Integrated Amp Between Arcam A85 & Rotel RA-1062

Crocodile

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Jan 15, 2009
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OK, so the Rotel was fine a low levels (9 o'clock) with all music. When pushed with acoustic & vocals it was still fine but with classic rock, the upper mids hardened & became fatiguing.

I've now been listening to the Arcam for a week & while it's certainly tamed the rock presentation, it just sounds a bit gutless compared to the Rotel. I seem to be constantly nudging the volume up to get some of the grunt back that the Rotel has. Although it improves with volume it doesn't quite get there & high volume listening isn't practical anyway.

Now the perceived wisdom is to bi-amp the Arcam. But aside from P85s being rather rare, this is now pushing the cost up into the £600 region, as well as the inconvenience of accommodating another box & cabling.

So I'm looking for suggestions for an used integrated that will sit somewhere between the two in it's presention with my MA RS6. Preferably at the £300 mark used but up to £600 max.

If you're an MA hater then that's fine but I don't want to hear about how my speakers are rubbish & they must be replaced thanks. :doh:
 
T

the record spot

Guest
£300 used, well I think you're heading into the oldie but goodie category here. If you're after high end sound for low end prices, you'd be unlikely to find anything sitting at the budget end new to deliver the refinement you're after. The high end Pioneer, Rotel, Sansuis and so on all offer the kind of performance and all out dynamics you're looking for and will deliver what you're looking for I think. They come up less often and the best examples go for good money when they do (a Sansui AU-919 amp went for £500 on Ebay last weekend).
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Crocodile said:
OK, so the Rotel was fine a low levels (9 o'clock) with all music. When pushed with acoustic & vocals it was still fine but with classic rock, the upper mids hardened & became fatiguing.

I've now been listening to the Arcam for a week & while it's certainly tamed the rock presentation, it just sounds a bit gutless compared to the Rotel. I seem to be constantly nudging the volume up to get some of the grunt back that the Rotel has. Although it improves with volume it doesn't quite get there & high volume listening isn't practical anyway.

Now the perceived wisdom is to bi-amp the Arcam. But aside from P85s being rather rare, this is now pushing the cost up into the £600 region, as well as the inconvenience of accommodating another box & cabling.

So I'm looking for suggestions for an used integrated that will sit somewhere between the two in it's presention with my MA RS6. Preferably at the £300 mark used but up to £600 max.

If you're an MA hater then that's fine but I don't want to hear about how my speakers are rubbish & they must be replaced thanks. :doh:
Have you tried NAD amps at all; I think you'd find that they will perform a lot better with the RS6's (which are still superb speakers) over the Rotel or Arcam amps

The NAD C352 (PD version), C355BEE (both 2nd hand) or the C356BEE (new) would be a superb match. However, the likes of an Arcam Alpha 10 or FMJ A32 would be a good move as well; both are a lot better than the A85 IMO and will drive the RS6's brilliantly
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
CnoEvil said:
QUIKSTER said:
Sevenoaks in Brighton are selling the Leema Pulse II for £599.
This would also be my choice.....Quikster beat me to it.
;)

If you don't want to go the Leema route then the other alternative is the Roksan Kandy LIII. Very boistrous with some music but never lurches into the harsh. BTW, I prefer the LIII to the newer K2 in terms of tonal qualities.

NB: Not sure what the OP means by bumping the price up with P85, when he's willing to splash the cash on a new integrated.
 

Crocodile

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Jan 15, 2009
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plastic penguin said:
NB: Not sure what the OP means by bumping the price up with P85, when he's willing to splash the cash on a new integrated.
I haven't said anywhere that I'm willing to spend £600 on a new integrated, although I might be at a push. What I was saying was that for the circa £600 an A85/P85 combo is going to cost, there ought to be a better & newer integrated solution.

My concern at going to something like the Pulse II is, as you appear to have found, that it's too good for the RS6. How would you describe it compared to the Arcam sound? I'd search out some of your older posts but this bargain basement forum software makes that too difficult.

I'm also a little put off by Sevenoaks Ebay listing bucking the DSR regs by saying they'll apparently only accept returns unopened.

I'm really wishing I'd picked up one of the cheap Yamaha A-S700s from DSG last week to try but they've all gone now.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The Leema Pulse isnt too good for the RS6's at all; they're a superb speaker and need a good amp to drive them

The Leema Pulse will do that but it's right at the top of your potential budget

IMO the likes of the NAD's or Arcam Alpha 10 I suggested would be a better match in this instance; more so with your music tastes and budget in mind
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Crocodile said:
I'm also a little put off by Sevenoaks Ebay listing bucking the DSR regs by saying they'll apparently only accept returns unopened.
Don't blame you. Challenge them on it as they're wrong and they're not the only ones. The whole point of the guidance is that retailers selling online CAN NOT stipulate they will only accept unopened items. The rule you're after is clause 3.58 on page 28 which says:-

Consumers are under a duty to take reasonable care of the goodswhile in their possession as discussed in paragraph 3.44. The DSRsallow consumers to examine goods they have ordered as they wouldin a shop. If that requires opening the packaging and trying out thegoods then they have not breached their duty to take reasonable care of the goods. In these circumstances you cannot insist thatconsumers return the goods as new or in their original packaging. You may ask consumers to return goods with the original packaging,but you cannot insist on this. In the case of goods such as earringsthat have hygiene seals, you may require consumers to exercisereasonable care by not removing the seals when examining them

"Consumers are under a duty to take reasonable care of the goodswhile in their possession as discussed in paragraph 3.44. The DSRs allow consumers to examine goods they have ordered as they would in a shop. If that requires opening the packaging and trying out the goods then they have not breached their duty to take reasonable care of the goods. In these circumstances you cannot insist that consumers return the goods as new or in their original packaging. You may ask consumers to return goods with the original packaging, but you cannot insist on this. In the case of goods such as earrings that have hygiene seals, you may require consumers to exercise reasonable care by not removing the seals when examining them."

No doubt some retailers will look at the paragraph above, see the bit about earrings and assume it doesn't apply to hifi. They'd be wrong. Challenge them. Here's the link to the guidance from the Office of Fair Trading:-

http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/business_leaflets/general/oft698.pdf

EDIT: Incidentally, Peter Tyson and Superfi are two firms who DO honour the terms of the guidance. Give them your business instead. It makes me laugh seeing these other firms that play fast and loose with the consumer. It's heartening subsequently hearing about hifi retailers who do the right thing. I think John Lewis (who also have an audio department online) and Richer Sounds do as well.
 

Crocodile

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Jan 15, 2009
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Is the Alpha 10 really THAT different to the A85?

Never heard a NAD as I hate their grey plastics with a passion. May have to give one a go although most seem to rave over the C3x0, despite their apparent flaky build.

CBA to challenge a retailer who wants to cheat. Easier to just not give them any money.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Crocodile said:
plastic penguin said:
NB: Not sure what the OP means by bumping the price up with P85, when he's willing to splash the cash on a new integrated.
I haven't said anywhere that I'm willing to spend £600 on a new integrated, although I might be at a push. What I was saying was that for the circa £600 an A85/P85 combo is going to cost, there ought to be a better & newer integrated solution.

My concern at going to something like the Pulse II is, as you appear to have found, that it's too good for the RS6. How would you describe it compared to the Arcam sound? I'd search out some of your older posts but this bargain basement forum software makes that too difficult.

I'm also a little put off by Sevenoaks Ebay listing bucking the DSR regs by saying they'll apparently only accept returns unopened.

I'm really wishing I'd picked up one of the cheap Yamaha A-S700s from DSG last week to try but they've all gone now.
Let me explain a bit better: You know the Arcam sound - the pros and cons - but would like to have a little extra oomph, then if you go for a Kandy LIII (ebay costs around £300-£350), but for similar money you could have the P85 and get similar sonic results.

Which ever option you plump for there needs to be money spent. Choice is simple: Go with the devil you know, or try something totally different and risk losing the Arcam qualities you do like.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The Arcam Alpha 10 amp is a different beast all together

In it's day it was a £1k amp and worth every penny. Superb, solid and detailed soundstage with plenty of guts as well to drive difficult speakers. An amp that I wished I'd never have gotten rid of!!!

The DiVA A85 is a good amp but the Alpha 10, to me, boots it around all over in comparion to soundstages and all out performance

The NAD amps are also superb; their older grey colour is no longer used; they now (inc the C352) come in a titanium silver or a dark, more gunmetal grey, thaqt isnt the nast grey plastic colour

The NAD C355BEE is a superb amp; I had one with a pair of M/A RS6's and then the later RX6's and they sang with all their might hooked up to the NAD. It's a tank of an amp and again with a superb soundstage and will really let your RS6's come to life
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
hifilover1979 said:
The Arcam Alpha 10 amp is a different beast all together

In it's day it was a £1k amp and worth every penny. Superb, solid and detailed soundstage with plenty of guts as well to drive difficult speakers. An amp that I wished I'd never have gotten rid of!!!

The DiVA A85 is a good amp but the Alpha 10, to me, boots it around all over in comparion to soundstages and all out performance

The NAD amps are also superb; their older grey colour is no longer used; they now (inc the C352) come in a titanium silver or a dark, more gunmetal grey, thaqt isnt the nast grey plastic colour

The NAD C355BEE is a superb amp; I had one with a pair of M/A RS6's and then the later RX6's and they sang with all their might hooked up to the NAD. It's a tank of an amp and again with a superb soundstage and will really let your RS6's come to life
Understand totally where you're coming from. With OP's budget this will mean going s/hand (or in the Nad 355 case perhaps ex-dem). But even if he does find one at a dealer most are like Sevenoaks and have a strict returns policy. So going the power amp he'll improve the sound currently, while keeping the natural strengths. There is also a reasoning that the A85/P85 will out perform the standalone Alpha 10.

The other option is to ditch the RS6s and keep the Rotel. Different speakers come in the shape of B&W, Epos, PMC. To me they're the most logical options to the OPs conundrum.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Yeah but the Arcam Alpha 10 & 10P combo would easily out perform the A85/P85 combo IMO...

That could also be a possibility (I.e. Sell the A85 etc...)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I think the OP will find the same issues with the NAD amps that he did with the Rotel. The C352 certainly will add more guts, but it's at the expense of finesse especially as the volume increases. I changed from the C352 PD to an A85 / P85 combo, and I think considering the OP already has the A85, its definately worth a punt if he can find one - it definately adds the (well needed) grunt that the A85 can lack.
 

Craig M.

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Mar 20, 2008
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it seems like you are saying you prefer the rotel overall, except with a certain genre at higher volumes? can you get a rotel power amp, and use it with your integrated, either as a pre power or biamped? more power is usually a good cure for sound that starts to harden at higher volume.
 

Crocodile

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Jan 15, 2009
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ear said:
bet you havent played with tone controls yet.
You lose. ;)

The NAD traits of "boisterous" & "exagerated bottom end" that I'm reading about certainly don't sound like what I'm looking for & the last thing the RS6 needs. I'll see if I can get a listen to one though.

I really don't think the RA-1062 is lacking in power so can't see bi-amping that being a solution. We're not talking very high volumes at all before the sound gets too harsh.

Clearly a DSR returns policy isn't an issue for used kit. You just resell it for much much what you paid, just not on Ebay. With the Sevenoaks Pulse I'd need to take a big hit to resell it.

Looks like I just need to embark on a journey of buying anything used that becomes available at my budget, avoiding anything with a rep or review for being forward/bright/boisterous.
 

Big Chris

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Apr 3, 2008
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I can give you my own experiences of the Arcam amp which may help you.

I went from an A65+ to the A85 a couple of years ago, and although there were improvements, they were small. I stated at the time the change from A65+ to A85 wasn't as big an improvement as when I changed CDP from 72T to 192.

However, when I added a P85 the jump in improvement was instantly noticeable. If you can find one for the right price, I assure you the extra box, extra interconnect and extra speaker cabling will all be worth it, and if you're still unhappy with the sound, you'll easily get your money back on eBay.
 

Crocodile

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Jan 15, 2009
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Big Chris said:
I can give you my own experiences of the Arcam amp which may help you.
Thanks Chris. Does the addition of the power amp really make that much difference at low levels though? I can understand it when the current reserves start to run out but can't really see this happening at low levels?

Maybe it's just that the Arcam sound is too radically different to that of the Rotel for my tastes & as I said in the OP, I need to find am amp with a presentation that's more of a halfway house.

I also really need to spend a bit more time listening to the A85 at higher volume but it's hard to find opportunites to do that at the moment.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Crocodile said:
Big Chris said:
I can give you my own experiences of the Arcam amp which may help you.
Thanks Chris. Does the addition of the power amp really make that much difference at low levels though? I can understand it when the current reserves start to run out but can't really see this happening at low levels?

Maybe it's just that the Arcam sound is too radically different to that of the Rotel for my tastes & as I said in the OP, I need to find am amp with a presentation that's more of a halfway house.

I also really need to spend a bit more time listening to the A85 at higher volume but it's hard to find opportunites to do that at the moment.
I could be wrong: perhaps you're looking for ideal solution. Unfortunately, hi-fi is very much a compromise, and certainly within the price bracket, you won't find a solution that's significatly better - just slightly different.

Like Big Chris, I've had years of Arcam amps, and little I've come across, including the Leema, betters it for idling levels. If you go with other brands you'll improve in certain areas, such as bass control and definition, but lose out on midrange detail, the crisp treble and imaging. All areas that Arcam excel.

You need to spend an awful lot more to hear significant gains, hence why I chose the Pulse. Over a two years period I home dem'd more amps than I care to mention below a grand mark.
 

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