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Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

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francophile's picture
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Hi all,

I recently bought this budget system :  Marantz CD6004, Yamaha AS500 amp, Dynaudio DM 2/6 speakers, (plus Sennheiser HD650 headphones), cables are QED Flat 79 taken from my old system.   

I listen exclusively to classical music, and particularly chamber music - string quartets, solo piano, etc and quite a lot of orchestral music.  My room is about 9 ft x 15ft and quite full of books, office furniture, cutained window, carpeted floor, armchair.

Basically the sound I am getting is too bright, particularly at the treble end - violins and piano sound shrill - and uncomforable to listen to; my guess is the amp needs to be replaced with something much warmer in sound.  I am restricted to budget level or maybe a little above and would buy secondhand; initial investigations have suggested maybe an Arcam or Nad amp, Yamaha AS700, or a secondhand Quad.  I have an old Arcam Alpha 3 and am wondering whether this would, as a stop-gap, drive my speakers.

  I live in rural France, where auditioning in a real problem, so any advice, recommendations (apart that is from "move house"!) will be very wecome.

francophile's picture
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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

Er....that should be 'replacement'.

 Terrible speller, this keyboard.

BigH's picture
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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

Try the Arcam 3 first see what difference that makes.

 

Having read some reviews of the Dyns it could be the amp as they do say the treble is not harsh, also say they need a powerful amp to drive them.

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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

I would be inclined to look in the Arcam direction, possibly at an end-of-line deal on the A18, although do be sure to listen first as you might find it a little plodding sounding after the Yamaha.  Alternatively you might want to explore second hand A65+ or an Alpha 8 or 9, thought be careful to check input selector switches on Alpha models as these are prone to failure.

A NAD C326BEE might make a good buy and has a little more pep than the A18.  Certainly it won't give you the brightness of the Yamaha and it should drive the Dyns well.  The Marantz PM6004 would also be worth a listen.

 

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Covenanter's picture
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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

I have the CD6004 with the PM6004 and that is great for classical.  You'd need to hear it with your speakers.

Chris

BigH's picture
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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

On a budget I would be inclined to go for  a used one like the NAD mentioned above or even better if you can find them:  Arcam Alpha 9, Arcam Alpha 10, NAD C370.

 

The 6004 amp. is maybe a bit lightweight for your speakers.

francophile's picture
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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

Thank you all for your quick and helpful responses.

 

When researching a suitable system I decided on the Yamaha instead of the Marantz only at the last minute, partly influenced by some comments on the Amazon site.  I think Chris that you must also have made a good choice of speakers.  Tricky business getting it right, isn't it, especially as there's such a range of choice, plus the crucial factor of personal taste/preference - and living in the dead centre of nowhere virtually excludes me from auditioning.

 

 You seem to be in agreement, BigH and Matthewpiano, on Arcam and Nad amps, so I shall certainly follow up your suggestions, probably in favour of the Arcams.  Matthewpiano's posts beforehand have been an influence on my original choice of a system, so thanks for that, too.  

 

As yet no-one seems to have experience of the Yamaha AS700; my interest in it comes partly from a review on Amazon by a classical music listener, who wrote of it as 'warm' and 'mellifluous' etc.,  and though What HiFi's reviewer was not over-impressed by it, reviews elsewhere have been favourable.

 

  Anyway, I'll hook up the Arcam 3 and compare - thanks again, BigH - before sending back the AS500.

 

  I will be very happy to receive further suggestions, whether of other alternatives or confirming those already posted.

MeanandGreen's picture
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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

You can't go wrong with NAD for budget amps IMO. Always a refined and solid sound from NAD kit. 

Second hand I'd look at the C340, C350, C352, C370 and C326BEE. You can get the C326BEE new as well.

I own the C350 and C326BEE they are never harsh and produce a BIG sound.

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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

You can't go wrong with NAD for budget amps IMO. Always a refined and solid sound from NAD kit. 

Second hand I'd look at the C340, C350, C352, C370 and C326BEE. You can get the C326BEE new as well.

I own the C350 and C326BEE they are never harsh and produce a BIG sound.

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NAD C326BEE Amplifier, Sony CDP-XB930 CD Player, Pioneer PDR-509 CD Recorder, Arcam irDock with iPod Touch, Tannoy Mercury V4 speakers, 2x Tannoy HTS 101 subwoofers, Revolver Rack, QED/Cambridge Audio cabling throughout, Sennheiser HD 518 Headphones, Beyerdynamic DTX-101iE ear buds.

MeanandGreen's picture
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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

<p><p><span style="background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0);">You can't go wrong with NAD for budget amps IMO. Always a refined and solid sound from NAD kit.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0);">Second hand I'd look at the C340, C350, C352, C370 and C326BEE. You can get the C326BEE new as well.</span></p><p>I own the C350 and C326BEE they are never harsh and produce a BIG sound.</p></p>

 

Seriously what is it with these forums at times? So unreliable.

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NAD C326BEE Amplifier, Sony CDP-XB930 CD Player, Pioneer PDR-509 CD Recorder, Arcam irDock with iPod Touch, Tannoy Mercury V4 speakers, 2x Tannoy HTS 101 subwoofers, Revolver Rack, QED/Cambridge Audio cabling throughout, Sennheiser HD 518 Headphones, Beyerdynamic DTX-101iE ear buds.

BigH's picture
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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

This is the worse site, so many double posts, blank post etc. And so slow to. 

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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

Ditto, NAD

CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

Arcam, Rega and Nad - would also be my choice.

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francophile's picture
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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

Thanks for the further suggestions.

 

I sent back the Yamaha and hooked up the Arcam 3, an old amp but well-recommended in its time; I'm not too familiar with hi-fi jargon but after the AS500 it sounded rather veiled and withdrawn, but fairly stable in quality across the registers, with the treble noticeably easier on the ears.  

The Yahama is probably a very good amp for other kinds of music than the stuff I like, it had good definition in the middle and lower registers and also great clarity compared with the Arcam; listening to orchestral music on the Yamaha, and knowing fairly well the standard placings of the instruments, I didn't find it easy to 'place' them (if that makes sense) in the Yamaha's sound space (is that what 'soundstage' is?).  Listening to string quartet CD's I found the Yamaha's sound very immediate and close, with very pleasing distinction between the instruments, however the Arcam handled the high notes with greater equanimity and I felt it was the more forgiving of the two amps, though I suppose this could also mean 'less discriminating'

 

  I read an excellent review of the Nad C350 which praised this amp's ability to reproduce accurately the different timbres of orchestral instruments, not something (it seems) that all, or even many, amps can do.  I wondered whether the C370 and Arcam A18 can - I have seen these amps for sale new & secondhand recently, and these 3 amps are the ones I have focussed down to.

therecruiter's picture
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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

Instead of the Arcam 3 look out for an Arcam Alpha 9; so much more better and better than the NAD C350 as well as the NAD C320BEE and C352 amps would work very well indeed as well as would a Rega Brio 3

 

As you've said the Yamaha AS500 is fairly bright and clinical. The Marantz PM6004 is a great amp and would work well with your Dynaudios but it'll not get the absolute best out of them but for normal listening levels and even a bit louder it'll do very well indeed.

 

The NAD C326BEE is a very good amp also and can still be bought new so maybe worth having a demo before you buy but you may find it can be a little too bass heavy at times...

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francophile's picture
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RE: Budget repalcement amp for classical - advice please

therecruiter,

 

thanks for your suggestions - the Arcam 3 is an old amp which I had already, I connected it up as a stop-gap until I find a suitable replacement; my apologies if I didn't make that clear.

 

Tha Alpha 9 doesn't seem too hard to find secondhand (unlike the A65, which can't be found for love nor money); in what ways do you think it it better than the Nad C350?  For the kind of music I listen to strong bass is not a primary requirement, warmth and clarity are more important.