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Steve-X
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Amplifier recommendations around £1k

Hi All,

I hope everyone is well, I'm a bit stumped at the moment. I've spent hours and hours online looking at reviews and trying to find an amplifier that will suit my system and needs (ideally a network amp with 100w p/c +, or just a decent old school stereo amplifier with 100w p/c +, don't mind second hand or older well regarded amps).

My current sound system downstairs is far from audiophile standards, in fact it's considered budget, but I am trying to make it sound better.

Currently I have a yamaha a-s500 amplifier, music is streamed via a music cast using the usual burr brown DAC. The DAC is connected at line level with linn silvers into the amplifier. The amplifier uses chord cables which terminate at gold banana plugs. That goes into a pair of Mourdant Short aviano 8 floor standars. They are on their rather fiddly floor spikes.

They are set up in my new lounge which had been a bit fidly, the lounge is a kitchen / diner combined, and I naturally want to be facing the side of the room rather than looking down into the kitchen. The back is glass, so I can't put the speakers blocking the doors either. The speakers at the moment are 21" from the rear wall, if I put them close it seems to have an odd effect on the base (the base is hollow in the centre of the room but insane towards the opposite wall). I've tried my best to get them equal distance from the side walls, but there is a weird L shaped bit on one side where under the stairs is and a radiator on the other side, so in reality there is a about a 2" difference from the wall (to allow for the radiator) and the other side has an odd shape.

Anyhow, it's about the best I can get it sounding placement wise now. I've had this setup for around 7 years now, but it was always used in a small room. This room is much bigger / wider, and I need to exercise the speakers more to fill the room.

I'm finding that at low listening volume the sound is fantastic, but as soon as I start to increase the volume the bass starts to pop, and the sound loses it's composure. The highs get a little out of control, and it seems to me like the amplifier is strained.

The mourdant shorts are bi-wired using and A/B speaker outputs on the a-s500. The A-s500 is rated at 85w per channel, 0.019THD, it's response is 10hz up to 100khz so more than I can hear.

The speakers recommend 15-200 watt amplifier, sensitivity is rated at 35hz - 22khz and they have a sensitivity of 88db.

They can be driven by 4/8 ohm.

Right now I am looking to find the weak spot in my system. It sounds great don't get me wrong, miles apart from your average modern bluetooth system and a lot of other average hi-fi's I have heard, but I still feel like there is room for improvement in the setup.

I 'think' the weak link is the amp? Although I appreciate this amp could possibly sound better on other speakers, I am just not sure it is the right amp for these speakers. What do you guys think?

I'd like to get something like a network integrated amplifier, I was looking at something like a NAD c388, but I like Yamaha. The c388 doesn't seem to be built anywhere near as well as the Yamaha A-S1100. I appreciate the Yamaha is more of an old school design with no frills, but I just want to get what's best.

Do you guys think moving from an A-s500 to an A-S1100 would be overkill for my speakers and system? Or do you think it could bring out the best of my current hi-fi setup?

Are there any other options you would consider?

Many thanks, and sorry for the wall of text.

TL:DR

I have a Yamaha a-S500, linn interconnects, Chord cables, burbrown dac set and Mourdant short aviano 8's. Sound get's harsh and pops at higher listening levels. Trying to figure out if my amp is the weak link, looking at maybe an A-S1100 but don't know if it'll work out.

Steve-X
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Oh, here are some I am

Oh, here are some I am considering at the moment:

Yamaha A-S1000 (a few around £500 used, I understand it is near identical in most respects to the A-S1100 apart from you can not bypass the OP amps totally and it uses mosfets).
Yamaha A-S1100
Cambridge Audio 851A (I've had good experience with Cambridge audio DAC's in the past but never had an amp, I have read mixed reviews on the build quality, although the specs look impressive)
Arcam FMJ A38 / A39 (no experience or knowledge)
NAD C388 (ticks a ton of boxes although pushing the budget a little)
NAD C356Bee (second hand plentiful, not sure)
Rotel RA-1570 (Seems nice on paper, some bad reviews by What Hi_Fi and such)

commsysman
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Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
Amplifier
Steve-X wrote:

Oh, here are some I am considering at the moment:

Yamaha A-S1000 (a few around £500 used, I understand it is near identical in most respects to the A-S1100 apart from you can not bypass the OP amps totally and it uses mosfets).
Yamaha A-S1100
Cambridge Audio 851A (I've had good experience with Cambridge audio DAC's in the past but never had an amp, I have read mixed reviews on the build quality, although the specs look impressive)
Arcam FMJ A38 / A39 (no experience or knowledge)
NAD C388 (ticks a ton of boxes although pushing the budget a little)
NAD C356Bee (second hand plentiful, not sure)
Rotel RA-1570 (Seems nice on paper, some bad reviews by What Hi_Fi and such)

For your price bracket, I would certainly choose the Cambridge amp as one of the best-sounding.

Arcam is always a good choice for nice sound quality.

Musical Fidelity makes really nice amps, but they may be out of your price range.

IMO stay away from Yamaha, Onkyo, and the newer NAD digital amps.

Steve-X
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Thanks, out of interest why

Thanks, out of interest why do you think the nad or yamaha may be a bad choice?

I did a little more reading up to see if I would benefit more from a speaker upgrade, I looked at some higher end KEF’s but their frequency reaponse especially on the low end was more limited although they were more sensitive.

I’m still thinking the amplifier is the weakest link, would you agree?

The cambridge audio does look nice.

From your experience what should the cambridge offer over my current entry level yamaha?

The Yamaha seems to sound good up to a moderate level, but when the speakers demand more the bass starts to pop and if you go a fraction more the entire sound soectrum distorts ( much like if you push a cheap factory car headunit with more powerful components).

Do you think the yamaha is steuggling to prodive the power to keep the low end from letting go? I don’t believe its the speakers since everything turns to a grabled mess right next to the point where the bass starts to let fo and be distorted.

Thanks.

Steve-X
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Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: Feb 1 2019 - 1:03am
Sorry for typos out atm on

Sorry for typos out atm on phone

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