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(also) restarting my audio journey: integrated amp recommendations?


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I went to the 'other side' with Headphones and DAP (Focus Elear and Fiio M11 Pro) because no time to play hifi, but recently i decided to restart my audio journey. 

My TV room is acoustically treated with various foam squares and corner pieces. Equipment is currently a Nano PC running Room EQ wizard/ APO Equalizer -> USB  -> Marantz PM7005 -> Proac Response 1 / SVS SB-1000. cable wise, i reused my old Harmonic Tech speaker cables.

I've been testing using my Fiio M11 Pro as a DAC instead of the Marantz DAC, but I also need convenience because the TV room is used by the family for Netflix. 

So the "natural" upgrade appears to be an integrated amp (with or without DAC though with DAC seems more convenient).

I was actually interested in the Roksan Blak but realised it has no pre-out for subwoofer. Naim Super Nait3 has subwoofer output but no DAC, so in terms of features that leaves the Hegel H190 which from reviews is the most 'neutral' sounding of the lot, but I'm at that stage of hifi, where 'pleasantly coloured' is ok, i don't need hifi to be 'neutral.'   Also noticed Lazada Marantz store is also selling the PM12SE, but also no DAC.

Any suggestions of other integrated amps  available in Singapore?

 

Edited by hifi_enthusiast
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I remember I bought few pcs of Ecophon from you many many years ago  

Anyway you may take a look at Parasound HINT 6 that has plenty of features. I did consider this though I ended up with Yamaha A-S1200...

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whichever that you pick, i feel it should be integrated WITHOUT DAC. tech advancements are too fast especially dacs, the hottest of tmrw will be yesterday's topic.

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2 hours ago, zephyr11 said:

whichever that you pick, i feel it should be integrated WITHOUT DAC. tech advancements are too fast especially dacs, the hottest of tmrw will be yesterday's topic.

 

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3 hours ago, synthesis said:

I remember I bought few pcs of Ecophon from you many many years ago  

Anyway you may take a look at Parasound HINT 6 that has plenty of features. I did consider this though I ended up with Yamaha A-S1200...

Hi Hi, yes i remember... were you the person who did the DIY Proac speakers also? I still have ecophon panels in my room, but I bought some acoustic foam from Lazada China vendor to supplement. 

Getting old already... decided to enjoy music now, before my hearing deteoriates....  😀

Thanks for all the recommendations and the views about whether DAC should be inside the amp, long time ago, I was also very 'purist', would have gone for separates... but now convenience is very appealing as well... all depends on price-performance ratio and because listening room also used as tv room for netflix....

The NAD (is it M32) looks very interesting... was not aware of the model, noticed it has subwoofer specific settings (crossover etc) and is surprisingly small and light (less than 40cm deep and weighs only 10kg which is important because of space constraint. 

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Don't rule out the Devialet Expert Pro series. It looks expensive until you start to analyse the feature count. If you are a Roon user, and your intended speaker is on the list of SAM models, I would give it serious consideration.

Having a digital pathway inside the amp and DSP opens up a whole world of possibilities. 

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Considering all-in-1 or keeping 'em seperated is all fine.. plus point is if the all-in-1 can offer plug and play grade option, else the seperates should (cater to) cure the upgradetitis.

I see it is more risky to take 2 or more different brands and try to match them beautifully. This is not so for the all in 1 where the brand sound is quite evident.

Happy searching!

 

 

 

Edited by kinger
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17 hours ago, zephyr11 said:

whichever that you pick, i feel it should be integrated WITHOUT DAC. tech advancements are too fast especially dacs, the hottest of tmrw will be yesterday's topic.

If you're looking to future-proof, you do get more flexibility without a DAC since that opens up some options when you decide to eventually add it in (you can either have a streamer + DAC in an additional box or you can have a streamer + DAC + integrated amp to make a three-box setup).

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_________

Hi, just wondering Is Nad M33 available in Singapore - this website suggests its not avail: https://www.lenbrook.com.sg/collections/master-series/products/nad-m33-bluoos-streaming-dac-amplifier

 

 

______

Totally subjective, possibly incorrect rankings:

Nad M33 - distributor's website says 'pre-order' - i like the 10kg weight and size, bells and whistles like room correction, but may too many bells and whistles that i might not use because I'm too used to controlling stuff from HTPC.

Hegel H390 -20kg is as far as I am willing to risk. Do I need to read between the lines of the positive reviews and conclude that this is a really 'neutral' sounding amp (but is it musical? 😃)

Gold Note IS-1200 - possible - my shelf is semi-enclosed and I note the amp has 2 cooling fans... guess it runs hot.

Rotel Michi X5 - weighs 42kg????  too large and heavy for my regular non hi-fi floating shelf (secured to rear and side walls, no legs). I think 20kg max.

 

 

 

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^^^^^^^^^

i really quite like the hegel h390, sadly  it's out of my budget, if not i would have gotten it, and forgotten about everything else. even the h90 which i tried was quite solid already. AV One is the place to go. i would think going and having a listen is still the best, and you could possibly find out more, even just the h190 might be enough for most ppl...

 

as for the NAD, i think it is a very recent release that is not in yet, that's probably why the pre order.

Edited by zephyr11
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For Nad M33, Lenbrook may have stock on hand, the salesman put the status as pre order because he said he don't want to disappoint the customers as all units were usually snapped up shortly when shipment arrived. Better call to check availability.

 

 

 

Edited by wusplay
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A friend recently bough the Arcam SA30. A very musical amp with strong set of features including room correction. Priced very well too. You can compare these with the Hegels when you go to audition.

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I did a bit more reading and discovered that just because an amp has a usb port behind doesn't necessarily mean that i can supports usb 2.0 audio from a HTPC. For example, the usb port may be for other purposes. So the list has drastically narrowed to  Hegel and CA Edge. So my findings for the sharing are below. 

I want usb audio because I  like using PC to navigate my playlists (+ REW + ApoEqualizer to room correction), and also use the PC to stream neflix to the amp via usb audio. 

____________

no USB type B- cannot connect to PC / usb-audio 2.0 (if I'm incorrect, pls correct me, thanks) [accesses files on PC/server via LAN?]

Arcam SA30 , Nad M33 - , Gold Note IS-1000 - does not support usb-audio 2.0. USB ports are not type B and for other purposes.

 

has USB type-B, supports connection to PC/ usb-audio 2.0

Hegel H390  , Cambridge Audio Edge A 

Roksan Blak - no preamp outputs for my subwoofer....

Rotel Michi - too heavy

Edited by hifi_enthusiast
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On 10/13/2020 at 8:52 PM, hifi_enthusiast said:

Hi Hi, yes i remember... were you the person who did the DIY Proac speakers also? I still have ecophon panels in my room, but I bought some acoustic foam from Lazada China vendor to supplement. 

Yes, my first DIY speaker back in 2006 and many more custom speakers/subs till today.  Same, the panels from you are still here. 

Have you checked Parasound Hint 6? I believe it has all the features you need and it's cheaper than Hegel. Soundwise, you decide. 

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1 hour ago, synthesis said:

Yes, my first DIY speaker back in 2006 and many more custom speakers/subs till today.  Same, the panels from you are still here. 

Have you checked Parasound Hint 6? I believe it has all the features you need and it's cheaper than Hegel. Soundwise, you decide. 

thanks forgot to check, yes it has all the features that I'm looking for (usb audio, subwoofer outputs + high pass/low pass filters). will visit message xaudio to see stock/current price.

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"no USB type B- cannot connect to PC" 

 Both Arcam SA30 and Nad M33 can be connected to PC by HDMI ARC. 

I would not say USB is outdated. New generation of device with ARC/eARC is more conviniance than USB 2.0. 

Edited by wusplay
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Got the Parasound. Family members are happy because easy to use and familiar button/dial layout like my previous Marantz.

Bass management is easy to use and happy that there's a dedicated subwoofer level dial on the front panel so that I can easily increase bass volume if needed (eg: movies vs music)

Initial impressions are positive. Most noticeable is the improved back/front soundstaging. But it definitely benefits from warm-up before proper listen.

 

As I'm using my PC to send data via USB to the DAC, I reset my APO Equalizer curves except for the confirmed 44Hz room mode where I applied I modest filter. Hope to do a proper round of subwoofer calibration with REW over the weekend.

 

As you can see, I have a 'floating shelf' anchored to the rear and side walls, so Parasound at 15kg and the depth of 41cm is good.  20kg amp like Hegel might be taking a risk.😀

 

 

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I was a hardcore "audiophile" guy until I lost the plot , was using a 7-stack hifi system (spending so much time and money tweaking)  until I realized i wanted to listen to music, and not to the equipment

 

Downsized everything into the Devialet Expert Pro stuff with ROON Nucleus and I am happy.   

 

Now just waiting for the SAM (speaker active matching - a cool feature for the devialet expert pro) for my bedroom LS50 Meta and im good to go 

 

 

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