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Picking a new amp

wow and flutter

Wammer
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Jul 22, 2005
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Harrow, , United Kin
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Mark
I'm just about to start the long and time consuming (at least for me) business of buying a new amp. The Arcam A80 & P80 set up is going into the loft (when the conversion is finished) to form the basis of a second system. So it's not that I dislike what the Arcam set up does, in fact I'm a 20 year Arcam veteran, but I just want an upgradeto match the NAS, Arcam CDP and WB Arcs.

My listening tastes are very eclectic, from Folk through to '70's rock but I suppose these days favouring vocal over instrumental. My room is 10' wide by 21' long, with the speakers firing down the length of the room. However, the room also doubles as the dining room , so it includes tables chairs, 2nd TV, and electric piano.

An absolute must is an amp which offers detail and good musicality at low volumes as my listening is mainly in the evenings witha small daughter asleep upstairs and living in a semi. (so that rules out Naim, as a former owner I found it only really sings at high volumes)

My budget, if swmbo allows, will be upto £2k, with an extra £500 for a phono amp. I'm not fussed as to whether it's valves or solid state, although as both my wife and daughter use the system this suggests that ss is the more practical option. My preference would be new, for warranty purposes, but the right 2nd hand deal wouldn't be ruled out. Either way, this amp will be the final piece inmy system for life.

I've alreadylined up auditions for the Sugden A21SE, and the Ayre Ax7-E. Any suggestions what I should include in my audition list, and why.

W&F

 

Jezzer

Passionate
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Jul 31, 2005
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I used to have an Arcam A85. Quite liked that amp but, for me, it wasn't great at low volumes. There are plenty of amps at thr 2k ish mark.

There's a used Krell KAV400xi in the classifieds. I've also had one of these and it's a magnificent amp. Open, warm, detailed, fantastic bass which is both fast and deep. Probably the best amp I've had the pleasure of owning.

Given your tastes, the Sugden you've mentioned sounds like a good choice. Certainly won't be as good as the Krell for some of those 70's rock moments though.

 

Papa Lazarou

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Aug 18, 2005
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As a fellow WB Arc owner i may be able to offer you some advice.

Forget Naim for starters - doesn't have the synergy with the WBs imo.

Jasper used a 2k Densen pre-power to good effect with his. He also tried the Krell KAV400xi and i believe that was close but he went for the Densens.

IMO the Bel Canto S300i is definitely worth a try, not heard one myself but i can certainly say my BC pre-power has the best synergy of any amp i've tried with my Arcs. The Arc's main driver needs bags and control and grip imo - the Bel Cantos have a very high damping factor.

The Sugden may be okay at low volume but i seriously doubt it will have adequate grunt to control the bass on the Arcs. They're a stiff load and that main driver is a bugger.

 

yoda900

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Sep 20, 2005
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Whilst trying the A21SE try the new A21 as well don't dismiss it just because ir is cheaper and less powerful as I've heard it sounds better than the A21SE but it depends on your room and speakers.

Whichever you try make sure they have them on and playing music for at least an hour before you listen and longer if the A21 is not fully run in as it is likely to be newer than the dem model A21.

Enjoy yourself.

A Sugden is a long term buy not for box swappers.
wink.png


 

El Seano

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Aug 22, 2006
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The sugden is actually a good match with the WB. Heard the a21a set up with the arcs a few times at my dealer, it played clean and loud.

I'd say the choice between the a21a and the SE is definately down to personal taste, the a21aSE has a more physical slam to the bass which some people don't agree with as they prefer the softer sound of the a21a.

Both cracking amplifiers though:^

 

uzzy

Grumpy Old Git
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wow and flutter wrote:

I'm just about to start the long and time consuming (at least for me) business of buying a new amp. The Arcam A80 & P80 set up is going into the loft (when the conversion is finished) to form the basis of a second system. So it's not that I dislike what the Arcam set up does, in fact I'm a 20 year Arcam veteran, but I just want an upgradeto match the NAS, Arcam CDP and WB Arcs.My listening tastes are very eclectic, from Folk through to '70's rock but I suppose these days favouring vocal over instrumental. My room is 10' wide by 21' long, with the speakers firing down the length of the room. However, the room also doubles as the dining room , so it includes tables chairs, 2nd TV, and electric piano.

An absolute must is an amp which offers detail and good musicality at low volumes as my listening is mainly in the evenings witha small daughter asleep upstairs and living in a semi. (so that rules out Naim, as a former owner I found it only really sings at high volumes)

My budget, if swmbo allows, will be upto £2k, with an extra £500 for a phono amp. I'm not fussed as to whether it's valves or solid state, although as both my wife and daughter use the system this suggests that ss is the more practical option. My preference would be new, for warranty purposes, but the right 2nd hand deal wouldn't be ruled out. Either way, this amp will be the final piece inmy system for life.

I've alreadylined up auditions for the Sugden A21SE, and the Ayre Ax7-E. Any suggestions what I should include in my audition list, and why.

W&F
Good choice to start with - wouldn't personally go down the Krell route too clinical. If you like listening at low volumes then a few valve amps should be on your list :nerd:

Read the thread on the Puresound there aresome good amps referred to there in addition to the Puresound 30

http://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum1/12921.html

Best of luck

Uzzy

 

julian2002

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Dec 15, 2005
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vincent sp-t100's and the matching pre - they've just got a new uk distributor and a rave review in hfw i use the power amps myself and don;t think i'll change them for a long while.

 

JANDL100

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wow and flutter wrote:

I'm just about to start the long and time consuming (at least for me) business of buying a new amp.
Hey ... this hobby is supposed to be fun !!

I think it's worth trying a switching amp (digital or analogue) - e.g. Lyngdorf, NuForce. I think they have a very musical sound which is still full and engaging at low volumes.

Some folks luv 'em - like me. Others don't. Def worth a try though.

.... and do try and enjoy the upgrade !
74_74.gif.e35fe9be22561407fdbfee747b876f81.gif
:dude:

 

Jasper

Wammer
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Jul 29, 2005
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In the country, , Un
The Densens are definitely worth a try, they will definitely work with the Arcs. As Papa mentioned I preferred them to the Krell but I could have lived with the Krell. You could probably pick up a second hand Mac of some description which might suit you.

 

rockmeister

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Jul 24, 2005
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another shout for the bel canto s300i and not because I own one but because it fits all you want to do and what your wife and children might do too. IMO sounds better that the A21se (more dynamics, cleaner, better bass control by a mile), has all you need to drive the arcs. I wouldnt go for valves in your situation with kids etc and also because, IME, that's an 'interesting' price point...certainly audition the puresound and save 1000, but I didnt find anything better for 2000...maybe thats just me tho! The s300 does do dynamics at lowish volumes, but played very quiet, my experience suggests that speakers play a bigger part. Large power hungry jobs being notorious for needing 95Db+ before they really start to sing. In my room, the S300 and Focal 1007 combo sounds fine at low (80Db ish)...sings at medium (around 85-90Db) and sounds fanbloodyamazing at anything more...but all systems do that dont they:)

also agree with papa about the Mac...should be great and looks VG value...built like a tank too:)

 

Biscuit

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 19, 2005
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Cambs, , United King
I think Ayre make marvelous kit, so that should be an interesting audition. Sugden and Arcs wouldn't be on my list personally - don't think there will be enough bass control. Think BC and Arcs are a very good match indeed (if perhaps a bit dry/tight for my taste) - def. worth an audition of the S300i. Personally wouldn't go modern Krell either.

TBH I think Arcs have quite a small window of amps to work with - they are awesome speakers, but very fussy. Would maybe try some Meridian or NuForce, something sweet but with plenty of power on tap.

 

Boxer

Wammer
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Nov 2, 2005
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Of the suggestions made so far, I reckon the Mac is a better bet than the Krell for the Arcs.

A used Audio Research integrated may be interesting if you can find one: should have enough grunt, but also a hint of warmth.

WB often use Chord amps at shows, but this seems a bit too "hi-fi" to my ears.

Do WB not distribute Audionet electronics? May be worth a shot?

Boxer

 

uzzy

Grumpy Old Git
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Apr 16, 2006
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NN38TA Northampton
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David
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boxer wrote:

Of the suggestions made so far, I reckon the Mac is a better bet than the Krell for the Arcs.A used Audio Research integrated may be interesting if you can find one: should have enough grunt, but also a hint of warmth.

WB often use Chord amps at shows, but this seems a bit too "hi-fi" to my ears.

Do WB not distribute Audionet electronics? May be worth a shot?

Boxer
Oh we forgot the Levardin which I have not yet heard anyone diss. Also there is canary and EAR as well.

Bum in gear and get round the dealers.

Uzzy

 

Papa Lazarou

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 18, 2005
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Bletchley, Bucks
AKA
Phil
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
boxer wrote:

Of the suggestions made so far, I reckon the Mac is a better bet than the Krell for the Arcs.A used Audio Research integrated may be interesting if you can find one: should have enough grunt, but also a hint of warmth.

WB often use Chord amps at shows, but this seems a bit too "hi-fi" to my ears.

Do WB not distribute Audionet electronics? May be worth a shot?

Boxer
I like to think i know the Arcs as well as anyone else here. I've taken mine to a several bakeoffs and subsequently heard them with many different amps. They need plenty of power and a hint of warmth. I certainly cannot understand why anyone would want to partner them with Chord amplification? I've heard and read many negative comments about this combo and i can imagine it being a painful listen.

Yes, WB distribute Audionet in the UK and have been known to demo their speakers with these electronics. Jasper previously used the Audionet SAM integrated/V2 cd player with WB Arcs. It had a fast and clean presentation for sure, but lacked that hint of warmth to his and my ears. The amp seems to be the culprit of this. Good but not ideal for the speakers imo.

W&F - i'm happy to demo you the combo of Bel Canto and Arcs if you'd like to pop over? It will give you an idea if its for you or not.

 

Boxer

Wammer
Wammer
Nov 2, 2005
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uzzy wrote:

boxer wrote:
Of the suggestions made so far, I reckon the Mac is a better bet than the Krell for the Arcs.A used Audio Research integrated may be interesting if you can find one: should have enough grunt, but also a hint of warmth.

WB often use Chord amps at shows, but this seems a bit too "hi-fi" to my ears.

Do WB not distribute Audionet electronics? May be worth a shot?

Boxer
Oh we forgot the Levardin which I have not yet heard anyone diss. Also there is canary and EAR as well.

Bum in gear and get round the dealers.

Uzzy
Yeah, only heard good things about Lavardin, but do they have the power (as Papa, the man who knows, points out)?
 

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