Advice on amplifiers

Tiggerdog

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Jan 10, 2016
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Hello all,

I'm new to this forum and would greatly appreciate some advice. I would like to upgrade my amplifier as a 50th birthday present to myself- something I haven't done in 20 years! My current setup is as follows:

· Rotel RA-820AX amp

· Rotel RCD965BX CD player

· Linn Basik turntable with Akito arm and Goldring 1042 cartridge

· Ruark Prologue II floorstanding speakers

I love the warm, open sound of my system but I feel that it’s a lacking in grunt and depth. I play all types of music from baroque and classical through jazz, rock, blues and reggae to d ‘n’ b, electronica and dance music. The CD deck and turntable both get used, but I also like to stream audio from my iMac or phone.

I don’t want really want to spend more than £600 but could go to a grand at a push. New and second-hand are both in scope.

My current shortlist includes:

· NAD 356BEE (+phono stage)

· Arcam FMJ19

· Rotel RA-12

Advice, suggestions and opinions would be hugely appreciated.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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Hi. For that money, you should leave streaming for later and get a propper amp imo. If you can find a used Naim Supernait 1 within your budget, do not hesitate. Or Naim Nait XS2. If buying new, Naim Nait 5si or Arcam A29. Oh, and XTZ A100D3, which is the best amp I heard for that budget - it does Class A for the first 50W, then switches to AB. Mind you, though, it's a behemoth. It sounds almost like a Marantz, but with more grunt.

Mind you, the Naims don't have a phono stage, but it's the most musically satisfying brand I heard. Do try to audition everything you're considering, though, in your own home preferably. It makes a world of difference. Again, if it were me and buying new, Nait 5si + Rega Fono Mini A2D phono stage.
 

Tiggerdog

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Jan 10, 2016
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Thanks for the input. What's your opinion on the Rega Elex-r? Or perhaps a second hand Rega Elicit? Similar price point but no need for a separate phono stage ...
 

Blacksabbath25

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Sep 20, 2015
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marantz pm8005 £600 new you get a phono stage that comes with it free anyway has the grunt sounds warm , clean sound if you put it with the right speakers
 

rainsoothe

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Apr 30, 2012
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Tiggerdog said:
Thanks for the input. What's your opinion on the Rega Elex-r? Or perhaps a second hand Rega Elicit? Similar price point but no need for a separate phono stage ...

The only Rega I auditioned for myself was the Brio, and I never understood the hype. Oh, my bad, I also heard Rega Osiris and was also unimpressed. But it might tickle YOUR fancy, that's why auditioning for yourself is so important.

Naim is, imo, like Rotel a bit, but with way more soul and authority, and better feeling of rhythm then any brand I heard. Marantz is also worth a shot, but is not as ballsy as Naim. In my country, Nait 5si is on a promotional campaign or something, so it costs something like 840 pounds - thats why I thought one + phono stage would fit your budget.
 
Tiggerdog said:
Hello all,

I'm new to this forum and would greatly appreciate some advice. I would like to upgrade my amplifier as a 50th birthday present to myself- something I haven't done in 20 years! My current setup is as follows:

· Rotel RA-820AX amp

· Rotel RCD965BX CD player

· Linn Basik turntable with Akito arm and Goldring 1042 cartridge

· Ruark Prologue II floorstanding speakers

I love the warm, open sound of my system but I feel that it’s a lacking in grunt and depth. I play all types of music from baroque and classical through jazz, rock, blues and reggae to d ‘n’ b, electronica and dance music. The CD deck and turntable both get used, but I also like to stream audio from my iMac or phone.

I don’t want really want to spend more than £600 but could go to a grand at a push. New and second-hand are both in scope.

My current shortlist includes:

· NAD 356BEE (+phono stage)

· Arcam FMJ19

· Rotel RA-12

Advice, suggestions and opinions would be hugely appreciated.

If you really like the Rotel sound I'd suggest the newer 15 series. Don't think any of your above shortlist will disappoint, but if you want to push the boat out a little there's this Leema Elements with a built-in DAC.
 

stevebrock

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Nov 13, 2009
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Tiggerdog said:
Thanks for the input. What's your opinion on the Rega Elex-r? Or perhaps a second hand Rega Elicit? Similar price point but no need for a separate phono stage ...

Both these amps would excel with a TT based system - I am biased TBH but the Elicit R is a great and the phono stages in both these are excellent - Rega certainly know how build a phono stage.

Naim V Rega - go have a listen and decide for yourself

I really think getting a decent amp is really important - its the heart of your system
 

Tiggerdog

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Jan 10, 2016
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I'm going to audition the FMJ A29, the Rega Elex-R and the Nait 5si. Depending on the upselling skills of my dealer ;-) , I might also listen to the FMJ A39, the Ellicit-R and the Rotel RA1570.

I'll report back on my fgindings.
 

lindsayt

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Apr 8, 2011
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Sony TAF 770ES. Or some similar higher end 2nd hand amp. It all depends what you can find at what price. Look out for amps from the likes of Pioneer, Kenwood, Accuphase, Onkyo Integra, as well as Sony ES's.

Maybe a pre-power. Maybe an integrated. Just make sure it's the right mains voltage and it has a decent phono section. And go for something fully working, or something at a low low price that you know you can get fixed for a reasonable amount of money.

Check out German ebay.
 

Tiggerdog

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Jan 10, 2016
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... To complicate matters further, I've now seen a Roksan Kandy K2 BT that's in the right budget range. On paper this looks like a cracking amp (even if the looks takle a bit of getting used to!) but I'd be interested to know how you feel it stacks up against the others on my shorlist.
 

Leeps

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Dec 10, 2012
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I've not heard your Ruark Prologue 2's, but have had Ruark Epilogues for many years. If your Prologues have a similar house sound (albeit with the greater depth of a floorstander), then IMO the Ruarks greatest characteristics are their timing and detail. So with any amp you demo, you want to make sure these qualities aren't lost.

Another one you might consider is the Cambridge CXA80. Timing and detail are Cambridge strong points, although if you do demo, just look out whether the treble is a bit too bright for your taste. It's a fine balance that and will depend on your own ears as much as the amp itself.

Also in the area of bass control and timing at the low end, I do think your Ruarks would benefit a great deal from going up the ladder a little to amps that have sufficient current to do this, so I think your shortlist now ought to give the quality your Ruarks deserve. Certainly my Epilogues sounded wonderful on the end of a Roksan Kandy. The Kandy maintained the timing but make the top end very fluid and natural.

But you really can't beat a demo. £900 spent wisely in the long run might be a better bet than £500 spent poorly only to have that nagging feeling that it's not been the upgrade you were looking for. Please do report back on your demo findings as I'll be looking at similar amps myself at some point for the Epilogues.
 

rainsoothe

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Apr 30, 2012
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Leeps said:
But you really can't beat a demo. £900 spent wisely in the long run might be a better bet than £500 spent poorly only to have that nagging feeling that it's not been the upgrade you were looking for. Please do report back on your demo findings as I'll be looking at similar amps myself at some point for the Epilogues.

Yyyupp... But this seems like one of those things that most, even when advised, have to experience one time on their own before believing it :))

I mean... I know I did ^^
 

radiorog

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Jan 1, 2013
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Tiggerdog, the k2bt is a great sounding amp. But if I were you, and if you are saying you are willing to go to 1k, I would look at the k3. It's really a superb amp. The what HiFi review states it has better treble, but having listened to it now for 6 months or more, I would say its more than that. It's got better separation between instruments too I'm sure, and better detail. I believe whf gave it 5 stars for a very good reason (plus awards from other mags, HiFi choice).

I would give this one a listen and see what you think. But looking at this price range, you must then consider rega elex r, Hegel h80, and many other amps. Abrehamsen, Vincent (hybrid).
 

Freddy58

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Jan 24, 2014
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Tiggerdog said:
I'm going to audition the FMJ A29, the Rega Elex-R and the Nait 5si. Depending on the upselling skills of my dealer ;-) , I might also listen to the FMJ A39, the Ellicit-R and the Rotel RA1570.

I'll report back on my fgindings.

I have the 1570, and love it, so do try to have a listen. Great connectivity too
thumbs_up.gif
 

Tiggerdog

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Jan 10, 2016
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So I came to a decision. I went for the Roksan K2 BT. It sounds great with the Ruark Prologue II speakers, I love the integrated phono stage, and the bluetooth connectivity is a really nice add-on for streaming flac from my Mac. And, to quote the Stereophile review Stereophile: Roksan Kandy K2 integrated amplifier, "it's built like a Schick Brithouse". The "learning remote" is pretty cool too as I can now do away with all the separate remotes for my other components including tv and dvd player. So far, really enjoying it, and I think great vfm for £500 on a well known auction site. :)
 
K

keeper of the quays

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Tiggerdog said:
... To complicate matters further, I've now seen a Roksan Kandy K2 BT that's in the right budget range.  On paper this looks like a cracking amp (even if the looks takle a bit of getting used to!) but I'd be interested to know how you feel it stacks up against the others on my shorlist.

?

 
my Linn played nice when I had roksan kit..
 

radiorog

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Jan 1, 2013
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Tiggerdog said:
So I came to a decision. I went for the Roksan K2 BT. It sounds great with the Ruark Prologue II speakers, I love the integrated phono stage, and the bluetooth connectivity is a really nice add-on for streaming flac from my Mac. And, to quote the Stereophile review Stereophile: Roksan Kandy K2 integrated amplifier, "it's built like a Schick Brithouse". The "learning remote" is pretty cool too as I can now do away with all the separate remotes for my other components including tv and dvd player. So far, really enjoying it, and I think great vfm for £500 on a well known auction site. :)

Congratulations, a great amp. Did you get to demo any of the others you were looking at (how did they sound)?
 

Tiggerdog

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Jan 10, 2016
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... now thinking about upgrading the cd player :)

Possibly the matching Roksan Kandy K2. Any thoughts?
 

Andrewjvt

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Jun 18, 2014
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Tiggerdog said:
... now thinking about upgrading the cd player :)  

Possibly the matching Roksan Kandy K2.  Any thoughts?

I like the sound or performane of the k2 cd and you will like it im sure but why not get a dac instead?
 

Tiggerdog

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Jan 10, 2016
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Not sure that a DAC would serve much purpose. I'm sure that the DAC in the Roksan is up to scratch .... isn't it?
 

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