Question Digital or analogue amp? Marantz or Rega?

suburbansky

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2022
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Hi, I've been thinking a lot about upgrading my system recently... First, I was to go for an integrated amp/streamer (eyes on either NAD M10(V2), or rather the cheaper C700). However, I've gradually shifted to the idea of a purely analogue setting with an external streamer/DAC (Bluesound Node). Good idea or not?

For analogue-ish amps I've laid my eyes on either the Marantz PM6007 or the Rega Brio - they're not quite in the same price bracket but both have rave reviews.... So my question would really be whether the Rega is worth the extra buck, in your opinion?

Thanks for any of your thoughts!
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
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19,270
Hi,
Me personally, i would go for separates - amplifier, streamere, DAC. If there is a change to the online service which the amp/streamer combination cannot be upgraded to, then you are stuck.

Same for an amplifier and DAC combination. Separates allow for flexibility.

Whether digital amplification or analogue, then it is let your ears decide - hence a demonstration is key here.

What speakers do you have ? (will help others guide you perhaps).

Regards,
Shadders.
 

suburbansky

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2022
75
15
45
Hi,
Me personally, i would go for separates - amplifier, streamere, DAC. If there is a change to the online service which the amp/streamer combination cannot be upgraded to, then you are stuck.

Same for an amplifier and DAC combination. Separates allow for flexibility.

Whether digital amplification or analogue, then it is let your ears decide - hence a demonstration is key here.

What speakers do you have ? (will help others guide you perhaps).

Regards,
Shadders.
Thanks for your input - that's exactly my line of thinking, having settled in once the initial "pyrotechnics" that the flashy all-in-ones triggered in me have died down a bit...

I've got some very odd speakers, I must say: vintage T&A from Germany, mid-1980s, 80 watts (120 watts peak), 30Hz to 25kHz range, 4 ohm. They're certainly not great and will have to be replaced eventually but I like their sound - and patina. ;)
 
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suburbansky

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2022
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By the way: Should I ever replace my speakers, it would be with one of those, presumably: Rowen or SwissHD speakers... They have a special built (not bass-reflex but closed design) and are kind of the standard among audiophiles in Switzerland. As far as I know, they're only sold here in Switzerland, as they - intentionally, for sound quality reasons - don't meet some EU standards. They are expensive, but still affordable - and adore their warm sound.

 

nopiano

Well-known member
I’d encourage you to drop the analogue and digital terminology, as it doesn’t really make much sense. And in the context of a Bluesound Node with a Rega or Marantz amp, well I don’t know what else you call streaming, but it’s definitely not analogue!
For that you’d need a nice turntable, cartridge and an LP made from a non-digital master tape.

As others have said, best get to hear several amplifiers and see if any appeal. I have owned two different class D amplifiers, and each is good in its own way. But class D doesn’t equal digital!
 

Nick_B

Active member
Mar 13, 2022
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Yeah I’ve just been down this rabbithole as well and in the end went the other way. Picking up my M10v2 today. Paired with some Elac Solano bookshelfs. The BluSound app is really good; that’s one thing to consider if looking at a standalone dac/streamer. I suspect the dac quality will be better in the m10 vs the Node (but I don’t KNOW that).

in the end it was space constraints for me. I actually bought the new C399 with blusound upgrade and took it home….but couldn’t get it to work in the space i had and sig other wasn’t interested in it being ‘out’…. So m10 it is.

If you get the chance tho (and have the realestate) check out the 399 - i thought was awesome and is in theory upgradeable with the mdc modules. It’s also sl cheaper and more connection options.
 
I disagree. Something like the Brio is analogue only out of the box. You can’t plug a streamer directly into it, or a CD transport. You either need a source with a DAC, like most CD players, or a Node, or use an external DAC with something like the Zen Stream, or Audiolab 6000CDT. I specifically didn’t buy the Brio or equivalent Marantz at the time I got my Cambridge as I couldn’t connect my TV, Blu-ray player (for CD) and Chromecast Audio puck into it. My requirements were for three digital inputs. I’ve never used an RCA connection. That’s all the Brio has. Even with something like the Cambridge Dacmagic I couldn’t connect three digital sources into the Brio. Ultimately an amp with an inbuilt DAC and digital inputs is a one box solution in the same way an integrated is to a pre/power combination. You could buy a power amp and connect it to your integrated, but that wouldn’t make much sense. Nor would using a Node with an amp with a DAC. You’re doubling up on the DAC and wasting money. Unfortunately many do due to the fact that the Node just works. If only Bluesound did a streamer online in the region of £300.
I think you need to brush up on terminology.
The Brio is an analogue amplifier without an inbuilt dac, simple as.
If it did have one inbuilt it would still be an analogue amp......
 
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Edbostan

Well-known member
Aug 5, 2021
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Hi, I've been thinking a lot about upgrading my system recently... First, I was to go for an integrated amp/streamer (eyes on either NAD M10(V2), or rather the cheaper C700). However, I've gradually shifted to the idea of a purely analogue setting with an external streamer/DAC (Bluesound Node). Good idea or not?

For analogue-ish amps I've laid my eyes on either the Marantz PM6007 or the Rega Brio - they're not quite in the same price bracket but both have rave reviews.... So my question would really be whether the Rega is worth the extra buck, in your opinion?

Thanks for any of your thoughts!
I can't tell the difference between digital or analogue sound sources. I have heard both and do not have a preference over either
 

suburbansky

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2022
75
15
45
I’d encourage you to drop the analogue and digital terminology, as it doesn’t really make much sense. And in the context of a Bluesound Node with a Rega or Marantz amp, well I don’t know what else you call streaming, but it’s definitely not analogue!
For that you’d need a nice turntable, cartridge and an LP made from a non-digital master tape.

As others have said, best get to hear several amplifiers and see if any appeal. I have owned two different class D amplifiers, and each is good in its own way. But class D doesn’t equal digital!
I think you need to brush up on terminology.
The Brio is an analogue amplifier without an inbuilt dac, simple as.
If it did have one inbuilt it would still be an analogue amp......
I can't tell the difference between digital or analogue sound sources. I have heard both and do not have a preference over either
You're of course absolutely right... I'm aware that I've somewhat mixed up two things here - mainly also because I've been looking into a lot of NAD amps all marketed as "digital" while they're simply Class D.

So there's two aspects really, the way I see it:
  1. Class AB or Class D: I find myself leaning towards Class AB over Class D, mainly because of the simpler build, and thus the potentially increased durability and possibility to have minor defects mended by a technician. After all, Class D at the end of the day does rely on at least some digital controls, doesn't it? Also, is anyone aware of life-expectancy data of Class D vis-a-vis Class AB?
  2. Internal or external DAC: Of course, a Class AB amp may have an in-built DAC and streamer unit while a Class D may not have any. But which "philosophy" is the one you go for: all-in-one, as for instance in the NAD M10, or separate units, e.g. Marantz PM6007 or Rega Brio + Bluesound Node? My reasoning is that an all-in-one would be very handy - but also a bit of a gamble, as you end up with half-useless device should the integrated service be discontinued (or if there is simply a better service coming along, to which you can't update). What do you think?

Also, I'd still be interested on any opinions about the Rega Brio vs. the Marantz PM 6007?
 

suburbansky

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2022
75
15
45
Yeah I’ve just been down this rabbithole as well and in the end went the other way. Picking up my M10v2 today. Paired with some Elac Solano bookshelfs. The BluSound app is really good; that’s one thing to consider if looking at a standalone dac/streamer. I suspect the dac quality will be better in the m10 vs the Node (but I don’t KNOW that).

in the end it was space constraints for me. I actually bought the new C399 with blusound upgrade and took it home….but couldn’t get it to work in the space i had and sig other wasn’t interested in it being ‘out’…. So m10 it is.

If you get the chance tho (and have the realestate) check out the 399 - i thought was awesome and is in theory upgradeable with the mdc modules. It’s also sl cheaper and more connection options.
Thanks for sharing this!! And please let me know what you make of the M10! Really interested in your experience!:)
 

suburbansky

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2022
75
15
45
I think you need to brush up on terminology.
The Brio is an analogue amplifier without an inbuilt dac, simple as.
If it did have one inbuilt it would still be an analogue amp......
Thanks... For me it's somehow the opposite. I don't think I've ever used another connection than RCA with my stereo sets over the years. My CD player (Marantz CD 6006) has a great built-in DAC, so does the Bluesound Node, and the turntable doesn't need one. Only scenario I could picture that includes a DAC would be when hooking up my TV, and since I'm not too interested in a full home cinema system anyway, a moderately priced one should do, and this should be one primarily suited to music, as the only need for enhanced TV sound would be for watching concerts.
 

robdmarsh

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Jun 28, 2015
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19,070
I was considering a Marantz pm 6007 but I decided against it having owned a pm 6006uk for a bit and didn't really like it. Then I tried a Denon pma 800ne and loved it. I've paired this with the fantastic ifi Zen blue for streaming Amazon HD from my phone and couldn't be happier with the results. I tried a Node 2021 but I prefer the sound from the Zen blue tbh. It doesn't have as many features as the fancy Node and it's not "real" hi-res, but it sounds extremely musical in my system. A lot cheaper as well.
 

Nick_B

Active member
Mar 13, 2022
5
2
25
Thanks for sharing this!! And please let me know what you make of the M10! Really interested in your experience!:)
Well, so far so good.

It’s set up in our kitchen/dining room so a bit of an odd space. A lot ‘wider’ than ‘deep’ when considering where the ideal listening position is. Speakers a bit close to walls but can’t bring them forward. Lots of bright surfaces.
So the Dirac was really helpful in reducing some bass boom and smoothed out midrange as well (I think). Quite fun to play around with given you can load results straight to the amp and judge the differences while listening.
Only using as a steamer, not tried any other inputs so can’t comment there.
App-based setup fairly straightforward. Wireless connection. Took 1x restart to ‘see’ device on my network but after that plain sailing and no dropouts or weirdness so far. Did the firmware upgrade straight away.
Much nicer ‘interface’ on the bluOS than my MusicCast stuff. Altho MusicCast offers more in-app control over the devices - eg just powering off!
Have just been comparing my yamaha rx-a2080 as stereo preamp/dac vs nad 658 dac; both going into nad298 poweramp. It’s a pretty close call, but to me the nad preamp wins on sound (and i’m no expert at all). BUT the nad is a bit weird - won’t play digital connection from my bluray; screen keeps freezing; turns off randomly…. Hmmm.
No issues with the m10 yet tho 🧐
 
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manicm

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May 1, 2008
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My feeling is that the need for external DACs is overstated and over specified depending on your needs.

For me personally, if I had to choose between a Marantz PM6007 + Bluesound Node combo I'd probably go for a one component system of Marantz PM7007N instead.

Ah, but some will shout obsolescence, well I say sod off to MQA cos although support for it is increasingly prevalent, I don't see it as a worthwhile format. Full 16/44 true CD quality from Tidal is good enough for me, and high-resolution downloads played on USB too.

For TV duty the optical input will suffice.

Note what your current and future needs will be and take it from there.
 
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