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New amp for Kef Refence 1 speakers

tonapo

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I am moving some kit around, and I will be pulling my main amp (Musical Fidelity M6si) for use in another part of the house, which leaves a space in my main listening zone. This is a good excuse reason to look for a new amp.

My system - I have two different sources, roon (wired) and a CD transport (Cambridge Audio CXC) into a Topping D90 DAC. I have some convolution filters running in Roon. The Topping, currently, feeds the Musical Fidelity M6si via XLR, and then onto my Kef Reference 1 speakers. The speakers have a nominal impedance of 8Ohms, 85dbs sensitivity and kef note an amplifier class of 50 – 200w.

I am in the UK.

I don’t think I want an integrated, I think I want a power amp, and I could use my desktop DAC (an RME ADI-2 FS), as a preamp etc. I think I would want a gain switch on any amp choice.

In terms of what I have been look at - I have always hankered after trying a Benchmark Ahb2, but I don’t think I would be able to try before I buy, as there are not many dealers in the UK although I am aware of two. I have also thought about the various Purifi options however the US (VTV etc) and EU variants (Boxem etc) are not really options due to high import/tax implications. So, the only option really is something from Nord, who are in the UK. The other option I was wondering about is the NAD C298 which is more generally available in the UK.

Long term, I like the option of using another piece of Benchmark, the LA4 preamp, but I can not afford right now, but that does push the Benchmark amp further up the choices list. I think the amp is 100w, and I think this should be enough for the Kef speakers. Its a relatively small room (4.5mx3.5m), and I don’t really listen at high volume.

The Nord, I think an equivalent would be the Nord One SE, I am not sure about the looks and I don’t believe it has a gain switch, third choice for now I think.

The NAD C298 gets good reviews and you can select the gain level out of the back. I think its plenty powerful enough and I might even be able to borrow one to try out from my local dealer. So in the top 2.

So, my heart is saying to go for the Benchmark but the my head (and wallet) is saying to go for the NAD.

Any thoughts on these choices? Any other options?
 
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tonapo

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Thanks = I am reading up on the pa5, and also about the LA90.
 
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tonapo

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I would avoid the topping products. 50W is not enough to power the Reference 1's ([email protected]). You've already got 225W, and any less will be a noticeable downgrade.
I think that was generally why omited the LA90 originally due to low power worries. I find I can not really use much of the current power available with the MF or it becomes too loud quickly.
 

Matias

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If I were you I would choose this Nord below to go with your RME ADI-2 DAC, end game. No need for gain switches as the RME has an excellent Auto-Ref functionality with optimized gain + digital attenuation design.


 
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JustJones

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I live in the US and got This from Nord. I considered the purifi but for about twice the price I figured it wasn't worth it. Some reason you need variable gain? The NAD is 26db in fixed mode the same as the Nord.
 

Dave147

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The topping pa5 will drive those speakers with ease. Get one on Amazon to try, if you think it's not powerful enough send it back. But you won't have to worry about the power.
 

sweetchaos

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Why is PA5 still being recommended?
It’s been discontinued, and not to mention their issues.
 

Dave147

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I have not had a single problem with mine, and you can get it for £244 ! I have amplifiers that cost me £2000 with separate power supply and the pa5 is way better. He is only going to drive the kef ref 1 speakers, it will be plenty good enough for them.
 

sweetchaos

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:facepalm:
You know that there is literally hundreds of speaker amps that don't have a faulty design.
Heck, there's 538 from Matias's spreadsheet.
I say faulty because Topping has discontinued this model, thereby silently admitting this train wreck.

Would you recommend a lemon car to a friend?
 

Dave147

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:facepalm:
You know that there is literally hundreds of speaker amps that don't have a faulty design.
Heck, there's 538 from Matias's spreadsheet.
I say faulty because Topping has discontinued this model, thereby silently admitting this train wreck.

Would you recommend a lemon car to a friend?
Mine is not faulty. He said" low volume listening", no problem ! They discontinued it for the new model that's on the way. I'm using it with some £5000 speakers and it sounds sublime.
 

delta76

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Anyone who still recommend PA5 should do your due diligence
Yes it is a very good amp for the money, but only if it works. If anything it has terrible reliability, and that is due to its design, i.e. no real way to remedy or prevent failures, except by luck.

Get a hypex, or if you have more money, purifi based amp, and be happy until your upgradetitus kicks in
 
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tonapo

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have you seen the amplifier spreadsheet by @Matias ?
Thank you, yes, I have been looking up and down the list.

It seems like I can get a DIY Hypex Nilai500DIY 250W Stereo Kit in the UK for around £1200, which could be an option although ideally I would like to see a review here first. So this seems like an option anyway. Also just noted the Hypex Nilai500DIY 500W Mono Kit on the same site, so I would need two which would be £1700.

Thank you for the replies so far!

and be happy until your upgradetitus kicks in
And this did make me laugh!
 
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Waxx

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If you want a high quality Hypex NCore amp build, Audiophonics in France make great builds (also with Purifi, that was tested here with very high scores).


I bought quiet a lot of pieces from them (parts and full build devices) for myself and others and it was always a great quality and service. And it's quiet a bit cheaper than the other Ncore amps showed above. I ordered a Audiophonics MPA-S125NC (2x125w in 4R) Ncore based amp and it's set for delivery today. I paid about 403€ for it, including shipping and tax.
 

Dave147

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Anyone who still recommend PA5 should do your due diligence
Yes it is a very good amp for the money, but only if it works. If anything it has terrible reliability, and that is due to its design, i.e. no real way to remedy or prevent failures, except by luck.

Get a hypex, or if you have more money, purifi based amp, and be happy until your upgradetitus kicks
 
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