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Arcam Alpha 5 plus amplifier

Wharfedale Diamond 11.1 & 11.2 Speakers

psychotropic

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has anyone heard this one? I am getting a used one offerred for around Rs. 8k. The few reviews I could find on the net seemed generally positive. It's a 40W per channel (at 8 ohms) amplifier with an MM phono stage and 4 other inputs. I am told it's a more laid back, warm sort of sound. It was Arcam's cheapest amplifier in 1995/1996 or so when it was launched, so it would be the same vintage as my CD63SE. And Andrew Wong who reviews it here Five plus points to consider pairs it with the CD63SE (which was his reference player at that time i believe). I am told it is "made in england."

Anyone has any views on it? heard it? heard of it? thinks 8k is too much?
 

marsilians

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has anyone heard this one? I am getting a used one offerred for around Rs. 8k. The few reviews I could find on the net seemed generally positive. It's a 40W per channel (at 8 ohms) amplifier with an MM phono stage and 4 other inputs. I am told it's a more laid back, warm sort of sound. It was Arcam's cheapest amplifier in 1995/1996 or so when it was launched, so it would be the same vintage as my CD63SE. And Andrew Wong who reviews it here Five plus points to consider pairs it with the CD63SE (which was his reference player at that time i believe). I am told it is "made in england."

Anyone has any views on it? heard it? heard of it? thinks 8k is too much?

What speakers are you pairing them with? Also what do you listen to?

I have heard a few Arcam vintages, Alpha 5,7,& 8 (including the R versions). They were excellent amps in their time and obviously the newers amps are a fair bit improved. I am sure they will play well if maintained well. You may want to look to replacing the capacitors if you can if they ahve been driven hard. Personally I felt the 8 had the best detail since Arcam went with an upgraded power supply on it.

If you have never heard of Arcam sound, this is a decent way to get used to it. Don't run them hard.

They are made in England .
 

psychotropic

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i am not sure actually, as i've said elsewhere, i was originally thinking of the stuff like the mS902i and the cambridge audio S30, but now i might be increasing my budget so i might also be listening to the PSB Alpha B1, the Usher S520 and so on, mentally I am thinking I am going to like the Usher S520 frmo what i've heard, but of course, i am not going to buy without extensive auditions.

On the other other hand, the Arcam I might have to buy without auditioning. Should I bargain a bit?

What speakers are you pairing them with? Also what do you listen to?

I have heard a few Arcam vintages, Alpha 5,7,& 8 (including the R versions). They were excellent amps in their time and obviously the newers amps are a fair bit improved. I am sure they will play well if maintained well. You may want to look to replacing the capacitors if you can if they ahve been driven hard. Personally I felt the 8 had the best detail since Arcam went with an upgraded power supply on it.

If you have never heard of Arcam sound, this is a decent way to get used to it. Don't run them hard.

They are made in England .
 

saran

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has anyone heard this one? I am getting a used one offerred for around Rs. 8k. The few reviews I could find on the net seemed generally positive. It's a 40W per channel (at 8 ohms) amplifier with an MM phono stage and 4 other inputs. I am told it's a more laid back, warm sort of sound. It was Arcam's cheapest amplifier in 1995/1996 or so when it was launched, so it would be the same vintage as my CD63SE. And Andrew Wong who reviews it here Five plus points to consider pairs it with the CD63SE (which was his reference player at that time i believe). I am told it is "made in england."

Anyone has any views on it? heard it? heard of it? thinks 8k is too much?

8k is too much for a 40 watts amp.. I will buy it for 6k max.
 

prem

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If you can get hold of one of the old Sansui integrated amps, it will be great. It should come in your budget. The problem is in locating one. Search on Audiogon or ebay.
 

square_wave

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Most of the Ushers I have heard needs current. They like lots of it. The Arcams especially the lower powered ones have finesse but not much current capability. They are like the older Marantz amps.
I have not tested out this aspect of the s520. I have just heard them once. Sounds good.

An old sansui sounds like a good idea. :)

Morduant shorts entry level (a friends has them paired with the CA)are a bit on the bright side. Tipped in the highs to hide its shortcomings with detail. A Zildjian cymbol will sound half its size and tinny with hardly any shimmer or detail / texture. But it will be extra hot and bright.
If your cd63 seems to be a bit on the brighter side, that speaker may not be a good idea.
 
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psychotropic

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hey square wave, thanks for the tips. The 902i i have given up since i've increased my budget. I am now looking at stuff like the PSB Alpha B1 and the Usher S520 (and the Dali Lektor 1). The rated power handling of the Usher is 50 watts and its nominal impedance is 8 ohms. John Atkinson's measurements show a measured impedance of at least 6 ohms through almost the entire audioband, and he concludes that the S520 should be easy speakers to drive, which is why I was thinking that a 40 W integrated from arcam, even if it's not a high-current design may be able to drive these well.

The CD63SE after extensive listening at home doesn't sound excessively bright, it's very very clear, but even on hours of listening with my Audioengine 2s, the sound is not fatiguing. In my initial listen I had probably paired it with brighter components.

the great Sansui integrateds would be from a long time back right? 80s? There's a tiny possibility that my parents might make a trip to the UK soon. I am wondering if I should ask them bring me a used integrated from the UK. I can have my uncle in the UK check it out properly before sending it along, and ebay UK always seems to have a few good deals going...maybe even a newer and more powerful Arcam.

Most of the Ushers I have heard needs current. They like lots of it. The Arcams especially the lower powered ones have finesse but not much current capability. They are like the older Marantz amps.
I have not tested out this aspect of the s520. I have just heard them once. Sounds good.

An old sansui sounds like a good idea. :)

Morduant shorts entry level (a friends has them paired with the CA)are a bit on the bright side. Tipped in the highs to hide its shortcomings with detail. A Zildjian cymbol will sound half its size and tinny with hardly any shimmer or detail. But it will be extra hot and bright.
If your cd63 seems to be a bit on the brighter side, that speaker may not be a good idea.
 

prem

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Go for the Sansui AU 717 or 515. There are a few on ebay. If budget permits the Sansui AU 919 is a killer.

I think the manufacture of the Sansui AU series was outsourced in the 80s. In the 70s they were manufactured in Japan. Go for the japanese made.
 
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jai1611

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the great Sansui integrateds would be from a long time back right? 80s? There's a tiny possibility that my parents might make a trip to the UK soon. I am wondering if I should ask them bring me a used integrated from the UK. I can have my uncle in the UK check it out properly before sending it along, and ebay UK always seems to have a few good deals going...maybe even a newer and more powerful Arcam.

I wouldnt really advise trying to carry vintage amps in baggage - they are HEAVY. I have a Kenwood KA-8100 that I picked up recently that weighs nearly 20 kilos (seems to weigh as much as my Marantz 6010 OSE LE and Yamaha AX-396 combined!)

p.s. I'll be clearing out a couple of my amps in the next few weeks. if you are interested in a used one and are located in Mumbai, do let me know and I can share the details
 

psychotropic

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this would be ebay UK, or US? and wouldn't shipping etc., be a killer?

Go for the Sansui AU 717 or 515. There are a few on ebay. If budget permits the Sansui AU 919 is a killer.

I think the manufacture of the Sansui AU series was outsourced in the 80s. In the 70s they were manufactured in Japan. Go for the japanese made.
 

prem

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It would be ebay us or uk. Shipping can be to your UK address. It makes sense to buy from an European country as there will be no voltage problem. Air mail to India i would guess cost about 150 dollars.
 

psychotropic

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yeah, but lugging a vintage amp as jai said might be a bit tough, and the whole enterprise may be a bit of a challenge. If it's a smaller, newer, amp like an Arcam or NAD or Rotel or whatever, my folks can probably bring it with their baggage. My budget as you would know is very very limited (under Rs. 10k INR)

It would be ebay us or uk. Shipping can be to your UK address. It makes sense to buy from an European country as there will be no voltage problem. Air mail to India i would guess cost about 150 dollars.
 

prem

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You could look at Trends TA 10 amplifier which retails for about $120. A great match for it would be Klipsch Synergy F2 speakers which i think retail for about $ 600.
 

thevortex

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You could also look at the EPOS ELS8 speakers. I have heard it paired very successfully with Arcam integrated amps as well as the Solo Mini.
 

marsilians

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The Arcam 40W is a conservative figure and will drive efficient speakers including floor standers unless you are using Dynaudio or Magnepan type of power hungry speakers. I would not be too worried at the ratings.

The price is good for the Indian market. I have seen them being sold between 125-200 USD depending on the condition.
 

psychotropic

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hey nandakumar, i suppose the A 85 is a newer and much more powerful amp :) i've read a lot of really good things about it. I would love to hear from someone who has actually heard this Alpha 5 plus amplifier.

I am driving my quad speakers with an arcam a 85 amp and its far better than cyrus 8vs2, nad, marantz, cambridge audio, roksam kandy, etc
 

psychotropic

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Would it make sense for me to buy this amp, and then take it around and see what speakers it drives the best? Would that be a cart before the horse approach?

My ideal scenario is that this should match with the Usher S520 perfectly, but I am willing to take a chance on that, and if it so happens that it matches better with the PSB Alpha B1 or the Paradigm Atom or the Monitor Audio BR2, I am good with going with one of those speakers as well.

And all this keeping in mind that my listening room is VERY SMALL. It is a square, 10' by 10'. I am not going to need high levels of loudness.
 

jai1611

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I'd suggest listening to this amp with a pair of speakers you know well before buying it. That should give you some idea on how its underlying sound is. Will also give you an idea of transparency (often an issue with older amps - the tech has moved on). If this is going to be your primary amp, you need to have a decent idea of its traits before buying it.

If you like the basic sound, you can take it around to figure out which would be the best speakers.
 

anm

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Jai is right. This is always a chiken/ egg problem. Amp first or speakers first.
It is better to buy the amp first because it is easier and safer to carry it around for auditions, compared to buying speakers first and carrying them around.
Just try with some decent speakers once before buying to get the idea. Do you have to buy it blind (from different city) or can you listen to the amp before purchasing it? If you can borrow it, nothing like it.

regards
 
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