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Any thoughts on Denon PMA 1600NE ?

GLYD

New member
Jan 29, 2018
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0
Hi,

I am interested in this amplifier to use with my Revel Concerta2s .. I could not find much reviews or opinions on web about this amplifier. Just an article in Hi-Fi choice as a group test winner against Hegel H90, Arcam FMJ 39, Yamaha AS 1100, Technics and NAD .. that’s some quite strong competitors actually.

anyone owns this amp or had a chance to listen ?

Thanks.
 

Al ears

Moderator
GLYD said:
Hi,

I am interested in this amplifier to use with my Revel Concerta2s .. I could not find much reviews or opinions on web about this amplifier. Just an article in Hi-Fi choice as a group test winner against Hegel H90, Arcam FMJ 39, Yamaha AS 1100, Technics and NAD .. that’s some quite strong competitors actually.

anyone owns this amp or had a chance to listen ?

Thanks.
No but that HiFi Choice review was a bit of an eye opener. I don't you'll go far wrong with it if it has all the facilities you require. Always best to audition if you can though.
 

jimmy1

New member
Nov 5, 2013
17
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0
I've got the baby version pma720ae, its a little bright on new music but has well controlled bass and really good build quality, i can only imagine the pma1600 would be better in every way
 

ErwinC

New member
Nov 24, 2009
53
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I tested this amplifier about three weeks ago. The sound was good but the internal dac is not that great imo. I decided not to buy the amp mainly because i could not control the volume with the remote at lower volumes. The sound level increased/decreased several dB's with a light push on the remote.
 

stereoman

Well-known member
Mar 22, 2016
144
13
4,595
I am almost certain that you can buy it with sight and hearing unseen and unheard. They are great amps. Great sounding and the series developed for years. Implementing MOSFETs that give sparkling, sophisticated sound. I heard Denon PMA 1520 AE. Really good and nice sound. Great build. All from 1000 series up are made in Japan. I would also look into the highest Pioneer models in this price range.
 

GLYD

New member
Jan 29, 2018
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stereoman said:
I am almost certain that you can buy it with sight and hearing unseen and unheard.
and that is what I did :) sold my Hegel H90 and yesterday I bought the Denon without any demo.. I had big questions since a demo was not possible and I was also cosidering the Yamaha AS 2100 .. I searched net for all the reviews and forum discussions I could find. Finally I was able to get better deal for the Denon and pulled the trigger. and whaaat a difference compared to Hegel and my Rega Brio.. My Revel's just transformed.. now sounding much like towers.. Amazing sound.. So expensive, with big soundstage to width.. Vocals specially is so engaging and real. Top end shines.. never hars or prominent.. Overall it sounds like a much powerful amplifier altough it is 70W. Hegel was 60W and Denon feels like much powerful compared to Hegel. It delivers very sweet, expensive body without loosing any detail or becoming boring to all the genres I listen to.. Only thing is sometimes the low end might be just a bit more pronaunced but easliy corrected with tone controls and never boomy or unctrolled.. Hegel was better at base control but also leaner, soulless.. and I also dont have the perfect position for speakers at the moment... Build quality is amazing.. Rega's shouls be ashamed. Every knob, switch is tight, solid and buttery smooth.. Zero play at Volume knob.. DAC is also very good.. I have cambridge 851N and I could not detect difference analog vs optic input. Althoug I was just able to listene breifly yesterday. In summery, it seems perfect match for my Revel Concerta F16s..

Highly recommended.
 
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Al ears

Moderator
GLYD said:
stereoman said:
I am almost certain that you can buy it with sight and hearing unseen and unheard.
and that is what I did :) sold my Hegel H90 and yesterday I bought the Denon without any demo.. I had big questions since a demo was not possible and I was also cosidering the Yamaha AS 2100 .. I searched net for all the reviews and forum discussions I could find. Finally I was able to get better deal for the Denon and pulled the trigger. and whaaat a difference compared to Hegel and my Rega Brio.. My Revel's just transformed.. now sounding much like towers.. Amazing sound.. So expensive, with big soundstage to width.. Vocals specially is so engaging and real. Top end shines.. never hars or prominent.. Overall it sounds like a much powerful amplifier altough it is 70W. Hegel was 60W and Denon feels like much powerful compared to Hegel. It delivers very sweet, expensive body without loosing any detail or becoming boring to all the genres I listen to.. Only thing is sometimes the low end might be just a bit more pronaunced but easliy corrected with tone controls and never boomy or unctrolled.. Hegel was better at base control but also leaner, soulless.. and I also dont have the perfect position for speakers at the moment... Build quality is amazing.. Rega's shouls be ashamed. Every knob, switch is tight, solid and buttery smooth.. Zero play at Volume knob.. DAC is also very good.. I have cambridge 851N and I could not detect difference analog vs optic input. Althoug I was just able to listene breifly yesterday. In summery, it seems perfect match for my Revel Concerta F16s..

Highly recommended.
Glad to hear you were brave enough to go with gut feeling and are enjoying your new toy. It is sometimes a route you have to go down if auditioning is impossible.
 

stereoman

Well-known member
Mar 22, 2016
144
13
4,595
GLYD said:
stereoman said:
I am almost certain that you can buy it with sight and hearing unseen and unheard.
and that is what I did :) sold my Hegel H90 and yesterday I bought the Denon without any demo.. I had big questions since a demo was not possible and I was also cosidering the Yamaha AS 2100 .. I searched net for all the reviews and forum discussions I could find. Finally I was able to get better deal for the Denon and pulled the trigger. and whaaat a difference compared to Hegel and my Rega Brio.. My Revel's just transformed.. now sounding much like towers.. Amazing sound.. So expensive, with big soundstage to width.. Vocals specially is so engaging and real. Top end shines.. never hars or prominent.. Overall it sounds like a much powerful amplifier altough it is 70W. Hegel was 60W and Denon feels like much powerful compared to Hegel. It delivers very sweet, expensive body without loosing any detail or becoming boring to all the genres I listen to.. Only thing is sometimes the low end might be just a bit more pronaunced but easliy corrected with tone controls and never boomy or unctrolled.. Hegel was better at base control but also leaner, soulless.. and I also dont have the perfect position for speakers at the moment... Build quality is amazing.. Rega's shouls be ashamed. Every knob, switch is tight, solid and buttery smooth.. Zero play at Volume knob.. DAC is also very good.. I have cambridge 851N and I could not detect difference analog vs optic input. Althoug I was just able to listene breifly yesterday. In summery, it seems perfect match for my Revel Concerta F16s..

Highly recommended.
Great !
 

Volvo_760

New member
Aug 9, 2016
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0
0
Dear Glyd,

I also have the Denon PMA-1600ne. Really glad you are happy with your purchase.
I have heard the Denon paired with Focal Chorus 714 and it sounded so sweet even at low volumes that i just ordered one half an year ago.

Unfortunately, it does not pair well with my Tannoy Mercury 7.4. The Tannoys just sound dry with the Denon. Reading the "poor" review of whathifi about the Mercury 7.4 I decided to try it with the "5 star" Tannoy Revolution XT 8F but again the sound was very dry. I have tried several sources but it always sounded dry to me. By the way, I always obtained best results when listening through it's internal dac. Especially when connected through USB, not coaxial or optical.
I would assume that either the speakers are overdamped by the amplifier or this match results in overdetailed/dry sound.

By the way, the Revolution XT 8F sounded great with Naim 5si, or something like that.

So, if you own Tannoy speakers and don't like dry sound, better avoid the Denon. My Tannoys sound amazingly with old Sansui and Marantz amplifiers from the 70's.
Would say that thus matched they would easily outperform many expensive audio systems in almost every aspect.

I have also tried the Denon with "5 star" Q Acoustics 3050 and was not impressed by the sound either. But I would rather blame the Q Acoustics. The Q Acoustics are good allrounder with a bit poor built quality. Once you switch to a classical symphonic orchestra you would soon realize that they lack the scale and the detail of the Tannoys. One more reason not to trust paid reviews.
Both Q Acoustics and Tannoys sounded a bit more fluid with a Yamaha R-N600 which is a great stereo receiver for its price. Of course, the Yamaha lacked a bit in the lowest frequency range compared to the Denon.

The built quality of the Denon inside is amazing. The only two amplifiers I would consider at this price range are the Marantz PM8005 and the Yamaha A-S1100.

Didn't bought the Marantz only because the lack of internal DAC. Really tired of matching DACs with AMPs, AMPs with speakers... The price difference in Germany was so small between the two amps that I decided to go for the simple solution. I am pretty sure that the Denon is the better built amp, but still think that the Marantz is more universal when pairing with speakers. I love the Marantz sound. Even their cheapest amps bear the Marantz sound tradition, though having some shortage of depth (PM6005) compared to the bigger models.

Didn't bought the Yamaha A-S1100 because I was a bit afraid of that bright sound everybody is talking about. I have heard a few Yamahas and neither of them sounded bright to me. I am not impressed by the sound of any but probably it is a matter of matching again. I have always respected Yamaha for offering the best built quality for the price. I would say that the Yamaha A-S1100 is not only the best built amp at that price but also the best looking. Of course, the last one is very subjective. Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to audition one and bought the Denon.

So, now I should find a good match for the Denon PMA-1600ne. I know it sounds nice with Focal Chorus but I find them quite overpriced.
Plus, I am begining to think that narrow baffled tower speakers are more for surround sound than stereo music. Think that design should not compromise function.
I would probably try some DIY speakers like the Seas a26.
If you have any pairing experience with the Denon PMA-1600ne, please let me know.
 

Volvo_760

New member
Aug 9, 2016
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0
0
Some good news for the Tannoy users or maybe for the pc users:)
Yesterday I installed the Denon again and began fiddling with the problem. Your post is the main reason for this:)

Think I have managed to get rid of the dry sound. I downloaded the Denon DAC white paper file again and noticed that when I connect the DAC through USB cable and choose ASIO streaming mode to bypass the PC DSP things sound quite different.

I will confirm that tomorrow morning because I might have got used to the sound after several hours listening.
 

Volvo_760

New member
Aug 9, 2016
0
0
0
Yes, now it is just fine as long as you play at least flac file type.

The only problem left is that you should turn a bit more the volume to make them sound really well.

That is not the case with the old amps from the 70's.
Should I buy a more sensitive pair of speakers or am I missing something again?:)
 

GLYD

New member
Jan 29, 2018
2
1
0
Hi,

I use the Denon with Revel M16's and the synergy is great, I am very very happy.. I never would describe them as "dry".. I have tried Rega's and Hegel's.. was never happy with the Hegel.. Rega Elex was more fun compared to Hegel but build quality had issues. I have both Cambridge Azur 851N and Bluesound Node 2 streamers. In begining I thought 851N's and Denon's DAC were comparable but as I listened ( and maybe as Denon settled in after burn in ) I favor Denon DAC mostly.. it has more lively sound. Vocals specially fantastic. Sometime I use Node 2's built in dac when streaming MQA files though..

Another suprising improvement were the Q accustic concept speaker stands.. I had B&W and Atacama stands but the Concept's has much better isolation properties.. Significant improvement to bass control and clarity.. I highly recommend them. What HiFi review for them is spot on..

In short, after loosing quite some cash selling equipments to find the magic synergy .. I can say now I am at the sweet spot.. from now on, I do not plan for any major up grades..

I would also suggest you to check other cables.. as speaker cables ; I have gone through QED XT40, QED Revelation, AudioQuest FLEX 14/4, and DH Labs Q10 Signature.. DH Labs has made immersive difference.. Much more musical and open sound then the others.. Revelation and FLEX 14/4 had the most "dry" sound.

And I use DH Labs Glass Master Optilink cable. My trusted dealer suggested them to me highly and I was not dissapointed. It is the best optical cable I have used.. More organic, analog sound compared to any of my coax & analog cables.
 

Volvo_760

New member
Aug 9, 2016
0
0
0
Hi Glyd,

To be honest, I am not able to tell any difference between speaker cables, as long as the cable is decent quality and diameter. I use Real Cable tdc 200F - 2 meters for each speaker. Nothing special. Have tried a few others. Think it works just fine.
I can find some sound difference in the RCA cables. Suppose that it is usually due to different resistance and quality.
The closer to analogue sound I get by connecting the DAC through coaxial 75 Ohm (spdif) cable. A bit warmer, more dynamic and less detailed sound.
With the optical cable (toslink) i get similar sound but more brighter and less dynamic.
Now I use the USB cable only, because it is the only way to bypass the DSP of the computer. The sound quality is noticeably better than the above two. With the above two I am almost sure that you cannot experience the real potential of the Denon's internal DAC.

Think that this is the only way to avoid any sound signature of the source. In my case - the PC sound card.

Unfortunately, I have never had the chance to listen to Revel speakers. Really happy you have found a good match.

I also had to change several amps and receivers, but still cannot improve my first combination - old Sansui with the Tannoy Mercury 7.4. In fact I have changed 5 new and tested about 20 more at home that belonged to friends. I am not saying that I have found the perfect match. It lacks the focus and the clear sound textures of the new amps when feeded with extremely high quality signal, but has an amazing sound stage, a warm, deep and huge (very important to me) sound, with a bit forward vocals and very soft and clear (not very detailed) high frequencies. The best thing is that I can play everything and nothing would sound annoying. Youtube, Deezer, poor quality movies (very comprehensive speach) ... On the other hand - high quality music sounds very clear and beautiful, though it lacks the detail of the Denon.

Really glad that the Q Acoustic stands work fine. There are also relatively cheap focal stands. I am quite used to floorstanding speakers and don't have experience in the bookshelf sphere. Have heard that it is easier to make bookshelves sound at home, but I miss the sound of the big speakers. Next speakers would be at least with 10 inch membranes.

Wish you health and many great hours of listening pleasure with your new purchase!
Thank you very much for sharing your experience!
 

nn_in

Well-known member
Feb 23, 2015
33
6
10,545
Just ordered 1600 NE .Any info folks can share on what speakers they have paired with would be valuable.Iam now using a DNP800NE ,PMA 600 NE and Wharfedale 11.2
 

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