Question New amp and/or streamer - help most appreciated

Lanica26

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
11
2
525
Hi all wise people!

At home we have two HiFi set-ups that both are failing/inadequate and I need to figure out how to upgrade. Have spent hours researching and am nowhere near clear on how to proceed.

a) Setup 1: System Audio 510 speakers and Cambridge Audio azur 640A amp

b) Setup 2: KEF R500 floor speakers and Naim Nait 5i amp.

The amp of setup 1 has burnt/broken/disintegrated and nobody around us can fix it. My husband listens to CDs from a CD player with this set-up (a basic type one) and so would need an amp that can replace the CA 640A one and fit with the speakers. Midtones and 'clarity' are paramount. He's a musician and plays guitar and composes music, so speaker choice was a deliberate one.

The setup 2 is beautiful and we still love it - buuuuuut in our living room space we have gone from listening to CDs to streaming from Spotify. Our Google audio dongle-thing was a quick fix solution, but it fails to connect half the time and so we end up listening to music via our Google Home speaker. Awful considering the nice set-up we have collecting dust. We need a solution to stream music to our KEF speakers/set-up.

What to do is where I am stuck and would most appreciate help on:
Option A) use the Naim 5i amp for the SA 510 speakers and get a new "digitalised" amp for the KEF speakers
Option B) get a new amp to replace the CA 640A one and get a streamer device for the Naim 5i amp
Option C) something else?

If you had these setups and issues, what would you do? Obviously budget is an issue, as always. I was hoping that either way I spend about €500. So we are in the budget-end of the budget :) Maybe I could stretch the total budget to €1000 if we are talking about a really nice combo/solution/value equipment. We do have an ear for music, dynamic range and midtones are important as we listen to a lot of guitar acustic music (and otherwise everything from alt.rock, metal to pop), but we are NOT perfectionists.

Some of the equipment I've been checking out is
CA Axa35 amp but I'm worried it is not nearly as powerful as the 640A it is to replace
Bluesound Node 2i as a streamer for the Naim 5i amp
Marantz PM7000N as a new amp for the KEF R500 speakers (out of budget unless Black Friday is merciful this year)

Any and all thoughts most appreciated, thank you in advance!

Lana
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Welcome, Lana.

Where are you based, as seeing prices in Euros means many of us in the UK won’t know what products are available near to you nor their price?

Various streaming amplifier products from Marantz (as you mentioned), Bluesound and NAD are probably a good place to look.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lanica26

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
494
330
19,270
Firstly, keep the Naim amp. Changing that to the Marantz PM7000N would be a step backwards.

For your Naim system I would recommend the Bluesound Node 2i, without reservation. In my experience it's the most stable streaming platform with a good interface and excellent sound.

To replace the Cambridge amp (those failures on common on Azur range products of the time), I would suggest the Rotel A11 Tribute. It will give you the clarity you require and offers the high all-round quality that is typical of Rotel. If this is a bit pricey where you are, I'd suggest the Denon PMA600NE.
 

myrrhman

Well-known member
Apr 24, 2020
71
35
70
Hi Lana
To me this seems obvious....you've both got a good musical ear, and are therefore going to be a bit more critical of a system which doesn't meet your expectations. You have a system you really like in the Naim / SA510, so the priority must be getting a streamer plugged into that setup.
I've heard good things about the Bluesound, but the problem with any streamer is you are essentially paying for the convenience of having dedicated software. The other issue with Bluesound is as far as I'm aware you can't rip your CDs to an external hard drive and just plug it in, you need to have a NAS drive, which gets expensive and complicated (I've got the latter for work and pay someone to set up and maintain it...).
My solution is a Mac mini (my own is late 2012, bought second hand off eBay) running Audirvana through a USB DAC (a Meridien Explorer 2, not in production now although others e.g. Audioquest are available) into the line level analogue input of my all analogue amp. IMHO it sounds great, but importantly in your case it will allow you to preserve the synergy between your amp and speakers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lanica26

Lanica26

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
11
2
525
Welcome, Lana.

Where are you based, as seeing prices in Euros means many of us in the UK won’t know what products are available near to you nor their price?

Various streaming amplifier products from Marantz (as you mentioned), Bluesound and NAD are probably a good place to look.
Thank you for taking the time to reply! We are in Spain, so we have pretty much all the models and makes. Or we order from, say, Germany.

How do you see the Marantz PM7000N replacing the Naim Nait 5i? We find the Naim and the KEF speakers we have such a good match for our ears (we tested in store before buying) that I am worried that with the Marantz we would sacrifice some sound for the digital connectivity. Thank you again :)
 

Lanica26

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
11
2
525
Firstly, keep the Naim amp. Changing that to the Marantz PM7000N would be a step backwards.

For your Naim system I would recommend the Bluesound Node 2i, without reservation. In my experience it's the most stable streaming platform with a good interface and excellent sound.

To replace the Cambridge amp (those failures on common on Azur range products of the time), I would suggest the Rotel A11 Tribute. It will give you the clarity you require and offers the high all-round quality that is typical of Rotel. If this is a bit pricey where you are, I'd suggest the Denon PMA600NE.
Thank you for taking the time to reply, and suggestions! Most helpful! I was myself afraid that switching from Naim to the Marantz would not give us the same in musical quality but more in terms of digital connectivity. And so good to get a thumbs up for the Bluesound Node!

I shall go check prices and options we have for the Rotel and/or Denon here in Spain.

Thanks again :)
 

Lanica26

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
11
2
525
Hi Lana
To me this seems obvious....you've both got a good musical ear, and are therefore going to be a bit more critical of a system which doesn't meet your expectations. You have a system you really like in the Naim / SA510, so the priority must be getting a streamer plugged into that setup.
I've heard good things about the Bluesound, but the problem with any streamer is you are essentially paying for the convenience of having dedicated software. The other issue with Bluesound is as far as I'm aware you can't rip your CDs to an external hard drive and just plug it in, you need to have a NAS drive, which gets expensive and complicated (I've got the latter for work and pay someone to set up and maintain it...).
My solution is a Mac mini (my own is late 2012, bought second hand off eBay) running Audirvana through a USB DAC (a Meridien Explorer 2, not in production now although others e.g. Audioquest are available) into the line level analogue input of my all analogue amp. IMHO it sounds great, but importantly in your case it will allow you to preserve the synergy between your amp and speakers.
Thank you for taking the time to reply! Your suggestion is very interesting, and I will try and dig a bit more into it to see if I understand it, or would understand how to do it.
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
1,346
680
20,070
b) Setup 2: KEF R500 floor speakers and Naim Nait 5i amp.

The setup 2 is beautiful and we still love it - buuuuuut in our living room space we have gone from listening to CDs to streaming from Spotify.
Bluetooth receiver to the 3.5mm input on the front of the Nait 5i. I use an Elegeant bluetooth receiver to a Naim Uniti with Kef Reference Model One speakers. . Fine for Spotify. Cost between £20-£30, depending on which you choose.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lanica26

Lanica26

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
11
2
525
Bluetooth receiver to the 3.5mm input on the front of the Nait 5i. I use an Elegeant bluetooth receiver to a Naim Uniti with Kef Reference Model One speakers. . Fine for Spotify. Cost between £20-£30, depending on which you choose.
Thank you for the suggestion, I shall check it out!
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Thank you for taking the time to reply! We are in Spain, so we have pretty much all the models and makes. Or we order from, say, Germany.

How do you see the Marantz PM7000N replacing the Naim Nait 5i? We find the Naim and the KEF speakers we have such a good match for our ears (we tested in store before buying) that I am worried that with the Marantz we would sacrifice some sound for the digital connectivity. Thank you again :)
Well, then I’d agree with Matthew about adding the Node as you like the Naim KEF combo so much!
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts