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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would classify myself as a wanting audiophile and have budgeted a maximum of $2000 for a pair of floor-standing speakers and an integrated stereo amplifier (I would rather invest in a higher fidelity amplifier than a receiver). I seem to be converging on the Axiom M80s (~$1300) for the speakers so that leaves me less than $1000 for the amp.


Here are some I have come across:

1. Cambridge Audio Azur 640A - $400 but pumps out only 100w per channel. The speakers support upto 400w! This ones on my shortlist

2. Cambridge Audio Azur 840A v2 Integrated Amplifier - 200W per channel but unfortunately way out of budget at its $1500 price tag

3. Onkyo 9555 - $450 but a digital amplifier, which I would prefer to avoid

4. Cayin A-50T - ???


My primary purpose behind the purchase is to listen to music, not to build a home theater system. Any recommendations you might have for an integrated amplifier would be highly appreciated.
 

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Ignore the 400 watt max rating on those speakers - the 10 watt minimum is more important. The M-80 speakers are 91 dB (anechoic) sensitive so are very efficient, however they are also rated 4 ohm, so you want a high current amp, and most receivers are not happy driving 4 ohm speakers. But Harman Kardon is an exception, and their 3490 model is 2 X 120 watts 8 ohm, and is rated into 4 ohms (150 watts/ch). This model also has preouts in case you want to add an external power amp. It also has some other nice features such as a phono input, digital inputs, video switching, I-pod connectivity, and dual sub outputs. It has the snazzy new curved edge styling, and lists for $449 but probably sells for less at J&R, One Call, or other reliable resellers.

http://harmanaudio.com/search_browse...203490&status=
 

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I landed the previous gen 840a last year for less than 1k shipped. It appears they sold out.


FWIW, you can do a used pre/pro (or integrated), and add a new pro amp (with lots of power), and still be within budget.


You'd be surprised at the number of classifieds out there. Try this search function at Audiogon for instance, at the bottom, use max dollar amounts. You'll see.
http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/srch...GSK=&submit=Go


try both tubed and ss pres. then integrateds as well.
 

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I own a pair of Axiom M80's. While they are listed at 4 ohm, they are an easy 4 ohm. That means, that they only dip down to 4 ohm at around 100Hz and for most of the frequency range stay in the 6 ohm range. Most 4 ohm speakers dip below 4 ohm - some significantly and that makes them hard for regular receivers to drive.


I've run the M80's on a B&K Ref31 and Sherbourn 5/1500A but most recently on an Onkyo TX-SR805 and right now on an Onkyo TX-SR876. I ran both Onkyos on the 6-8 ohm setting, NOT the 4 ohm setting. Never had a single overheating problem and I could drive the M80's LOUD. I usually listen to movies around -15dB. I cranked music before in the -10dB to -7dB range at parties and the M80's rocked.


I'd recommend the Onkyo TX-SR876 which will be just in your amp/receiver budget.
 

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I recently aquired the 640A, coming from an Adcom 565 pre and a Carver amp. I wasn't expecting much (got it for $359 from Audio Advisor as a demo) but I was pleasantly suprised by the smoothness of the treble and the solid bass- smoother than the Adcom/Carver combo. I am keeping this amp. I'm sure there's better but for this price, it's crazy good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Im leaning away from the Onkyo since its a digital amp. The NAD looks pretty cool -- now I seem to be trying to prioritize between Cambridge Audio and the NAD
 

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gmathur, I don't really know pricing on pre's or their performance to give you a rec. A common affordable rec I hear, w/o any idea of true pricing, is the Odyssey Candela. I hear its a sleeper.


I did buy an integrated to save money. However, unfortunately, I bought it before I discovered what Audyssey XT did for my HT. Mind you, I already had significantly treated both HT and stereo rooms (though not nearly enough for the living room, near 200lbs is as much as Im going to do to it visually, atm).


I would even offer to sell you mine, which is in perfect condition, but I think* Im still waiting on mid-level standalone room correction devices to appear, hopefully later this year. Hm. Now, this has got me thinking, lol...


IMO, good RC like Audyssey XT is awesome. I don't even have a sub for the stereo. This would be the #1 reason to go separates. Now, that's difficult with your budget, and hence my rec of a pro amp. The faceplate won't necessarily be as pretty, but the value is probably impossible to beat, since you ARE looking for power. Here is a current thread from AH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Slight change of plans... I found floor speakers at a discount from Magnolia and ended up buying the Vienna Acoustics Bach Grand speakers, which sounded great. (ended up going a couple hundred over from the speaker budget, but figured I could hear the speakers and then buy vs online buying)


Any recommendations for an integrated amp that may go well with these speakers?
 

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I still say the NAD 372 sounds like the best choice. Those 4 ohm speakers you just purchased will need all the power you can get. The 372 will handle them.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmathur /forum/post/15567027


Any recommendations for an integrated amp that may go well with these speakers?

Since you got VA's, you'd want to go with an accurate speaker but you don't want the A9555. A NAD at that price range is more musical, so unless you can get the A9755 forget Onkyo. I'd recommend the NAD C375BEE which I would most likely get next month when the shipment arrives. I'm auditioning the C372 right now and while the bass as they claimed is excellent, the highs could be more refined. Plus you have $ to spare for the C375.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the recommendations guys.


I ended up going with a Rotel RA1062 after auditioning it against the NAD 372 - while the NAD definitely had more power to punch with, I felt the clarity of the Rotel was superior to that NAD (the highs and the mids would feel a bit cluttered and muddy, IMHO).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmathur /forum/post/15544124


Im leaning away from the Onkyo since its a digital amp. The NAD looks pretty cool -- now I seem to be trying to prioritize between Cambridge Audio and the NAD

I have been happy with my A-9555 for sound and how cool it runs (a feature of Class "D"?)


I am curious why you wish to avoid all digital amps as a group.


FYI: I avoided NAD as I found too many quality problem posts while doing my research.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
To be honest, the main reason why I avoided the digital amps was to prevent the A/D and D/A steps that happen in the amp. Even if these are near perfect, I figured these could not possibly be a good thing. The other reason is that my research indicated that the digital amp sound was a little too crisp/neutral and I was looking for a slightly warmer sound. Given that the alternatives I was considering werent much more expensive, I decided to go with those.


The NADs were definitely a let down for me, their sound was just not up to the mark in comparison to the Rotel on the same setup.
 
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