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Upgrade Amplifier

mjg060468

Well-known member
May 20, 2016
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Good afternoon

i currently have a Pro-Ject 1 Xpression turntable which I added the upgrade kit to and upgraded the cartridge to the AT440MLB, the amplifier is a NAD C352 and the speakers are the Monitor audio bronze 2.

i am thinking about upgrading my amp and potentially the turntable, but would want to run it on a new amp until I make that call.

i am looking at the Cambridge Audio CXA60,61,80,81. However not sure if the 80 or 81 are too much for what I have, also very pric in comparison to the 60 or 61.

i have looked at the Marantz PM6006 UK However its not very aesthetically pleasing to look out.

would prefer something that has a phono stage and DAC built in.
To be honest don’t want to spend more than £750

any ideas guys.

Thanks
 
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insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Hi, where do I start... getting the best sound quality is about getting the right balance. You're very close to a point in which your speakers will be the limiting factor. I'd bear that in mind when auditioning amplifiers. I wouldn't look to upgrade your deck or cart at present. Also should you want to get a MC cart in near future bear this in mind when looking at amps.
 

DougK

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Dec 8, 2013
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You either like the Marantz look or don't, if not there's always Denon from the same stable. Personally I'd keep the turntable. Speakers and carts offer more bang for buck regarding SQ. Failing that go for one of the Cambridge Audio's but not sure if they all come with a phono-stage for your TT, if you want MM and MC capability then you'll need to spend north of a grand for the amp unless you go for the used option. Yamaha is worth a look too.

Insider doesn't like Marantz or Monitor Audio :) but he does have a wealth of experience so always worth listening to what he has to say.
 
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Al ears

Moderator
Hi, where do I start... getting the best sound quality is about getting the right balance. You're very close to a point in which your speakers will be the limiting factor. I'd bear that in mind when auditioning amplifiers. I wouldn't look to upgrade your deck or cart at present. Also should you want to get a MC cart in near future bear this in mind when looking at amps.
Personally the only MC cartridge worth spending money on is a low output one and integrate amps tend not to be designed to handle these unless you pay big bucks. There's plenty of upgrade potential there to stick with MM cartridge.
 
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mjg060468

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May 20, 2016
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Thanks everyone. Reading about the 80 & 81 I think the speakers will let me down and I don’t want to replace them
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Insider doesn't like Marantz or Monitor Audio :) but he does have a wealth of experience so always worth listening to what he has to say.
Hahaha, thanks Doug. I'm not going to lie these are not my go to brands however it's the modern, lower end Monitor Audio and Marantz I don't like. Vintage gear is different and I've owned and enjoyed both.

Bronze 2 are capable speakers just with accompanying gear of higher quality they'll be pushed to a limit. And they need to be carefully paired as they can sound bright. Just food for thought.
 

bigfish786

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Jan 29, 2013
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Turntable and cart are decent. Nothing amiss there. Can’t find the amp you quote? Speakers are bottom end MA. Probably where I’d start. 👍 how old is the amp?
 

mjg060468

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May 20, 2016
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Turntable and cart are decent. Nothing amiss there. Can’t find the amp you quote? Speakers are bottom end MA. Probably where I’d start. 👍 how old is the amp?
The amp is around 10 years old NAD C352. Wouldn’t want to change speakers as only had them 6 months or so.
 

DougK

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Dec 8, 2013
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The amp is around 10 years old NAD C352. Wouldn’t want to change speakers as only had them 6 months or so.
Guess you either need to keep your current amp or find an amp that pairs well with Monitor Audio B2's. I'll start the ball rolling with Marantz, Denon or Yamaha... others will undoubtedly disagree and have their own opinions. I guess it will need to come down to an audition at a retailer.

My previous Marantz amp (PM6004) was paired with both BX2 and BX5, my sister has this set-up now with the BX2's and it does sound good but not as good as the tiny PMC's with my current amp.
 

DougK

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Dec 8, 2013
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Think the OP is looking to spend up to £1K, which would get him a better amp. Agree that the entry level Marantz is not the way to go; none of the current crop of entry level amps would be the solution here. It's short list and audition time at his local retailers, or if possible a home demo/loan.
 
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knaithrover

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Nov 24, 2013
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Nad amps and Monitor Audio speakers pair up very well imo. Looking at your set up I'd be upgrading speakers, nothing against the BX2 but they look like the weak link.
 
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rainsoothe

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Apr 30, 2012
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Cyrus One HD also fits the bill, or look for a sh Arcam A29 + DAC (Arcam irdax, Chord mojo etc). Just some alternatives for the CA range.

Try to audition before you buy.
 

gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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Nad amps and Monitor Audio speakers pair up very well imo. Looking at your set up I'd be upgrading speakers, nothing against the BX2 but they look like the weak link.
Mabye Acoustic Energy – AE1 Active

Adam A7X or a use pair of A8X alternative could be EV Auido SC207 with dsp .

Dynaudio LYD 7



£1000 amp + Monitor audio bronze 2 or £1000 active speakers + selling your speakers and buy a preamp i personally would do the last thing.

Steve guttenberg once said you can get away with buying a very expensive amp and budget speakers and get great sound but not the opposite, low budget amp like a onkyo a-9010 + expensive speakers, mabye KEF LS50 or buchard S300/400, the opposite could be Kef Q350 or Dynaudio Emit M10 and mabye a Cambridge audio CXA81 or Rega Elex-R

The low budget amp simply won't get the best sound out of the expensive speakers

What your trying to do is paring affordable speakers with an expensive amp, it might work okay, i just think you would get more improvements with better speakers then an amp, best would be active speakers or new amp and speakers

Synergy is important, i would get new amp and speakers

For the money £1000 + amp and the speakers you could get something like a pair of Monitor audio silver 100 and Denon PMA-800NE or Nad C328 if you don't like active speakers


PS IF YOU DESIDE TO BUY ACTIVE SPEAKERS YOU COULD USE YOUR NAD C352 AS A PREAMP IT HAS PRE OUT AND MAIN IN UNTIL YOU CAN AFFORD A GOOD PREAMP MABYE A Emotiva BasX PT-100

I could wonder why you want to spend £400 an then £1000 on a amp instead of 700 for speakers and 700 for amp or 100 more on the speakers and 100 less on the amp to keeep it at max £1400
 
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mjg060468

Well-known member
May 20, 2016
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Thank you everyone. As I thought a hornets nest. Best start auditioning. What are people’s thoughts on the audiolab 6000a as an option
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Well reviewed and one of the members recent got one. I've not heard it yet. If you get a chance to demo make sure you listen via Monitor Audio speakers.
 

mjg060468

Well-known member
May 20, 2016
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Looking at the Monitor Audio Silver 100s. But how do I know whether a speaker is active or not as cannot see it anywhere in the blurb. Sorry to ask lots of questions but from what you guys are saying I need to get it right this time. I will google as to what the difference is between active and passive hifi speakers
 
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gasolin

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There's no amp in the monitor audio Silver 100s there are only binding posts as fare as i know they only make active subwoofers
 
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mjg060468

Well-known member
May 20, 2016
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thanks for that. Going to have a listen to the acoustic energy AE1 actives with the Cambridge audio CXA61 & 81 and also the audio lab 6000a
 

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