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Integrated/Pre-Power Amp for MA RS8/Focul Chorus

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Helios

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Hi Folks,

Am considering buying MA RS8/Focal Chorus 826 for a new stereo setup but am not sure of which amp to go for. My budget ~ INR 100K. Mostly listen to Jazz/Rock. I recently auditioned Parasound Halo P3/A21 with Focal pair but didn't like the sound. The same pair of speakers sounded very good with NAD M3. Sadly, pricing quoted by dealer was ~ 2L so way out of budget. Any views arnd upcoming C375 integrated.

I would prefer a high power amp (>100 wpc) which is relatively easily available in Mumbai with bill warranty etc.

Thanks
 

Helios

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Isn't Roksan a low powered amp.. am not sure whether it will be able to drive RS8 well. Any idea where I can audition Jolida in Mumbai.
 

particleman

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Since you're in Mumbai, why not visit Boomarang's showroom in either Juhu or Fort? You'll get to audition the RS8 with amps like Cyrus, Arcam, etc.
 

Asit

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Hi Helios,

I have a similar kind of budget although my speakers are very different. To name some the amps that can be considered:

1. Integrated Amps just above 1L or around:
Arcam FMJ A38, YBA Design YA 201, Musical Fidelity A 5.5 (Primare I30 may be subtantially above 1L)

2. Integrated Amps below 1L:
Roksan Kandy K2, Cambridge Audio 840 A v2

3. Pre/Power combo
Quad 99 pre / 909 power (List price is around 1.3L, but should be around 1L to 1.1L with discount)

All the above have at least 100 wpc@8 Ohm or more (in some cases like the Quad, substantially more).

So far I have auditioned only the Quad 99/909 combo (and also the Cadence VA-1 integrated which I have not included above). The others are not available in Kolkata at the moment. But you live in Mumbai and as particleman said above you will be able to audition the Arcam,YBA and the MF amps at Boomarang. Quads are available at Designer Audio, I guess. I do not know where in Mumbai you can audition the Roksan and the CA ( cell number of Mr. Colah, importer of Roksan is 98192 57839). Primare I30 can be auditioned at the Soundsmiths (not sure about price though) in Mumbai.

Please remember I have no idea which of these amps will be good matches with your speakers. I have just listed the options available to my knowledge within your requirements (budgetary and rms power) because I am in a very similar search (see http://www.hifivision.com/amplifiers/3200-amp-upgrade-canton-speakers-feasibility-study.html for details).

Wish you the best of luck for your amp search.
 

Helios

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Thanks Asit for comprehensive reply. Any idea what wud be the cost of MF A5.5. Was seriously considering Primare I30 as well but it is way too pricey.
 

Asit

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Hi Helios,

Well I do not really know. I initially thought the MF A5.5 costs much above 1L, but then in my amp thread dinyaar said that it probably was not that much above 1L. Dinyaar also liked the amp very much. However, if you read my amp thread (site given in my previous mail) you will see two other members (namely square_wave and ROC) did not like entry level MF amps that much. Well I guess it's after all the sound that you are after and with experience the taste also develops. I guess we have to audition all these (if some day I land up in Mumbai) and decide for ourselves. But these inputs (even if conflicting at times) from experienced members are always helpful and makes us aware of what to look for during auditions.

You will find the results of my audition of the Quad pre/power combo in that thread. Overall I have to say I liked the amp combo. I have to now listen to all the other choices and decide.
 

reignofchaos

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Helios if you haven't purchased your speaker, I strongly suggest you listen to the Usher Be718. I think a couple of forum members have it and would gladly let you audition it. If you want Monitor Audio, look for the RS6 not the RS8. To my ears, it sounds better. The RS8 in comparison seems to have bass overhang. The RS6 can easily be driven by a high current 50 watter.

I'm not a fan of the Focal Chorus. They are quite ordinary speakers. The Electras on the other hand are very very good.

As far as amp is concerned, many of the options suggested are quite nice. In addition I've been auditioning the Jaton Operetta recently. Its a 70W chip amp and I quite like it. Very clean sounding and musical amp.

Jaton Operetta AP2140 AP5140 Amplifier
 
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Asit

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Hi ROC,

The Jaton Operetta amps look really very very impressive. A big "Thank You" to you for letting us know. However, I have a few questions:

1) Please forgive my ignorance, I keep hearing about them, but what is a chipamp? In what way they are different from say an Arcan FMJ A38?

2) Where can I find them in India? At what sort of price?

3) Do they work with conventional sources like TT, cassette players and CDP?

4) If the answer to 3) is yes, how many input ports are there?

My reason for having the question 4) above is that when I was considering the Cyclops Integrated amp (which is basically a Khartago stereo power amp with a volume control) I noticed that it has only one pair of RCA inputs (for just one source). Well, I will need at least 2 sources for CDP and cassette player (for the next ten years at least) and I want to add a decent TT so a third input at least would be nice (always had a TT, but my old one has died). I do not like to play around with the cables at the back of the amp everyday before I sit down with a relaxed mood to listen to music.
 

reignofchaos

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Hi ROC,

The Jaton Operetta amps look really very very impressive. A big "Thank You" to you for letting us know. However, I have a few questions:

1) Please forgive my ignorance, I keep hearing about them, but what is a chipamp? In what way they are different from say an Arcan FMJ A38?

2) Where can I find them in India? At what sort of price?

3) Do they work with conventional sources like TT, cassette players and CDP?

4) If the answer to 3) is yes, how many input ports are there?

My reason for having the question 4) above is that when I was considering the Cyclops Integrated amp (which is basically a Khartago stereo power amp with a volume control) I noticed that it has only one pair of RCA inputs (for just one source). Well, I will need at least 2 sources for CDP and cassette player (for the next ten years at least) and I want to add a decent TT so a third input at least would be nice (always had a TT, but my old one has died). I do not like to play around with the cables at the back of the amp everyday before I sit down with a relaxed mood to listen to music.

A chip amp is based upon amplifier chips - in this case on LM3886 chips. Its not built on discretes. The design engineer of national semiconductor has mentioned that this is the cleanest least distortion design based on their chips till date. I had an aversion to chip amps but after hearing this one, no more :). The bass has heft which I've never before heard from chip amps, the midrange is silky smooth and almost tube like and there's tonnes of detail across the entire frequency spectrum.

From the outside, It is just like a conventional power amp. Two pairs of RCA inputs and two pairs of speaker binding posts. The amp has a 2000 VA toroid and can also be converted into 5 channel if needed simply by adding circuit boards. This can be done by the user.

You'd need a preamp which needs to be connected to this power amp. This thing has just arrived at ARN and Sridhar just gave it to me for evaluation. I can easily say its a much cleaner sounding amp than the mccormack I'm using. I'm not exactly sure but expect the amp to be priced around 60-70k inclusive of VAT etc.
 
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odyssey

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Hi Asit
very briefly :)

1. Chipamps use ICs in for the gain stages as opposed to transistors, google is your friend - you should be able to find tons of info :D

2. ARN in Bangalore will be carrying Operetta. This is an initial evaluation peice that we got in order to determine whether we like it or not. Frankly, ROC has spent more time on it than I have - perhaps he can add a few more words on how it sounds :) My initial impressions are very good.

3. Cost is not yet determined but will be in the high 60's to low 70's, plus VAT.

4. Since this is a power amp - there is only one input. You will need a preamp to go with it. The Khartago/Cyclops are also power amps with the latter using an attenuator (no gain) to attenuate the input signal level. There is no source selector which will enable you to use multiple sources. The Cyclops is really for people who have a single source (many people today use only a CDP)


cheers
sridhar@arnsystems.com
 

dinyaar

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Hi Folks,

Am considering buying MA RS8/Focal Chorus 826 for a new stereo setup but am not sure of which amp to go for. My budget ~ INR 100K. Mostly listen to Jazz/Rock. I recently auditioned Parasound Halo P3/A21 with Focal pair but didn't like the sound. The same pair of speakers sounded very good with NAD M3. Sadly, pricing quoted by dealer was ~ 2L so way out of budget. Any views arnd upcoming C375 integrated.

I would prefer a high power amp (>100 wpc) which is relatively easily available in Mumbai with bill warranty etc.

Thanks

Hi Helios,
I too would prefer an RS 6 to the RS 8.
Any of the mentioned amps including the Roksan will drive them well. Arcam A28 will be good too apart from the A38. I like the MF A5.5 but a 250 wpc output is not required for the RS 6, RS 8. Am not saying the MF wont sound good, it will but that u can get similar performance from the RS6 from a smaller amp. The quad amps are an option to consider at least the power amp surely is. CYrus with MA i am not sure as the sound may be a little too upfront/forward.

Frankly the prices of gear i read about (NAD M3 @ 2L!!!!!!!!!!) are shocking and hence i dunno what is the current pricing of most electronics. The Primare was offered to me at 1.1 last year but i read its almost 1.45L now!!!
Anyway Asit has listed out most options and any of them should be good.
Rgds
 
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Asit

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Hi ROC and Odyssey,

Thanks for the clarification on the Jaton Operetta being a power amp. For some reason I thought it was an integrated. In the US it lists at USD1K. Somehow then the pricing in India around 70K (exclusive of VAT) is not working out that well.

In addition, one has to add a matching and quiet pre. Together then, it may cost substantially above our budgets.

Odyssey, let us know when you know more about the pricing and also about the matching pre.

Regards.
 

odyssey

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Hi Asit
I believe the $1K is a mistake if you have seen it on the review sites. The common price is ~ $1200 + tax in the US. MRP is higher at $1499 if I am not mistaken. However, that apart let me ask you :D -
1. If the item was priced at $2K and its offered here for Rs 70K, would you have bought it blindly? I hope not
2. Instead of price conversion, why not look at it as what one gets for the money in terms of sound/performance...meaning look at the other choices for Rs 70K rather than what 70K translates to in USD.

Dont take it the wrong way, but generally $ for $ a smaller manufacturer (such as Odyssey) has more invested in parts/product cost compared to other costs such as branding/marketing. Unfortunately, many of us (I have been guilty of it as well) tend to pay so much importance to the cost outside US rather than comparing the product with other similarly priced products. We are losing out on great products in the Indian market but available elsewhere.

cheers
 

smedhavi

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Hi Helios,

I have the Monitor Audio RS6 and use them with NAD C372 integrated (I bought the amp first). MA pairs extremely well with NAD. I think Dinyaar had also confirmed this sometime back in another thread. The NAD C352 might be good enough with RS6, if the room size is not too big, but a C372 will not hurt (except in the pocket).

On the lower end, newer models from NAD have not got as good reviews as the older ones (C320 vs C325). I am not sure whether their replacements for the higher end models would be any better. So go in with C372 or C352 and you be happy. There are no feature upgrades in these amps anyway.

ARN in Bangalore deals with MA as well as NAD, so I use this combination every time I am testing something else, but when I was auditioning my Pro-ject III debut turn table, Ali from ARN used another amp, which was also pairing quite well with the RS6 speakers. I think it was a Sunfire integrated amp with VU meters. Ali can you please confirm that?

Thanks,
Sharad
 

Helios

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Thanks Sharad. I heard NAD amps with Focals and thats where I really liked M3. I had a sort of hunch that it will go well with MA. No dealer in mumbai, to the best of my knowledge, keeps NAD and MA both so couldn't audition these as a pair.

C372 is probably going to be replaced with C375BEE and will be available with dealer in few weeks time. I will surely audition it when they get it. Will also look at the new pre-power combo of NAD but guess that will go outside my budget.

As for other amp/speaker suggestions in this thread, it will greatly help if you guys could also mention dealers in mumbai if you know.
 

Helios

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Can anybody pls help me with the pricing of MF 5.5 and Roksan Kandy K2 in mumbai. Am quite keen to evaluate these two.
 

dinyaar

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Hi Again,
Nad is distributed by lakozy and he also deals in Monitor Audio and u can audition the combo. Just call them so they have the speaker u want on demo.
Roksan is distributed by Marbin in bbay and should retail at about 80K while the MF A 5.5 is distributed by the Audio people chennai and is available in bbay with Boomarang at about 1.4L
One suggestion >>if going Nad then dont spend 2 L on the M3 buy the C372 @ 55/60K or the pre/power @ 90/95 K. You can find some super amps at the 2 L price and this M3 wont come close in any way.
Rgds
 

Asit

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Hi Asit
I believe the $1K is a mistake if you have seen it on the review sites. The common price is ~ $1200 + tax in the US. MRP is higher at $1499 if I am not mistaken. However, that apart let me ask you :D -
1. If the item was priced at $2K and its offered here for Rs 70K, would you have bought it blindly? I hope not
2. Instead of price conversion, why not look at it as what one gets for the money in terms of sound/performance...meaning look at the other choices for Rs 70K rather than what 70K translates to in USD.

Dont take it the wrong way, but generally $ for $ a smaller manufacturer (such as Odyssey) has more invested in parts/product cost compared to other costs such as branding/marketing. Unfortunately, many of us (I have been guilty of it as well) tend to pay so much importance to the cost outside US rather than comparing the product with other similarly priced products. We are losing out on great products in the Indian market but available elsewhere.

cheers
Sridhar,
Okay, fair enough. My only concern is that some of us have very tight budgets and cannot do much about it, even though we want always a better product. But your point is well appreciated.
Is there a matching pre to go with this power amp? Around what price point?
 

odyssey

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Hi Asit
Matching pre is to be out in a few months from the same manufacturer. If the amp is anything to go by in terms of how the pre will sound, then I can probably say that is a definite winner, however currently there is no pre from the same company. With regards to others - I will tell you this - its not been easy to find a good CDP or a good pre which provides great value for money. It seems to be far easier (at least for me) to find great VFM products in Power amps and speakers. I will experiment with an Odyssey passive pre, the Etesian (no gain stage) which may work well if you have enough volume at line level from your amp to speakers that you only want to attenuate. I have tried a bit with the Shindo pre and its fantastic, but ofcourse the Shindo is in a different league.

We will be getting a tube preamp in the next month which we hope will fill the gap in our tube preamp offerings, however, we dont have anything right now. I expect this pre to be in the 1/2 price of the Shindo.

ROC is using a modded Lyrita, perhaps he can chime in...? I havent heard his setup though.


cheers
 
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