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  1. #1
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    Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

    I'm talking about brands like Yamaha, Onkyo, Technics, Marantz, etc.

    Marantz gear I feel is good and they have really been a mainstay with their Reference line. So I feel they should be set apart but on the other hand they still are in the "big box" arena as well. Personally if on a budget my preference would be Marantz over many competitors like NAD, Cambridge, etc.

    I read a new Tone Audio review of the $7500.00 Yamaha integrated, no DAC, 100x2 into 8 ohms, they liked it, I began to wonder though how it would stack up to other more boutique brands in that price range. The Levinson 5805 is $8k and includes a DAC. I'm sure Sim or Luxman has a closely priced competitor.

    Technics came back, that gear is expensive. I heard a room or two at the show but wasn't impressed. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't like walking into the German Physics room or similar. You know whatI mean, nothing just wow'd me.

    I heard the Onkyo vintage looking separates several times, it was better than typical Onkyo but still had that Onkyo house sound, a bit strident if not with the correct matching of speakers. A 80x2 power amp was $2500.00. Maybe the meters were worth it.

    Anyone else hear any of these amps? I'm wondering if serious contenders for the most part or if the offerings are an atemp to get whatever slice of the market will come to them? Some, well all really have long name brand recognition. I still amazed at people who think Sony is good audio gear. Or, Pioneer.

    I really want to hear the Yamaha, feeling they have the potential and resources to contend if that's the goal.
    Aurender ACS10 w/Audioquest Diamond USB,
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  2. #2
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    Re: Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

    I regularly recommend Marantz AV processors and Denon receivers. I think they sound great.
    Neko Audio
    Authorized Dealer: AC Infinity, Acoustic Zen, APC, Audeze, Bryston, Devialet, Dirac, Elite HTS, Fortress Seating, JVC, LG, LUMIN, Magico, Ortofon, Prism Sound, RME, Samsung, STAX, Trinnov, Vivid Audio, & more.

  3. #3
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    Re: Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

    Like you I'd never considered these big names as proper hi-fi - more mid-fi. However after looking in vain for a streamer system that offered as good a control system as my old Sonos, I eventually found that NAD's user interface was really very good. I bought their M12 preamp with streamer module feeding my 845 SET mono amps.

    I wanted to switch from tube SETs to solid state and after auditioning many amps at home (either bought used or dealer demo units) mostly from less big name brands than the ones you mention, I chose the NAD Master Series M32 amp with DAC. Amongst the others I tried were the Mark Levinson 5805 you mentioned, plus others from the likes of Accuphase, GamuT, Sugden, Bakkon, Lyngdorf, Benchmark, Micromega and others. Since then I've upgraded to the new M33 that uses an even better Class D amp module and includes a streamer and Dirac DSP. Like you I'd always considered NAD a mid-fi brand but their Master Series are really very good. In fact good enough to pick up a bucket-full of Stereophile and other awards and every review has been highly praiseworthy.
    Sources - NAD M50.2 (streamer, CD player, CD ripper, hard drive music store)
    Amplification - NAD M33, NAD M12, Consonance Cyber 845 monoblocs
    Speakers - Avantgarde Duo XD, Avantgarde Duo (2006) - both aesthetically modified, Martin Logan Expression 13A (now sold)

  4. #4

    Re: Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

    Itís funny you posted this thread, as itís relevant to me right now. A speaker manufacturer in California was raving to me about the new Denon PMA-A110 integrated, which is built like a tank and retails for $3,500. He believes the big box companies have the resources to go cutting edge. He cites that itís dual mono, a good clean 80wpc which doubles into 4 ohms, great DAC built in, great parts, etc. it has tone controls and balance which can be bypassed. Here is a link:

    PMA-A110 110th Anniversary Edition Amplifier Amplifiers | Denon

    Iím trying one out at home right now and the jury is out. It does seem a bit strident compared to my Naim and Pass Labs gear. Very powerful and dynamic. Would love to hear more opinions about this and other big box amps. I heard Technics was coming out with a $10,000 integrated:

    Technics SU-R1000 a new Class-D GaN Technology integrated | Audiogon Discussion Forum

  5. #5
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    Re: Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

    did you notice the ground pin is missing from the IEC socket? that's sketchy if not down right shocking--pun intended!

    "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

  6. #6
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    Re: Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

    I'm a fan of Marantz processor. Processor don't have a long shelf life. I find this great value for the money.
    Set-up 7.2.6
    Amp: Mark Levinson 533, 2- Parasound 52+
    Video: JVC 990, Panasonic DB9000, StudioTek 130
    Processor: Marantz 8805
    Speakers: Wilson Alexia, Wilson Mezzo, 4 Wilson Watch, 6 Dynaudio 600 in-ceiling
    Subs: 2 JL F113
    Power: Torus Wam 100
    Wires: Transparent Reference for the front three, the rest Audio Quest FLX/DB 16/4 In wall speaker cable
    Other: Primacoustic -Max trap and Full trap, Vicoustic -Wavewood and Cinema rounds. IsoAcoustic GAIA 1

  7. #7
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    Re: Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

    Quote Originally Posted by puroagave View Post
    did you notice the ground pin is missing from the IEC socket? that's sketchy if not down right shocking--pun intended!
    If you are referring to the ĎAC Iní socket then that is common. Whether good or bad, I donít know.
    Bud

    Lumin X1 file player
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  8. #8
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    Re: Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    If you are referring to the ĎAC Iní socket then that is common. Whether good or bad, I donít know.
    Its more common on Japanese made products. I had a few Marantz and Pioneer Elite pieces back in the day that weren't grounded. Its both a shock and fire hazard and relies on the fact your house wiring has no ground faults of any kind. It also tells me the designer has little confidence in their design if they are preoccupied with ground loops.
    "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

  9. #9
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    Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

    Will be very interested in your final take on the Denon PMA-A110. Would love to add a solid state integrated here that doesnít break the bank. Have heard good things as well.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Living Room System: Mac Mini > PS Audio PWD MKII/ Marantz TT-15 Turntable w/ Ortofon Cadenza Bronze> Musical Fidelity LX2LPS> Primaluna Dialogue Premium> Klipsch Forte III

  10. #10

    Re: Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

    Quote Originally Posted by nile49 View Post
    Will be very interested in your final take on the Denon PMA-A110. Would love to add a solid state integrated here without breaking the bank and have heard good things as well.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    There are a few reviews out there. The only criticism they shared was the lack of streaming capability. Balanced inputs would have been nice. Otherwise so far Iím impressed. Just not sure I need it as it canít beat my outboard Lumin X1 and Lampizator DAC and shouldnít be able to based on massive price differential. If one is not using it for its digital capabilities then Iím not sure it would be suitable or worth keeping. They say it has a great phono stage with both MM and MC and multiple settings but havenít tried it yet as I havenít spun a record in a year or more.

    In short, if I was starting out in this audio hobby, didnít already have umpteen components and wanted a proficient, modestly priced all-in-one, this would be on my short list for sure.

  11. #11
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    Re: Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

    Quote Originally Posted by puroagave View Post
    did you notice the ground pin is missing from the IEC socket? that's sketchy if not down right shocking--pun intended!
    I'm pretty sure all Sound United products go through regulatory testing (as seen on the rear panels of their current production units) which means passing electrical safety testing. 2-prong electronics can still be safe if designed to be so.
    Neko Audio
    Authorized Dealer: AC Infinity, Acoustic Zen, APC, Audeze, Bryston, Devialet, Dirac, Elite HTS, Fortress Seating, JVC, LG, LUMIN, Magico, Ortofon, Prism Sound, RME, Samsung, STAX, Trinnov, Vivid Audio, & more.

  12. #12

  13. #13
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    Re: Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    If you are referring to the ĎAC Iní socket then that is common. Whether good or bad, I donít know.
    A current high end SACD player example of no ground pin in the IEC AC In socket would be the new Luxman D-10X.

  14. #14

    Re: Big Box Brand Integrated Amps


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Big Box Brand Integrated Amps

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