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  1. #1
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    Question Amplifier Upgrade.

    I bought the Rotel RA-1062 last year to power my Paradigm Reference Studio 20's.. Its a nice amp, but now i want a change (This is the curse of being an audiophile i guess!) so I'm thinking of a serious upgrade... Now the fact of the matter is that if i want to make this serious upgrade, the affordability factor of brand new equipment is a problem for me... So I'm considering the option of going in for solid second hand gear.. With the speakers i have, i would be more inclined to go for something like NAIM or Musical Fidelity, Bel Canto. Arcam is also an option.. How about AUDIOLAB 8000A??? Will this go well with the Paradigm's? I mean is this also a good option to keep in mind, cos there are many to be had here for around 250-300 bucks... Or are there better stuff to be had? Thanks

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony340
    I bought the Rotel RA-1062 last year to power my Paradigm Reference Studio 20's.. Its a nice amp, but now i want a change (This is the curse of being an audiophile i guess!) so I'm thinking of a serious upgrade... Now the fact of the matter is that if i want to make this serious upgrade, the affordability factor of brand new equipment is a problem for me... So I'm considering the option of going in for solid second hand gear.. With the speakers i have, i would be more inclined to go for something like NAIM or Musical Fidelity, Bel Canto. Arcam is also an option.. How about AUDIOLAB 8000A??? Will this go well with the Paradigm's? I mean is this also a good option to keep in mind, cos there are many to be had here for around 250-300 bucks... Or are there better stuff to be had? Thanks



    The Exposure 2010S and Simaudio Moon i-1 integrated amps are on my future list. I have also been considering the Naim Nait 5i. Of course I am still enjoying the Onkyo A-9555 so much that I can not really see myself changing anything in my system right now. I owned a Rotel RA 970BX int. amp. and liked it but found newer Rotel's too bright.

    Absolute Sound did do a review of the Onkyo with the Paradigm 20's in their start me up articles.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Here is a link to a review of the Onkyo with the Studio 20's.


    http://www.avguide.com/products/product-3783/
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
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    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  4. #4
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony340
    I bought the Rotel RA-1062 last year to power my Paradigm Reference Studio 20's.. Its a nice amp, but now i want a change (This is the curse of being an audiophile i guess!) so I'm thinking of a serious upgrade... Now the fact of the matter is that if i want to make this serious upgrade, the affordability factor of brand new equipment is a problem for me... So I'm considering the option of going in for solid second hand gear.. With the speakers i have, i would be more inclined to go for something like NAIM or Musical Fidelity, Bel Canto. Arcam is also an option.. How about AUDIOLAB 8000A??? Will this go well with the Paradigm's? I mean is this also a good option to keep in mind, cos there are many to be had here for around 250-300 bucks... Or are there better stuff to be had? Thanks
    All of those are respected brands and have their own fan followings...

    Do you want to change the sound of your system or refine it? The reason I ask is because all of those amps sound different from each other. Based on my experience with the Rotel and reviews of the Paradigm Reference, I'd expect your setup to sound rather bright... so if you like that sound, then you may well be dissapointed if you switch to say an Arcam or worse yet Musical Fidelity amp... or if you're looking to tame the brightness then you might find Naim dissapointing in that regard...

    If you can, I'd strongly suggest auditioning as many different amps as possible... to ensure that you don't end up making your setup sound less appealing with the 'upgrade'...

  5. #5
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    As Ajani-san had stated, what are you looking to improve in your system?
    What do you think is lacking in your system?

  6. #6
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Hi tony, my system is entirely Naim separates, consisting of CD5x/FC2x/122x/150x/Stageline, along with Naim interconnects and Naim speaker cabling. Absolutely adore this system! But a couple of considerations, first a Naim system is just that - a system, meaning to bring the most of this investment it's best to match all components from the source to the pre-amp to the poweramp, all the way down to the speakers. Naim also uses non-standard DIN connectors, so purchasing Naim is really a life decision.

    Naim matches best with Neat, Linn, Proac, Spendor, Totem, Linn, Royd, B&W, Sonus Faber, and the likes, plus of course Naim speakers. I don't feel that Paradigm will make a good match for Naim separates. But if you have an opportunity, by all means audition a Naim system, it will put a smile on your face like none other, but whatever you do - do not audition higher up the food chain (e.g. CDX2/282/250), it will set you on a path where there's no turning back. Naim is probably the most musical hifi I've ever heard, and easily the most upgradable

  7. #7
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    What's your goal?

    Hhhmmmn...we can all start throwing out names and they would be equally valid in terms of our experiences, but I think we need to ask a few questions about yours. What characteristics about the Rotel would you like to see improved? Are you using a sub with the Studio 20's? Probably wouldn't hurt to hear a word or two about the room.

    I'm not trying to make things complicated but systems synergy will be different. For instance, I started off with Rotel too and moved to McIntosh but that might be a little overkill in your circumstances. Nahmean?

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    I miss my old audio store. I was a regular there and I could take my speakers in and compare a new amp or on Saturday before close I could take a demo item home and return it Monday morning. Now that the nearest audio shop is 40 miles away I do not have time to become a regular. I wish I could try all the products I am considering. These days it is getting tougher to audition components.

    In this day and age I find reviews and advice important for deciding on the next component. I also buy from a store or online that offers a 30 day trial. My next int. amp I will probably buy without hearing it first but from hearing about it. I wished I lived in an area where listening to a wide range of components was possible.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
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  9. #9
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    I hope that $300.00 isn't your budget. I don't think you will better the Rotel, even used, with that amount. A NAD integrated would warm up the presentation but I'm not so sure you would gain much resolution. What sources are you using? And, as mentioned a few times knowing your goal helps, like, better bass or more detail or less fatiguing or I want it really loud.

    You know if you are interested I may have an option. I have a vintage Sansui AU-9500 in great condition. This integrated is impressive and I'd put it against the Rotels, NAD's or even Arcam or today. The draw back is back then the speakers terminals weren't made to handle large gauge wire or terminated ends. The plus aside from the great sound is the tone controls include a midrange, all 3 tone controls have a selectable turn over frequency and if that isn't enough there is a high and low filter with two settings each, other than normal. So it should be easy to tailor the sound to different speakers It also has built in phono stage. Email or PM if interested.

    Or, if you are willing to go 4 figures I still have my Krell 500i that I have been hanging onto but I have made some recent purchases lately where the cash could come in handy.
    Last edited by Mr Peabody; 07-27-2008 at 11:50 AM.

  10. #10
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    Sorry guys for not specifying the reasons for the upgrade!! Yeah the main reason i want a change is because, 1) I find that when i listen to stuff like Phil Collins or The Eagles, at the 9o clock position the clarity and detail is not very good, what i mean is that i cannot get the full depth of the music, the contrasts and distinguishing of all instruments is lacking.. 2) The brightness is not an issue per say, but the depth is, again what i mean is that, the overall sound representation like the trebles, and bass is not very tight... And lastly the power is a bit of an issue, since these speakers can handle something more than the Rotel... The 60w on this doesn't seem like 60w, for example the 20w NAD 3020 seemed like 60w in regard to this... I remember my uncles Audiolab 8000A with Mission 753 they would really rock in a sense that all the detail and musicality was present...

  11. #11
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Consider the Parasound Halo amps.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Tony out of curiosity what does the rest of your system consist of including cables. Rotel int. amps in my experience have had pretty good power supplies and drive most speakers well. Which version of Studio 20's do you own and what are there positions in a room. Speakers further out from the rear wall can open up and have more depth. A cable of too high a guage can create resistance and not allow the amp to drive the speakers. You may be able to change some things and be happy with what you have. Rotel and Paradigm are both quality components.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
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    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  13. #13
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    Thanks John for the advice! Well my system is as follows: Paradigm Reference Studio 20 V3, Rotel RA-1062, Marantz CD-5001, Interconnects are QED, Speaker cables are Van Den Hul.
    Now my apartment is in the shape of a Pentagon, the dimensions roughly by area would be around 10x8.. I have kept the speakers around 8-10 inches from the wall, and around 6-8 ft apart, since this is all the room allows me. Thanks everyone

  14. #14
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    Yeah, what you described sounds exactly like a power issue. What is your price range? Parasound would have some grunt but do they make an integrated? I think Bryston puts out an integrated power house that's rated at 60 wpc.

    You might check www.spearitsound.com for a bargain. They usually have some NAD refurbs along with the variety of other stuff.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony340
    Thanks John for the advice! Well my system is as follows: Paradigm Reference Studio 20 V3, Rotel RA-1062, Marantz CD-5001, Interconnects are QED, Speaker cables are Van Den Hul.
    Now my apartment is in the shape of a Pentagon, the dimensions roughly by area would be around 10x8.. I have kept the speakers around 8-10 inches from the wall, and around 6-8 ft apart, since this is all the room allows me. Thanks everyone


    Just one more thought. I also live in a small apartment and I used to have my speakers wider apart with the speakers angled in to the listening postion. I found that when I moved them in closer and pointing more forward imaging improved along with better bass and more volume. It seems like I was having a bit of bass cancellation when the speakers were wider apart and more angled.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  16. #16
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    Well do you think its actually to do with the amplifier or the placement?

  17. #17
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony340
    Well do you think its actually to do with the amplifier or the placement?



    I am just surprised in a room that size that you are not having better performance with the Rotel. It could be that the amp and speakers are not working well together electrically or it could be the speakers and the room. In my small room I had some cancellation effects that were taken care of with a change in speaker placements. Some members have a lot of experience with Studio 20's and I hope they share their knowledge.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  18. #18
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony340
    Thanks John for the advice! Well my system is as follows: Paradigm Reference Studio 20 V3, Rotel RA-1062, Marantz CD-5001, Interconnects are QED, Speaker cables are Van Den Hul.
    Now my apartment is in the shape of a Pentagon, the dimensions roughly by area would be around 10x8.. I have kept the speakers around 8-10 inches from the wall, and around 6-8 ft apart, since this is all the room allows me. Thanks everyone
    I don't think your problem is that your amp lacks power, for a couple of reasons:

    1) You are a running an efficient pair of speakers 90db with 60 watts of power in a small room (10x8)... with all those factors you should be able to give yourself permanent hearing loss with that setup...

    2) Rotel amps (like NAD) are notoriously underated... In fact the amp you have was actually measured by HiFi Choice as putting out 92 watts per channel (a 50% increase of the 60 stated)... and the 1080 power amp, which is rated at 200 watts actually puts out closer to 350 according to the old Stereophile measurements....

    3) If I read your earlier post correctly, you are unsatisfied with the sound when you have the volume set at about the 9 o'clock position... which means that you are unsatifisfied with the sound quality at low volumes (essentially when you're not really pushing the amp hard)...

    IMVHO, I've found that most amps perform best somewhere in the middle of their power range... if you force them too hard they start to distort and clip, but if you don't push them enough they can sound weak and lazy... Frankly, I suspect your amp maybe too powerful for your setup and so you need to crank the volume up to get the best out of it....I had that problem in a room a bit larger than yours (12x9) with a Rotel 1080 amp... It sounded best when pushed well beyond 9 0'clock... best at about 11 O'clock (which was about the worst for my neighbours though)...

  19. #19
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    Thank You all soooooo much, now this really has cleared the problem... Really appreciate your advice Ajani... You saved me alot of money... Thats it!!! Absolutely right, when the amp is turned beyond the 9 o clock position the system is very very detailed, actually at the 11 o clock position it sounds as powerful as anything!!!! In fact the core problem was as John Micheal said, the placement in a small apartment needs alot of experimenting, and also the fact that i had never turned the amp beyond the 9 o clok position for continued listening since the regulations here are such that if neighbours disturb others, they cal the police!!! Thats the reason i had not done this, but now i understand ... Cheers all

  20. #20
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    Hey guys one more thing... I measured the lengths of the speakers cables, and realised that because one speaker (the right one) is placed furthest from mthe components, so the length of that wire is about 1.5 meters longer than the other, basically the two speaker cables are of two different lengths. Is this an issue?? I mean do both cables have to be of the same length?

  21. #21
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony340
    Hey guys one more thing... I measured the lengths of the speakers cables, and realised that because one speaker (the right one) is placed furthest from mthe components, so the length of that wire is about 1.5 meters longer than the other, basically the two speaker cables are of two different lengths. Is this an issue?? I mean do both cables have to be of the same length?



    I keep mine the same size but there is no real adantage. The current travels so fast that any time errors would be undetectable.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  22. #22
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    I'd guess it could cause a slight variation between the speakers if that 1.5m added any significant impedance. But if it's not noticeable to you then you are probably alright. It won't cause any damage to anything.

    Another thing you might try is room treatments. If you have a lot of bare walls or windows, sliding door etc. you might try covering some of them to see how it effects the sound. I have a small room that I use for a work out room and even though the floor is covered at high volume the reflections kill sound quality, and my ears. I hung a few large pieces of cloth on the wall and it helped a lot but I need to work on it some more. I need to just get some acoustical tiles. It couldn't be any more ugly than this flannel looking stuff I have up now. It could be as simple as moving the book case behind your sitting position to stop back wall reflections or something similar along the side. Just try to avoid smooth. I hung a tapestry and put curtains on the windows in my main listening room and I was amazed at the difference it made in sound quality. The windows were the thick kind that let light in but you can't see through them.

  23. #23
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    Thanks guys for everything... Really appreciate the advice! Also on the topic of cable length, is there any minimum length criteria for speakers cable length? I mean can the length of the wire be, 1 meter if thats the length required? Or should it be have a certain required length?

  24. #24
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    I believe you are better off with the least amount of slack. I wouldn't go buying an exact custom length but I wouldn't buy a 20' cable for a 6' run when a 2 meter cable would be about perfect. The longer the run the more effects things like impedance and signal loss could have. And if that doesn't convince you, the shorter the wire the cheaper

  25. #25
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Exactly

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody

    Another thing you might try is room treatments. If you have a lot of bare walls or windows, sliding door etc. you might try covering some of them to see how it effects the sound. I have a small room that I use for a work out room and even though the floor is covered at high volume the reflections kill sound quality, and my ears. I hung a few large pieces of cloth on the wall and it helped a lot but I need to work on it some more. I need to just get some acoustical tiles. It couldn't be any more ugly than this flannel looking stuff I have up now. It could be as simple as moving the book case behind your sitting position to stop back wall reflections or something similar along the side. Just try to avoid smooth. I hung a tapestry and put curtains on the windows in my main listening room and I was amazed at the difference it made in sound quality. The windows were the thick kind that let light in but you can't see through them.

    Another excellent advice from Mr. P.

    I often see $50,000 setups on Audiogon without a single piece of room treatment tool. I just makes me wonder how horrible it may sound. Of course I can only image.

    Untreated room will sound absolutely horrible, and I feel most people have no idea how great their system sounds.You can switch your gear all day long and will not get a satisfactory result in a untreated room. I can't speak for everyone, but people never consider room acoustics. If you can post 4 walls of your room, we can certainly give you some advice.

    Here is what I recent did to my room, and my gear sounds incredible.

    http://gallery.audioreview.com/showp...&ppuser=243898

    Music is much more focused, detailed, and transparent. I have noticed more depth in music due to improved acoustics. I can't wait to add diffusor in my room next.

    JRA

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