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First listening session - Yamaha A-S700, Rotel RA-12

Jan 6, 2017
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Hi all, reposting here from the "Welcome" forum.

I'm in the process of figuring out my preferred components for a linving room stereo setup. The WHF forum has been a great resource btw!
Currently thinking about
- Monitor Audio Bronze 2's or B&W 685 S2 (because of the looks and quality for the price, but never say never until you have 'em, right)
- (possibly, will need to give it a listen) a sub; if it's the MA's then Bronze W10, if B&W then something matching,
- A decent amp. If new then the Yamaha R-N602 receiver (580€ at a local shop) looks promising. Also the Arcam A29 (but that would stretch the budget). If used... Marantz PM7001, PM8200, PM68 (or something else with pre-out, regarding the sub).

What should sound good with my setup? Coldplay's atmospheric sounds (a nice wide soundstage), indie stuff, Adele (detailed vocals), movie soundtracks (it'll be a stereo HT setup, possibly 2.1).

So, all that being said... paid a visit to one of my local stores to see what they have on offer. No 685 to listen to, they don't carry MA either. But the amp shelf had a Yamaha A-S700 and a Rotel RA-12. So we gave them a spin.

Listened to Bo Ramsey's "Can't Sleep" (from CD). The speakers? B&W Diamond 805.
The Yamaha was first. Having read no reviews or no real previous starting point regarding the amp or any other serious amp, really, from 30 seconds in, the A-S700 seemed warm. There's plenty of low end presence to it, especially when we had it hooked up to a pair of Dali floorstanders at first (can't remember the model). Again, having listened to literally nothing else serious before, the A-S700 was kind of good, dynamics-wise, with the 805's. I felt I was looking for more, but could not point my finger on it.

Then the Rotel RA-12. From the first notes... more detail, more guitar riffs, more precision with the bass guitar, the vocal and highs as well. Maybe a bit too detailed highs even. Definitely more forward sounding. The Rotel demands you listen to it, while the Yamaha is laid back. I felt a bit less low end presence with the Rotel, I think.

The conclusion? I think I'd pass on both of them
If possible, I may try and get a listen to a Rotel with the B&W 685 S2's.
Why I'm not going straight ahead with a pair of MA Bronze 2's and a sub? A bit scary about the metal tweeter and driver, but will have to listen.
Which would rule out the combination of a Rotel and MA's, me thinks. Anyone care to differ?

I know there's stuff to deal with when adding a sub to the mix, but that first listen confirmed that bookshelf only could hinder the movie experience a bit. Besides, it's splendid when you have the lows deep but well-controlled. And the detail of a bookshelf at the same time. Thus, the only real considerations at the moment are amps with pre-out or separate sub pre-out.

So, this is my first 2 cents here from my first ever listening experience, so to be taken with some caution, maybe.
Any comments or suggestions about amps matching for Bronze 2's or 685 are welcome!
 

muljao

New member
Jul 18, 2016
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It's great to get a chance to try before you buy. There's not much in the way of hifi shops near me so I usually buy without trying.

Everyone has their own needs. If it were me I'd skip a sub and put the extra into the amp, speakers setup. Enjoy your demos
 
Jan 6, 2017
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That was on my mind for some time as well. I.e going for bookshelves with more low end, saving the complications of the sub.
That would mean some heftier drivers. MA Silver 2's were on the list as well.
Regarding the amp, I'm looking at 60W and above, Silver 2's would need more because of the 8" woofers, no?
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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It's great you've demoed some gear already. The more the better.

I'd suggest looking at it in this order though. Pair the right speaker to your listening room. Then find an amp that compliments this.

With this in mind, how big is your listening room?
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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19,070
Hi. You're doing the best thing ever: leting your ears decide.

I strongly suggest trying to audition Focal Aria 906 - imo they're the most balanced speaker in that budget range, and they have huge sound, detail with no fatigue whatsoever, and pretty forgiving of positioning. If Arcam A29 is too expensive, try the A19, it's been seriously discounted, and you can find even cheaper ones on the second hand market if you don't mind that sort of thing. Or go big, and, if you don't already have a source, look for a Naim Unitiqute 2 (which you should be able to find for cheaper then it used to go for, since it's been replaced. Also 2nd hand market is a good place to look for this one, but also ex-dem etc). You can later upgrade it with a Nap 100, but it, alone with the Focals, is an amazing all'round system.
 

Muddywaterstones

New member
Apr 21, 2016
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I wouldn't get too hung up on the MA Bronze 2 having a metal tweeter. So does the B&W if I'm not mistaken.

If anything the tweeter is a strong point of the MA package. It's in the mids that I find them aggressive and forward, while the bass is deep, rich and fast. Overall I would say they have a controlled, ever so slightly forward of neutral sound. Some care needs to be taken in matching components. You are right to be wary of matching the Rotel here. It may work: it may not. The Arcam A29 or various Marantz mentioned above might be preferable.

B&W's tweeter is more aggressive than the MA if anything. The mids are more rounded and easy-going but the bass needs a fair whack of power to get a response. The Rotel should be up to the task. They are a curious mixture of forward and reserved, easier to live with/less analytical than the MA but a bit dull also.
 

seemorebtts

Well-known member
Feb 2, 2013
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Just reading the way you talk about your experiences it sounds like your ears will be more turned for the Arcam a29 a19.great dynamics and not to forward and the Arcam will match most speakers.i wouldn't bother with a sub. Invest in some good speakers
 
Jan 6, 2017
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Thanks for the comments regarding the Arcam and the Bronze 2!

Sure, speakers and the room come first. I'll be moving in Sept-Oct this year. The new place will have a living room area (5,5x4,5m) that extends into a dining area on the longer side (3,7x4m). So it's roughly 40 sq. m. But the speakers will need to work in the 25 sq m living room, just mentioning the extension because there's no back wall as such, it's a rather open space. 2,9m ceiling, wide plank floor.

So there's no rush, which is a good thing I guess :) I'm thinking I'll skip trying to fit the thing in my current place.

I think the takeaway from the amps listen was that it DOES play a role regarding the harshness/precision/overall experience.

It's going to be unlikely that I'll be able to audition the 685 S2 and Bronze 2 (or Silver 2) side by side in the same room or store. So thnx in advance for any input from people who have compared them. Have not seen the Focals on the websites of local stores.
 

Blackdawn

Well-known member
May 7, 2010
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Hi, both the amps you mention are the previous generation models, not that the updated Yamaha or Rotel have changed too much. I'd agree with the other poster and forget about sub and go for larger speakers if you need them, depending on room size. Some amps to try - Marantz Pm8005, NAD C368, Creek 50A, Pioneer A-50DA. But i'd get the speaker first to match your taste and room and worry about the amp later. Having a larger driver in a speaker doesn't necessarily mean you need more power as some older models have large drivers but could be driven well with 20 watts of power in the past. Some of the floorstanders are actually more sensitive so you may get away with slightly less power but some need more. If you go for standmounts you would have to allow 100-250 pounds for the stands on top of the speaker cost plus some money to fill them. By the way what did you think of the Dali floorstanders?
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
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Hi Jaan, just picking up on a minor point from your first post. IMO there is no need to have a matching sub from either the MA Bronze or B&W 600 ranges. When I was putting together my MA Bronze 5.1 speaker setup for AV duties, I could not find any good reviews of the sub, and by comparision the BK XXLS400 was cheaper, had a better specification, and very good reviews. IMO BK subs are very good value for money as they are purchased directly from the manufacturer. So do have a look at alternatives, and don't restrict yourself to the same make sub as your speakers. And most subs look the same, especially the downwards facing ones - just like a fancy coffee table. *smile*
 

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