Which Amp to buy?

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SugarMedia

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Hey gang,

I'm getting ready to buy another hi-fi system and could use a little advice from some of you more experienced audio enthusiasts.

The speakers I have chosen are: Martin Logan, Aeon-i (4 ohms).

My dealer suggested the following from Rotel combination.

• RC1090 preamp
• RB1080 power amp.
• CDplayer 1072

I felt that the Rotel amps didn't offer the bass response that I was looking for, and overall didn't make the ML's sing. But maybe that will all change once it's actually in my home in the correct environment.

Today I went and listened to Classe Cap-2100 Integrated Amplifier. Whoa! What a difference an amp can make and an integrated one at that. I was suprised at how the speakers seemed to literally come alive and the bass response was drastically improved. I want this one. I wanted it until I found out that it was $4,900.

The dealer then suggested as an alternative setup, "Musical Fidelity." Which he would sell to me at the exact same cost as the Rotel.
• A308CD
• A308AMP- (300 watts into 4ohms)

I didn't get to listen to Musical Fidelity today, but also feel that by looks alone it's not as pleasing to the eye. If you've seen them, they are bulky and old school industrial, in an alien sort of way. Plus, I don't really care for that volume knob. (Yes, aesthetics are of some importance, but sound is more of course)

I also have not really heard any reviews of Musical Fidelity. Are they good? Are they "considered" a good inbetween of Rotel and Classe? Is this a "lifetime Amp" that will pair nicely with the Martin Logan Aeon's?

So my conclusion is: What is that the best workaround if you were in my position?

(Please also keep in mind I just moved from the states to Europe and do not have the flexibility of trying these in my home first or looking for used products, as they are very scarce).

Thanks for your time and comments.
 
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Peter_Klim

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SugarMedia said:
Hey gang,

I'm getting ready to buy my first hi-fi system and could use a little advice from some of you more experienced audio enthusiasts.

The speakers I have chosen are: Martin Logan, Aeon-i (4 ohms).

My dealer suggested the following from Rotel combination.

• RC1090 preamp
• RB1080 power amp.
• CDplayer 1072

I felt that the Rotel amps didn't offer the bass response that I was looking for, and overall didn't make the ML's sing. But maybe that will all change once it's actually in my home in the correct environment.

Today I went and listened to Classe Cap-2100 Integrated Amplifier. Whoa! What a difference an amp can make and an integrated one at that. I was suprised at how the speakers seemed to literally come alive and the bass response was drastically improved. I want this one. I wanted it until I found out that it was $4,900.

The dealer then suggested as an alternative setup, "Musical Fidelity." Which he would sell to me at the exact same cost as the Rotel.
• A308CD
• A308AMP- (300 watts into 4ohms)

I didn't get to listen to Musical Fidelity today, but also feel that by looks alone it's not as pleasing to the eye. If you've seen them, they are bulky and old school industrial, in an alien sort of way. Plus, I don't really care for that volume knob. (Yes, aesthetics are of some importance, but sound is more of course)

I also have not really heard any reviews of Musical Fidelity. Are they good? Are they "considered" a good inbetween of Rotel and Classe? Is this a "lifetime Amp" that will pair nicely with the Martin Logan Aeon's?

So my conclusion is: What is that the best workaround if you were in my position?

(Please also keep in mind I just moved from the states to Europe and do not have the flexibility of trying these in my home first or looking for used products, as they are very scarce).

Thanks for your time and comments.
I actually DO prefer the looks of the heavy duty construction looks of MF over the Rotel and Classe (and its overall appearance). And I definitley like the the analog volume knob over the digital ones (the Rotel RC-1070 has one too, that's one reason why at one time I considered it). The MF is supposedly a real good amp (I have no direct experience with it). I did consider their amps too.

You really can't go wrong with any of those 3, although it doesn't seem like you like the Rotel stuff (some people here have it and love it). Choose what sounds best for to your ears. Hopefuly, because of the price, you'll like the MF's sound.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Well I have the Rotel. RC1070 preamp, RB1090 power amp. and the CDplayer 1072 and it is a good combination.This is a good combination for the money and it does sound fine. I was driving a pair of Sequel II's and now CLSiiZ's.

I feel the CD is hard to beat for the price and is a good performer and also looks good. There are some favorable reviews in Sterophile on the CD.

The amp is excellent for the money. I can not speak to the RB 1080 because when I did my research, Rotel told me, that driving the Sequel IIs and now the CLSiiZ's it would have been pushing it if I wanted to drive them hard because of the load they would present to the amp. I opted for the larger amp and I have no complaints. I do not listen to a lot of hard/metal rock, so I may have been ok but I would rather have had the extra power than not enough.
The RC 1070 preamp is also a good performer but listening to everyone here and with my experience I would have to say that it is middle of the road. It is a fine performer and you would not be dissapointed with the model up from what I had, I'll explain in a sec, it depends on what you plan to do with your setup, i.e. HT or 2 channel listening, or combinations there of.
I just traded in my Rotel RC 1070 preamp for a Conrad Jonson preamp and the difference is astounding. I gained somethings and lost others. The CJ only has 1 pre out and the Rotel had 2. The model CJ I purchased does not have a phono preamp but the Rotel did and if you have a turntable like I do there are options here. The CJ does not have a remote but the Rotel did so I have to get up and walk two steps to adjust the volume. The other major difference for me was going from a SS preamp to tube. This makes my CLSiiZ's sound unbelieveable.

Anyway I hope this helps a bit. If you have any other questions let me know


Jeff
 
K

Kevin

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I would say upgrade to the RB-1090. Just another tip do not fall for the overpriced snake oil "high end" cables, Save that money for better electronics.
 
G

gaffman

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B&K

Have you considered B&K amps? I have been using them to power my Martin Logans for the last 10 years and think they are an excellent match. Currently I'm using the B&K Reference 7270 Series II to run my all Martin Logan home theater and couldn't be happierwith the results.
 

Anthony A.

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i hav owned anthem and speak nothing but highly of them. for the money, i tried many and found them to be the best in their price range. i am canadian, so the prices were very attractive since they are a local company. check audiogon, they're pretty cheap and excellent value.
 

garmtz

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I have heard the MF 308 components several times on the Aeon and it is a very well matched combo. Very heartily recommended!

The MF components have are very composed sound, with lots of control, a warm and powerful bass, smooth mids and not a trace of hardness in the highs. It will give life to the speakers!
 

SugarMedia

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garmtz-

thanks for the post...very helpful. I think I will go for the MF308's.

Feel free to share any more MF sonic opinions if you have them.
 

LaserMark4

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I am in the same boat as SugarMedia-- still looking for that right combination, but have not jumped yet. I too heard Rotel with the Aeon i and Cinema i, and had the exact same reaction. Maybe its just something to do with this specific speaker and separates combination-- somewhat harsh and biting.

How about the NAD T163/T973? Anyone had any experience with ML's and these or NAD products? From the specs and minimal listening time, they seem like a lot of bang for the buck and good quality.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Are you referring to the Rotel preamp or amp. I have them both and yes it was a bit bright but not bad. I just recently changed preamps to Conrad Johnson and the brightness went away. Other things sound much better too that I was unaware of until the upgrade.

Just me 2 cents

Jeff
 

DTB300

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Jeff Zaret said:
Are you referring to the Rotel preamp or amp. I have them both and yes it was a bit bright but not bad. I just recently changed preamps to Conrad Johnson and the brightness went away.
About time you upgraded to a real pre :eek: :rolleyes: :) :D

Glad to hear all is well with the new system....

Dan
 

Jeff Zaret

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Dan,
Yeah it is amazing and keeps getting better as I break it in. The bad part is I have to re-listen to my entire music collection and then go out and but more. :D
 

garmtz

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I don't think much of Rotel myself... Very good value for money, but the sound leaves me rather cold.

I have tried a Rotel RB985 once on a Final 0.4 electrostatic hybrid and it became harsh at higer volumes and even shut down eventually (playing some Yello at not too insane volumes). Maybe Rotel doesn't like the load of an electrostatic panel?
 
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DavidG

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Musical Fidelity

You could also look at the new Musical Fidelity A5 CD / Amp. These are meant to offer much of the sonic performance of the Nu-Vista / Tri-Vista series but at the same price point as the A308.

Well worth a listen.

Cheers,

David
 

Sky Saw

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MLs are very rewarding speakers - the only problem with them is that they are very demanding of upstream components. I'm sure that few would disagree that system synergy is what it's all about. I think that speakers are a good place to start an upgrade path, since they usually define the overall characteristics of the sound of the system. I think that Rotel and NAD both make excellent products, and I can understand buying MLs into a system with those components. However, I think that upgrading to Rotel or NAD (or Cambridge, Creek, etc.) once MLs are already there might not be the best route. Your MLs will certainly show the compromises in these products fairly quickly, and you will get bitten by the upgrade bug sooner than desired. My feeling is that stereo nirvana will be achieved sooner, and at less cost by waiting until you can get your hands on equipment that is a step above the mid-grade lines. It's not that I have anything against these lines, it's that I believe that a pair of Aeons or Ascents would do justice to the best front end equipment and amplifiers in the world. Another $1k-$2k or a foray into the used market could make a big difference with your MLs.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Sky Saw,
I agree with your statement. I did upgrade my stuff as a long process to some Rotel equipment and have moved on, in the preamp arena. I still have Rotel's largest amp, RB 1090 and I still think for the money it is not only a great value but a good performer. Where I made my improvement was trading in my Rotel preamp, RC 1070, for a Conrad Johnson PB10BL. This was a very pronounced change in sound and spacial awareness in listening.

Just my 2 cents

Jeff
 

garmtz

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I honestly think there are lots of people (also attending this forum), that use equipment that doesn't do their speakers justice. I use the Aeon speakers and they REALLY started to sing when I connected a Chord SPM 1200E amp worth $9000 to it and a good CD-transport/DAC. They are THAT revealing. Buying a MartinLogan Aeon and using an amp twice its price, will give a better end result than using a Prodigy with an amp half its price, is my opinion... There are sympathetic combinations however that don's cost the earth, which include the Musical Fidelity 308 components mentioned here.

My $.02
 
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DTB300

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garmtz said:
Buying a MartinLogan Aeon and using an amp twice its price, will give a better end result than using a Prodigy with an amp half its price, is my opinion...
Not here to argue that you have a good sounding piece of equipment.

To a point I agree with you, as a cheap overseas receiver will not keep up sound wise with a well made and thought out designed power or integrated amp. But to generalize and say a $10,000 amp will sound better than a $5,000 amp.......I just do not agree.

"Good Sound" does not always equate to the amount of money spent. Maybe with your equipment you felt that way - and if you did, then you achieved your goal.

There are too many pieces of equipment out there that are priced WAY too high. But, since people will pay for it, they will keep selling it.

Listen to them, evaluate your budget and buy from there, but never make a decision on the amount of money an item cost. Base it on what you hear and how it fits into your system and budget

Now if you up that to $.04 then your opinion is worth twice as much. A much better opinion as it is worth more money... :)


Dan
 
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garmtz

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Point well taken... :) I meant it mostly as an example of course. You are totally right that you cannot rely on the price of a component as a quality indicator.

I think my amps are also way overpriced... ;) Happy I bought them 2nd hand for a very good price!

Another thing I believe in: buy good 2nd hand amps! :) It will save you a bundle, which you can use to buy a better amp.
 
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