Emmerik's picture
Last seen: 10 years 5 months ago
Joined: Jan 3 2014 - 1:17pm
Best amp for CM5?
commsysman's picture
Last seen: 2 years 7 months ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am

The NAD 356BEE amplifier is one I would recommend against. I think the 326 sounds better, There is just something wrong with the sound quality of the 356. I had it and sold it.

I suggest the Music Hall 15.3 amplifier, which you can get for $600 from Audio Advisor in the USA; it should sound very good with your speakers, and has a built-in phono stage, It is a real bargain at its price. Where are you located?

If the Music Hall 15.3 is not available to you, then the Cambridge 651A would be my second choice.

With a sensitivity of 88 db/watt, there is no reason to think that a particularly powerful amplifier is needed for those speakers. Sound quality is the issue; not power.

Any amplifer with 40 watts per channel will be quite sufficient. B & W specifies amplifiers from 30 watts and up.

If you were willing to spend $900, I could sell you my Musical Fidelity M3i, which would really sound excellent. I am selling one of my houses and I have some extra gear as a result, but as you are apparently in Europe that is impractical.

I think the two best ones for under $2000 are the Arcam A28 and the Musical Fidelity M3i.

For a a turntable, I suggest the Music Hall MMF 2.2, plus a good cartridge that will cost $200-300 additional. The cheap cartridges that all of the manufacturers include with the turntable are OK to get started with, but a better cartridge makes a great improvement.



Emmerik wrote:


hope you guys can give some advice:

bought nice CM5 speakers (now with marantz pm 6003 & MacBook & HRT II streamer) and am looking for a potential upgrade of the amp. I hear the cm5 needs a relatively powerful amp, but not sure which would be best. I notie the sound with marantz is nice when i push up the volume, but on low levels its quite plain. The room is regular site, and i am particularly interested in getting a nice full sound even at low background levels. I stream music and i would like to be able to add a nice recordplayer. because unable to test these all head-to-head in my local hifi store  your two cents is worth a lot to get me started! Some ideas:

-Cambridge 651a

-NAD 356 or even 390DD (local deal for 1700euro)

-naim unitilite or nxs ( i had tested the unitiqute2 plus nap 100 which sounded lovely, but not sure this is the best future proof investment because of only one analog input, I'd be in problems if in some years decide to also want to add a cd player. Your ideas?).

- caspian roksan or kandy 

or perhaps these amplifiers are abit overkill and you have other suggestions? Thanks in in advance for the advice!

tormentor's picture
Last seen: 10 years 5 months ago
Joined: Aug 7 2011 - 4:03pm

Rotel RA1520. The best for your cm5

bierfeldt's picture
Last seen: 2 years 4 months ago
Joined: Oct 26 2007 - 2:30pm

Is a great value at $900 and should pair nicely with those CM5s.  The Rega RP1 will pair very nicely with it, particulalrly if you get the upgrade kit that includes the Bias 2 cartridge which would be $640.  Certainly not in the same price range as the Music Hall equipment (which is a great value) but may not be as big of a step above the Marantz as you might hope.  I own one and have use it with B&W M1's. 

The beauty of this is that the Brio R's phono stage is made by Rega and does very well with Rega cartridges and sounds really good with B&W and Kef speakers.  It is a minimalist design focused on great sound.  The only major issue I see with it is that it does not have a subwoofer output.  This is limiting if you choose to add a subwoofer as it will require a sub with speaker polls as outputs on the back of it.  Otherwise it is a great device. 

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