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CJ Shearn

Ideas for Integrated amp to pair with Focal speakers?

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Two weeks ago  I was able to finally upgrade my awful Technics SB-A36 speakers and buy a brand new open box pair of Focal Chorus 716 floor standing speakers, for $800 a pair and I love them. Excellent midrange, excellent imaging, and the bass doesn't seem too overwhelming, actually it's dependent on the  .  Finally achieving my dream of entering hi-fi.  Currently I'm running them with a Yamaha RS 202 stereo receiver which is 100w per channel, it replaced my 12 year old dead Onkyo last summer. The speakers go from 40-200w I believe.  I think I'd definitely get more from the Focals with an integrated amp, and I have a budget that I'd eventually like to spend no more than $500 on one-- any suggestions? I've looked at the PS Audio Sprout which is $100 out of my price range, the Denon PM NE600 and Emotiva TA-100, the latter two  were reccomended by Steve Guttenberg the Audiophiliac

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Posted (edited)

My immediate reaction - Naim Audio NAIT5Si. Naim and Focal are part of the same corporate entity and usually make for a good match.

A beyond your stated budget but worth it e.g. second hand.

Edited by sidewinder

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I see no real reason to swap out that 125 Watts/channel Yamaha receiver with these speakers. Their sensitivity is rated at 91.5, so they are not what anyone would call "power hungry". And from what I've read, the max power for them is 125 Watts. On top of that, if you're planning to crank out 125 Watts with these speakers, I hope you don't mind living out your days with ringing in your ears, because that's where you'll be soon. :)

Most people can comfortably listen to music with about 1 Watt of power. Inefficient speakers sometimes don't sound their best at these lower powers. But that is not a rule. If this setup sounds good to you, enjoy your new speakers. In my experience, the speakers have a lot more to do with what you hear than the amplifier driving them anyway.

If you still want to look into an integrated amp, it will be tough to get much more power than 125 Watts/channel in a good integrated amp for under $500/new. Used, sure, but not new. If power is not a requirement, Marantz makes some nice low-priced integrated amps. I have a PM-7005 myself and it sounds great even with my meager 89 dB speakers when I drive them with about 1 Watt.

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I second both bresna e sidewinder,
Anyway a used amp is a safer bet then digital players or loudspeakers, usually a good technician can replace old components with new ones without changing the sound. Loudspeakers and digital players depends on components that often are out of production like d/a converters or speakers. I have to replace my CD player because the converters are out of production and there is no way to trust old new stock replacements.

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I bought a pair of Focal Chorus 710 speakers over a dozen years ago and love 'em! Got them cheap at a sale of a local electronics chain closing one of their outlets. I use a Marantz K1 Pearl-Lite amp and it works fine. My wife and my friends all love the sound.

I plan to get me a pair of Focal Chorus shelf spaekers for my small system in my bedroom later this year.

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1 hour ago, bresna said:

I see no real reason to swap out that 125 Watts/channel Yamaha receiver with these speakers. Their sensitivity is rated at 91.5, so they are not what anyone would call "power hungry". And from what I've read, the max power for them is 125 Watts. On top of that, if you're planning to crank out 125 Watts with these speakers, I hope you don't mind living out your days with ringing in your ears, because that's where you'll be soon. :)

Most people can comfortably listen to music with about 1 Watt of power. Inefficient speakers sometimes don't sound their best at these lower powers. But that is not a rule. If this setup sounds good to you, enjoy your new speakers. In my experience, the speakers have a lot more to do with what you hear than the amplifier driving them anyway.

If you still want to look into an integrated amp, it will be tough to get much more power than 125 Watts/channel in a good integrated amp for under $500/new. Used, sure, but not new. If power is not a requirement, Marantz makes some nice low-priced integrated amps. I have a PM-7005 myself and it sounds great even with my meager 89 dB speakers when I drive them with about 1 Watt.

Interesting.  A friend of mine who is about 2 years into the hi fi thing said I'd need an integrated amp.  He does have a bias against name brand stuff vs custom built stuff i.e. PS Audio, but it would save me money to not swap this out, no tinnitus yet thankfully lol, but I am enjoying the speakers.  I generally have the vol at 55-65 anything else is uncomfortable.

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If you enjoy the sound why change? Let be accustomed to the new loudspeakers then if you note some problems you may change the yamaha. 

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21 minutes ago, mikeweil said:

I bought a pair of Focal Chorus 710 speakers over a dozen years ago and love 'em! Got them cheap at a sale of a local electronics chain closing one of their outlets. I use a Marantz K1 Pearl-Lite amp and it works fine. My wife and my friends all love the sound.

I plan to get me a pair of Focal Chorus shelf spaekers for my small system in my bedroom later this year.

The 716's are discontinued so that's how I got such a great deal on eBay thru WorldWideStereo.  The Chorus line (no pun intended) is replaced by the Chora  and from what I can see there's not much difference other than improved cone technology, which is probably a buzzword more than anything.

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41 minutes ago, porcy62 said:

 I have to replace my CD player because the converters are out of production and there is no way to trust old new stock replacements.

Fortunately there is a lifetime buy of Philips mechanism spares on mine which means that it should survive for a good few years yet.

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1 minute ago, porcy62 said:

If you enjoy the sound why change? Let be accustomed to the new loudspeakers then if you note some problems you may change the yamaha. 

Good point... it's more my friend claiming an integrated is better but I have to doubt it because we all have different tastes.

Based on the advice here, I think I don't really need an upgrade at the moment, not so soon.  For me, when I'm happy with something I stick with those things a long time, and I'd always rather put more money into music than equipment, but this speaker upgrade was absolutely necessary.

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11 minutes ago, sidewinder said:

Fortunately there is a lifetime buy of Philips mechanism spares on mine which means that it should survive for a good few years yet.

The mechanic of my linn is bombproof as stated by the technician but the converters are too old, already replaced less then a year ago with new old stock found on internet , one failed two weeks ago. There is no warranty on most of modern  components, imagine with older one. I am thinking about an external converter or a new player, the cheapest Naim. Mostly I spin records, don’t want to spend much money on digital stuff.

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Have a look for a second hand Naim CDS2, CDS3 or CD555 porcy. The latter one is getting to be an attractive buy as people have switched to ND555.

These players use the Burr-Brown converters I think - again, Naim did a one time buy to support their production run with spares.

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3 minutes ago, sidewinder said:

Have a look for a second hand Naim CDS2, CDS3 or CD555 porcy. The latter one is getting to be an attractive buy as people have switched to ND555.

These players use the Burr-Brown converters I think - again, Naim did a one time buy to support their production run with spares.

I’ll do it, thanks 

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This "receivers are bad" stuff has been around as long as I've been into audio and that's a long time. I'm actually surprised your friend stopped at, "Get an integrated amp". Most of the "receivers are bad" crowd go straight to, "get separates".

BTW - I only recently switched to a Marantz integrated amp because I simply don't need an FM tuner anymore. It pains me to type that, as FM radio was my main listening mode for many years.

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I agree with everything Bresna said and would add, don’t be afraid of buying used. If you come across an integrated amp that’s 10 years old and doesn’t have a mark on it, it likely hasn’t been abused. I run a B&K amp and pre that are closing in on 30 years old with no problems at all. I had a tech check them out a couple of years ago and only minor adjustments were needed. You can find B&K equipment for short money, under $500 for 140-200 watts. But as already noted above, you’ll hardly ever use more than a few of those watts. A site you can find a lot of info on regarding older equipment is Audiokarma. Also try and find a reputable tech in your area, They’ll be able to help you determine what are good deals on Craig’s List, Letgo, Facebook Marketplace etc.

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Rega Brio or Brio R is an amp I really enjoy with a really good value.

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4 hours ago, sidewinder said:

Have a look for a second hand Naim CDS2, CDS3 or CD555 porcy. The latter one is getting to be an attractive buy as people have switched to ND555.

These players use the Burr-Brown converters I think - again, Naim did a one time buy to support their production run with spares.

I did it, not many and not one in Italy. I am not sure I'd buy a second hand gear from abroad, shipping cost a part. Anyway they are over my budget. Guess I'll get the cd5si unless the repairman does a miracle on the my Linn.

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Posted (edited)

15 minutes ago, porcy62 said:

I did it, not many and not one in Italy. I am not sure I'd buy a second hand gear from abroad, shipping cost a part. Anyway they are over my budget. Guess I'll get the cd5si unless the repairman does a miracle on the my Linn.

CD5si would certainly do the job.

The CDS3 and 555 etc. also require an additional power supply unit, not cheap. Not sure what the dealer coverage is like in Italy - probably better in Netherlands and Germany. Any servicing would have to be done back in Salisbury but on the plus side they can service and repair pretty well all of their legacy products, with a few exceptions like early CDs and tuner heads.

My CDS3 is still on its first transport - long may it last ! The moment it starts juddering it will be off to HQ.

Edited by sidewinder

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Just now, sidewinder said:

CD5si would certainly do the job.

The CDS3 and 555 etc. also require an additional power supply unit, not cheap. Not sure what the dealer coverage is like in Italy - probably better in Netherlands and Germany. Any servicing would have to be done back in Salisbury but on the plus side they can service and repair pretty well all of their legacy products, with a few exceptions like early CDs and tuner heads.

The dealer here is fine, the owners are bad, they keep the machines :D

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Posted (edited)

4 minutes ago, porcy62 said:

The dealer here is fine, the owners are bad, they keep the machines :D

A similar problem here - although there was a temporary wave of CD555s when the ND555 came out. Optimal set up for that one is with two 555PS supplies but it is a formidable player and hard to beat.

The CD555 would be the equivalent I think to your Sondek CD12.

You could always go for DCS Bartok and Clock..:unsure:

Edited by sidewinder

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Just now, sidewinder said:

A similar problem here - although there was a temporary wave of CD555s when the ND555 came out. Optimal set up for that one is with two 555PS supplies but it is a formidable player and hard to beat.

The CD555 would be the equivalent I think to your Sondek CD12.

The new Linn's manegement think home entertainment automotive and domotics are more profitable then HIFI, doesn't care about old audiophiles like me.

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Posted (edited)

At least they have brought out the Karousel bearing !  I hear what you say though - the Linn Forums being discontinued didn’t help.

I was surprised how low key Linn’s presence was at the Bristol Show earlier this year. Demos were almost like a secret society.

Edited by sidewinder

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5 hours ago, bresna said:

This "receivers are bad" stuff has been around as long as I've been into audio and that's a long time. I'm actually surprised your friend stopped at, "Get an integrated amp". Most of the "receivers are bad" crowd go straight to, "get separates".

BTW - I only recently switched to a Marantz integrated amp because I simply don't need an FM tuner anymore. It pains me to type that, as FM radio was my main listening mode for many years.

I have to be honest too, my apartment is a 750 sq foot1 bedroom, and space wise, and all the power associated as you mentioned before with a IA would probably be a bit much.  The positive is my walls are pretty thick so the neighbors don't hear much.  Even my neighbors next door who blast all sorts of traditional Mexican music and Mexican pop the sound doesn't travel far.  For me the sound is fine.  I will at least upgrade my laptop DAC to a Schiit, the DAC in my HP Pavilion sucks.

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Posted (edited)

IMO LP12 a part, they prefer to sell expensive and nice looking systems "all in one" to people who want a fashionable "music maker". I think they don't care about improving the sound of their products anymore. Anyway my CD12 lasted twenty years without a problem, if only they'd have stock some converters, it would have lasted another twenty.

Edited by porcy62

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