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J Larsen

Need a new amp

35 posts in this topic

Yesterday my Rotel started outputting random blasts of static, and the problem has worsened today. I opened it up and nothing was obviously wrong (no loose connections, dust, etc). Tried cleaning the pots, but it was no use. It is definitely the amp, because I get the noise through both headphones and the speakers, and it occurs regardless of what input I have it set to.

I'll send the amp back to Rotel to be repaired, but can't deal with the idea of being music-less for so long, so I'd like to buy a replacement unit and sell/gift the Rotel once it is fixed.

Any recommendations for units to check out this weekend? I have a few parameters:

1) solid state

2) integrated amp preferred (unless the power/pre-combo is very good value)

3) phono stage strongly preferred

4) under $2,000 preferred, but can be flexible if the marginal return is large enough

5) as detailed as possible

Also, I'm an apartment dweller, so I don't need a ton of wattage. My Rotel is 60W and that has been plenty for me.

Thanks!

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http://www.linn.co.uk/majik-i

I don't know the price in US, but it seems it has all the features you need.

Otherwise you can look for in the NAD catalogue.

I guess you can find some good used stuff in the power/pre combo too.

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Thanks, Porcy. In Living Stereo is right up the block from me and has this model on their website. Any idea as to pricing?

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I am sorry, I don't.

Linn's stuff is usually a bit more expensive then most common brands, but they have, at least in Europe, a terrific customer service, and their stuff is usually very reliable, I owned, and still own, several Linn's gears and I wasn't never disappointed by them.

What I can say about the sound is that is never dull, very detailed, but not analytical, just musical. I mean that I am never tired to listen to music through Linn's gears and that is the best reccomendation IMHO.

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Any experience with any of the following, all recommended to me at Stereo Exchange?

T+A (German brand with unfortunate name)

Arcam A32

Ayre AX-7e

Thanks.

Also, is it even possible to get a decent pre/power amp combo in this range?

Edited by J Larsen

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Any thoughts on the Musical Fidelity A1?

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Arcam is good kit. May want to check out NAD as well: decent product that can usually be had at discount. Rega is another UK line that provides great bang for buck as well.

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Yesterday my Rotel started outputting random blasts of static, and the problem has worsened today. I opened it up and nothing was obviously wrong (no loose connections, dust, etc). Tried cleaning the pots, but it was no use. It is definitely the amp, because I get the noise through both headphones and the speakers, and it occurs regardless of what input I have it set to.

I'll send the amp back to Rotel to be repaired, but can't deal with the idea of being music-less for so long, so I'd like to buy a replacement unit and sell/gift the Rotel once it is fixed.

Any recommendations for units to check out this weekend? I have a few parameters:

1) solid state

2) integrated amp preferred (unless the power/pre-combo is very good value)

3) phono stage strongly preferred

4) under $2,000 preferred, but can be flexible if the marginal return is large enough

5) as detailed as possible

Also, I'm an apartment dweller, so I don't need a ton of wattage. My Rotel is 60W and that has been plenty for me.

Thanks!

In the category you are looking for I do not know of any amp better than the Pathos Classic 1 Mk 3

70w/channel, a real classic, you maybe can find a mK2 at a lower price and not give up too much in performance.

The Mk1 is not in the same league

Good luck

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The Phatos has a tube preamp section.

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My concerns with tube amps are mainly maintenance and clarity. If there is tube amp that does not have issues in these areas, I'd be willing to check them out. But I really don't want to get in a situation where I'm psyching myself out about whether tubes need to be replaced, where to find them, does it really sound as good with the new tubes, etc. Honestly that is probably the main reason I prefer solid state.

Thanks for all the help.

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Mr. Larsen

I was going to recommend Decware products (as always, my entire system is based on their products) until I saw "solid state."

But I will say their products have INCREDIBLE clarity, and are more dependable than any others I've owned, and you don't have to worry about their tubes. Every other year you'll replace power tubes. Just pull old ones out and put new ones in. That's it.

http://www.decware.com/newsite/tubes.html

I'll be glad to assist via PM or on the board should you wish.

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DecWare does seem to offer incredible value. Really wish I could hear one before forking over the cash, though. I know you are a long time devotee and I trust your advice on audio, but everyone perceives these things so differently.

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Totally understood.

You could post at the forum board and see if anyone in NYC could let you listen? I'm pretty sure that there are some owners. . . .

http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl

Also, you have a thirty day period. . . you'd be out shipping. Few people return these.

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OK, just got back from In Living Stereo and was unexpectedly blown away by some tube gear. I would be perfectly happy with one of these two:

http://www.primaluna-usa.com/index.php?opt...8&Itemid=53

http://www.primaluna-usa.com/index.php?opt...1&Itemid=60

Any idea how these compare with Decware?

BTW, I did an A/B of these with a Rega solid state and it just wasn't even close. The PrimaLuna units were in a completely different league in terms of clarity, separation and liveliness.

Edited by J Larsen

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Yes, modern tube amps can astound. And they don't have to have the colorations and unreliability of tube amps of the past.

I've heard neither of these amps but I'd wager the Decware will outshine them. Bot of these are built around circuit boards. Probably made in China. Decware products have no circuit boards and are point to point wired using only the parts leads on the parts, very few additional wires. There are very few parts, often just a resistor and a capacitor in the signal path.

These amps have one thing over the Decwares: complex functionality, i.e. remote control, multiple inputs. These things are nice, but I live without them comfortably and don't have to compromise sonics to do so.

You could call Steve Deckert up and talk to him. He's very communicative. He's an audio designer, has decades of experience, he's a drummer and he does know what music sounds like and wants to replicate it accurately. He's very helpful on the phone, and can recommend amps based on your speakers, listening material, etc. I have two of his amps in use: the Integrated I34.2, and the Torii Mark II. I also have one set of monoblock amps (a sort of custom order, not one of his catalog items) in the closet right now waiting to be used again. I also have two pairs of his speakers, the CSP2 preamp, the "ZBox" and two of his modified disc players. I won't buy from others for amplification or speakers, I'm so spoiled by his products.

Anyway, I'm glad you got excited by tube gear.

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So I went with the ProLogue 2 because I loved the sound and it was available just a few blocks away. It will arrive in about a week.

I have one concern now: the ProLogue is only 40W. I just realized my B&W 704s are rated for 50W to 150W. Is this going to be a problem?

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So I went with the ProLogue 2 because I loved the sound and it was available just a few blocks away. It will arrive in about a week.

I have one concern now: the ProLogue is only 40W. I just realized my B&W 704s are rated for 50W to 150W. Is this going to be a problem?

Shouldn't be a problem. Speaker sensitivity may be a better barometer of compatibility than wattage rating.

Just curious, what speakers did you demo the ProLogue 2 with?

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The power to drive speakers is very different wattage wise transistor and tube. You'll be okay.

I have a 6 watt integrated, a pair of six watt monoblocks, and a 25 watt integrated amp, all from Decware, and they drive lots of speakers very well. One day maybe you'll hear some Decware stuff. Too bad we're so far apart.

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Thanks a lot- this is encouraging to hear. I was getting a little depressed there!

I demoed the ProLogue 2 with DeVore Gibbon 8s. Never heard of them before, but they are a very nice speaker. You can see them here:

http://www.inlivingstereo.com/loudspeakers.html

They are only a little smaller than my 704s, but according to the shop's website, they are particularly well suited to low power amps.

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One day maybe you'll hear some Decware stuff. Too bad we're so far apart.

One day I'll avail myself of the 30 day return policy, try them it out, and sell the PrimaLuna if I like the Decware. For right now, I needed a sure bet. I'm studying for a big exam that happens in five weeks, so unfortunately I really don't have a lot of time to commit to searching and product trials at this point. And I my girlfriend and I were both totally blown away by the PrimaLuna today, so as long as wattage matching with the speakers in a non-issue, we at least have something that I know we will really enjoy and that completely blows away the Rotel we were using before.

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Welcome to the tube world, lots of nice people over here. :tup

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My Sugden A21a integrated amp is Class A with 25watts output, runs hot and is really excellent , I've had mine 5 years ( it's a series 1 version), its been upgraded in the last 2 years but it's an ancient design with its origins in the late 1960s. Made in Yorkshire UK. If someone has it available near you well worth a listen. The current series 2 is more powerful and has a remote controller. Series 1 version (mine ) pictured.

Sugden

SugenA21a.jpgA21a series 1 -review

Edited by Clunky

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but it's an ancient design with its origins in the late 1960s. Made in Yorkshire UK.

I think my junior high school around that time (in deepest Yorkshire) had one powering big Wharfedale speakers in the main hall. Garrard deck as well I think - sounded good.

Didn't realise it was still in production.

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Re: Sugden - My first "real" amplifier. Yes, the Class A circuitry definitely ran hot... enough to heat that side of my apartment at the time. Perhaps the most tube-like sound I've heard from solid state. I eventually sold it, moved on to Exposure, then on to my current Dynavector electronics. I've considered buying another Sugden for my office system but they're tough to come by in the Midwest.

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My Sugden A21a integrated amp is Class A with 25watts output, runs hot and is really excellent , I've had mine 5 years ( it's a series 1 version), its been upgraded in the last 2 years but it's an ancient design with its origins in the late 1960s. Made in Yorkshire UK. If someone has it available near you well worth a listen. The current series 2 is more powerful and has a remote controller. Series 1 version (mine ) pictured.

Sugden

SugenA21a.jpgA21a series 1 -review

the sound of the Sugden is really exceptional in my view, very detailed, excellent timing and soundstage, my Living Voice speakers (around £4k) really sing. Running hot means it has to be carefully placed with plenty of space to allow air to circulate.

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