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Looking for a good amp for my new Cornwall IV's (Canada)


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I am about to take the plunge and get a set of Cornwall IV's here in Canada.  We recently had an MSRP increase to $9400+ tax. I found a dealer who is still giving the old price and a bit of a discount so I decided now is the time to buy.  I do have experience with Cornwall's as I have a "1.5" model from 1983 I currently use.  I have powered it using only vintage receivers a Kenwood KR-6600 and a Yamaha CR-800.  

 

I would like to get a modern amp to match my modern speakers.  Ideally I am looking for an integrated, probably solid state in the $2000-3000 CAD price range.  All the amps I have seen in reviews that state they are great with the Cornwall's are quite pricey, stuff like the Pass Labs INT-25 come up a lot, but at $7600 USD (probably $10k Canadian) this is just out of my range.

 

I primarily listen to vinyl and some CD (Maybe 85/15 split) so having a good built in phono pre amp is a good feature I'd like to look at.

 

I am no opposed to separates, but I would love to know if there is a good powerful clean sounding all in 1 with a phono preamp in it for around $2-3K Canadian?  I can maybe stretch it a bit further if need be. 

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7 hours ago, partymark said:

I am about to take the plunge and get a set of Cornwall IV's here in Canada.  We recently had an MSRP increase to $9400+ tax. I found a dealer who is still giving the old price and a bit of a discount so I decided now is the time to buy.  I do have experience with Cornwall's as I have a "1.5" model from 1983 I currently use.  I have powered it using only vintage receivers a Kenwood KR-6600 and a Yamaha CR-800.  

 

I would like to get a modern amp to match my modern speakers.  Ideally I am looking for an integrated, probably solid state in the $2000-3000 CAD price range.  All the amps I have seen in reviews that state they are great with the Cornwall's are quite pricey, stuff like the Pass Labs INT-25 come up a lot, but at $7600 USD (probably $10k Canadian) this is just out of my range.

 

I primarily listen to vinyl and some CD (Maybe 85/15 split) so having a good built in phono pre amp is a good feature I'd like to look at.

 

I am no opposed to separates, but I would love to know if there is a good powerful clean sounding all in 1 with a phono preamp in it for around $2-3K Canadian?  I can maybe stretch it a bit further if need be. 

 

Welcome partymark and congratulations on your new fine Cornwall 4 speakers.
Of course it is a lot of fun when you start the journey. But personally I would take it step by step. I only discovered old transistor amps for myself a few months ago. For 30 years I have only heard tubes, the last 20 years Mcintosh C22CE with MC275 Mk4. I am absolutely surprised how well I like some of the old stuff today. I have Quad 34 pre amp with Quad 306 amp. I like it very much.

I don't know your Yamaha CR800 personally but I have read many very complimentary comments. Of course it may be necessary after so many years to renew e.g. the PSU caps, or sometimes even all electrolytic capacitors. Only, if your CR800 runs well then I would listen to the new CW4 first with it. The CW4s do not need more power in most circumstances. More important is the SQ and there the high quality built CR800 should be very good for a start with the new CW4.

I would do it so that you can better assess the CW4 as a change with a to you familiar amp. And you can later better assess a new amp, quasi take the CR800 as a starting reference.

Which new amps are recommended in the price range around 2500 USD I can not say. I have heard very satisfied statements about the new Yamaha analogue amps or the new Audiolab amps here in the forum, and I had an Audiolab 8000A 30 years ago with which I was very happy.

 

Here is a guy who was happy with a new Audiolab 6000a (page two of the thread he bought it finally) in combination with his CW4.

 

 

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My experience with Heresy IV - I first check youtube review about Decware SE84UFO 2wpc tube amp $995USD, put in an order but waiting list is long, atleast 1.5 year waiting. Then I found Alan Eaton 45 monos tube also has about 2 wpc. Order from him is better, ready to ship at $1400 a pair plus shipping

2 wpc but it sounds so good and loud - I use about half volume to reach my normal listening level

Both amps have volume control, Decware has 2 inputs.

Eaton amp is wonderful sounding - should match your Cornwall 102dB sensitivity

Happy listening

Edited by Thuan98
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8 hours ago, partymark said:

I have powered it using only vintage receivers a Kenwood KR-6600 and a Yamaha CR-800.  

 

I would like to get a modern amp to match my modern speakers.  Ideally I am looking for an integrated, probably solid state in the $2000-3000 CAD price range.  All the amps I have seen in reviews that state they are great with the Cornwall's are quite pricey,

 

The problem with the vast array of today's offerings is that they are devoid of all the features that made audio so much more fun back when your KR-6600 was sold.  I find well implemented Bass/ Treble, Mono/ Stereo controls indispensable for making less than perfect songs more enjoyable.  Heck, today many of these "minimalist" styled integrated amps don't even have a balance control.  The argument given is that these features reduce fidelity by adding additional breaks in the signal.  ..This is ridiculous of course; one look at a mixing board will put that notion to rest.  (Pretty sure PWK would flash his "BS" button at claims that a few dozen signal breaks would audibly affect the sound) .

 

If it were me I'd try to up my budget to afford a used McIntosh, Luxman, Anthem (recent model), or Accuphase amp.  ..Each of these still has the features that made your Kenwood so fun to own..

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You can hardly go wrong.

 

I have an even less expensive Yamaha (R-N803) driving my La Scalas. It addressed almost everything I wanted (except a pre-out and HDMI input) for CAD$999. You could likely find it for less.

 

If I were to replace it, I would certaily want to try some of the new low-cost SS amps like Aiyima or the Topping PA5, which have had rave reviews on this forum. 

 

In any event, there's no need to rush into anything. Your new speakers will sound fine with what you have.

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As others have said, I encourage you to try the new Cornwalls with your existing amps for at least a few months. I predict you will be amazed at how good they sound. I'm driving my new Fortes with a 50 year old Marantz 1060 that has been recapped and it is great! I've also purchased an inexpensive Class D amp that I've been playing with. Each has it's own character, but I can't say one is better than the other...just different.

 

Congratulations on the purchase, and welcome to the forums.

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6 hours ago, KT88 said:

 

Welcome partymark and congratulations on your new fine Cornwall 4 speakers.
Of course it is a lot of fun when you start the journey. But personally I would take it step by step. I only discovered old transistor amps for myself a few months ago. For 30 years I have only heard tubes, the last 20 years Mcintosh C22CE with MC275 Mk4. I am absolutely surprised how well I like some of the old stuff today. I have Quad 34 pre amp with Quad 306 amp. I like it very much.

I don't know your Yamaha CR800 personally but I have read many very complimentary comments. Of course it may be necessary after so many years to renew e.g. the PSU caps, or sometimes even all electrolytic capacitors. Only, if your CR800 runs well then I would listen to the new CW4 first with it. The CW4s do not need more power in most circumstances. More important is the SQ and there the high quality built CR800 should be very good for a start with the new CW4.

I would do it so that you can better assess the CW4 as a change with a to you familiar amp. And you can later better assess a new amp, quasi take the CR800 as a starting reference.

Which new amps are recommended in the price range around 2500 USD I can not say. I have heard very satisfied statements about the new Yamaha analogue amps or the new Audiolab amps here in the forum, and I had an Audiolab 8000A 30 years ago with which I was very happy.

 

Here is a guy who was happy with a new Audiolab 6000a (page two of the thread he bought it finally) in combination with his CW4.

 

 

Thank you for the welcome and reply.  I will certainly try them out with the amps I have on hand, I might even see what it costs to have them serviced and re-caped at a local hifi shop.  Thank you foe the thread link I will have a read there! 

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5 hours ago, Thuan98 said:

My experience with Heresy IV - I first check youtube review about Decware SE84UFO 2wpc tube amp $995USD, put in an order but waiting list is long, atleast 1.5 year waiting. Then I found Alan Eaton 45 monos tube also has about 2 wpc. Order from him is better, ready to ship at $1400 a pair plus shipping

2 wpc but it sounds so good and loud - I use about half volume to reach my normal listening level

Both amps have volume control, Decware has 2 inputs.

Eaton amp is wonderful sounding - should match your Cornwall 102dB sensitivity

Happy listening

Thank you for the recommendations, I will have a look into those amps

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5 hours ago, ODS123 said:

 

The problem with the vast array of today's offerings is that they are devoid of all the features that made audio so much more fun back when your KR-6600 was sold.  I find well implemented Bass/ Treble, Mono/ Stereo controls indispensable for making less than perfect songs more enjoyable.  Heck, today many of these "minimalist" styled integrated amps don't even have a balance control.  The argument given is that these features reduce fidelity by adding additional breaks in the signal.  ..This is ridiculous of course; one look at a mixing board will put that notion to rest.  (Pretty sure PWK would flash his "BS" button at claims that a few dozen signal breaks would audibly affect the sound) .

 

If it were me I'd try to up my budget to afford a used McIntosh, Luxman, Anthem (recent model), or Accuphase amp.  ..Each of these still has the features that made your Kenwood so fun to own..

Good to know, yes I do find the lack of features on modern amps somewhat boring.  I tend to run flat, but I do like to subtly adjust the eq when needed, and I like the Yamaha style variable loudness control. 

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14 minutes ago, CWelsh said:

As others have said, I encourage you to try the new Cornwalls with your existing amps for at least a few months. I predict you will be amazed at how good they sound. I'm driving my new Fortes with a 50 year old Marantz 1060 that has been recapped and it is great! I've also purchased an inexpensive Class D amp that I've been playing with. Each has it's own character, but I can't say one is better than the other...just different.

 

Congratulations on the purchase, and welcome to the forums.

Thank you, I will have a listen with my current amps for a while as I research what is out there.  I might even see if I can have my main 2 amps I listed serviced and re-capped locally. 

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14 hours ago, partymark said:

I am about to take the plunge and get a set of Cornwall IV's here in Canada.  We recently had an MSRP increase to $9400+ tax. I found a dealer who is still giving the old price and a bit of a discount so I decided now is the time to buy.  I do have experience with Cornwall's as I have a "1.5" model from 1983 I currently use.  I have powered it using only vintage receivers a Kenwood KR-6600 and a Yamaha CR-800. 

Yamaha A-S 1000 -1100-1200  new or used ,  great preamp with everything you need , and  reliable 

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UYou’re getting new Cornwalls?  Congrats!  As for how to power them, the suggestion to use your current gear for a while is not a bad idea.  Then, when you’re in the mood, or you spot a good deal on an amp you like, then you can upgrade/update your electronics and hear how much better the new gear is.

 

My 2-channel system consists of a pair of modded and bi-amped La Scala IIs, augmented by a pair of Paradigm subs, which are made in Mississauga, just west of Toronto.  I’ve been a Yamaha fan since the beginning, starting off with a CR-600, then a CR-1020, RX-V392, RX-V750, and now an RX-A2060.  While the early stuff was good in its day, the new gear is much better.  There was a big jump in sound quality between the 1977 CR-1020 and the 1998 RX-V392, even though the 392 was the lowest model in its line.  It was like going from a standard definition TV to a high-def TV.  The improvement was that noticeable.  The newer two receivers continued the trend.

 

Accordingly, I’d recommend one of the new Yamaha integrated amps, unless you go for separates and can find an MX-D1 power amp somewhere.  They were Yamaha’s statement product in 2005, and are next level gear, but few owners are willing to sell theirs.  Another option worth considering is the Bryston line.  They’re made in Peterborough, Ontario, and come with a 20-year warranty.  They’re high performance gear.

 

So here’s my recommendation:  keep your current gear for a few months, getting to know your new Cornwalls and listening to hear where your amps could be better.  Meanwhile, keep saving as much money every month as you can, while doing further reasearch on which amplifier would help your fine speakers sound their very best.  You’re not in a rush, so time is on your side.  As well, new models will come out this summer or fall, so there’s something to look forward to.  My Aventage RX-A2060 didn’t come out until August or so of 2016, and I was starting to call or pop into the shop more than once a week to see if the new receiver was in yet.  I must have got one of the first ones to arrive, and I’m still listening very happily to it.  By waiting and saving, you’ll also be able to afford a higher model in the line-up, which should get you better sound and probably more useful features.

 

So there you go.  Welcome to the Forum, and best of luck on your quest for better sound!

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As a fellow Canadian and being mindful of our current lousy exchange rate, there are a few very nice NAD offerings that might be the ticket. Worth exploring at any rate.

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Posted (edited)

Hi all, thanks for the advice.   I ended up going with a Parasound Newclassic 200 integrated amp from the dealer I got my speakers from. He knocked $400 off the price to bring it down to about $1600 all in.  It seems to get great reviews and checks all my boxes for features I was looking for.  Perhaps one day down the line I will get into the mono blocks and separates, but for now I hope this will do! 

Edited by partymark
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