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To power amp or not to power amp

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p_m_brown's picture
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Evening all,

Very happy with the Arcam / Kef system at the moment but I have that niggling feeling that I can improve it with a power amp.

Anyone got experience with Arcam power amps? Keen to understand the before and after effect and indeed whether I need to stick to same brand power amps.

Apologies for my ignorance, I have no idea about power amps so any helpful guidance would be much appreciated.

beauty, eh

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Synology 212j, Sonos Connect, Leema Elements Dac, Pro-Ject Debut, Arcam A38, Kef R100, Chord cables

nopiano's picture
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RE: To power amp or not to power amp

It would help to know what you feel is lacking, or what you think a power amp would improve.

Generally, absolutely no need to stick to the same make (I once had a Meridian pre-amp and  Musical Fidelity power amp - a great combination).  However, most commonly the same make is chosen for visual appeal or consistency of sound 'signature'.  Spiltting pre-amp and power amp means you need more room, and gives opportunities to tweak cables at a price.

If you like Arcam's sound, then one of their power amps *might* be the best choice if you just want more of the same (which I rather doubt!).

 

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Hi-Fi: Krell KAV-300cd, Michell TecnoDec/RB250/Grado Prestige Black1, KAV-300i amp, Transparent balanced interconnects and bi-wire to Sonus faber Concerto grand piano speakers, Nakamichi ZX-7 cassette deck, Logitech Squeezebox Touch, Hitachi FT-5500 and Sony S570ES tuners, BCD Engineering stand, RA Powerlink, Chord powerchord, Grado SR60i cans.

AV: Sony Bravia KDL-32EX503 telly, BDP-S370 player with QED HDMI. Currently unused: Denon AVR-1705, DVD-1710, KEF KHT1005.2 

p_m_brown's picture
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RE: To power amp or not to power amp

Thanks nopiano. I like the set up at the moment, particularly the dynamics, the warmth and the clarity. That said, I can't help wondering if a poweramp will improve the bass punch and timing as well adding a touch more space to the recordings.

Space isn't too much of a problem as I have a couple of spare shelves on my hifi rack and I am not bothered about looks too much (as long as it is black or charcoal grey)

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Synology 212j, Sonos Connect, Leema Elements Dac, Pro-Ject Debut, Arcam A38, Kef R100, Chord cables

nopiano's picture
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RE: To power amp or not to power amp

With the setup in your sig, I can only suggest you try to find a dealer who'd let you try a poweramp at home.  Or to really test the boundaries, a completely different integrated amp.  But I wonder if your need might be satisfied with a pair of LS50 (assuming you are Ok with the looks and lack of grilles).  It will have the KEF traits you are familiar with but probably more transparent and articulate.  

I'm assuming you've already experimented with fine-tuning speaker positions, as this can make a lot of difference - and you already have good cables.

I suspect what you are seeking is too personal to be readily identified with an obvious solution by anyone here (me included!) so I suggest a bit of legwork around dealers.

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Hi-Fi: Krell KAV-300cd, Michell TecnoDec/RB250/Grado Prestige Black1, KAV-300i amp, Transparent balanced interconnects and bi-wire to Sonus faber Concerto grand piano speakers, Nakamichi ZX-7 cassette deck, Logitech Squeezebox Touch, Hitachi FT-5500 and Sony S570ES tuners, BCD Engineering stand, RA Powerlink, Chord powerchord, Grado SR60i cans.

AV: Sony Bravia KDL-32EX503 telly, BDP-S370 player with QED HDMI. Currently unused: Denon AVR-1705, DVD-1710, KEF KHT1005.2 

p_m_brown's picture
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RE: To power amp or not to power amp

Thanks again. Must admit, I am having trouble quantifying what is "wrong" with the sound because I am really enjoying it. But, as an avid tweaker, the poweramp thing is intriguing. 

Actually, speaker placement makes a massive difference - I found the bass a little overbearing recently, so I pulled the Kefs from the walls and not only bit I find the bass more articulate, the midrange improved a huge amount!

Anyone else out there added a poweramp to an Arcam integrated? P38, P85 etc? Was there a noticeable difference?

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Synology 212j, Sonos Connect, Leema Elements Dac, Pro-Ject Debut, Arcam A38, Kef R100, Chord cables

BigH's picture
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RE: To power amp or not to power amp

Only way is to try it out, but you maybe better off upgrading your speakers.

jiggyjoe's picture
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RE: To power amp or not to power amp

Got a decent hike in performance when I added a p85 to my system and bi-amped my speakers.  

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p_m_brown's picture
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RE: To power amp or not to power amp

BigH wrote:

Only way is to try it out, but you maybe better off upgrading your speakers.

 

Mmm, was thinking that. The Kefs sound way better with the A28 than they did with my ancient nad 302.

Guess I'll have to looking north of £800 to get a decent difference. Apart from the ATCs and Neats, what else should I get on the audition list?

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Synology 212j, Sonos Connect, Leema Elements Dac, Pro-Ject Debut, Arcam A38, Kef R100, Chord cables

BigH's picture
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RE: To power amp or not to power amp

p_m_brown wrote:

BigH wrote:

Only way is to try it out, but you maybe better off upgrading your speakers.

 

Mmm, was thinking that. The Kefs sound way better with the A28 than they did with my ancient nad 302.

Guess I'll have to looking north of £800 to get a decent difference. Apart from the ATCs and Neats, what else should I get on the audition list?

 

Just heard the Kef LS50s, I would put those on your list, also tried the PMC DB1 Golds, did not like them, very disappointing to be honest, that was with MF M3i cd/amp and heard the LS50s with MF and Audiolab 8200 cd/amp. There was much bigger difference between the speakers than the cd/amps.