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Advice on integrated amp for Wharfedale Diamonds 230

Which amp for the Diamonds?

  • Yamaha R-N803D

  • Cambridge CXA61

  • Cambridge Azur 851

  • Older used amp (such as NAD C370)


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MarkS

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I'm more than happy to believe that you or anyone else can hear differences that I can't. But I still think that you're fooling yourself if you don't verify your impressions by listening blind.

As for a woman walking into the room and asking what did you change, that's a pretty ancient audiophile cliche.
 

Doodski

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But I still think that you're fooling yourself if you don't verify your impressions by listening blind.
The OP would need something similar to this. I checked around and the dual amp selector boxes are more expensive than speaker selector boxes. Then a multimeter that can measure AC volts and use a oscillator at say ~300Hz to 440 Hz. Level match the output of each amplifier using the sine wave when each is connected to the speakers and voila a science based comparison. Then play the desired music and blindly do the test.
 
OP
brotakul

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I experienced a similar thing with a specific $3500.00 (1990's dollars) USA made power amplifier in that it was more better in everything and sounded effortless. It was a beefy amp with linear output specifications. Like [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] I attribute the excellent sound to the output linearity and ability to drive the speakers with any load that the speakers put on the amplifier. Granted it is in a another class altogether than what you are looking at but the NAD gear gives it a good go, has more dynamic power output and will be more stable into low impedances than the Yamahas. Perhaps you have golden ears and are cursed with needing better stuff. >@^_*@< The bottom line is in this specific case with the models you are looking at if you want to go Yamaha you'll get more bang for your buck, if you go NAD you'll get a better class of gear with subtle differences in the sound as long as you buy the big NADs and not little ones. I was going to suggest a Yamaha with bigger better speakers although that would probably result in you wanting a NAD anyway to power them.
Just for me to understand what exactly am i comparing here: you say the NAD 319 is upper class compared to even the 803 Yamaha? What would then be a more similar competitor from YMH? The A-S1200-3200 series? I’m asking this because, from what you say, my feeling is that i’m comparing apples and oranges here, so at least i’d like to know where i stand. Because if that’s the case, it may be wiser then to ditch the 803 idea and look for better amp on the used market, like the C370 (i sure won’t be able to go for the A-Sxxxx Yamaha series - or similar - as new, way to expensive for me).
Edit: i’m asking NAD vs these models of YMH not because i have a fetish of some sort with YMH, but just to be able to understand how these models compare in the different classes. Honestly, i didn’t think the 319 was such “upper-class” in the first place…
 
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Doodski

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ust for me to understand what exactly am i comparing here: you say the NAD 319 is upper class compared to even the 803 Yamaha?
Yes the NAD is a tad better.

Because if that’s the case, it may be wiser then to ditch the 803 idea and look for better amp on the used market, like the C370 (i sure won’t be able to go for the A-Sxxxx Yamaha series - or similar - as new, way to expensive for me).
Either of the NADs would be nice although if going used do get a good example so you don't get something that's been run hard and put away wet. (Horse lingO :D )

Perhaps you could get a newer NAD in a integrated amplifier? I have not looked at used NAD prices but for a thousand bucks you might be able to get something newer in a NAD. Try US Audio Mart. If you are thinking of the used route there will be many options not just NAD. You open a whole entirely new range of gear.
 

Doodski

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I'd take the Yamaha over that NAD for the features and it measures well.
I agree the Yamaha has more features. The OP says the NAD sounds better. He's probably right. He is comparing some pretty decent NAD models that cost a lot more new.
 
OP
brotakul

brotakul

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Yes the NAD is a tad better.


Either of the NADs would be nice although if going used do get a good example so you don't get something that's been run hard and put away wet. (Horse lingO :D )

Perhaps you could get a newer NAD in a integrated amplifier? I have not looked at used NAD prices but for a thousand bucks you might be able to get something newer in a NAD. Try US Audio Mart. If you are thinking of the used route there will be many options not just NAD. You open a whole entirely new range of gear.
Yeah, i don’t want to jump to used gear that quickly. I’m keeping an eye out for offers i can’t refuse, sure i do, but not exclusively or as my main option.
I was just trying to understand the difference in classes between those amps i was referring to. Because if I unknowingly compare a $700 amp with a (let’s say..) $2000 amp and lean towards the later, the used market would be in my case the only way to allow me to get to that “sound”. But specific to the 319 it may not be quite that way. So i’m discussing a possibility, not trying to change my mind daily and drive myself (and people on this forum) insane
Right now i feel like the 803 is the main contender for the purchase, given all the features packed inside and also the better (?) amplification, not in rating but in terms of construction. I guess i’m hoping the 803 would drive the speakers more easily as the impedance drops, as compared to my current 301, and it would handle dynamics more like the NAD319 than the YMH301.
 
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Doodski

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All of them are beasts. The Krells are specifically very powerful and good quality. If you can get a good example of a Krell you would be set. Otherwise if you want new then the Yamaha is the way to go.
 

Doodski

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Oh and the Krell gear with the dark gray left and right sides I believe is older Krell. The newer Krell is the silver one.
 
OP
brotakul

brotakul

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Oh and the Krell gear with the dark gray left and right sides I believe is older Krell. The newer Krell is the silver one.
Yeah, the newer Krell is the one i need to sell my car to get, so i won’t mistake them :)))
The 90s stuff is awesome..
 

UniPolar

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I 'hear' you loud and clear... To me you 'sound' like you've already made up your mind.
You seem to want to re capture what you heard but the reality is, no one here can do that for you and your ears..

Large caps, large toroids, conservative ratings, beefy internals etc. seem to be what you are biased towards - hoping that it will sound as good as you want and remember..
Doing a large amount of research and intensive forum questioning MAY only place you into a death spiral. ;)

SO, purchase NAD or Cambridge and give it a go.. And if it doesn't impress you, sell it and try again...

Good Luck !!
..
If i may chip in..

As i said towards the begining of this thread, i had the opportunity to hear my speakers for about a month driven by my own Yammi 301 and an NAD319. The difference in the sound was quite obvious to me. Mostly, there were 2 aspects to the difference: 1) cleaner, more detailed mids (this i cannot explain, might be something related to electronics, distorsion, things that are beyond me…), and 2) the sound was more dynamic, the speakers were “alive”, as with the 301 they seemed flat, boring.
I listened to my usual songs, personal reference songs let’s say, that i know how they sound on my setup. So i tried to use these as a reference point, using the cues i knew to decide the extent of the difference (because for me there clearly was a difference, it was just a matter of “how much” and “in what way”).
Some say all amps sound the same at the same loudness level. As in, the amp should not change the sound, just amplify it. They should be transparent, or at least the good ones do. Then, i think that the NAD 319, being a more powerful amp, drove my speakers better, easier, cleaner than the 301. I’m not saying either amp “colors” the sound in any way, i don’t have the experience and the means to argue that, but something was happening, something was different and the power seems to me as being the “culprit”.
For me, the way amps are rated in terms of power, is not clear. I read about it, the way they calculate it, it seems to me it’s more marketing than anything else. And indeed, as someone else said here, the 301 may not have more than 50/60wpc with that power supply. I look at other amps and their specs, huge toroidal transformers, more often than not capable of max consumptions in the 400-500w (or more), lots of big capacitors for power reserve, and they are rated maybe lower than the 301 in power. Look at the Cambridge CXA 81.
I hope i’m not mistaken, but the 803 has a considerably more powerful trasnformer than the 301. Then, how they can both be rated at 100wpc? And i’m not trying to lose myself in specs here, but maybe that’s why they sound different? Because the NAD is 120wpc, but the extra 20w over the Yammi 301 is negligible in terms of dB. Then, maybe the construction itself (and more probably the transformer and capacitance) is the one making a difference.
I don’t know, i’m trying to explain it and trying to relate to things i read about, searching for an answer, so i would understand the “why” and so i would know what to look for. I may be wrong, i accept it, but then something else (that i’m missing here) is at work, because again: the difference is obvious, and i’m not (by any means) a fine audiophile with ultrasonic hearing.
Please, don’t throw rock, use pillows :)
 
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nn_in

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If this helps.I have used RN803

I have used CA,Yamaha,Marantz,Denon Integrated Amps.
Also have used Yamaha RN803 with Wharfedale 11.2
IMO Yamaha price-value-performance-consistent build quality is a big plus.
Missed out : If this helps. I have used NAD 320BEE ,316BEE ,375BEE and CA 651A before Yamaha RN 801. IMO and surprise I found 316BEE most engaging though I had 375BEE at the same time .Some features in RN 803 which I had not anticipated .The volume on the RN 801 can be set at 0.5db increments and feels as if it has a long span to set desired volume.YPAO room correction is useful. I had a Bluesound Power node 2i. There is no remote and I could not get used to the tacky volume on the box and the changing volume via app did not work for me.I realised that a good old volume knob is essential for me atleast. (Disclaimer : No affiliations)
 

Willem

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I will repeat what I said earlier, that I think that the OP has a nicely balanced system of good quality and no obvious weaknesses. But let me add a few personal subjective experiences. Last year I bought the smaller Wharfedale Diamond 220s for a secundary system in a 22 sqm room (powered by a 1970s 2x25 watt Japanese receiver and the analogue output of a CCA as a modern source). I can only say that I have been very pleased with the sound quality. When I play loud the amplifier shows its limitations, but not at more modest levels. The speakers are smooth and natural without any obvious vices - their only limitation is that they lack bass, but that is precisely what you have solved with the larger 230s. If I ever decide to improve this system it will be by adding a cheap subwoofer that would solve both the bass and power limitations.
In your case the Yamaha RN-803d would be my choice if I wanted to have a better amplifier. It has the tried and tested amplifier design of the AS701/801 with their quite beeefy power supplies, plus modern digital inputs.
Last year I bought the slightly less powerful AS 501 for my daughter and tried it in our large living room, and driving the inefficient Harbeth P3ESRs from my study. The sound was excellent and I could not hear any difference compared to the 2x140 watt Quad 606-2 in my main system.
The big advantage of the RN-803N would be the dsp room eq. In my experience this will make a bigger difference than any differences between decent amplifiers, particularly since you are using tower speakers in a small room.
 

Doodski

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@escksu is it you that runs a Krell 300iL or something like that? A FPB model perhaps? If you do how does it sound compared to regular stuff like a Yamaha receiver or similar?
 

escksu

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@escksu is it you that runs a Krell 300iL or something like that? A FPB model perhaps? If you do how does it sound compared to regular stuff like a Yamaha receiver or similar?

Sorry, the 300IL is just an A/B integrated, not those monster class A FPBs. I also have the S-300i, another integrated (I prefer the 300IL over the S-300i but they sound the same to me).

OK, I only had 3 AVRs before. Currently using an old Arcam AVR280. Previously had a Marantz SR7300 and SR4300 (really long ago).

The most obvious difference is power. I have an old pair of Dynaudio Audience 52. Also the Emit M20. OK, the Arcam is not really suitable for 4ohms and this is very obvious. The speakers needs alot of power and has to be played loud to come to live. When these speakers on the arcam, no they are horrible. The sound is clearly coming from each speaker and turning up the volume only make things worse. The 300IL/S-300i deosn't break a sweat.

OK, I also have a budget Monitor Audio Bronze B2 (very old one, my first pair of speakers).
http://www.hifi-review.com/151038-monitor-audio-bronze-b2.html

They are 6 ohms and work well on all amps. There isn't really alot of difference between the amps. However, I feel they sound better on the Marantz AVRs. The midrange is more pronounced on the Marantz "warmth sound", they sound somewhat cold on the Krell amps. This is likely because the krell amps are known to be quite neutral. However, the krell amps did reveal more details and more lively, esp. lower frequencies even on such a speaker. ITs not a massive difference but its audible.

Thats my own subjective view about AVR and integrated amps. I would say power is really the main factor here. I have never tried Class D before so is really keen to experience it.

Btw, I am thinking about getting the Sabaj a20a, what do you think about this amp?
 

Willem

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I don't think an electricity wasting class A amplifier is a good idea in this day and age, but certainly not at European electricity prices. We recently replaced a Samsung Horizon set top box when we discovered that it consumed 75watt on standby. This saved us about 100 euros a year. The Samsung box was also noisy because it needed a fan. The new set top box consumes almost nothing.
 

escksu

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I don't think an electricity wasting class A amplifier is a good idea in this day and age, but certainly not at European electricity prices. We recently replaced a Samsung Horizon set top box when we discovered that it consumed 75watt on standby. This saved us about 100 euros a year. The Samsung box was also noisy because it needed a fan. The new set top box consumes almost nothing.

I would prefer to leave this power conusmption thing out of the topic.
 

Willem

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Why? It is a relevant variable, both for the environment and for your wallet. With class A total cost of ownership is quite a bit more, and more so if you live in a country with hot summers where you might have to turn up the air conditioning.
 

escksu

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Why? It is a relevant variable, both for the environment and for your wallet. With class A total cost of ownership is quite a bit more, and more so if you live in a country with hot summers where you might have to turn up the air conditioning.

Sorry, please ignore my post. I thought you were replying to my post. Its was a wrong assumption, my apologises.
 
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