Budget upgrade amp or speakers?

clanking

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Feb 6, 2023
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Hi,
New here and looking for some advice.

My current setup is a pair of Wharfedale Pacific Evo 40 floorstander speakers (bought in 2005/6) and a Yamaha RX V359 AV receiver. The Yamaha replaced a NAD C320BEE which died a couple of years ago and I feel is not really pulling its weight. I bought it because it was cheap and I didn't have a lot of money to spend. I am hooking it all up with optical out from the TV so they are the TV speakers as well as for music through the TV via a Roku. I also have a bluetooth to optical adapter that can use AptX-HD for streaming from my phone to the optical in of the receiver. I'm prefering this method of music playback as it can do gapless playback which the roku can't. I'm mostly playing FLACs I've ripped on my local Emby server, but I digress.

I quite liked the NAD that died but feel it and the Yamaha might be struggling to drive the speakers at lower volume levels and perhaps they're too 'dark' to be a good match for my speakers, I feel the top end of cymbols sound flat. I feel that the whole thing doesn't come together and really shine until the volume is a tad too loud, so listening in the evenings or with other people in the house isn't ever getting the best results (that's 99.9% of the time). Is my room perfect for any of this? No. It has to be young kid and wife proof - see attached picture. But none of this is going to change anytime soon.

I mostly listen to rock, hard rock, 80s thrash, grunge with some pop/classical on occasion (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Megadeth, Smashing Pumpkins, Counting Crowes, Dinosaur Jr etc), - listening to the Talking Heads as I type this.

I don't have a big budget so can probably only change either the amp/speakers one at a time - one now and the other in 6+ months, up to £400 each.

I have been eyeing up the Marantx PM6007 as a replacement amp as something that's probably a big upgrade to my second hand AV receiver. Or would changing out the speakers be the better option? I have no idea when it comes to speakers so I'm open to suggestions.


TIA
 

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twinkletoes

Well-known member
Hi there, for all intents and purposess your speakers are actually pretty easy to drive.

I own the very NAD you owned and still use it in a second system to this day. It an amp I’ll never get rid of and will happily pay to have it repaired.

What I will say is the NAD is a very exciting listen and maybe the Yamaha is a more layed back listen and my experience of Wharfedale is they need some excitement to balance them out, the ying to there Yang! I think Id try and hunt down another NAD if it was me. As you know it’s a known entity. Should be able to find a decent one for around the 100quid mark. Or maybe step up to the c370.

failing that the usual suspects apply at around your budget give or take a 100quid if I was buying new id look rotel maybe. They tend to have a little more get up and go.

hope that helps
 

matthewpianist

Well-known member
NAD amplifiers are very good at low (and high) volume, and I agree with @twinkletoes that hunting another one down could be the best and most cost efficient way forward. The C320BEE is excellent, as you know, as is the similar C325BEE. I had one of the latter years ago and it's one of the most enjoyable amps I've ever had, as was the C368 I regret selling. You also couldn't go wrong with a C316BEE V2. Don't be put off by its low price, it's a little powerhouse with plenty of drive and the closest in the current range to the C320/C325.

The most similar I've found to the NAD sound is my current Leak Stereo 130. Paired with the JBLs I have, it is superb at all volumes and the best sound I've had for low-level late night listening.

If you want something different the Marantz PM6007 is a good choice but has a different approach to the above.
 

matthewpianist

Well-known member
The Yamaha is a nice amp, but I found it useless for low volume listening. The variable loudness is a gimmick at best, and there's a sudden step in volume around 7-8 o'clock on the volume control.

The K2 is however a good shout.
 
The Yamaha is a nice amp, but I found it useless for low volume listening. The variable loudness is a gimmick at best, and there's a sudden step in volume around 7-8 o'clock on the volume control.

The K2 is however a good shout.
The Yam 500 I heard with Kef R300s, sounded fine at lower volumes.

I took the Leema around to this guy in my village to compare, and there was a very noticeable difference as expected given the price difference, but those Wharfedales should be decent at lower volumes, if my old RS6s were anything to go by.
 

matthewpianist

Well-known member
The Yam 500 I heard with Kef R300s, sounded fine at lower volumes.

I took the Leema around to this guy in my village to compare, and there was a very noticeable difference as expected given the price difference, but those Wharfedales should be decent at lower volumes, if my old RS6s were anything to go by.

It sounds fine, but the jump in the volume control makes it difficult to set the appropriate volume level. Most other amps have much better controls.
 
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It sounds fine, but the jump in the volume control makes it difficult to set the appropriate volume level. Most other amps have much better controls.
If he can find a Leema on the auction site -- don't often come up though -- that would be the answer.

The only NADs I've heard was the 352 when I purchased the A65+, and the Arcam, although not as ballsy as the NAD, had a more open soundstage. A couple of years later heard the 370 - a real powerhouse but the same tonal qualities as the 352.
 

matthewpianist

Well-known member
If he can find a Leema on the auction site -- don't often come up though -- that would be the answer.

The only NADs I've heard was the 352 when I purchased the A65+, and the Arcam, although not as ballsy as the NAD, had a more open soundstage. A couple of years later heard the 370 - a real powerhouse but the same tonal qualities as the 352.

Sounds like a fair assessment of Arcam Vs NAD to me. I also had an A65+ and loved the expansive and natural qualities of the sound. I did find it a bit sleepy sounding at times.
 
Sounds like a fair assessment of Arcam Vs NAD to me. I also had an A65+ and loved the expansive and natural qualities of the sound. I did find it a bit sleepy sounding at times.
Loved the A65+, but could struggle especially if there was a ohms dip with the speakers. The RS6s were a great tonal match but they could dip to around 2.5 ohms.
 
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clanking

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I think Id try and hunt down another NAD if it was me. As you know it’s a known entity. Should be able to find a decent one for around the 100quid mark. Or maybe step up to the c370.

failing that the usual suspects apply at around your budget give or take a 100quid if I was buying new id look rotel maybe. They tend to have a little more get up and go.

hope that helps

Thank you for replying. The thing that puts me off buying the same thing again is twofold really. Firstly my main inputs are now 2 optical connections so I'd need a DAC on top of the amp to do that. Secondly I'm sure there must be better options around now, 20 years later. Plus I'd be worried about needing to get it recapped and an expensive service. Fairly new or new with warranty would be nice.

I've looked at the Rotel A11, but the lack of digital inputs has put me off.

In regard to speakers, are you wedded to floor standers or would you consider standmounts?

I'm not fixated on floorstanders, I've just found them to be very solid and they take up the same amount of room as a bookshelf on a stand, so why not.
 

clanking

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After some further research and a possible acceptance that maybe I can spend a bit more to get a lot more, I've discovered the Audiolab 6000A integrated amp, which seems to tick a lot of boxes and get some very good reviews, especially around its DAC. I had also looked at the Cambridge Audio CXA61 at a similar price and spec. From the comparisons I heard on the Tubes of Yous (with all the caveats that brings), the Audiolab sounded a lot cleaner and clearer, which I liked.

What I haven't seen is a comparison between it and a £300 range amp. I'm assuming it's night and day difference between the Audiolab at £600 and the Marantz PM6007 at £350? Or is it not worth it unless I'm going over £1k?
 

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