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First Post: Help me with an integrated amp!

AHMusic

New member
Jan 3, 2014
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Hi guys, I'm new here and have been out of the forum game for a while so please excuse me any misdeeds!

To put this in perspective, as a student, the only HIFI I've been able to afford for a while has been free: I inherited some reasonably low quality old Sony stuff from my Dad who very kindly gave it to me, as he likes his 5.1. system in the living room (not my thing personally, I'll stick to stereo!). However, despite it's valiant efforts, it is just no longer cutting it for me, and I've taken to upgrading it one bit at a time, through the happy medium of (slightly dodgy) second hand stuff on ebay.As most of my music is on CDs, I figured I'd focus on that first, and so far I've picked up:

Rotel RCD955AX CD player (pretty good condition, works nicely and has the TDA1541A chip) and Mission 763 floorstanders (absolutely mint condition and they look awesome without the covers!)

They cost me about £60 total, which I'm absolutely chuffed about, and I'm using a QED Performance Graphite 0.6m interconnect with QED Original speaker cable into, of course, the old Sony amp.

I therefore want to upgrade the amp as I feel like it's holding back the rest of the system (and also it's my Dad's so I feel bad just nicking it!) but I'm not really sure what to go for in the second hand market. My budget is around £100 and I've been looking at:

Musical Fidelity B1, Audiolab 8000A, Teac AH500/AH500i, NAD C320BEE, Cyrus 1/2 and Creek 4040/5050

Also, there is a Thorens TIA 2300 going on ebay right now which I know absolutely nothing about, but looks absolutely rad...

I was wondering if anyone could give any suggestions or recommend any of these? And also, am I going about this the right way!? Or will something else here be holding me back?

Many thanks (and sorry for the rambling post!)
 

lambopower

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Dec 5, 2013
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From your list i would choose the creek 5050. I've got the newer 50a and i like it alot. I bet it's the same sound for the older 5050.
 

AHMusic

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Jan 3, 2014
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Thanks for the reply! It's definitely one of the ones I'm most interested in, but it's very much reliant on finding a good deal on one somewhere, as it's up at the top end of what I'm looking at, price wise.
 

PaulTuerena

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Jul 13, 2008
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Can you give us an idea of the style of music you listen to?

The amplifiers you mention all have various strengths and presentations...

Also what sort of sound do you like? Fast? Detailed? Laid back and smooth?

At this sort of budget you cannot expect to tick every box...

PS my stereo started in a similar way to yours and has grown organically :)
 

Hi-FiOutlaw

Well-known member
Apr 20, 2011
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Hi and welcome to the forum!

I've got a NAD 3020i bought it on ebay 2years ago for a second system to drive MA RS1, on summer vacation it goes along with the family, never failed, always working and sound very good!

When i was on the market to buy a new amp did demo NAD 326BEE, and was by a split hair that i've bought the Brio R!

So this is a personal choice as i've never heard the other amp in your list, but i would buy the NAD.

And comparing the sound signature of an old amp with a new one, even from the same brand is a bit dangerous, as they can differ grandly...

Hope you'll find what you looking for! :grin:

:cheers:
 

p_m_brown

New member
Feb 1, 2013
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Welcome to the forum!

My first amp was a 2nd hand Nad 302 which I held onto for about 15 years and I loved it. I had to spend a lot of money to better that, and should provide you with the presentation you are looking for. Best bit is that they can be found on the 'Bay for less that your budget and makes a great partner for your speakers.

dont be put off by the relatively low power output as it easily does party levels!
 

AHMusic

New member
Jan 3, 2014
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NADs do seem to be a good option - I'll look at the 302, and they go for peanuts! The others do still interest me, however: I just don't know much about them.

I do worry that if I spent the time I spend looking for the perfect amp at this price range working instead, I would be able to afford a top end amp!
 

PaulTuerena

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Jul 13, 2008
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Your musical tastes seem as varied as mine!

in your position I would definitely go with the Nad... The BEE models have great power for the rock and are very musical.

another option you might want to consider is an older model Arcam, very reliable and the family sound is quite mellow but with detail and power too.

just IMHO of course :)
 

AHMusic

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Jan 3, 2014
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Arcam is an interesting thought, I know next to nothing about them though! Any recommendations in the used market? Alpha or Delta? I've heard good things about the Alpha (?) 9 I think it was, but I think that's a little out of my budget...
 

PaulTuerena

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Jul 13, 2008
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Alpha family most likely, they were all good... One of my earliest amps was an Alpha 2! Bit underpowered (30w) but sounded lovely.What you really need to do though is try to audition amp and speakers together, some great amps and speakers simply don't gel...
 

AHMusic

New member
Jan 3, 2014
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I completely agree, auditioning is something I'd love to do if I have the opportunity, but sadly everything seems to be going against such luxuries for me! My Missions I am 99.9% sure will not be found in any HIFI store in the country to test them with - and the amps in the price range I'm looking at have the same problem! It's very much guesswork for me right now, hence I came to the forum to ask those more knowledgeable than me!
 

PaulTuerena

New member
Jul 13, 2008
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Well assuming that your Missions are similar in family sound to the ones I have owned (751 and 752 respectively) then they are probably a fairly easy load and quite neutral? Therefore they should work fairly well with any good amp.

however, as your budget is really quite restrictive have you thought about holding on a little longer and getting something a step above? The amp is really the most vital part of a setup in my view (though everyone will have their own opinions!)
 

Hi-FiOutlaw

Well-known member
Apr 20, 2011
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18,790
You have a low risk if you buy a NAD or some other amp on ebay or second hand web sites for £100, if you dont like it, sell it again, and move on to the next one... Until you find what you like!

Look at the positive side, you'll learn a few more things about systems synergy.

If the seller lives in your area (town ) maybe you get luky and he can borrow you the amp for some hours or a day or two.

the only thing you need at this time is start fishing... ;)

:cheers:
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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I have the Arcam Alpha 3 and Mission 780SEs and they worked well together, so it should work with yours. The Alpha 9 is meant to be somewhat better however I think it is rather expensive for its age. Creek should be OK also. NAD are good value.
 

AHMusic

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Jan 3, 2014
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I've had a problem with the forum telling me I'm not allowed to post because it's spam..

But anyway, thanks so much for the help guys, I'm gonna look around and see what I can find - probably the way forward! I'll keep you all updated, incase you're interested :)
 

AHMusic

New member
Jan 3, 2014
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I prefer a more laid back, smooth presentation than fast and bitty, but obviously the more detailed the better - the music I listen to is hugely varied however: today I've been listening to Dire Straits, Burial (garage/electronic) and Norah Jones... I'd say mainly I err on the side of rock music (ranging from about Zeppelin to The Smiths) however.

Apologies, I just realised that that's not particularly helpful!
 

Hi-FiOutlaw

Well-known member
Apr 20, 2011
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18,790
AHMusic said:
I've had a problem with the forum telling me I'm not allowed to post because it's spam..

But anyway, thanks so much for the help guys, I'm gonna look around and see what I can find - probably the way forward! I'll keep you all updated, incase you're interested :)
yes we are! The thing i hate the most is when people don't tell the others the final outcome...

you have a thread going on about people that can not post link or pictures because is a spam.
 

PEAYEL

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Dec 13, 2008
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I started the same way as you, so no worries it's a great journey. May I say that when buying on the bay, make sure that you ask that all the inputs, outputs switches,left and right channels etc are working. Get replies in an email, can't stress this enough, it helps if anything is wrong when it arrives. On to the kit. I had the NAD, Audiolab and Creek amps at various times. And I had a good time with them all. If they are good examples then I would go for the NAD first and then Audiolab, because both amps, can deal with most music with equal aplomb, and they can both please your ears when rocking out and chillaxing.

Happy hunting.
 

Hi-FiOutlaw

Well-known member
Apr 20, 2011
236
0
18,790
PEAYEL said:
I started the same way as you, so no worries it's a great journey. May I say that when buying on the bay, make sure that you ask that all the inputs, outputs switches,left and right channels etc are working. Get replies in an email, can't stress this enough, it helps if anything is wrong when it arrives. On to the kit. I had the NAD, Audiolab and Creek amps at various times. And I had a good time with them all. If they are good examples then I would go for the NAD first and then Audiolab, because both amps, can deal with most music with equal aplomb, and they can both please your ears when rocking out and chillaxing.

Happy hunting.
good advise! Totaly forgot...
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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19,870
AHMusic said:
Arcam is an interesting thought, I know next to nothing about them though! Any recommendations in the used market? Alpha or Delta? I've heard good things about the Alpha (?) 9 I think it was, but I think that's a little out of my budget...
I still own a Alpha 7R and it's a very good amp. The only real caveat is if you need to play at loud levels, at 40 watts, you won't achieve club levels. Also, I'm not that familiar with Mission speakers, but Arcams (entry-level or budget ones) do need speakers that are easy to drive - 8 ohms 87db upwards is best IMO.
 

AHMusic

New member
Jan 3, 2014
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Hi guys, just updating!

I've been feeling a little disappointed recently - everything I've thought is gonna be within price range, and there's been loads of good stuff, has flown up within the last 20 seconds of any ebay auctions way out of reach. The worst example was when in the final 10 seconds something went from £50 (at which point I was very happy) to £122 (at which point I was not very happy :cry: ).

So anyway, to stop rambling, I've decided I'm going to have to raise my budget a little to be able to get anything I fancy - I think I'm too ambitious for my own good when finding stuff!I've therefore found a couple of amps I'm interested in:

Audiolab 8000a (still), Musical Fidelity X-80, Roksan Kandy Ka-1 and Audio Innovations Alto.

Does anyone have any input on any of these?

I was convinced by NADs at one point, but more and more they seem less appealing to me... I think it's the bass, which everyone says is powerful, and I get the impression with my Missions it may overpower the rest of the mix.

Thanks a lot!
 

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