Advice for a new receiver/amplifier?

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I have been collecting info on here about speakers, turntables, phono preamps, but can't find anything on this...I guess I could spend 500-600 bucks on it. Any thoughts? I live in a small 1BR so I don't have to fill a large space, sadly for me. Thanks in advance!

iago g., Monday, 11 January 2010 19:33 (nine years ago) Permalink

really love my cambridge audio 540a azur amp...the new updated model is the 550a and i assume it is great as well

rap wacksodic (M@tt He1ges0n), Monday, 11 January 2010 19:54 (nine years ago) Permalink

I have a Cambridge Audio 640a Azur V2, which I can also vouch for.

exploding angel vagina (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 11 January 2010 19:58 (nine years ago) Permalink

ah that's what i wanted but couldn't quite jump up to that price range

rap wacksodic (M@tt He1ges0n), Monday, 11 January 2010 19:59 (nine years ago) Permalink

I'd really recommend an integrated amp with a separate tuner over a receiver. At this price range, NAD should work for the integrated. Spend most of your budget on the integrated and get a cheap tuner of any brand (and even used). Unless you live in a poor radio reception area and radio is really important to you. But that combination seems unlikely, and probably best overcome by the internet, not a great tuner/aerial setup.

Michael Train, Monday, 11 January 2010 23:07 (nine years ago) Permalink

I'd go with an integrated over receiver as well. I quite like the NAD integrated although some don't like its sound- I dont know if they make the 325BEE anymore, but its worth looking for, and at quite less than your budget (or you can look at the 326BEE).

Just make sure it complements your speakers.

nothingleft (gravydan), Monday, 11 January 2010 23:11 (nine years ago) Permalink

Marantz PM6003s are quite cheap (integrated amp - no receiver). You may be able to pick up the discontinued PM6002 at a cheaper price -- also very good indeed

Duke, Monday, 11 January 2010 23:15 (nine years ago) Permalink

iago, can you share what you've found for speakers, turntables, and pre-amps?

calstars, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 02:08 (nine years ago) Permalink

turntables - buy a Rega. it'll be the only turntable you ever buy.

pre-amps. not sure how much this really affects the sound if you're not going for the crazy high end stuff.

also buy a nice sounding amp and get the tuner separately.
I bought a combi and the sound suffered as a result.

my opinionation (Hamildan), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 12:02 (nine years ago) Permalink

I've got a NAD amp in the backroom; can't fremember which model offhand but it was in the £250 price range 2 years ago. Like it a lot, running it into some Q Acoustics 1010s.

exploding angel vagina (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 12:06 (nine years ago) Permalink

The Cambridge Audio runs into B&W 685s. Gorgeous.

exploding angel vagina (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 12:07 (nine years ago) Permalink

Those Q Acoustics are great for the money, aren't they? Really impressed by them when helping a friend shop for a system a couple of years ago.

Michael Jones, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 12:10 (nine years ago) Permalink

They are terrific, yes. (I may have managed to blag them for nothing, too; even better value!)

exploding angel vagina (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 12:17 (nine years ago) Permalink

Other owners of Cambridge Audio Azur stuff, do you find the back panels with the connections on really wobbly? The CD player output cuts out from time to time because the connection works loose, and when I reach down the back to push them back in the amp mains plug likes to fall out. Got a 340C and a 540A, I think, so the cheaper end of the range.

⍨ (a passing spacecadet), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 12:17 (nine years ago) Permalink

Mine's solid as a rock.

exploding angel vagina (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 12:21 (nine years ago) Permalink

sure its not the cables that are not gripping tightly?

CAmbridge Audio is def. good value. Might also be worth looking into a used Rotel integrated. Most of them have phono preamps built in.

Phono preamps absolutely affect the sound regardless of budget. anything before the amplifier is especially sensitive because the amplifier will make it louder. with any preamp the issue to be considered is whether the isolating benefits of a seperate box are going to be mitigated by adding extra cables to the system. I generally think having the preamp built into the integrated is a great solution for most systems in the price raneg generally discussed on this board. hell, even some $5k integrated amps have amazing phono preamps built in.

Shh! It's NOT Me!, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 14:13 (nine years ago) Permalink

yeah i've had no problems with my connections on my cambridge

Na'vi Girls (Need Love Too) (M@tt He1ges0n), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 15:34 (nine years ago) Permalink

Rotel used to do phono pre-amps as an optional card you could plug into an internal slot. Sounds great—you'd need to head up over $500 for any external box to sound better. Don't know if they still offer that option. But a bunch of people make cheap externals now. NAD included.

Michael Train, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 20:33 (nine years ago) Permalink

UK/Europe may be different but every Rotel integrated amp I have seen in the US since 2006 has phono built in. Good point, though, that older models may not!

Shh! It's NOT Me!, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 22:03 (nine years ago) Permalink

Ah, the vinyl craze. Forgot about that. Nice of them.

By the way, either Rotel or NAD are fine pieces of kit as they say over there. You won't go wrong either way, but Rotels traditionally have had a more precise sound and NADs a more robust sound. Very useful if you can ever get into a store and A/B them through the same speakers while (whilst?) listening to music you know well. The character of equipment isn't so important in isolation, but combine tendencies with those of other equipment (speakers, for example) and you can start having an effect.

Michael Train, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 22:16 (nine years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

I have a somewhat newbie question, hope someone can answer:
I have an xbox running into a TV via component cable. I use the xbox to play music and movies. The TV has digital audio out. How do I connect the digital audio out to a pair of bookshelf speakers, which have '5-way posts'? Do I need a receiver between the tv and the speakers to boost the signal?

calstars, Saturday, 6 February 2010 16:09 (eight years ago) Permalink

yes you do. the digital signal needs to be converted to analog and then the converted signal needs to be amplified before it hits the speakers.

Don't know what your budget would be to accomplish this, but the simplest and cheapest way to get this done is a surround sound receiver, as it will have both digital-to-analog conversion and amplification built in. You do not have to actually use it for surround sound. Yamaha makes some good affordable ones - cheapest one on the website is $230...

Other option is to get a stereo receiver and use the analog outputs of the XBOX, your cable box, dvd player, etc. benefit here is that if you have no plans to do surround sound, you wouldn't be buying a bunch of amplification channels you won't need. wont necessarily be cheaper...

Shh! It's NOT Me!, Saturday, 6 February 2010 17:11 (eight years ago) Permalink

Does the tv not have an analog audio out? Many do, and it would simplify things for you. You could get a cheap integrated amp (no surround sound, no digital conversion).

Actually, on second thought, you don't have to go through the tv first and get caught up in that digital out. Run the video from the xbox to the tv and the audio to a receiver/integrated amp and speakers. If you're getting extra fancy, you could run an audio out line from the receiver to the tv and make use of the tv's speakers, too.

Michael Train, Saturday, 6 February 2010 18:50 (eight years ago) Permalink

I'm guessing it would be possible to go analog (component) audio from the xbox to the tv and then analog audio from the tv out to the amp. Would there be a downgrade in sound with this scenario rather than going direct from the xbox to the amp?

Reason is, I'd like to also connect the tv to the amp but would like to not have to buy another pair of interconnects to do so.

calstars, Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:32 (eight years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

I was wondering if someone could recommend a suitable receiver in the range of 250 bucks to connect a Sony Bravia LCD TV and a pair of HSU bookshelf speakers? Thanks in advance...

Iago Galdston, Tuesday, 30 August 2011 19:09 (seven years ago) Permalink

I should clarify, since I'm the one who started this thread. this is for a work hookup (not home, I got a Harman Kardon for home and I love it) as we watch viewing copies of video art

Iago Galdston, Tuesday, 30 August 2011 19:36 (seven years ago) Permalink

My 2-channel Onkyo TX-8255 drives 2-pair of Wharfedale Diamonds pretty well -- i see it at Amazon right now for $166.

suspecterrain, Wednesday, 31 August 2011 20:48 (seven years ago) Permalink

Thanks. The person in our media department finally got back to me, and suggested this weird super cheap thing (like 30 bucks) that can connect a tv to speakers...

But I'll keep the Onkyo in mind...thanks!

Iago Galdston, Wednesday, 31 August 2011 21:15 (seven years ago) Permalink

Interesting, looks like a good project amp -- i see it at $100, though.

suspecterrain, Wednesday, 31 August 2011 21:24 (seven years ago) Permalink

ah, she must have been exaggerating--still a good deal. glad it looks good to you, i have no clue about these things. thanks...

Iago Galdston, Thursday, 1 September 2011 00:41 (seven years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Does anybody ever bother to open up their receiver and dust off all the parts under the grille? I am tempted, I hate to see all that dust settling over the parts...maybe just shoot some compressed air through the slats? anyone pro or con? thanks in advance!

Iago Galdston, Sunday, 29 January 2012 19:38 (six years ago) Permalink

If you have pets, it's worth doing from time to time. Sometimes opening them up will void any warranty you might have, though. So consider that. But I open mine up and blast it with compressed air every couple of years. Don't use a duster or cloth... static electricity can wreak havoc.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Sunday, 29 January 2012 19:41 (six years ago) Permalink

Thanks, F Hazel! No pets, but there's dust aplenty in cloth, definitely!

Iago Galdston, Sunday, 29 January 2012 21:36 (six years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

can anyone recommend a decent cheap stereo receiver? my old sony str-de575 died (has gone into permanent protect mode) and i need to replace it with something that will handle audio for dvd, roku, computer (for music). haven't got much money but this is basically an emergency (how will we not listen to jazz on sunday mornnings? (my wife will be ok with this) how will my daughter watch bugs bunny with no sound?!).

wmlynch, Saturday, 9 November 2013 23:09 (five years ago) Permalink

any kind of advice as to how to even narrow down the options would be greatly appreciated.

wmlynch, Monday, 11 November 2013 20:06 (five years ago) Permalink

price point?

the late great, Monday, 11 November 2013 20:31 (five years ago) Permalink

hopefully under $250 but i know that's terribly limiting.

wmlynch, Monday, 11 November 2013 20:42 (five years ago) Permalink

you need an integrated amp + receiver right, not just a receiver?

the late great, Monday, 11 November 2013 20:47 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah exactly.

wmlynch, Monday, 11 November 2013 20:54 (five years ago) Permalink

whats your closest craigslist city?

the late great, Monday, 11 November 2013 20:54 (five years ago) Permalink

乒乓, Monday, 11 November 2013 20:56 (five years ago) Permalink

i'm in oakland.

wmlynch, Monday, 11 November 2013 20:56 (five years ago) Permalink

i'll take a look at that yamaha.

wmlynch, Monday, 11 November 2013 20:58 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah i was going to recommend a yamaha or NAD

the late great, Monday, 11 November 2013 21:53 (five years ago) Permalink

it's a little harder to find a cheap NAD but you can find 7100 series for very reasonable prices

this one only has one working channel but you can find working ones for around $250

the late great, Monday, 11 November 2013 21:56 (five years ago) Permalink

thanks for the recs. i'll look at these too. sounds like yamaha is reliable in general.
a friend also told me to call sound well in berkeley to ask if they'd even recommend repairing it. i took it apart to see if i could find obvious damage but everything looks ok to me, so i suspect it will probably be something costly.

wmlynch, Monday, 11 November 2013 22:49 (five years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

I'd like to buy a receiver from the analog era--the one my mom had in the 70s was this total beast, can't remember the make. does anyone have advice about brands/models to search out and do you trust ebay in terms of condition? Any help would be greatly appreciated

Iago Galdston, Thursday, 23 April 2015 13:59 (three years ago) Permalink

I'm no expert, but having done a bit of researching and buying over the years the mid-70s (up to about '78) stuff from Yamaha, Marantz, Pioneer, Kenwood, and Sansui are pretty well regarded. The Yamaha CA/CR series from that era are so freaking beautiful. I know you said receiver, but if you don't need a tuner an integrated amp is the way to go.

No real opinion on eBay other than as with most stuff on there you can do well or get screwed; I haven't checked prices there for this kind of stuff in a long time but you should compare completed sales with what vintage shops are charging for pieces that have been gone through and checked out and might have a 30 day guarantee or something. If buying from eBay I'd look for sellers who specialize in vintage audio unless you're getting a really great deal on something you want to take a chance on. These things need to be packed well for shipping. If you have patience you can do much better at garage/estate sales depending on where you live.

early rejecter, Thursday, 23 April 2015 18:20 (three years ago) Permalink

Plenty of fine 70s gear but i have only owned the vintage Pionner stuff so that is all i can speak to. The primary failure of these old Pioneer units is the capacitors which fail prematurely (and yes forty-year old capacitor failure is premature considering quality of the rest of the internals). Fresh "Caps" can be installed yourself if your handy, but there are plenty of people who can do it mail order (expensive shipping due to the heft of these stereos) or even locally your area still has repair places. You can also get noise from the "knobs"; bass treble volume are actuated via knobs that are called potentiometers that can introduce noice and static when dirty -- these can be easily cleaned with DIY products or by your service tech.

Ask the seller about "volume-knob static", how long they've owned it, and when they last played it to assess your level of confidence in the seller Buying from a reseller who says "everything's been checked out" means nothing unless they can prove that the caps are new or non-original.

If you buy any of these quality units from the 70s remember that the rated wattage is the "real" wattage and you can easily shred your speakers if you get to generous on the volume knob -- 100 true amplifier watts needs a speaker also rated at 100 watts (ohm respective).

bodacious ignoramus, Thursday, 23 April 2015 18:54 (three years ago) Permalink

WOW. This is amazing info early rejecter and bodacious ignoramus. Thank you so much. I'll post what I go with, but this is really appreciated.

Iago Galdston, Thursday, 23 April 2015 20:15 (three years ago) Permalink

Oh i forgot -- if you want to trick some tech into thinking you know more than you actually do call those potentiometers i mentioned "pots". So you can say, "Have you checked/changed the caps and cleaned the pots?" may give you enough word cache for them to not think you're a total newb.

bodacious ignoramus, Thursday, 23 April 2015 21:40 (three years ago) Permalink

The Yamaha CA/CR series from that era are so freaking beautiful.

Can confirm. My dad had a CR from the late 70s that sounded amazing and worked flawlessly for 40 years. Supposedly, though, the Yamahas all suffer from the same problem at a certain point, and it can be a relatively costly repair, but likely worth it in the long run.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 23 April 2015 23:17 (three years ago) Permalink

I bought a 1979 Marantz 2285B about ten years ago for $150. I've sunk about that much in replacement capacitors and shredded nerves into it, but I will never need to buy another amp or tuner. It's powerful enough to bring down low flying aircraft, and I cannot discern a single defect in the sound, which is warm, detailed and MASSIVE.
It's going to make my coffin heavy.

MatthewK, Friday, 24 April 2015 13:01 (three years ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

I'm looking for a fairly cheap replacement amplifier and there are a couple of NAD amps on Craigslist for what seem to be decent prices. It seems like they have a good reputation. Anyone here have any experience/feedback on NAD amps?

Immediate Follower (NA), Friday, 22 May 2015 19:35 (three years ago) Permalink

Ha and NOW I go back and search in the thread.

Immediate Follower (NA), Friday, 22 May 2015 19:35 (three years ago) Permalink

yeah NAD is a safe bet. Solid entry-level audiophile amps

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Tuesday, 26 May 2015 12:04 (three years ago) Permalink

Agree, NAD is solid.

niels, Tuesday, 26 May 2015 12:41 (three years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

does anyone have any tips on enabling an analogue amplifier to stream wireless music?

Susan Stranglehands (jed_), Monday, 20 November 2017 17:48 (one year ago) Permalink

Chromecast audio is worth considering. I think I got mine for £20 so it's not the end of the world if you don't like it. Sound quality isn't quite as good as a big expensive box but it's much much better than you would expect for the price.

thomasintrouble, Monday, 20 November 2017 17:52 (one year ago) Permalink

£25 delivered, good reviews, sounds great to me (though a touch quiet for some reason)

barbarian radge (NotEnough), Monday, 20 November 2017 18:38 (one year ago) Permalink

Or plug an old iPhone into your amp. That way you can use Airplay, as well as Spotify Connect.

DJI, Monday, 20 November 2017 18:49 (one year ago) Permalink

Oh wait I don't think phones can we Airplay sinks...

DJI, Monday, 20 November 2017 18:49 (one year ago) Permalink

I've got my AppleTV plugged into the digital input in my NAD amp & stream from my iphone, it works pretty good

badg, Monday, 20 November 2017 19:06 (one year ago) Permalink

thanks all. NotEnough, I might buy this one that was on the amazon page as an alternative when I googled your recommendation.

Susan Stranglehands (jed_), Monday, 20 November 2017 22:43 (one year ago) Permalink

agreed, plugging an apple tv into a receiver works fine. bit of a pain if your receiver only has RCA inputs and you have a new appletv, which has hdmi (you need to get an hdmi to rca splitter, which is what I did), and you do have to then hook the apple tv also up to your tv so you can see what the fuck you're doing. but it does work.

akm, Monday, 20 November 2017 23:59 (one year ago) Permalink

Apple Airport Express is a simpler option and allows either analogue 3.5mm or digital optical out.

attention vampire (MatthewK), Tuesday, 21 November 2017 00:16 (one year ago) Permalink

true. and then you can just airplay (if you're wanting to just airplay).

akm, Tuesday, 21 November 2017 00:25 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

one of the channels on my old amplifier has gone kaput and as it has various other small problems i'm thinking it'd need substantial refurbishment, so i've decided it's time for a change. i've got tannoy mercury v1 speakers, a pro-ject debut turntable, and play digital stuff from my laptop via a 3.5mm to phono cable*, and i'll be using it for music alone so don't need anything too fancy - perhaps this means a bit of ebaying for older equipment will be my best bet. any suggestions on a budget of ~£150?

*via a focusrite interface to compensate for my laptop's bad soundcard, though this admittedly is still probably a stupid, quality-destroying way to listen to music

lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living (Merdeyeux), Monday, 12 February 2018 23:16 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Onkyo or Yamaha make really great low priced 2 channel receivers, with phono input

It's not delivery, it's Adorno! (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 13 February 2018 14:27 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I always input digital sources via line-level aux/cd/tape inputs (3.5mm to RCA plugs) and use the actual phono inputs only for turntables.

Quality DAC is key -- consider a used Dragonfly.

New 2-channel Onkyo and Yamaha units get a second vote from me and probably cost about the same as it would to fix your old amp (depending on the particulars).

bodacious ignoramus, Saturday, 17 February 2018 01:21 (eleven months ago) Permalink

seconding the Yamaha recommendations - what's your budget? the Yamaha A-S801 has both USB input and a great built in RIAA, meaning you won't need an external sound card for your computer

I've a weak spot for the NAD D3020, will get you a USB input but you'll have to use an external phono amp. A fantastic little digital amp, more contemporary in its design/construction than the Yamahas, not saying it's future proof, but I think it's a good bet.

niels, Saturday, 17 February 2018 17:26 (eleven months ago) Permalink

thanks, these yamaha and onkyo options look promising. what do you like about the nad, niels?

lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living (Merdeyeux), Sunday, 18 February 2018 00:26 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I used to work for a company with a close connection to NAD so I'm biased, but I really think it is the coolest little digital amplifier you can get. Reasonably priced, takes up very little space, sounds awesome and packs a surprising amount of power - will drive almost any speaker! Built-in bluetooth and USB input is very practical, and although I love analog amps I think the future is digital, so (though I'm not an engineer) the digital amp design makes sense to me.

It was very well received at the time but it's possible there are more quality digital amps on the market now

Bought one for my younger brother, matched with a set of Dali Zensor 3's - he loves it

niels, Sunday, 18 February 2018 08:42 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I didn't know the NAD was in your price range; if so, i'd go for that. Clean, honest power by reputation -- the on-board DAC is likely the Burr-Brown set-up... looks GREAT!

bodacious ignoramus, Sunday, 18 February 2018 14:29 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i've been loving the second-hand NAD i bought a handful of years ago but one of the channels seems to be crapping out. this is a vague question, but does anyone think this is worth taking in to a shop to be looked at versus trying to find a inexpensive replacement? am in school right now so am on a poor student budget. i think this thing is >20 years old

freedom is not having to measure life with a ruler (outdoor_miner), Sunday, 18 February 2018 16:23 (eleven months ago) Permalink

my unlikely that it's worth fixing

It's not delivery, it's Adorno! (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 18 February 2018 16:28 (eleven months ago) Permalink

NAD products are not as disposable as most big-box electronics... ...i suppose it depends mostly if you have a decent repair shop in your area (because shipping costs can take a big bite out of any repair budget). Also, the repair shop does not necessarily have to be an Authorized NAD outlet to get good work. I would google the NAD model number and symptoms and look through the myriad discussion forums to try and narrow the possible repair schemes.

bodacious ignoramus, Sunday, 18 February 2018 18:39 (eleven months ago) Permalink

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