Replacment Amp for Arcam A28 - Audiolab 8200P with pre or Rokasn Kandy K2 Power Amp?

jasonmiddleton

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Hi
I have an Arcam A28 and A DACMagic that I was looking to replace with a M-DAC. However, for not much more I can have an Audiolab 8200QD and use this as a pre amp and then by a power amp. Does anyone know how much better this would be than my Arcam A28? Or, would I be batter sticking with buying the M-DAC and adding a power amp like the 8200P or Roksan Kandy K2 to bi-amp me system.

Help please.

Cheers

Jason
 

jasonmiddleton

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It does lack some bottom end, hence the sub. It's just that for £300 more than the M-DAC I can have the version with the built in pre amp which will let me move onto a pre and power amp combi rather than an integrated amp. I'm not sure how much difference this will make or if I'm better adding a power amp to bi-amp my system to give it more punch.
 

SteveR750

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I'd suggest changing the amp completely if you want significantly more punch, IME bi-amping doesnt do that much. I'd rather have a £2k integrated than a £1k integrated + £1k power amp. However, if you can run to mono blocs then that's a different proposition altogether.
 

jasonmiddleton

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I'd read that adding a power amp would give more punch to a system and that a pre/power combi would have more go than an integrated. Having said that the A28 is a good integrated amp, it sounds very good, loads of detail and very precise, which is why I went for it in the first place. Does anyone know how much more punch moving from a DACMagic to an M-DAC will bring as that might be the issue?
 

Sliced Bread

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If you're moving from Arcam, I would definitely listen to the Audio lab before buying.

I heard the 8200cdq / 8200P combination on the end of some tasty GB1i's and found it quite unpleasant. It was all treble and sounded a bit soulless to me. I hear the cdq is said to be well balanced so I suppose the problem is with the 8200P.

You may like it as some people like that kind of presentation, but if you were originally attracted to Arcam then this may not be your kettle of fish.

The Kandy LIII was much more pleasant IMO so I imagine the K2 would be too.
 

jasonmiddleton

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I do like the Arcam's presentation. Very neutral and detailed, when I compared it to a Rotel and Marrantz it blew them both away. Maybe the issue is my speakers? Would upgrading them be a better option? My dilemma started as I'm replacing my DACMagic and I've ordered an M-DAC but realised that I could opt for a 8200DQ for not much more money to give more upgrade options later on. I was then thinking of selling the Arcam and buying a power amp. Maybe I'm better buying the M-DAC and upgrading my speakers? The only problem with this option is my Tannoy's fit perfectly in my room in terms of size and colour! B&W's for example are too big. My sub is also making a funny noise and needs to go back and as it's an old model it will cost me more money to get a replacement. Decisions, decisions!
 
If you like Arcam then Creek would be my direct replacement. When I had the Evo2 on dem it was very impressive - similar to Arcam but with more punch.

That said, yes, replacing the speakers would be my logical choice. I would normally suggest MA with Arcam, but if I remember correctly from one of your previous posts, you had a brightness issue. To that end look at Focal 714V - excellent speaker and a wonderful match with Arcam. Or if your budget will allow: PMC.
 

jasonmiddleton

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I do like the Arcam's presentation. Very neutral and detailed, when I compared it to a Rotel and Marrantz it blew them both away. Maybe the issue is my speakers? Would upgrading them be a better option? My dilemma started as I'm replacing my DACMagic and I've ordered an M-DAC but realised that I could opt for a 8200DQ for not much more money to give more upgrade options later on. I was then thinking of selling the Arcam and buying a power amp. Maybe I'm better buying the M-DAC and upgrading my speakers? The only problem with this option is my Tannoy's fit perfectly in my room in terms of size and colour! B&W's for example are too big. My sub is also making a funny noise and needs to go back and as it's an old model it will cost me more money to get a replacement. Decisions, decisions!
 
I think, from personal experience, a power amp will make a difference. However, don't expect 'night and day' as the A28 should benefit from better control and bass definition, especially at higher levels. The only snag about FMJ power amps is the entry-level version is practically the price of a new integrated amp. You could go for a s/hand DIVA power amp, but the aesthetics will be slightly wonky.
 

jasonmiddleton

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That's why I thought about the Roksan Kandy K2. On paper they look very good and I can pick one up for £650 at a well known HiFi chain. I'm not worried about them not matching. A second hand Arcam power amp would also be a good idea and the Diva range power amps look very similar to the FMJ range and as it will be on another shelf of the HiFi rack it will look ok. Which do people think is best, the K2 or a second hand P90 for example?
 

CnoEvil

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If there is a lot about the Arcam sound you like, be very careful with your choice. That "good on paper 5* amp", which sounds so detailed and exciting in the demo, can turn into an expensive nightmare, on long term ownership.

PP's suggestion of Creek is good, as well as brands like Peachtree, Musical Fidelity and Electrocompaniet (if in budget).
 
SteveR750 said:
Used K2 all the way :) Come on someone buy the godam thing!

Wow, didn't know you were selling a Kandy K2....
smiley-tongue-out.gif
 

SteveR750

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It's a silver one, though the K2 is not a uniform colour / finish.

I can't compare to the Arcam amps you mention, though I did demo soemthing very briefly at the time at a similar price point and quickly dismissed it as too polite. I found the Nait 5i closest bit the K2 just pipped it for me being slightly smoother, a bit less jumbly than the Naim, which was so fast if felt like it was about to trip over, plus the K2 had a more forceful and punchy bass with the A5s that were used in the demo.
 
From personal experience the K2 is a very good amp, and in isolation it'll be an excellent choice. However, in saying that, having heard the older LIII version I personally prefer the wrinkly.

I have a theory of sorts: I think because Roksan refined the K2s presentation, they also extracted some of the excitement the LIII had. To me the LIII is like a troublesome puppy Boxer, slightly gun-ho, would chew the speaker cables and less sophisticated than the K2, but more fun.
 

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