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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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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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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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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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...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolsax /forum/post/0


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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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaphile /forum/post/0


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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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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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdjaye /forum/post/0


. 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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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamnyholt /forum/post/19644421


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
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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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