I'm a student so on a budget of around 100-200 and I'll be buying second hand so what power amps should I be looking at?
I quite like the look of the cambridge audio 640a V2
The Cambridge Audio range is usually pretty good, do you already have a pair of speakers to go with it?
Andy Clough is Brand Editor of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision and whathifi.com
Are you looking for a power amp or an integrated? The title says integrated. You then ask what power amps you should be looking at, and just to muddy the question some more, you list an integrated amp you like the look of.
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I have some pretty standard bookshelf speakers so I'm looking for new speakers aswell and I've been offered some Mordaunt-Short MS908's for £70 but I can't find too much information on them. Do you know anything?
Yeah I see what I've done there, I mean integrated amplifiers however if there's a power amp and pre-amp set up that's better for the money I will look at that however in my price range I doubt that's the case.
If you are buying new and your top budjet is just £200, get a denon PMA720AE ! Its even got a loudeness and tone control if you want to go silly on the bass (hides away)
As I've got no problem with going second hand, I think you can get a lot more for the money so it'd be stupid to buy new really? But then I don't want to be looking at a 30 year old, ugly amplifier, if that's a bit stupid of me...
Having bought all sorts of amps at all sorts of prices, both new and 2nd hand, I personally don't think you'll be able to beat the Denon recommended above for your budget, if you can get it at that price. It is a stunning amplifier. Its the first one I've heard that has truly gripped my speakers and got the best out of them.
Rega RP3/White Belt/Elys2 - Pioneer A-30 - Dali Zensor 3. (+ Denon DCD720AE for CDs)
Pioneer PL12D II - Sansui AU2200 - Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (+ Philips CD840 for CDs)
Mathew, do you think the Denon 720ae will match well with the Monitor Audio BX2s? How do you find its performance in the high frequencies and what about the phono stage, is it better than the one on the Marantz 6004?
How would you say the Denon amp compares to the marantz pm6004, CA 650a, Yamaha A-S50 or something similar?
The Denon should drive the BX2s well although it is hard for me to comment because I sold my BX2s on long before I got the Denon. I never liked the BX2s that much.
The Denon is a more open and dynamic listen than the Marantz PM6004, and works well with relatively natural sounding speakers. Regarding the phono stage, it is very good (better than my Cambridge 540P external stage). I never found much to complain about on the PM6004's phono stage either and I wouldn''t be surprised if they are the same part.
I've owned all three of those amps. The Yamaha A-S500 is a good amp but doesn't have the same rhythmic tightness as the Denon and lacks a little control at the top end. The CA 650A/651A I would say is more on a parr with the Denon, but the Denon has a more controlled bass. Every Cambridge amp I've heard has also had quite a noisy mains transformer - not an issue with the 720AE. The Marantz is smoother than the Denon - excellent in its own way, but I find it smooths things out a bit too much.
Ultimately you need to do some listening to make sure that whatever you buy suits you, your music, your system and your ears. I hope this feedback is helpful though.
Thanks for the reply, Mathewpiano. I currently own a Rotel RA-04- Bx2s combo and, while I do like it very much with certain music I, on the other hand, find it quite bright and agressive with some other music. I mainly listen to indie rock and, folk rock music and while "A Ghost is born" by Wilco sounds fantastic, "Songs fron Northen Ireland" by Teenage Fanclub or the self title Clap your Hands Say Yeah album sound close to harsh. I know it has to do with the tonal balance of the recordings, but I was wondering if I could tame a little bit that brightness with a new amp. This not only happens with CDs (I use a Denon DCD 710ae) but also with vinyls, as I have an At120/e mounted on my Technics 1200, which tracks very well and gives me nice clarity but leaning on the bright side.
I had the chance to audition both the Yamaha and the Denon with the BX2s and, overall I liked the Denon better, as the Yamaha sounded too soft for my ears, lacking the punch the Denon (and the Rotel) has in the botton end. The thing is that the two songs I tried in the audition were kind of easy to listen to, so I'm still not quite sure if the Denon will eventually be warmer or at least more neutral than the Rotel. Do you have any experience with the Rotel to compare?
Hi, yes I have had an RA-04SE but it is quite some time since I heard one. My initial response would be that the Denon is a cleaner sounding amp than the Rotel, but the only way to be totally sure about how much difference it will make with regards to brightness with your BX2s would be to re-audition with some more challenging tracks. I don't experience any excess brightness with the Denon coupled with my Quads, but then they are a more rounded sounding speaker than the BX2s. When I had B&W 685s with the Denon they sounded very impressive on a short listening session but became tiring over longer periods - so much so that I ended up pulling the Quads out of storage, which completely solved my problems.
There isn't an easy answer here. The RA-04 is a very good amplifier and you could just as easily solve your problems by exploring alternative speakers. The best sound I had from the Rotel was with a pair of Dali Lektor 2s - scarce now but well worth hunting down for a listen if you can.
From what I've read I think I'd agree, however I've been offered a CA 640a V2 with Mordaunt-short ms908's and gale speaker cable for 200 pounds. For this price I think I can't go wrong really? What do people think?
The 640a V2 was a very nice amp and, in some ways, I preferred it to the 650A. Just make sure you check the channel balance at lower volume levels as this could be an issue on these amps. I can't comment on the MS908s as I haven't heard them, but I've always liked the MS speakers I've owned (including some MS914i floorstanders which sounded lovely with a 640a V2).
If you go for it let us know how you get on.
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