shopping for Amplifier + speakers - advice requested


New member
Mar 8, 2012

I´m in the market for a new stereo, starting with an amplifier and two floor standing speakers (must have a black lak finish) Since I’m new to the hifi world I would like to ask for some advice/feedback/tips.

The budget is €2500; I will use the set mainly for listening to rock music, radio and TV series or movies. But mainly music.

Most of the music I have is digital on a EM7080 hdMEDIA RT media player, 320kb/s mp3 files, some FLAC (am trying to update the FLAC collection), and several CD’s.

Later on I want to invest in a nice DAC or player for the digital music.

I went to a few hifi shops nearby (I live in Krakow, Poland) and they advised me the following:

1st shop:

Arcam FMJ A18

Primare I21

KEF R500


Wireworld Oasis 6 Interconnect, Orbit 16/4 speaker cable

The R500 sounded really good, a lot of detail and body. Listening to the RX6 afterwards made them sound lame and not very entertaining. Although I found that the R500 where a little bright, they just just arrived at the shop and the owner told me that will pass away after a while. Is this true??

I really liked the Arcam, it gave a pleasant sound. The Primare gave better quality sound but it sounded very cold so the Arcam is the favourite here.

As a bonus I also listened to the Yamaha rx-a810, because I wanted to hear the difference between an av amp and a stereo amp. It lacked punch, like it was holding back compared to the Arcam A18. Later at home I realized they did not bi-wire the Yamaha, and I read somewhere that it makes it sound a lot better. The advantage of the AV amp for me is that it has internet radio, support for streaming all-in one box.

2nd shop:

In the 2nd shop I listened to the following set:

Arcam FMJ A28



Chord Analogue Interconnects Chameleon Plus, Chord Carnival SilverScreen speaker cable

I didn’t have too much time to listen to other amps that he had available but the choice was limited to Arcam and Denon. But it was a good opportunity to compare the Rx6 and Rx8.

Again I was really disappointed with the rx6, it sounded lean and weak, no punch. The RX8 however was a good listen and is a possible contender.

3rd shop:

In the 3rd shop I listened to a Rotel amplifier (€ 500, don’t remember the exact model) together with B&W CM8 – but after the second song I stopped because it sounded really bad with rock music.

The 2nd shop owner said that buying an amplifier lower than the Arcam A28 will not be enough to power the RX8 in a decent way. Unfortunately I did not have time to test that.

The 1st shop owner didn’t mention that for the R500’s (with the A18) that are basically in the same price range.

What is your opinion about this?

Both recommend cables / interconnects. Are those of the right quality to match the systems?

Are there some other amps /speakers that I need to listen to before deciding?

Is there a difference in (built) quality between KEF R500 and MA RX8? (apart from the visuals)

Your input is much appriciated!


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