Thoughts on my next amp?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Speedmaster, Jan 11, 2022.

  1. Speedmaster

    Speedmaster What does it mean, if it all means nothing? Thread Starter

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    So, my entry level setup can always be updated. I’m after updating my turntable (went for a Rega P2 with an AT VM-cart) from a Rega P1 with stock cart, I want to look for a better amp.

    Currently I am still enjoying my Marantz PM5005. But it’s not fully equipped to power my Sonus’.

    So, what amp would you recommend? See my profile for my full setup details. My Sonus’ have these specifications:

    DRIVERS:
    1 x 29mm (1.14”) soft dome tweeter, 1 x 180mm (7.1”) mid/woofer

    CROSSOVER:
    2500Hz

    FREQUENCY RESPONSE (MFR):
    45Hz – 25kHz, tuning port included

    SENSITIVITY:
    88dB SPL (2.83V/1m) nominal

    NOMINAL IMPEDANCE:
    4 ohms

    RECOMMENDED AMPLIFIER POWER:
    50-200W, without clipping
     
  2. Leao

    Leao Forum Resident

    Are you hearing anything with the Marantz you want to fix? Budget?
     
  3. hoytis

    hoytis PDX Cratedigger

    Location:
    Oregon
    Agree, what do you feel is missing? Too many options out there.
     
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  4. Crab33

    Crab33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Your amp is rated at 55 Watts per channel (RMS) into 4 Ohms and your speakers have a recommended amp power rating of 50-200W, so you are perhaps a bit under-powered. The sensitivity of your speakers at 88dB is also modest. I would probably go for an amp with a significant increase in output power. The current Marantz PM6007 comes highly recommended but won't take you much further power-wise, with 60 Wpc in 4 Ohms. Yamaha amps are good value in this respect - I have the AS501 which delivers 120 Wpc into 4 Ohms. It has a very dynamic and detailed (transparent?) sound. The trouble is that Yamaha amps are currently hard to come by - stocks are very low, certainly here in the UK.
     
    Speedmaster likes this.
  5. Technocentral

    Technocentral Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    Denon Pma 800ne?
     
  6. yamfan

    yamfan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Missouri
    Get a used NAD 2200(or equivalent Adcom 5400 or 5500, Yamaha M45 etc) and a tube pre-amp from tubes4hifi. The preamp is a bit hard to find on their site.
    new SP10 preamp
    For under $1000, you will have great sound.
     
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  7. Speedmaster

    Speedmaster What does it mean, if it all means nothing? Thread Starter

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    I guess I miss a real ‘kick’ or ‘oomph’ with currently max 55 wpc. Budget: e500-900 but not set in stone, used not a problem.

    I passed on a used PM Pearl KI for 1250,-. Not sure I would passed that up again, but I don’t know if my Principia’s are a good match with the Pearl.

    Yamaha’s are not in stock anywhere in my country (The Netherlands)
     
  8. Speedmaster

    Speedmaster What does it mean, if it all means nothing? Thread Starter

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    I’ll look into that model, thanks
     
  9. Technocentral

    Technocentral Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    Am waiting for one to be delivered as a 2nd amp, will let you know how I think it sounds
     
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  10. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Go Padres!!

    Location:
    San Diego
    By amplifier I guess you mean Integrated Amp. I would spend your budget on a power amplifier (100-200wpc) and use the Marantz as a preamp if it has "pre-outs".
     
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  11. StratDoc

    StratDoc Sapien

    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Parasound A23+ is a nice amp. A21+ even better.
     
  12. Speedmaster

    Speedmaster What does it mean, if it all means nothing? Thread Starter

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Yeah, an integrated. Can’t use my 5005 as a preamp.

    thx, I’ll google them and check it out
     
  13. hoytis

    hoytis PDX Cratedigger

    Location:
    Oregon
    Yeah, with those 4 ohm speakers at 88 dB you could probably use a little more punch. There are a ton of amps that could get the job done.

    I would look on eBay, find something in your budget, then research product quality. Personally, I would consider separates. In that budget, you could get a used power amp and preamp from Hafler, NAD, Harman Kardon, Adcom...list goes on. All would give you the punch you need.
     
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  14. Roger P

    Roger P Forum Resident

    Location:
    Richmond VA
    You need way more power for those speakers, plus you currently have no head room either with current amplification.
    You might also want to consider a class D amp.
    There are a lot out there that are reasonably price and sound very good.
    By price I mean 1500 or less and might be more readily available.
    I think there are 2 made in Europe that I know of but can't remember names off the top if my head.
    Nord and Apollon I think.
    Purifi or hypex based is the way to go.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2022
  15. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Scientist's have opinions too

    Location:
    AZ
    It's been stated above, but to drive it home --- 4 ohm, 88db speakers = tough(er) to drive.

    For optimal performance, many in the know would recommend a different amp than you have.

    So, next step, what's your budget for a new amp, and did you have any other requirements in mind that would affect the choice?
     
  16. Noel Patterson

    Noel Patterson Music Junkie

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I bet a Rega Elex-r would be a nice amp for those speakers :agree:
     
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  17. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Go Padres!!

    Location:
    San Diego
    Well the Parasound amps are power amps so you'll need a preamp with those. Maybe look at seperates. Surprised the Marantz doesn't have a pre out. I'd get a beefy power amp for your Sonus Fabers (nice!).
     
  18. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, ID, USA
    Yikes !!! Yes, you should have gotten the Pearl, assuming it was in good condition. Get it if it comes back on the market.

    I don't agree 88dB and 4 ohms is really hard to drive. If an amp is "comfortable" driving 4 ohms, 88dB is pretty sensitive. I'd say maybe >50W (into 4 ohms) is preferred, as the OP says he thinks he needs more power than the 5005.

    That said, many "4 ohm" or even "8 ohm" speakers can have dips (usually in the bass, of course where a lot of energy is) to lower than 4 ohms, PLUS they may have high phase (usually seems like capacitive) at some frequencies. That can make them "look" like 2 ohms or something at specific regions. I couldn't find Stereophile or other reviews that had real measurements, but Stereophile measurements on higher-prices SFs showed minimum impedances of 4 ohms and pretty benign phase, and also ~88dB sensitivity ... so I bet these are similar.

    For $1500, you can't get a new Parasound A23+ and have cash for a preamp ... but there are likely many choices, such as those suggested.

    I was going to suggest a used A23 and a new Schitt Freya+ (because I like tubes, plus you could use balanced connections between pre and amp) but that's up to $1000 all by itself (plus ??? shipping to the Netherlands). Would be a pretty sublime system though IIUC.

    Not sure about shipping to Europe, but a few of these might be worth considering (integrated amps, including Marantz): Integrated Amplifiers, Integrated Stereo Amps

    I'd not fret too much about power specs, esp on the NAD units, which tend to be 'under-specified' in this regard. But maybe the 35Wpc unit isn't recommended? But then again maybe it measures much higher than spec (which seems to be the case with NAD amplifiers).

    The Cambridge Audio CXA81 looks pretty sweet, for less than your max budget ...?

    Rega Elex-r looks very sweet also, maybe stretching the budget a bit though ... but it would match your phono preamp. :)

    PS/Edit: many folks like Sonus Faber speakers with McIntosh amps ... but those are likely over budget. The Marantz amps are usually well known for being smooth (similar flavor to McIntosh? possibly). I had a McIntosh C220 tube hybrid preamp for a while, and Denon and Marantz AVRs in the past, and can agree they were all smooth and musical.

    My current system uses Parasound SS pre and amp, I like the higher resolution these seem to impart, while remaining very musical. I have not owned Cambridge pres or amps, but still use their 840C CD player, whose external DAC inputs pretty well match my new Topping D90SE DAC. So I think higher-end Cambridge units (I count the CXA81 among them) would be a good recommendation too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2022
  19. cdash99

    cdash99 Senior Member

    Location:
    Mass
    If you otherwise like the Marantz Sound there is the PM7000N. It's slightly above your budget, but it will push 80w into 4 ohms
     
  20. Speedmaster

    Speedmaster What does it mean, if it all means nothing? Thread Starter

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    New is out of my budget, but used is an option if one can be found.

    The Principia's were Sonus' first and only attempt at factory made, entry level bookshelf speakers. They are not in the usual range of Sonus products (hand made and expensive). But very happy with them, very good loudspeakers imho.

    yes, I kick myself in the head now and then for not jumping on it. I even had a thread about it here, with most people telling just that: buy it! But even a few months ago the hifi world was still pretty stocked up and there was a lot the choose from, new and used. I just got overwhelmed and let it rest for awhile. Waited too long in retrospect.

    Thx, was not on the shortlist. Will check it out.

    Yeah, outside the budget. But would the phono pre amp in the Elex not be similar or the same as in the Fono MM?

    Looked into that model, still on the fence because I have the feeling the streaming/network part of it will be obsolete much quicker than the analogue part of it. Might be better off with a separate streaming box.
     
  21. head_unit

    head_unit Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    Sonus Faber Principia 3, right? Because at first I was reading "SONOS" which would be a different thing :laugh:
    Those look quite nice and appear to be good quality, nice reviews. But, they are 7" cones packed into small cabinets, so cannot reproduce the lowest bass easily. That's just physics. You say you want "real ‘kick’ or ‘oomph’" but that will not happen out of those speakers in any serious way.
    - So really a subwoofer would improve your system the most. However your PM5005 has no subwoofer output let alone internal highpass crossover to cut the bass out of your mains and reduce strain on them and the amp.
    - A simplest upgrade would be to Sonus towers, especially if now you can play loud enough.
    - Big holes in the bass can also cut your "oomph"-then you need room correction, rare in stereo equipment. But there's nothing wrong with running a big AVR into two speakers and a sub.
    - If a stereo amp, do get something that could accomodate a sub in the future, with subwoofer output AND internal highpass filters for true bass management. Parasound, Outlaw, some NAD maybe. You gotta read down into the fine print.

    - If you want more overall volume, our hearing is logarithmic. You need like 3x the power or more to start playing significantly louder. This implies stuff over 150 watts a channel into four ohms, don't piss around with 80 or 100 watts or whatever (like sorry the Cambridge Audio CXA81 or the Marantz PM7000n or Rega Elex-R or any of that). And never mind 8 ohm ratings, speakers are not resistors.
    - By the way speaker power handling specs are useless says this loudspeaker engineer, ignore all that, just TURN THE VOLUME DOWN if things sound bad and get a huge amp if you want.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2022
  22. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, ID, USA
    I really have no idea, that would require someone with more experience with these units to answer.
     
  23. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, ID, USA
    Yeah, yeah … but where to get reliable, robust 150Wpc into 4 ohms (with all the other stuff) for <$1500? Certainly a sub add on later is good. The CXA81 has a sub out, is at least 2x the present amp’s power, and has a decent ESS DAC. That should all be good for several more years IMHO. The separate streamer can be fed into the unit, IIUC.

    I have and recommend the SVS SB1000 Pro sub, at $600 is a bargain IMHO. Remote control and Parametric EQ make it easy to use.
     
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  24. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Go Padres!!

    Location:
    San Diego
    Parasound 2125/2250 v2 amps! Still need a preamp though.
     
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  25. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, ID, USA
    I almost said that! Sure there’s going to be amps and combos for less than $1500 that might give you that power level. I’m not totally convinced you need that much power for the OP‘s dilemma. Of course I could be wrong.

    That said, I have an A 21 amplifier which is certainly overkill for what I’m using it for. But it’s nice having the reserve if needed.

    from @bever70‘s posts seems like I should’ve gotten the A 23+ instead. Oh well, I don’t want to move a 60 pound amplifier out of my rack right now. So I’ll suffer with it as is. :D
     
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