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Amp Upgrade for KEF R3

Ringer

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I purchased the KEF R3 and a Marantz CD60, trying to build a simple 2 channel system for 15 x 20 ft room. Currently using an old Arcam A65+ for the Amp, and have experienced some good sessions so far. However, I am willing to spend a bit more to get that last bit of clarity and dynamics. I don't really want to add a sub, I want to keep the system as simple as possible.

Amps I am considering:
Marantz Model 30
Rega Elicit-R
Hegel H120 or H95
Arcam SA20

I like low level listening and long non-fatiguing sessions, and occasionally turn it up loud for a brief jamming session, your help is appreciated.
 

fpitas

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Let us know your budget, and why you think the old amp isn't doing the job.
 

DVDdoug

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I am willing to spend a bit more to get that last bit of clarity and dynamics.
A different amplifier isn't going to help you with "clarity". Amplifiers don't really affect dynamics either (amplifiers are linear unless driven into clipping) but more power goes louder and that gives you more dynamic range... If you listen louder, that might give you the impression of more dynamics.

Technically, dynamic contrast is a characteristic of the music and the production. Virtually all commercial recordings have dynamic compression to reduce the dynamic contrast and make them "louder" (The Loudness War).

The main specs/characteristics of amplifiers are output power and noise (hum, hiss, or whine in the background). Frequency response is usually flat over the audio range and distortion is normally below audibility unless the amp is over-driven into distortion. (Hopefully noise is inaudible too but that depends on how close you are to the speakers, speaker sensitivity, and other ambient room noise.)

EQ (boosting the highs) may help with clarity, or acoustic treatment to reduce reflections.

A subwoofer or speakers with a bigger woofer might help to improve your impression of dynamics. (A subwoofer is not always "simple" to add unless you have an AVR with a sub-output for a powered subwoofer.)
 
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fpitas

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If you want a SOTA amp, you could choose some of the NCORE or Purifi amps that Amir tested here, or the Benchmark AHB2. You won't do much better. But as DVDdoug said, most likely you won't get extra clarity unless your old amp is ailing.
 
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Ringer

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Thanks. My budget is around $3K. This Arcam A65+ was gifted to me, so I can only reference old reviews concerning it's expected performance. I enjoy the A65+ smooth sound, but feel it is overly softened and rounded, the vocals are nice, but possibly still a bit warm/veiled. I have seen a review for the SA20 where the owner said it sounded much better than his old A65+ for soundstage and details. I have also demo'd various Amps on YT (I know taboo), but feel I can discern much clearer vocals on some amps vs others, e.g. Hegel>Arcam, Model 30>40n. I really like clean clear detail, but of course want engagement and fun, but right now in my audio journey clarity and imaging is most important. I have moved R3's around the room in different locations and distances from the wall/each other. I am finding that 14" from wall and about 8ft apart give best compromise of bass/clarity/soundstage.

The other issue is bass, the A65+ does seem to produce plenty of bass on some tracks, but I could always use more, but certainly do not want less. I may be mis-using the term dynamics, but I mean I want the amp to pull out small details at low volumes.
 

fpitas

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Some links here:

 
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Ringer

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I ended up getting the Marantz Model 30, definitely sounds more textured and detailed. Had a really great listening experience on the Dire Straits Fade to Black track, some of the guitars sounded tubular and the pace was very engaging.
 
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