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Best Integrated Amp for $400?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a new integrated amp for around $400.

I'm considering:

- Cambridge Audio Topaz AM10

- NAD C 316BEE

Do I have any other options. Would like to purchase new.

Room size: 12 x 13.

I have a variety of speakers, new and old.

Some Klipsch Bookshelf, the "Smaller" Advent, B&O, JBL, etc.

And a Powered Sub (which I want to use).

Thanks for any suggestions.
post #2 of 13
Spend a little more and get the c326bee...
post #3 of 13
The C316BEE is far better-sounding than the Topaz, and so is the Cambridge Audio A350, which you can find for $299 now that it is discontinued, more or less (was $549).

On the other hand...an amplifier that is OUTSTANDING for $499 is the Music Hall A15.2, which is much higher quality than either one, sounds a lot better, and puts out 75 watts per channel! If it was me, that would be my choice; no doubt about it!

The Music Hall amp is a steal at $499; it can compete with amplifiers that cost twice as much and sounds really great.

The cheapest GOOD subs start at $500 and go way up from there.

The little fart-boxes that sell for less are not worth buying IMO.

One that is almost decent, and might be OK for its price, is the Polk PSW-505, which you can get for under $300.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamITR View Post

I'm looking for a new integrated amp for around $400.
I'm considering:
- Cambridge Audio Topaz AM10
- NAD C 316BEE
Do I have any other options. Would like to purchase new.
Room size: 12 x 13.
I have a variety of speakers, new and old.
Some Klipsch Bookshelf, the "Smaller" Advent, B&O, JBL, etc.
And a Powered Sub (which I want to use).
Thanks for any suggestions.
post #4 of 13
Did you consider a classic stereo reciever? The HK 3490 is in your budget and puts out gobs of power. Yamaha and Marantz both have stereo recievers typically around 80 watts below 500.
post #5 of 13
+1 to both above posters. i have the A15.2 as well and really like it, plenty of power and at $500 is a good price for a nice integrated amp that has a good phono stage as well. and while the literature doesn't state that it can handle a 4ohm load, I've had email confirmation from the owner himself that it will handle 4ohm loads as well.


I"ve also heard lots of good things about the HK3490 as well.. its a high current amp as well so you can play 4ohm speakers off of it, which is not something you can say for all 2 channel receivers.

you may not need the 4ohm ability but it lets you know you have the current to work with.
post #6 of 13
The two amps you suggested (and others mentioned) are going to sound the same within their operating limits. More power is a good thing, but the power ranges in play here will only make a difference by a decibel or two.

I like all of the options mentioned, but don't be deceived into thinking any of the nominees (yours or others) are going to make a large difference in sound quality, because they're not. (I mean, how would they?) Interface and aesthetics are important too (meaning look and feel), so you might consider whether you like the Cambridge's digital display versus the NAD's old-school look. They're both pretty simple boxes.

What I really like about the NAD line are its plug-in input modules, which allow you to add a DAC or a phono stage. Very cool. Unfortunately, I think you have to move up to the C 356BEE to get that feature.
post #7 of 13
The only integrated amp in that price range with a input for a sub is this Yamaha http://www.crutchfield.com/p_022AS500/Yamaha-A-S500.html?tp=34948
The Cambridge Audio and NAD integrated amps you listed don't have a input for a sub.
There are a few stereo receivers that have a sub input and many home theaters receivers all of them probably that have one too.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by nothingspecial View Post

The only integrated amp in that price range with a input for a sub is this Yamaha http://www.crutchfield.com/p_022AS500/Yamaha-A-S500.html?tp=34948
The Cambridge Audio and NAD integrated amps you listed don't have a input for a sub.
There are a few stereo receivers that have a sub input and many home theaters receivers all of them probably that have one too.

You mean a subwoofer output. But it's a good point.

I would think the Yamaha lacks an analog crossover, meaning the subwoofer output overlaps the full-range output of the main channels. I dunno, though.
post #9 of 13
The yamaha RS700 and the HK3490 stereo recievers both have sub outs, the 3490 having two for those who want dual subs. (The outlaw audio stereo reciever also has them, but its a little outside of the OPs range). Home theater recievers all have subouts, plus you get the advantage of using audyssey or other room correction to help blend in the sub to the mains. Most will say you need at least audyssey XT some saying Audyssey 32 to do a reasonable job which gets you into the upper range of price for avrs.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by glangford View Post

The yamaha RS700 and the HK3490 stereo recievers both have sub outs, the 3490 having two for those who want dual subs. (The outlaw audio stereo reciever also has them, but its a little outside of the OPs range). Home theater recievers all have subouts, plus you get the advantage of using audyssey or other room correction to help blend in the sub to the mains. Most will say you need at least audyssey XT some saying Audyssey 32 to do a reasonable job which gets you into the upper range of price for avrs.

The other advantage of HT receivers is crossover bass management with both high and low pass filtering. The only receiver/amplifier I'm aware of for under $1000 that has that is the Outlaw RR2150. The others that have sub out are just that. Sub line outs without any crossover functionality. For whatever reason, the home audio market has not figured out that integrated amps and 2 channel stereo receivers need high pass filters built in for sub usage.
post #11 of 13
The Yamaha A-S500 amp is pretty good. The subwoofer output rolls off at 90 Hz, 12 dB/octave, fixed setting.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mltv View Post

The Yamaha A-S500 amp is pretty good. The subwoofer output rolls off at 90 Hz, 12 dB/octave, fixed setting.

How would this compare to the Onkyo 8050 sound wise?? I have one in storage now.
post #13 of 13
My choice today would be this one, can be bought here, Acoustique Technologies

514-387-4944
2025-A, Rue Masson, Local 001-E
Montréal - Plateau Mont-Royal
H2H 2P7



Ernestolo Carot One
450


http://www.theaudiobeat.com/topaudio2010/topaudio2010_carot_one.htm
Edited by MrAcoustat - 6/18/12 at 11:25am
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