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Cambridge AXA35 or AXR85 vs Emotiva TA-100 vs Marantz slim for Forte II


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Hi,

I picked up some used Forte IIs recently, and I'm wanting to upgrade from a cheap Sherwood amp.  Does anyone have opinions regarding the following amps/receivers?

 

Are there characteristic sounds of these amps/receivers that work well?  I don't have the opportunity to compare the sounds, sadly.

 

Cambridge AXA35     -   Is 35 watts enough for most people with the Forte IIs?

Cambridge AXR85     - 

Emotiva TA-100         -  Has anyone compared the Emotiva with the Cambridge units? 

Marantz slim line (maybe a used NR1403 or even a new NR1200)

 

I've searched, but I haven't found direct comparisons.  Thanks!

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You will be happier with more than 35 watts.  The forte II is pretty forgiving when it comes to amps, and a good quality one such as you are looking for will do just fine.  I first powered mine with an early 80's 40 watt Yamaha integrated.  They worked well together, and now I use a 200 watt Sunfire, which really wakes them up.  Obviously we are talking about orders of magnitude in cost.  Get the best amp you can afford which has the most power within reason regarding specs.  For a high quality amp the rule has been a doubling in power as impedance halves.  The closer you get to an amp that can handle impedance dips the better.  Have fun and good luck.

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Where are you located ?

 

I would look at Quality used totl 70-120W AVRs in the 10-20 year old range

 

Most of these are high quality AB Amps with huge power reserves for dynamic response.

 

No matter how good they sound, they don't sell for much.

 

Turn off all of the surround stuff and run it as a stereo in direct mode

 

If you get them cheap enough buy 3 or 4 as they come up and see which one you like best

 

Nice toys if nothing else

 

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20 hours ago, Bubo said:

Where are you located ?

 

I'm in the Houston area.  I might try both an older AV receiver and a newer one to see if I can tell the difference.  I bet my room will be the limiting factor, honestly.  But I can tell a HUGE difference in acoustic guitars between the $600-900 range and $2,000-3,000 range, and I'm curious how the price/value levels compare with amps.

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I don't know all of the Mfgs High end designations but

 

Pre HDMI connectors sell cheap

read the reviews on Audio Review

CNET will come up with the Model and Specs

HiFi Engine also has lots of good info.

If you see one you really want, you may want to suck it up and pay $100-200

instead of waiting months while they keep listing it. At this price make sure they give you the remote or no deal. Be sure to ask for the manuals and box if they have it.

Bring your own small throw away speakers 8 Ohm with short cables

and a source with cable and cheap headphones to jack in

If it doesn't come out of DC protect walk away and wait for one that works

 

When you get it home, take the lid off, blow it out with compressed air outside, inspect capacitors for bulges and leaks, board for hot brown spots, DC offset on the pre-amp outs and amp outs against Service manual specs from hifi engine.

Then run it for a few weeks with some disposable speakers before connecting to your good speakers.

 

SONY ES

Pioneer Elite (pre elite surrounds are excellent early 2000s)

Yamaha pre Class D amps A1 A1000 etc 50lbs,

Marantz

Others

 

 

If I see one of these I won't hesitate to buy it

Yamaha DSP A-1 1998-99

https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/yamaha/dsp-a1.shtml

Yamaha DSP A- A-2 etc

https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/yamaha.shtml?category=av-amplifier

 

I wouldn't buy a 100VAC Japanese model, but a good review site

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/yamaha-a-1-vintage-amplifier-review.9576/

I picked one of these up for $14

Pioneer VSX4900S (4950) Specifications

Tuning range: FM, MW

Power output: 100 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)

Surround output: 100W (front), 20W (center), 18W (rear)

Frequency response: 5Hz to 70kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.05%

Input sensitivity: 2.5mV (MM), 150mV (line)

Signal to noise ratio: 75dB (MM), 97dB (line)

Output: 150mV (line)

Video Connections: composite

Dimensions: 420 x 125 x 334mm

Weight: 9kg

Accessories: remote control

Year: 1991

 

I paid $50 for one of these, world class stereo amp

Definitely worth paying $300 to recap, clean and adjust to spec, world class Phono section, world class headphone output

 

Yamaha A-1000 (1020) Specifications Class A or AB

Power output: 120 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)

Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.005%

Damping factor: 90

Input sensitivity: 0.16mV (MC), 2.5mV (MM), 150mV (line)

Signal to noise ratio: 80dB (MC), 94dB (MM), 106dB (line)

Channel separation: 70dB (MM), 65dB (line)

Output: 150mV (line)

Dimensions: 435 x 146 x 424.5mm

Weight: 13kg

Year: 1983

https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/yamaha/a-1000.shtml

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Hello,

Here's my experience with Emotiva.

 

I own 4 products from them.  A home theater pre-amp, a 2 channel pre-amp, and two XPA 5 channels amps.  50% of the gear had issues.  Not a good track record.

 

Everyone was giving them rave reviews when they came out.  They were praised for having great sound/specs/etc at an unbelievable price point.  Well, now we know why they could produce  equipment for so cheap.... they skimped on components ( as well as being produced in China).  Sure, they work great for a while, but reliability is key for me.  My 3 rotel amps are going on 20 years with not a single issue.  My Emotiva is going on about 8 years and has capacitor issues on one channel.

 

I would rather pay a little bit more for something and have it last a lot longer! 

 

I hope this helps with your decision.

 

-DW

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On 1/13/2021 at 8:43 AM, SoundsGreat? said:

Is 35 watts enough for most people with the Forte IIs

35 watts is plenty for most people unless you plan on listening to your music at high dB levels.  Also, are you using a powered subwoofer with the Forte II's?  IF yes, then 35 watts will be sufficient.  Now don't get me wrong, there is something to say about having a good amount of overhead, but again, you have to look at your intended use for this system.

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18 minutes ago, DavidWebber72 said:

Also, are you using a powered subwoofer with the Forte II's? 

No, actually.  Just the Fortes by themselves. 

 

And thanks for your Emotiva experience.  I think I may try an older AVR and a Cambridge (60 or 80 watt version) and see if I can tell a difference. 

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Thanks @Bubo for the suggestions, too.  I have a narrow (height-wise) spot for this amp/receiver, so tall ones won't work for me.  And they're in prominent places for visibility, so my wife gets some say regarding the amps' appearance.  If the seller is comfortable with me (as I'm new to the forum and not established), I may purchase the CXA60 from Cambridge in the garage sale area.  And I may pick up a cheap/old AVR to compare it to.  If I don't like it, perhaps I can sell later, or move to the even more visible (but less sonically important) part of the house?  Who knows.

Edited by SoundsGreat?
clarification
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36 minutes ago, SoundsGreat? said:

@Bubo   If I don't like it, perhaps I can sell later, or move to the even more visible (but less sonically important) part of the house?  Who knows.

Either here or in the AK Klipsch Threads we had two people looking for some encouragement to buy some LaScalas, which are quite large. Both had the same home harmony concerns too.

 

Somewhat sheepishly the poster did move on the LaScalas

He worked and his wife was home

Wasn't sure how she would react

 

After a few months, someone Bumped the thread to ask him what happended

 

After two months he asked his wife if he should sell them, wifey had replied

 

"Over my dead body"

 

Turned out she had them on all day while was at the office, every day

 

 

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4 hours ago, SoundsGreat? said:

I may purchase the CXA60 from Cambridge in the garage sale area.  And I may pick up a cheap/old AVR to compare it to. 

I have a feeling you will like it.  The only AVR I have heard that sounds pretty darn good for stereo music is my 52.8lbs 2004 flagship NAD T773 driving my Heresys.  Though it does have a higher noise floor than most of my other gear, it can hold it's own when it comes to music.

 

Bill

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7 minutes ago, willland said:

NAD T773

Interestingly, the same guy who sold me the Forte IIs has this same model (NAD T773) for sale at a good price.  However, it's too tall for my space....and doesn't get the style-approval from the wife for the second possible location.  If the CXA60 sounds good like the NAD T773, and looks good enough for the wife to be happy, then it's worth the price difference.

Edited by SoundsGreat?
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8 minutes ago, SoundsGreat? said:

If the CXA60 sounds good

As mentioned, the CXA60 is the updated version of the 651A which is the updated version of the 650A which is the updated version of the 640A v2 that I have been beautifully driving my Heresy IIs for quite some time.  

 

Bill

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