz, it was less powerful.
 

Cribbster

Active Member
At that budget I would say the Rotel A11 Tribute has to be worth a look too. I have a pretty vintage RA935 amp that has been going strong since I bought it new off Noah. They are not the sexiest brand around but I have come to appreciate its neutral and no fuss delivery. Currently paired with some B&W CM6 S2 speakers and that's a nice combination. Previously it was driving some Tannoy (almost the same vintage) speakers - another satisfying combination. I am looking for a new amp and am really struggling to find something that is a noticeably, significant upgrade to the sound.
 

Cribbster

Active Member
Having actually re-read your original post after posting my first reply, what is your primary role for the amp? Do you watch more television than listen to music? What do you value most? Quality sound for music listening or a more immersive TV watching experience? If the balance is more towards the latter, then I would strongly consider looking at an AV receiver rather than a hifi amp. And I would then probably start with the Yamaha range as, to my ears, they have a better quality sound and should still sound pretty reasonable playing music. The advantage of the AV receiver is that you can easily hook up a Sub to get the deeper sounds but it will also do a better job at splitting the sound channels - even if you are only using a 2 or a 2.1 setup. We used to use the hifi amp for the TV (massively better than the built in speakers, obviously) but the difference in quality when we went with the Yamaha AV amp was quite noticeable.

From recent hifi amp auditions, I have to say I was quite impressed with the Marantz sound as well. Ok, so it was a more expensive amp (PM8006) and I was comparing it to the Audiolab 6000A and MF M2si, so not quite a like for like comparison.
 

AudioJosh

Active Member
Having owned amps from Yamaha (A-S501 & A-S701), Marantz (PM6006UK) and Cambridge (CXA80) I prefered the Yamaha sound out of all of them although they are all great amps in the own way. Purely personal preference though. The Cambridge was too bright and clinical for my liking (although this translates to being exciting for other people) and the Marantz coloured the sound too much in my opinion although this means a more musical and enjoyable sound to others. I like the more neutral and raw balanced sound the Yamaha produces. So it really depends what type of sound you're after and what unit will compliment your speakers. For example if your speakers are naturally a bit bright then I'd steer clear of Cambridge.

If you're used to the Marantz PM6005 I don't think you can go far wrong if you can find a good second hand deal. I own a Marantz CD6005 which is a great unit and I see no point in upgrading to the CD6006/7.

You mention the Yamaha R-N602 so are you after streaming as well? As this changes things as Yamaha do put out high value all in one boxes if you're looking to go down that route. The Yamaha R-N803 would be a very good shout if you can find one for £500'ish (Peter Tyson might stock them?). My friend has one and it is very good for the price. Marantz NR1200 looks good as well if you're after streaming.
 
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bag head

Active Member
I'm looking for an amplifier to replace my old onkyo 2.1 receiver, to be used for listening to music streaming (spdif or optical required) and also connecting to a 65"TV.

My speakers are entry level Cambridge Audio SX-80 which with a Marantz PM6005 amplifier that I had a quick test with make a pretty decent sound especially compared to the onkyo.

So I'm looking for an amp, less than £500. In an ideal world possibly something I can stream Bluetooth music to but only if it does not compromise the quality of the amplifier.

Although the Marantz PM6005 is now 2 generations old I'm still impressed with the output quality. I'm sure the PM6007 will be an upgrade but it's not necessarily something that I require. Does anyone have any real world experience on how say a Yamaha RN602 or a Cambridge Audio AXR100 might sound when compared to the PM6005?

In an ideal world a visit to a hi-fi shop would be helpful but COVID is not helping me with that.

Opinions and advice welcome.
Real-world on the Yamaha RN602 - out of stock at RS until at the earliest mid-January.
I think the chap said they had 30 arriving with lots pre-ordered and pre-purchased so the chances are they'll be OOS again soon (not sure if that was my local shop or UK).
 

bag head

Active Member
The Yamaha R-N803 would be a very good shout if you can find one for £500'ish (Peter Tyson might stock them?).
Only place I could see them at a reasonable price was Peter Tyson (£589)
According to RS they are discontinued which might explain why PT are bundling them with speakers.
 

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