Marantz PM5004 vs. Music Hall A15.2 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 37 Old 12-05-2010, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for the cross post. Wasn't getting any bites in the A/R/P forum...

I'm putting together a small 2ch system for my living room. I'm going to use Def Tec studio monitor 350 's as my speakers, and am choosing between a Marantz PM5004 or MH A15.2 as my integrated amp. Source will primarily be iPod with a little TV thrown in. I hope to get a good CD player or DAC down the road. Which amp would you recommend?

I like the sound and aesthetics of Marantz but the music hall has more power for the money, and I hear those speakers are power hungry.

Thanks!

Bonus question: I was also considering the Kef IQ30 's. A little cheaper. Think the Def Tecs are worth it?

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post #2 of 37 Old 12-05-2010, 02:44 PM
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I'm a marantz fan and owner but I haven't really heard the most positive things about the PM5004 in particular... I've heard the amp section is rather mediocre and low-current. How much are you paying for it again? And how much are you paying for those Def Techs too?

I don't mean to get off topic, but you should look into a pair of Behringer 1030A, 2030A, 3030A or 3031As and and stereo pre-amp to pair it with. IMO just wicked good. A few nice stereo pre-amps include the Emotiva USP-1 and Parasound 2100
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post #3 of 37 Old 12-05-2010, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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One call has it for $450 new, $360 open box. They have the A15.2 for $425. I'm trying to stay under 500 if possible.

The def tecs are $498 from authorized retailers, but a new pair from a reputable seller on eBay can be had for $360. I'm tempted to go that route.

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post #4 of 37 Old 12-06-2010, 11:59 AM
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I have a PM-5004 on the way along with a pair of B&W 685s. I based my decision off of the Stereophile review of the 5003. It's for a bedroom setup for now.

Here is the stereophile review of the 5003.
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post #5 of 37 Old 12-06-2010, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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That is indeed a great review. I would love to hear what you think after you get it hooked up. Please let me know!

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post #6 of 37 Old 12-13-2010, 07:45 AM
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Like the poster above stated, I don't necessarily want to steer you away from where you're headed, but...

In the lower price ranges, I'm beginning to suspect that certain amp & speaker brands "match" better than others. (Example- HK's 3490 w/ Energy C-5 floorstanders. Nice, but restrained. HK w/ older Time Frame 10's- WHAMMO!)

In my case, a system I'm quite happy with consists of the DefTech 450 Studio Monitors and an older Onkyo 8511.

The reason I bring it up is because one local NJ 6th Ave store every now & then offers the 450's for a ridiculously low price. And J&R is offering the Onkyo 8555 for a discounted price as well. Granted, I can't find the 450's on the 6th Ave website. But it suggests that the 450's (a possible step up from the 350's) might be found at a steep discount somewhere. Meaning the potential for getting both at a price of about $500 total is there.

Coupled with a Marantz cd player, it's a great overall sound for all types of music...

Good luck!
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post #7 of 37 Old 12-13-2010, 11:35 AM
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I haven't heard the best things about the 5004 either, but i haven't heard one or seen one so I don't know.. but I do know that the 15.2 can handle high current loads. I'm considering a 15.2 as well and emailed Roy over at music hall and states they run it with 4ohm speakers all day long, if you are needing high current for your speaks..
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post #8 of 37 Old 12-13-2010, 02:08 PM
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i would say go with the music hall. even being a fan (and owner) of Marantz 2ch gear, the music hall has a pre-out, so if you are unsatisfied with the amp section of your integrated, the music hall will let you hook up an external amplifier.

not to get off topic (like everyone else has been doing ), but the marantz SA-8004 has a built in DAC (aka has digital inputs in the back), which would be great for an Apple TV or other digital music sources. the music hall 25.3 DAC has had pretty good reviews and has a tube RCA output. ive heard that swapping out the tube can make a pretty huge difference. but the SA-8004 plays SACD, which may be irrelevant for you. so, as far as your future plans, both companies offer a digital idea, with optical/cox/USB inputs, but the music hall doesnt have a disc player built in, which may or may not be a good thing for you

FWIW i was looking at the SA-8004 for quite a while, and then i was looking for a used Music Hall DAC, and i passed up both products for a different digital source...

2.0 > 7.1
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post #9 of 37 Old 12-13-2010, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolsax View Post

I haven't heard the best things about the 5004 either, but i haven't heard one or seen one so I don't know.. but I do know that the 15.2 can handle high current loads. I'm considering a 15.2 as well and emailed Roy over at music hall and states they run it with 4ohm speakers all day long, if you are needing high current for your speaks..

Thanks. I'm beginning to think the a15.2 is indeed the way to go. If you do order one, please let me know wheat you think!

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post #10 of 37 Old 12-13-2010, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaphile View Post

i would say go with the music hall. even being a fan (and owner) of Marantz 2ch gear, the music hall has a pre-out, so if you are unsatisfied with the amp section of your integrated, the music hall will let you hook up an external amplifier.

not to get off topic (like everyone else has been doing ), but the marantz SA-8004 has a built in DAC (aka has digital inputs in the back), which would be great for an Apple TV or other digital music sources. the music hall 25.3 DAC has had pretty good reviews and has a tube RCA output. ive heard that swapping out the tube can make a pretty huge difference. but the SA-8004 plays SACD, which may be irrelevant for you. so, as far as your future plans, both companies offer a digital idea, with optical/cox/USB inputs, but the music hall doesnt have a disc player built in, which may or may not be a good thing for you

FWIW i was looking at the SA-8004 for quite a while, and then i was looking for a used Music Hall DAC, and i passed up both products for a different digital source...

No worries about being off topic. Keep the suggestions coming. I've definitely looked at the sa-8004. An interesting product given the digital inputs, but more than i want to spend since i own no SACDs. I'm seriously considering the emotiva DAC in combo with the a15.2.

Curious... What digital source did you end up with?

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post #11 of 37 Old 12-14-2010, 08:24 AM
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Hi there-

You might also consider the NAD C326 - gets great reviews, plus Crutchfield has a 60 days money back guarentee, so if you dont like it you can send it back.

http://www.crutchfield.com/s_745C326....html?tp=34948.

BTW - I'm picking up my Marantz SA-8004 on Friday CD/SACD plus DAC, so will post a review in a week or so and let folks know how I like. I'll be streaming from the PC via Apple Airport express into the toslink DAC input, so it will be fun hearing side by side uncompressed audio vs the CD player.

PM me if you want my insights into the ipod connection ...
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post #12 of 37 Old 12-14-2010, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdjaye View Post

. I'll be streaming from the PC via Apple Airport express into the toslink DAC input, so it will be fun hearing side by side uncompressed audio vs the CD player.

PM me if you want my insights into the ipod connection ...

That is exactly what i want to do. Id love to hear what you think after listening to it. And thanks for the amp rec. I'll check it out.

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post #13 of 37 Old 12-16-2010, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamnyholt View Post

Curious... What digital source did you end up with?

i got a PS Audio Digital Link III i had been looking at (read: dreaming about) a DL3 for a while, and found a deal that was too good to pass up on audiogon

yes, i have been EXTREMELY happy with it... but it was more by chance that i got it. i have no shame admitting its the best component in the system. before i found it, i was looking at the Cambridge Audio DAC, Music Hall DAC, waiting for a used Simaudio unit to show up on agon, and debating on saving for the SA-8004

ive posted a few various threads on here about my DAC searching, under hte user profile you can check my statistics to find the threads if interested

2.0 > 7.1
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post #14 of 37 Old 12-16-2010, 11:34 AM
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i'm going to wait til after the holidays, but I think i am for sure going to pick up the A15.2 my music hall dealer here can give me a pretty good deal on it so I'll try it.
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post #15 of 37 Old 12-21-2010, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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So here's an update:
Based on reviews, the PM5004 is out of the running. Heres what I'm looking at now:

Music hall a15.2 or Onkyo A-5VL. I have a feeling the MH might sound better, but the Onkyo has some nice reviews and and the built in burr-brown DAC makes it compelling. Going to try both and see which one i like.

If after Xmas i have a little extra moolah I'm thinking of going with the MH a15.2 + emotiva DAC or the peach tree audio Nova. Fr that price, though, i can also do all emotiva separates with the USP-1, XDA-1, and UPA-2. ( then the problem is space, however).

Of those last two choices, which would you go with?

As a reminder, my speakers are Def tec studio monitor 350's.

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post #16 of 37 Old 12-22-2010, 05:06 AM
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If you don't care about the looks i'd probably go with the MH with Emo solution instead of the peachtree, but if you lean heavily on looks as well as sound I'd go peachtree. with the peach tree the amp section is supposed to be a little leaner than the MH and has no Phono if you are looking for that at all. the peachtree is 80wpc into 6ohms and the MH is 75 wpc into 8 ohms, plus per Roy the MH can run 4ohm speakers easily, however i've heard that the nova, can have a hard time with harder to drive speakers.. though I don't have any direct experience with it.
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post #17 of 37 Old 12-30-2010, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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An update:

I ended up ordering the Onkyo a-5vl integrated amp with built in DAC. The DAC is what sold me. It was only $410 on amazon. I think the DAC is adequate, but i find that overall the sound of the unit is too "bright" with not much separation particularly in the mid to low region. My source is either CD or apple lossless files sent digitally from my computer.

After a lot of listening i think i'm going to revisit the music hall A15.2. I ordered it for $429 from onecall and i also ordered the CD15.2 (also $429). Im going to hook the CD player up to both amps and do some comparisons. I have a feeling the music hall is going to be a little more neutral, and the extra power and headroom is going to improve my sound quite a bit.

Not sure if I'll keep the cd player or go with a good, but affordable, external DAC like the Emotiva XDA-1. Budget wont allow for both right now.

Questions for you folks:

1. What do you think about the emo XDA-1?
2. If i go the CD route, should i keep the music hall or go with something else in that price range? The Emo CD player is attractive....

Thanks!

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post #18 of 37 Old 12-31-2010, 02:49 PM
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I recently bought both amps. 10-20 hours burn in on the Marantz 5004 and the Music Hall a15.2. Room: dedicated listening room 12x14feet, speakers placed to within 5mm to be symmetrical with chair optimally placed with sound diffusing foam on front wall (behind speakers). I use PSB mid level bookshelf speakers, audioquest wires, and a HRT II streamer DAC to play pandora one (upgraded) through my computer. I also compared this with my 10 year old NAD C340 2 channel 40wattx2 intergrated amp. The marantz was more detailed in the high range and had a more focused midrange soundstage than the NAD, but the NAD was smoother/ warmer (as NAD tends to do) in all ranges with more low end strength. The music hall amp was light years beyond the others, with much more detail in the high end without sounding harsh/grating unlike the Marantz. The sound stage was so focused with the music hall! Male and female voices were so sharply located I'd swear you could stand up and walk around them! The lowest end bass was not as strong as the NAD but much more than the Marantz. If the Music Hall is $500, the NAD is worth about $300 and the Marantz $250 in comparison. Bottom line is that I listen to the music hall for hours and the amp disappears so all I hear is music. The Marantz caused fatigue after 60min because of the harsh high end.
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post #19 of 37 Old 12-31-2010, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Orange,
Thanks for that! I'm glad you got to do a side-by-side comparison. That's my complaint with the Onkyo: highs are way harsh and hard to listen to for extended periods of time. I think I'm going to like the music hall!

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post #20 of 37 Old 12-31-2010, 04:26 PM
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Anytime. I was simply shocked at the difference between the amps. BTW: wonderful photography site (see mine: orangefilter com). You should be submitting to the wedding pdn contests...
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post #21 of 37 Old 01-01-2011, 08:18 AM
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Well I was about to order the MH from my local dealer, that review comparison finalized that decision. probably will order it within the next week now for sure. I know I could get a it a little cheaper on one call , but during my search for my current speakers, He let me bring in the Ascend Sierra's to do a side by side the with the Dynaudio Excite 12s, these were my final two in my current search, and while the Sierra's won out, The dealer won a customer in me for allowing the A&B ing of the speakers, and being generally extremely kewl and low key with so hard sale tactics at all. He just wanted to make sure I got the sound I liked the most. so Adamnyholt, if you're ever in the Austin Area, check out Audio Systems, great dealer with great gear.
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post #22 of 37 Old 01-01-2011, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolsax View Post

Well I was about to order the MH from my local dealer, that review comparison finalized that decision. probably will order it within the next week now for sure. I know I could get a it a little cheaper on one call , but during my search for my current speakers, He let me bring in the Ascend Sierra's to do a side by side the with the Dynaudio Excite 12s, these were my final two in my current search, and while the Sierra's won out, The dealer won a customer in me for allowing the A&B ing of the speakers, and being generally extremely kewl and low key with so hard sale tactics at all. He just wanted to make sure I got the sound I liked the most. so Adamnyholt, if you're ever in the Austin Area, check out Audio Systems, great dealer with great gear.

That is great! Even though I live in a big city (Houston) I have yet to find a dealer that has much in stock and is very helpful.

Good for you for supporting a local business providing good service.

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post #23 of 37 Old 01-01-2011, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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BTW: wonderful photography site (see mine: orangefilter com). You should be submitting to the wedding pdn contests...

Thank you! I like your work as well. And your site is simple and elegant. Let's the images speak for themselves.

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post #24 of 37 Old 01-17-2011, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Update:

I've had my Music Hall A15.2 for over a week now, and I am very impressed. It has more than enough power for my not-very-sensitive bookshelf speakers, and the sound is terrific.

I'm not an experienced audiophile and I don't know all the lingo, but my observations are the sound is very accurate, with a fairly broad soundstage, and little coloration. Vocals are open and highs are very accurate. Bass is a tad muddy, but I think that's a function of my room. It is pretty echoey.

My source is the CD15.2 player, my interconnects are Emotiva ultra series, and my speakers are the Def tech studio monitor 350's with an Emotive Ultra 12 subwoofer.

Compared to the Onkyo A-5VL, the sound is much warmer, much more open, and less fatiguing when listening at louder volumes for longer periods of time.

My other means of comparison is to "my" reference system (McIntosh separates with B&W 803's at my local dealer ).

The short version: I can highly recommend the a15.2, and compared to the Onkyo I tried before it, well, there is no comparison.

Edit: Forgot to add some other thoughts about the physical aspects of the a15.2. Build quality is solid, but not as hefty as the Onkyo or other Marantz products i have owned. I do love the understated and simple aesthetics of the unit, and i appreciate that the remote is fully functional (as opposed to the onkyo which literally only controlled volume). However, the remote is probably the cheapest remote i have seen in years. I would guess it came from a cheap 19" CRT tv from walmart in 1990 instead of a piece of high end a audio gear. I know the remote is not the most important aspect, but i appreciate companies that spend some time on the details (seen emotiva's remotes?). Connectivity on the back of the unit is a little cramped, but workable. The unit does not generate a lot of heat, even when i forget to open the cabinet door, which is nice.

About the cd15.2 player: it cannot handle even the slightest scratches on discs. Even a few brand new discs i have skip. Could be a problem with my unit. I'll be sending it back and ordering a DAC25.3 instead.

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post #25 of 37 Old 01-17-2011, 06:18 PM
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congrats on the gear!

that's a bummer about the cd player; but i'm pretty confident you'll enjoy the DAC. i'm curious to hear your thoughts on it (dac25.3)

2.0 > 7.1
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post #26 of 37 Old 01-20-2011, 03:32 PM
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I wonder how the HK3490 stacks up to the MH A15.2 ? comparing just the amp part that is. Anyone have any feedback to share about this comparison ?
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post #27 of 37 Old 01-25-2011, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anode View Post

I wonder how the HK3490 stacks up to the MH A15.2 ? comparing just the amp part that is. Anyone have any feedback to share about this comparison ?

I would be very interested in knowing this too. I just bought a HK3490 because of the great reviews on amazon and also the incredible pricing on newegg. But I wonder if i am missed anything by not trying out other gear.
I am running a pair of Vienna Acoustics Grand Bachs.

Living RoomSqueezebox Touch+ Cambridge Audio 504D --> Cambridge Audio 840a --> Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grands
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post #28 of 37 Old 01-26-2011, 04:54 AM
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Ordered my Music Hall today.. just waiting for it to get to my local shop.. let you know my thoughts once I get it in.
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post #29 of 37 Old 01-31-2011, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolsax View Post

Ordered my Music Hall today.. just waiting for it to get to my local shop.. let you know my thoughts once I get it in.

get yours in yet, Sax? The more i listen to mine, the more i love it. Curious: what is your source and speakers?

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post #30 of 37 Old 01-31-2011, 11:40 AM
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nah i get it sometime this week... can't wait. source to start will be a Yamaha S1800 universal player and speakers are Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1. But i will be switching to an all digital source. probably laptop to an HRT music streamer II.

I also have an older Technics Turntable for the occasional LP.
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