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Question What could replace my current amp?

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
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Within the conditions given? :)

I am currently orientating at the market a bit searching for "what could be" a potential new amp to connect to my Wharfedale Evo 4.2's

The conditions / "challenges"
- I will use it in the living room, given the current use I will not go into constant "living room concert" loud volumes.

- Conditions in the electrical supply in my district are near perfect and constant. I have lived in parts of the world where the network was not really stable and that managing this would be a point, but that isn't the case here. There are no minor or major disruptions that the amp needs to manage which can weigh on the budget, so anything besides sound and perhaps features is of least concern.


- I currently own a Harman Kardon HK3270 RDS receiver. It is in one word an excellent plug and play amp with great reviews that in its own right doesn't need replacement in terms of output quality. I also don't know 'if' is easily replaceable on quality rather than features. As I think it is still an up to date amp that will hold up really well against upper ranges as underlined in various reviews those days. If anyone has ever replaced it for something better I would like to know.

I am searching for
- a good plug and play amp with a smaller footprint.

- 'or' a metallic one of the same quality or better and nearly the same dimensions as the HK that has some nice integrated features, although this is of second priority as I have most services from external sources already.

-should have a sub-out

Budget is ranging from 100 to let's say 1200 euro's (+/-) . As I have heard some reviews about bang for buck and I think like the HK there should be amps doing a perfect job.

Since I won't have the opportunity to compare things in real life (I am not someone who likes to order for testing and return them) it might be a bit of an extra challenge but I think that within this great community there might be some good sources of people who have tested around already. It is always good to read about and help decing later on :)

Thanks in advance!
 
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muljao

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2016
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If your looking for something small the Yamaha wxa-50 has a lot of bells and whistles, doesn't have a radio, but internet radio is available.

At the same size the marantz nr1200 has extra connectivity, streaming and hdmi inputs as does the denon dra800h. More expensive is the marantz pm7000. Really don't know sound wise which is best, they all give more functions than the HK, but are they better?

Might be an idea to list why you want to change, better to have a purpose than just change hoping something is better
 

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
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If your looking for something small the Yamaha wxa-50 has a lot of bells and whistles, doesn't have a radio, but internet radio is available.

At the same size the marantz nr1200 has extra connectivity, streaming and hdmi inputs as does the denon dra800h. More expensive is the marantz pm7000. Really don't know sound wise which is best, they all give more functions than the HK, but are they better?

Might be an idea to list why you want to change, better to have a purpose than just change hoping something is better
.

Would like to aim in a smaller direction but since it is still orientation I would like to keep options open..

Priority over all is sound,. I don't need a radio (TV has a load of radio channels)

Bells and whistles would come later. A great receiver would do it. The ones mentioned might fit in, I will definitely have a look. :)

Though if there is a pure spartan amp that for sure beats the HK on output quality I would go for that over the receiver and keep the input from external sources and not internal. One in a smaller form factor would be great but I rather keep orientating.

The weight is currently slightly on the latter since I wonder how sustainable services like spotify will remain.Saw the come and going of FM on cable (currently only on antenna in my country) , iTunes came and went.. and spotify is probably also not going to be popular and around forever. Still a dilemma.
 
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plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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Would it be rude to mention... Leema Elements?

It's compact, has the inputs/outputs you need, and if my Pulse is anything to go by, should sound the dogs.

When I had the Tucana I had the Elements phono stage... and it's a cracker.
 

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
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Would it be rude to mention... Leema Elements?
Not at all.. I would welcome every shot at my soup of preferences. Thanks . :)

It's compact, has the inputs/outputs you need, and if my Pulse is anything to go by, should sound the dogs.

When I had the Tucana I had the Elements phono stage... and it's a cracker.
interesting one to put on the list. It is compact for sure and has up to date connections.

The only thing is that Whathifi had it in review and what I don't really understand is that they seem in general really positive about the sound quality but then kind of make me wonder when they speak in the cons about it having an average DAC. Can't really get a grip on how it matches.

What are your experiences?
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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The only thing is that Whathifi had it in review and what I don't really understand is that they seem in general really positive about the sound quality but then kind of make me wonder when they speak in the cons about it having an average DAC.
I'd say it's a very positive sign. It's not a slight on hosts of our forum but I know how much what they like differs from what I see as acceptable. Don't discount anything based on WHF rating. I've heard 3* rated products that were excellent also I've heard 5* and award winners that were awful. Personal experiences and preferences are key.
 

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
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I'd say it's a very positive sign. It's not a slight on hosts of our forum but I know how much what they like differs from what I see as acceptable. Don't discount anything based on WHF rating. I've heard 3* rated products that were excellent also I've heard 5* and award winners that were awful. Personal experiences and preferences are key.
True

Also the whole DAC thing in reviews often kind of misses a huge point for various reasons.

I can imagine having a laptop or a smartphone with an output that sucks. I witnessed that. Often this is not the DAC but all due filters and whatever they integrate in the device itself, it is not in the conversion. Then an external DAC works as a bypass via USB on what on the other side can not be turned off. Usefull, period.

For a HIFI amp I can really not make any sense in mentioning the DAC in a review at all. Either an amp is great (clear output) , mediocre (muddy) or terrible (muddy + noise which I hope they dont make anymore). All of that in various levels. It can have aides that benefit a certain kind of speaker. But if reviewers start about the quality of the DAC while other things are fine, I just wonder what they use as a reference. One can judge the way an amp sounds but not a DAC on a sidenote. The Dac is part of the chain. So if the amp is great a DAC cannot suck.

Unless the game is as following. One review mentions an average sounding amp or a laptop and another reviewer does some research on what kind of DAC that uses to apply that review on another review. Then great amp with average DAC makes sense, but at the same time totally doesn't.

I will keep that amp on my list :)
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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Not at all.. I would welcome every shot at my soup of preferences. Thanks . :)



interesting one to put on the list. It is compact for sure and has up to date connections.

The only thing is that Whathifi had it in review and what I don't really understand is that they seem in general really positive about the sound quality but then kind of make me wonder when they speak in the cons about it having an average DAC. Can't really get a grip on how it matches.

What are your experiences?
I've not heard any amp with a built-in Dac, so I can't say for sure if it's a weak link with the Leema Elements. I can only guess they are comparing it with a dedicated, standalone Dac such as a Arcam Dac or Peachtree iDac or something on those lines.

In isolation, though, the built-in Dac shouldn't be an issue, but I know from personal experience Leema amplification is cracking.... having owned the Pulse for over 11-years proves it.

And, crucially, the Leema should match the Wharfedales nicely.
 
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AJM1981

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Mar 26, 2021
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I've made a short list with the models mentioned. Have had a look at the WXA-50 from Yamaha earlier mentioned by @muljao with positive reviews about its sound quality. It has a sub out, a lot of supported online services and internet radio. It can also stand upright for the smallest footprint .

 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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I've made a short list with the models mentioned. Have had a look at the WXA-50 from Yamaha earlier mentioned by @muljao with positive reviews about its sound quality. It has a sub out, a lot of supported online services and internet radio. It can also stand upright for the smallest footprint .

I've used the non amplified version WXC-50. It's an ok unit. Software it fine for most part, with a few quirks. DAC section wasn't to my liking but my taste in DAC isn't what most go for. The remote was lovely. It all depends how discerning your ears are and how important convenience is. Value for money was outstanding.
 
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James105

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Oct 30, 2019
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You could look at the Bluesound power node 2i good reviews on What Hifi and Darko audio also its kinda tiny. Bluesound have some big reveal next week so there might be a newer version on its way.

James
 

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
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You could look at the Bluesound power node 2i good reviews on What Hifi and Darko audio also its kinda tiny. Bluesound have some big reveal next week so there might be a newer version on its way.

James
Thanks for the notification!

Given a lot of buzz around on the net among audioreviewers I also got really interested in this tiny device. It is said to be a great amp 'and' a great media center.

Unfortunately everything implodes given the fact that it doesn't have a sub-out.

 

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
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The Denon dra800h seems to be a great machine. Bit a traditional format but what I like about it is that it functions as a HDMI hub.

It would be welcome to get rid of the little HDMI switch box I now use with old Loewe TV.

On the other hand I hope the sound at low volumes is not too pumped up as with the older Denons and their loudness controls. Though some speakers just get better from it, my Wharfedales sounded too much as on steroids.. If it stays neutral, it is a plus.
 

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
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I went for the Yamaha Wxa50. Great small footprint and modern amp with good neutral sound (on bypass mode) and a sub out. It was a logical upgrade and it will free up shelve space which also makes it possible to get TV furniture that is not been dictated by the space that the Harman Kardon amp needed :) Will probably keep using the HK for my set upstairs.

Had a small amp before with the Quad 303/33 combination but that was old world stuff.
 

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