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Cambridge vs Marantz

admin_exported

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Hi! Would be grateful for some help on a combo conundrum - basically, what's best: buying a Marantz CD6002 with a PM6002 amp or a Cambridge Audio Azur 640C with a 640A amp (both v 2.0)? Am I missing out on another brand in the same price range that's even better? And then, what about hooking up a budget turntable (say, Pro-ject Genie) to either of those - as far as understand it, I'd need a pre-amp for Cambridge but nothing for the Marantz? Grateful for any advice...

As for a final question, would I do better to wait out the Pioneer PDX-Z9 all-in-one system that's about to hit the market, rather than invest in either of these separate combos?

Thanks!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I hate to complicate... but mixing Marantz and Cambridge would also work. Mixing and matching has always worked better for me than the whole matching set scene. The only problem is it's not as pretty! All those matching boxes...

Seriously though, the CA and Marantz decks are both good. In this case I'd go for Marantz every time though, we just had the same question the other day and I don't think anyone chimed in to defend the Cambridge gear.

A few mentioned the NAD c315 C515 combo as an alternative. I'd err on that side if I was to make the purchase myself. -However-, I think the Marantz deck attached to the NAD amp would be the best possible combination in this price-strata. Ofcourse that's all very much up to personal taste, I just feel the Marantz cdp is the clear-out winner for construction standards, it's very well made.
And the nad c325bee amp is (i think its safe to say) generally held to have the best sound for that money. At least on this forum.
Anyway, it's more between the Marantz and Nad I think. Cambridge is very visible thanks to a good dealer network, but (having owned the 540c among others) I wouldn't put them on the same playing field in the lower price market as nad and marantz.
 

fr0g

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Jan 7, 2008
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I must admit, I have always liked matching boxes. I havent got that anymore, but at the £200-£300 budget level, I would still go for matching CD and amp (on a purely cosmetic level)...

Dont forget the Pioneer A-A6-J and matching SACD/CD player
or the Denon PMA-700AE +DCD700AE

both good combos.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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I personally love the Cambridge, but it's not as good value as the Marantz any more, now that you can get the latter for £200 (I presume that's still the deal at Richer). However, as I said somewhere else recently, if you're prepared to pay £550 for the Cambridge pair, spend £550 on the Marantz CD6002 and PM7001 pair instead - don't be put off by the amp's four-star rating, it's much better than the PM6002, and also has a good built-in phono stage.
 

Gerrardasnails

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Sep 6, 2007
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fr0g:I must admit, I have always liked matching boxes. I havent got that anymore, but at the £200-£300 budget level, I would still go for matching CD and amp (on a purely cosmetic level)...

Dont forget the Pioneer A-A6-J and matching SACD/CD player
or the Denon PMA-700AE +DCD700AE

both good combos.frOg is on the money here. The Pioneer (a bit more expensive) and Denon cd players are better in my opinion than both Marantz and CA models mentioned. I've not listened to the amps on any of them though.
 

stevee1966

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JohnDuncan:However, as I said somewhere else recently, if you're prepared to pay £550 for the Cambridge pair, spend £550 on the Marantz CD6002 and PM7001 pair instead - don't be put off by the amp's four-star rating, it's much better than the PM6002, and also has a good built-in phono stage.

In the same way that you'd recommend spending an extra £150 to get the PM7001 over the 6002, would you also recommend spending extra to go to the SA7001 instead of the CD6002 (budget permitting) ?

6002 cd/amp combination at £400
CD6002 and PM7001 at £525 (as i've seen the PM7001 at £325)
7001 cd/amp combination at £700

It's a case of do i hold on for a few months until extra money available for more expensive/better models, but with that thought, at what point do you stop spending the extra (Roksan Kandy L.III amp would be nice) !!!!
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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No, I don't think so. Both the Marantz and Cambridge are top-notch, and in my experience you have to spend an awful lot more for marginal benefit in CDPs, whereas money spent on amps and (especially) loudspeakers is more readily noticeable. For example, with 700 quid, I'd be looking at (for example) the KI version of the 7001 at 500 quid, or look at trading up my speakers, before I started upgrading CD players.

jd

(edit - this advice only holds if you have no need for SACD playback. If that's a plus for you, then obviously the SA7001 makes sense)
 

stevee1966

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Sep 21, 2007
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Thanks for the advise. I was planning on going to my local Richer Sounds (well 50 miles away local) to try out the 6002's and the CA 640's fairly soon, but now i think i'll have to demo the 7001 amp as well, though i don't think that Richer Sounds sell that model.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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No, not usually, you're talking Sevenoaks for the 7001, probably. And hardly any Richers have demo facilities any more, check before you make the trip.

TBH, if you actually want to compare equipment, rather than take what looks best on the shelf at the best price and in stock (which Marantz often aren't), Richers isn't the best place anyway.........
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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Cypher:

The Pioneer PDX-Z9 is a really cool system. I haven't heard it yet but I will.



Had a quick google and this seems to be hopelessly underpowered. Specs are quoted at extremely high distortion but even it they were'nt this is not exactly a powerhouse. Looks nice and seems convenient though. Perhaps one for the bedroom/study if you dont like boxes but for music you can do much better. The afromentioned 7001 is very good so is cyrus'es 8vs2 which you can get for much less than retail, then add Nads little player to it.

Another option of surely much superior sound is AVI's ADM9's. An active speaker system with built in Pre-amp/DAC and powerful amplification.
 

Cypher

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Well, power doesn't say everything. I think the machine looks absolutely fantastic and lets not judge the soundquality yet. Based on the latest cd players and amplifiers from Pioneer this machine can't sound too bad I think.
 

stevee1966

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Sep 21, 2007
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JohnDuncan:No, not usually, you're talking Sevenoaks for the 7001, probably. And hardly any Richers have demo facilities any more, check before you make the trip.

TBH, if you actually want to compare equipment, rather than take what looks best on the shelf at the best price and in stock (which Marantz often aren't), Richers isn't the best place anyway.........

Was in Cardiff yesterday so decided to take a quick look in Richer Sounds. Having never been there before, all i can say is what a disappointment. The store was only about 5 metres square, and the stock on view was dusty. The whole place just looked shabby and after less than 5 minutes i'd seen enough.

Looks like i'll need to go further afield if i'm going to demo some new hardware.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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I'm surprised you found any hifi at all in amongst the plasma tellies. Like I say, Richer is great if you know exactly what you want and don't need a demo - if you want to listen to stuff, go to Sevenoaks (and ergo strike Cambridge of your list, obviously)
 

gpi

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Mar 29, 2008
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JohnDuncan:I'm surprised you found any hifi at all in amongst the plasma tellies. Like I say, Richer is great if you know exactly what you want and don't need a demo - if you want to listen to stuff, go to Sevenoaks (and ergo strike Cambridge of your list, obviously)

Your sig is useless -change it now!!!
 
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Anonymous

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jd why mention primare twice and hobnobs only once have you gone mad? im now hooked on mini hobnobs thanks to the vending machine at work, we have two of the rows dedicated to them and they still run out iin just over a day!
 

stevee1966

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Sep 21, 2007
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JohnDuncan:No, I don't think so. Both the Marantz and Cambridge are top-notch, and in my experience you have to spend an awful lot more for marginal benefit in CDPs, whereas money spent on amps and (especially) loudspeakers is more readily noticeable. For example, with 700 quid, I'd be looking at (for example) the KI version of the 7001 at 500 quid, or look at trading up my speakers, before I started upgrading CD players.

jd

John,
Thanks for all advise you've given. Really appreciate the info as i'm very much a novice when it comes to knowing what is or isn't a half decent seperates system. Hopefully you can come back with some more info for me :-

Marantz PM6002 - £200
Marantz PM7001 - £325 (which you've already recommended above the 6002)
Marantz PM70001 KI - £500 ???

In your opinion what elements of these amps makes them better or worse than each other, and is the extra cost justified ?

On 1st look i tried sticking to the 5 star product reviews. I originally discounted the 7001, being more expensive and coming as 4 star product, but your, or anyone elses opinion regarding it's merits and dowfalls would be most welcome.

My budget isn't huge so I began by looking at the 6002 amp and CD player combo at £400, with some Monitor Audio Bronze BR2 at £180. I've now already paid an extra £120 for my speakers (B+W 685's), am seriously considering the extra £125 for the PM7001, though likely to stick to the 6002 cd (again the SA7001 is an option though i'm not convinced about the extra spend). Just how much does one spend before the extra costs do not justify the results.
 

John Duncan

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Well I was running a 250 quid player into an 800 quid amp and 600 quid speakers until recently - I have found it difficult to justify spend on more expensive players because they simply didn't sound that much better.

Amplifiers and speakers are different though (to me, I hasten to add) - I have found spending more on an amp gives you more refinement, better imaging, more control - and this even for modest extra money. The 7001 is a case in point - I thought it was so much more 'grown up' than the 6002, which whilst very good, still had rough edges that drew my attention to the amp rather than the music, which would be worth the (relatively modest) extra to me. I haven't hear the KI, but others here have and say it's amazing, and I haven't heard a KI variant that wasn't fabulous.

In summary, ,though, i think the extra 125 on the 7001 is well worth it, and would withstand big upgrades all around it without being out of its depth.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
When i used to read what hi fi religously in the 90s it was allways suggested that the most should be spent on cd player then amp then the least on speakers, i think they had some rough calculation/ratio for this. I seem to remember a balanced system for example being CD £300-400 AMP £200-300 topped of with some sub £200 bookshelfs.

It seems things have changed now and the cd player is no longer considered as important. I dont whether this is just a straigh reversal of opinion or whether cd player improvements have bottomed out to a certain degree and amp and speaker technologies/improvements have continued more so.

What are others thoughts?

I would be particularly interested what andrew, clare and andys opinion on this is.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
matt444_2000:
When i used to read what hi fi religously in the 90s it was allways suggested that the most should be spent on cd player then amp then the least on speakers, i think they had some rough calculation/ratio for this. I seem to remember a balanced system for example being CD £300-400 AMP £200-300 topped of with some sub £200 bookshelfs.

It seems things have changed now and the cd player is no longer considered as important. I dont whether this is just a straigh reversal of opinion or whether cd player improvements have bottomed out to a certain degree and amp and speaker technologies/improvements have continued more so.

What are others thoughts?

I would be particularly interested what andrew, clare and andys opinion on this is.

The source is as important as always, it's just that the average level of CDPs in all price brackets is better than it has ever been whereas for amplifiers and speakers there are (currently) more notable differences in quality the more you spend. Therefore spending more on speakers, amps vs the CDP are more likely to yield a balanced sytem in terms of quality.
 

stevee1966

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JohnDuncan:The 7001 is a case in point - I thought it was so much more 'grown up' than the 6002, which whilst very good, still had rough edges that drew my attention to the amp rather than the music, which would be worth the (relatively modest) extra to me. I haven't hear the KI, but others here have and say it's amazing, and I haven't heard a KI variant that wasn't fabulous.

In summary, though, i think the extra 125 on the 7001 is well worth it, and would withstand big upgrades all around it without being out of its depth.

Just found a second hand PM 7001 for £195. Now i've not demoed it (i know this is the biggest sin) but for the price i'm very tempted to just dive in and get it.
 

Clare Newsome

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Jun 4, 2007
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matt444_2000:
When i used to read what hi fi religously in the 90s it was allways suggested that the most should be spent on cd player then amp then the least on speakers, i think they had some rough calculation/ratio for this. I seem to remember a balanced system for example being CD £300-400 AMP £200-300 topped of with some sub £200 bookshelfs.

It seems things have changed now and the cd player is no longer considered as important. I dont whether this is just a straigh reversal of opinion or whether cd player improvements have bottomed out to a certain degree and amp and speaker technologies/improvements have continued more so.

What are others thoughts?

I would be particularly interested what andrew, clare and andys opinion on this is.

We'd still say the source is key - after all, however good your amp and speakers, they can't deliver more than the source is capable of giving them. The old, er, 'rubbish in, rubbish out' arguement.

However, as mentioned, things have evolved. A good-quality source is still paramount, but it's tough to set a rigid amount on what that'll cost you, especially compared to amps and speakers that may be more expensive for other reasons than pure performance.

For example, you may want an amplifier to have a wider range of functionality built in, or to drive a particular pair of speakers, so you may need to invest more there. Or you may want to invest more money in speakers to gain anything from a more pleasing aesthetic to a larger-scale sound.

But one thing that hasn't changed is the need for balance and system synergy - unbalance your system with an over- or under-performing product somewhere along the line and it doesn't matter how good the individual element are: the system won't shine as well as a more thoughtfully matched set-up.

As for your particular set-up - the Marantz 6002 pairing sound great with the B&W 685s. Would the system benefit from even more power? Yes, as those B&Ws are flexible enough to be used with higher-end electronics, so a better amp is a good upgrade. Would the extra money over the PM6002 be better spent on really solid stands that'll make the best of the B&Ws' bass performance? Something else to consider... If you can spend on both, brilliant!
 

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