Chrisjohnwright wrote:I've got a loved but ancient combination of Marantz CD52SE, Arcam Alpha amp and Mission 752 floor standers. Setup works fine but am thinking about getting into the new millennium with Marantz 6004 amp and 6004 CD player. 1, Do you think I'll see an improvement? And 2. Will this new combination still work with the same speakers?
I've got a loved but ancient combination of Marantz CD52SE, Arcam Alpha amp and Mission 752 floor standers. Setup works fine but am thinking about getting into the new millennium with Marantz 6004 amp and 6004 CD player. 1, Do you think I'll see an improvement? And 2. Will this new combination still work with the same speakers?
I'm inclined to agree with those above who say keep the 752s. Mission were making outstandingly good speakers in the early 90s. I had some 781 stand mounts I bought in 1993 with a CD52mkII SE and a Denon PMA 250. I bought a NAD C370 amp and NAD C541 CD player second hand on eBay (for comparatively little money) a few years back and they brought a completely new lease of life to my speakers - they really, really sang for me.
Some good second hand kit from a few years back (you'll be able to do better than the 6004s), but keeping your speakers, might be a really interesting proposition.
Think you've got a lot of options open to you. Good luck!
It's all subjective of course but I really don't think swapping-out a CD52SE for a CD63KI wil make a staggering difference.
I'm inclined to agree about the CD player. But he would benefit from changing the Alpha 2, it's OKish, an Alpha 9 would be a big step up IMO.
Ok so my thinking based on the advice is, I'll keep the 752s, look out for a Marantz 63 SE / KI, but on the amp, would £200 for an Alpha9 be a better buy than the Marantz 6004 amp for around £240 new?
I had an Alpha 5 and about 2 years ago bought an Alpha 9 and there is a big difference in its performance, it grips and drives speakers better and there is a good improvement in the general sound quality.
If you are patient £200 will buy you a very good example , look out for ones that have had a bit of a service as the input controls can get a bit crackly on them but that is the only issue.
Alpha 10's are also meant to be great but I have not heard one.
The other amp to consider is the NAD c370 also previously mentioned which is similar to the Arcam , slightly less warm, cleaner delivery with more power and slightly more bass, for the same money maybe a little more, I also bought one of these last year as I was intrigued how it sounded and it is also staying with me.
The last point to consider and am not sure if you mentioned it was if you listen to music via your computer at all, 2 years ago I certainly didn't but do a lot now, if so as again someone mentioned this could be a factor inyour choice.
I am sure you will enjoy your upgrade, you never know you might get the bug, I love my old Mission 720's but when I hooked up my Alpha 9 I realised they had their limits despite giving me years of enjoyment before.
Good Luck and have fun.
Take the CD player in for a service with a reputable and experienced servicer. One such service guy can be found at
CPT Acoustics. (No affiliations!)
The Alpha2 is the week link in the chain, an Alpha9 would be a solid upgrade. £200-£250 on fleabay should get you a nice one.
As for your speakers I would look at upgrading the crossovers and replacing the internal cabling. They are great speakers but could be better for very little investment. Wilmslow Audio could help you out there.
I think you should buy the new Marantz combo. It's such incredible value and will be trouble free for years. Then think about changing the spekers. Vintage budget Arcam gear, doesn't represent value for money. These old Alphas should only be bought for around 50-100 at most.
I bought a Marantz 6004 amp last year and it was a dissapointment. Average sound and poor build quality. Over priced but well marketed.
The 752s are excellent. Your CD player is excellent.
In my opinion, a NAD C370 or C350 would be a very good match. (As others have already mentioned.). Then in future keep your eye out for a C270 power amp. I used to own the C350/C270 combo, and still regret selling it. I used it to biamp just about every decent speaker Mission made in the 90s (bit of a Mission nut, sorry...) including 752s, and with the exception of the recent 781 (ceramic bass drivers), they all sounded stunning.
I'd recommend a bit of Van Damme Studio Blue 6mm speaker cable and some good interconnects too- Chord Crimson or Atlas Equator would do it- if you haven't already got decent cables, that is...
Might even be worth re-capping the 752s. IIRC they use bipolar electrolytic capacitors, which do degrade over time.
I have recapped my speakers recently (albeit not Missions), and the overall improvement in detail and tone was quite profound.
EDIT Just re-read my post. I think that's the first time I've ever used the word 'profound' on an internet forum. :O
YEs there seem to be quite a few disappointed 6004 buyers, read the opinions under the review, also complaints of underpowered and users switching from old gear are underwhelmed, for me I would go for the Alpha 9, probably better built and last just as long. As for cables yes Van Damme would be my choice but try the OFC speaker cable which is even better than the Blue and costs about £4 per metre (2.5mm).
Ok so the update to he above is...
Have decided to keep the 752s, will prob get them recapped as suggested.
Have replaced the CD52 with CD63SE as the tray mechanism was clunky, wasn't expecting any noticeable difference but have to say think the 63 fractionally warmer.
So all that remains is the amp, am definitely going to replace the old Alpha 2, but the choice boils down to old or new. Alpha 9s are looking at c. £200 on eBay so the choice within the budget of around £250 is
Used Arcam Alpha 9
New Marantz 6004
New Yamaha AS500
What do you think?
Used Arcam Alpha 9 (but not heard the Yamaha)
12Designs wrote:Used Arcam Alpha 9 (but not heard the Yamaha)
Personally the Alpha 9 is clearly superior to the Marantz 6004, 7004 and 8004, and I suspect superior to the Yamaha. It may also depend on the sound you prefer. I found the Alpha 9 to have good detail and soundstage, with great separation. It's reputation is for being warm and laid back, but I had mine paired with a Rotel CD player and some speakers that were anything but laid back, and I got an impression of it being overly warm.