Denon PMA-600NE VS Primare i21

Lionel198

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Mar 5, 2021
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I have a difficult of deciding if I should swap my current amplifier Primare i21 to a more modern amplifier suchs as Denon PMA-600NE. The Primare i21 is a old, but very good amplifier and playes with absolut clarity, but this amp is huge, takes lot of space and does not have any other features than analog amplifier. The Denon PMA-600NE is a more modern amplifier with features such as a built in DAC, bluetooth and built in phono amplifier. But I have no experience of this Denon amp and I am afraid that I will make a downgrade in terms of sound quality. I have talked to some people about this Denon amp and the only thing they say that is on the negative side is that Denon are not good at playing at high volumes. Not sure what they mean about this. My current speaker setup is an B&W 685.

I would be very grateful for your thoughts about these two amplifiers?

Cheers
L
 
I have never compared the two and would be unlikely to do so.
can I ask why you would want to replace an amplifier that cost about £1000 when new with one that costs £370?
yes the Denon may have a few more facilities but these can always be added to your existing amp and, personally I never did like putting all of my eggs in one basket.
I would keep the Primare where all the cost has gone into building an amplifier...
 
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Lionel198

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Mar 5, 2021
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I have never compared the two and would be unlikely to do so.
can I ask why you would want to replace an amplifier that cost about £1000 when new with one that costs £370?
yes the Denon may have a few more facilities but these can always be added to your existing amp and, personally I never did like putting all of my eggs in one basket.
I would keep the Primare where all the cost has gone into building an amplifier...
I hear what you say, that is why I am wondering what other people would do. I bought my Primare i21 second hand, in mint condition, and I love the sound but it big and takes up a lot of space. I want my amp to be more compact, I do not like bulky amp and I do not have a place to hide it. Also It cost alot to add more stuff such as a DAC, phono amp etc etc. It will be just more stuff that takes up more space on the shelf and more cables..
 
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Gray

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I had to have a look at a picture of the Primare. First one showed the lid off. Plenty of fresh air going on . Doesn't help you to know it's twice as big as it needed to be, but I'd make sure any replacement sounded at least as good before changing.
With your aversion to boxes and cables, you'd make a good partner for some of the dictating 'better halves' that we hear so much about 🙂
 

12th Monkey

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Aug 31, 2015
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I love the sound but it big and takes up a lot of space. I want my amp to be more compact
It doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks, as to change will adversely affect sound quality and only you know how important reducing size is to you. I'd stay as I was personally, but kit size doesn't trouble me.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Lionel, do you need the DAC, phono stage and Bluetooth facilities that some newer amps have?
These extra facilities add to the cost, and also risk slightly impairing performance (due to analog and digital circuitry being in close proximity). They also - in the case of DAC and BT technology - are quickly superseded. Conversely, your line only Primare is not really out of date at all, except that the newest Primare models are super-eco friendly class D designs.

I don’t really understand the point about the amp being huge, though I guess it’s fairly deep.

If £800 isn’t too rich then this has a MM phono stage and is the current Primare i15 model. (It is not mine, and i‘m not recommending the seller. It is simply for illustrative purposes) https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/294887934659?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0&ssspo=BhcXifJYSZS&sssrc=2349624&ssuid=MWh2ruRIThq&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY
 
I hear what you say, that is why I am wondering what other people would do. I bought my Primare i21 second hand, in mint condition, and I love the sound but it big and takes up a lot of space. I want my amp to be more compact, I do not like bulky amp and I do not have a place to hide it. Also It cost alot to add more stuff such as a DAC, phono amp etc etc. It will be just more stuff that takes up more space on the shelf and more cables..
Is the Denon that much smaller?
putting everything in one box means upgradbility takes a hit and if any component should fail it's not good.....
 
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Lionel198

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Mar 5, 2021
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Lionel, do you need the DAC, phono stage and Bluetooth facilities that some newer amps have?
These extra facilities add to the cost, and also risk slightly impairing performance (due to analog and digital circuitry being in close proximity). They also - in the case of DAC and BT technology - are quickly superseded. Conversely, your line only Primare is not really out of date at all, except that the newest Primare models are super-eco friendly class D designs.

I don’t really understand the point about the amp being huge, though I guess it’s fairly deep.

If £800 isn’t too rich then this has a MM phono stage and is the current Primare i15 model. (It is not mine, and i‘m not recommending the seller. It is simply for illustrative purposes) https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/294887934659?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0&ssspo=BhcXifJYSZS&sssrc=2349624&ssuid=MWh2ruRIThq&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY
Yes, that is why I am looking at the Denon, because I need the DAC and phono stage and the bluetooth. I figured that I should first ask more Hi-Fi skilled people about switching between these two amps before I do anything "stupid". I have heard that the Primare i21 is a very good amp but maybe I don't really know how good the quality is. And since the Denon is newer amp and technology advances I thought it could be a fair swap between these two. Honestly I really don't hear a big difference. The Primare i21 might be a bit better in clarity when playing with really high volume, which I rarely do...

I had to have a look at a picture of the Primare. First one showed the lid off. Plenty of fresh air going on . Doesn't help you to know it's twice as big as it needed to be, but I'd make sure any replacement sounded at least as good before changing.
With your aversion to boxes and cables, you'd make a good partner for some of the dictating 'better halves' that we hear so much about 🙂
I guess complaining in this forum about amps taking up to much space is not popular. I get the sense that this is where the extremely serious Hi-Fi listeners are that can not see why some want to have one compact all in one amp. :D It is like asking a pc gamer for advice on playing on a laptop computer. They would never advice you to buy a laptop....:D
 

robdmarsh

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I've said it before and I'll say it now. The Denon pma 800ne is a superb amplifier for its £429 price tag. It is 50w into 8 ohms and 80 into 4. I believe it has better parts than the 600ne, no sub pre-out, no bluetooth, but it has 3 optical connections.

I have tried 3 other famous name suspects at up to £650 (actually £800 if you include the weedy little Marantz hd-amp1) and preferred the 800ne to all of them. Denon, or at least the Denons I've heard, do not "suck". My amp is full, punchy, slightly on the warm side of neutral, but capable of delicacy and subtle reproduction also. Whether its is going to be good enough for you after a £1000 Primare amp is another question. Take along your speakers to Richer Sounds and give it a whirl.
 
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robdmarsh

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I guess complaining in this forum about amps taking up to much space is not popular
Don't worry about this, you say what you want, it's your money, space and needs that you are trying to satisfy! And these days it's BS that amps have to be humongous lumps of metal. Some of the best new designs are Class D and are pretty diminutive by comparison.
 
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Gray

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I guess complaining in this forum about amps taking up to much space is not popular.
It's not common Lionel, but it's a perfectly valid and understandable concern that you've expressed.
I'm the opposite extreme, with a shoebox-sized Cyrus amp - which leads to its own problems with internals and connections being too cramped. I chose it purely on its sound though, the rest was incidental.

It's no coincidence that all-in-ones are increasingly popular, maybe that's your answer👍
 

gasolin

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I hear what you say, that is why I am wondering what other people would do. I bought my Primare i21 second hand, in mint condition, and I love the sound but it big and takes up a lot of space. I want my amp to be more compact, I do not like bulky amp and I do not have a place to hide it. Also It cost alot to add more stuff such as a DAC, phono amp etc etc. It will be just more stuff that takes up more space on the shelf and more cables..
Not really big compared to other full sized amps

No it's not expensive 100 pound for a Rega Fono Mini A2D Mk2



Topping E30 149 pounds

 
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gasolin

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Lionel198

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he says in his first post that he hasn't....
…yes, and yet the post I replied to said “…I don’t hear a big difference…”. I’m confused too!
Roger that, it's not very specific is it.
Perhaps clarification will be forthcoming.
Yes, sorry for the misunderstanding. Well I wrote that I do not have any experience with the Denon amp in my first post. But Yes, I have had the chance to listen to it at the HiFi vendor. So..OK to more accurate; I have listened to a couple of songs on the amp and at that current setup in that room at the vendor it sounded really good. But when I was writing my first post about having no experience with it I meant that I do not really know this amp more than have listened to a couple of songs at the vendor. I was looking for other people here that might have owned one or had the chance to test the amp more, and with better "HiFi-ears" they could advice of what to do. The vendor had an offer on this amp and so I was tempted to make the switch but now the offer is gone from today so I will not consider to buy it anymore. :) Which obvious accordingly to more skilled people here adviced me not to do. I had my suspicions that my current amp is really good, but I do not really know since I am quite new to the HiFi-world.
 
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Yes, sorry for the misunderstanding. Well I wrote that I do not have any experience with the Denon amp in my first post. But Yes, I have had the chance to listen to it at the HiFi vendor. So..OK to more accurate; I have listened to a couple of songs on the amp and at that current setup in that room at the vendor it sounded really good. But when I was writing my first post about having no experience with it I meant that I do not really know this amp more than have listened to a couple of songs at the vendor. I was looking for other people here that might have owned one or had the chance to test the amp more, and with better "HiFi-ears" they could advice of what to do. The vendor had an offer on this amp and so I was tempted to make the switch but now the offer is gone from today so I will not consider to buy it anymore. :) Which obvious accordingly to more skilled people here adviced me not to do. I had my suspicions that my current amp is really good, but I do not really know since I am quite new to the HiFi-world.
thanks for the explanation. Yes, the amplifier you have is good but if it does not have the facilities you now require then you might be right in looking to replace it. I am pretty sure you could still get a decent price for it if you sold it on.
 
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robdmarsh

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That's a good suggestion for you the Marantz 7000n, if that's within your budget.
But... I really think you should try the 800ne. In the UK, these can be found quite regularly nearly new for £350 - £380. Not sure if you're in the UK, but even in Europe maybe you can get to hear one of these and if you do, I think you'll like it.
 

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