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Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

At this moment I have a NAD C388 amplifier with B&W CM10 s2 (and B&W DB4S).
The NAD has problems that NAD cannot solve, so after 2 repair attempts I have 3 options now.

1. Get a new C388 (no extra money involved)
2. Buy a Rotel RA-1592 (List price 2500 eur)
3. Buy a Primare I25 with DAC (List price around 3100 eur)

Both option 2 and 3 will probably cost me exactly the same according to my salesperson I spoke.

The Primare is a quite new model. The Rotel is around for some time.
I was already aiming towards Rotel, but I was pointed to the Primare to seriously consider.

Now I have to choose which one is a better option for me. I mainly play music via my Windows HTPC via USB.

I have absolutely no experience with Primare amplifiers. Only thing I know is the Rotel is twice as powerful (200wpc) class AB vs a (100wpc) class D amplifier. The salesperson told me this Primare amp sounds very good, so don't be fooled by the watts. Or should I?

PS. I only play digital, so phono stage is not an issue.

Anyone with some real experience with these amplifiers?

Thanks in advance!

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #1
1. Get a new C388 (no extra money involved)
Why not?
Is it so that NAD / your dealer will replace it? Consider trying to get the version with USB and wifi/multiroom on the deal if yours does not have it already.

2 and 3 costing the same, meaning when you have supplemented the Rotel with an external DAC?
“It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out.”
- Donald Trump, May 2017

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #2
1. Get a new C388 (no extra money involved)
Why not?
Is it so that NAD / your dealer will replace it? Consider trying to get the version with USB and wifi/multiroom on the deal if yours does not have it already.

2 and 3 costing the same, meaning when you have supplemented the Rotel with an external DAC?

Well. I've lost my confidence a bit in NAD. It took them 2 months of repair and they were unable to reproduce the problems even after sending youtube video's to them. Also my brother has a NAD setup with a problematic CD player which was never properly fixed, so I don't want to take chances with this. NAD takes the amp back and I am free to spend the money on another amp, this can be a NAD but every brand this shop has falls within the options. I can get the money back but I absolutely want to spend it at this shop. They have been of great help with everything I bought so far.

They have various brands like: Advance Acoustic, Denon, Marantz, NAD, Onkyo, Pioneer, Primare and Rotel.

2 and 3 costing the same. This is something between the shop and the representative. Don't know how this works exactly, but for me the only thing what counts is the final price. That must be wife approved ;)

The Rotel is a big machine, many buttons, powerfull and Class AB
The Primare is very minimalistic, class D, less powerfull, but very new model en aims at semi-high end market (?), the DAC is of the newest AKM chipset.

Class AB amps are bigger, but not necessary better, today class D amps are very good.

I need to make a short term decision about this (because the NAD is going back), so I want at least something that is preferably better than the NAD. The Rotel clearly has more power, but do you really need/notice that?

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #3
OK, so you are getting your money back, and after that, a new NAD will be the price tag. That changes the calculations surely.
“It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out.”
- Donald Trump, May 2017

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #4
After all the discussions you've read about amplifiers from people who actually know things, you're still going to give weight to some fool who says an amplifier "sounds good"?
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #5
Your faith in the NAD is somewhat shaken and you can get your money back. Solution: buy something else! In terms of the output power differences, remember that, assuming both figures are totally honest (and that may or may not be true), 200W is only 3dB more power than 100W. Even that figure won't reflect reality, due to things like power compression. Reality will be that the power difference isn't significant. Features, price etc should be the important factors. It's also highly unlikely the sound will be different, unless one amp is broken or incompetently designed.

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #6
I'm afraid he still can't be helped...
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,113289.msg932819.html#msg932819

https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,115349.msg951473.html#msg951473
https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/a_fool_and_his_money_are_soon_parted
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #7
After all the discussions you've read about amplifiers from people who actually know things, you're still going to give weight to some fool who says an amplifier "sounds good"?

Well,

I just came back from a listening session. I've compared the Rotel pre-power combination and the Primare I35 (other model) they had at the moment,. They did sound slightly different in favor of the Primare. PS. Why shouldn't there be subtle differences between different amplifiers? A tube amp sounds different than a transistor amp, but a AB amp can also sound different than a class D amp, but it doesn't have to.

Why would I be a fool then? I enjoy music and like a good stereo setup.

What kind of amplifier should I buy according to you then? What setup do you use?

OK, so you are getting your money back, and after that, a new NAD will be the price tag. That changes the calculations surely.

My English is not that good, but what I meant is that the NAD is 1750 euro's list price but I had a reduction to 1250. That money comes back. The Primare is a bit more expensive so I pay the price difference, but I get a substantial discount on the list price.

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #8
You do know that it is very tricky level matching amplifiers? Not to mention the lack of dual blind testing.

Also, amplifiers are the one area where electronic measurements are probably a better measure of quality than listening tests. But, it's your money.

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #9
OK, so you are getting your money back, and after that, a new NAD will be the price tag. That changes the calculations surely.
You do know that it is very tricky level matching amplifiers? Not to mention the lack of dual blind testing.

Also, amplifiers are the one area where electronic measurements are probably a better measure of quality than listening tests. But, it's your money.

It's not a blind test, but the Rotel setup had clearly more bass, more than I liked (can I call it wooly?). It was just a bit too much for my liking, as I also have a sub. This could end up being too much....

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #10
This previous post does not pass the terms you agreed to follow upon registering.

You should probably take your request someplace where subjective fairy tales are not only allowed, but encouraged and celebrated.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #11
... Why shouldn't there be subtle differences between different amplifiers? A tube amp sounds different than a transistor amp, but a AB amp can also sound different than a class D amp, but it doesn't have to.
...
More to the point, why *should* they? Let's not count tube (valve) amps because they can only be made good at hideous cost and even then they fall short of a SS amp. If an amp inroduces audible distortion, it'll have a "sound". No competently designed modern SS amp has any excuse to do this. I get the feeling this might fall on deaf ears though.

Moderation: fixed quotation.

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #12
Then a normal discussion about amps is clearly not possible here...

According to that statement all amps sound identical unless proven otherwise. That's not a good basis to start a discussion from. I cannot go to a shop with a bunch of measuring equipment to comply to the TOS.

Never mind I'll find my way out.


Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #13
His wife should probably be reading this and his previous topic on the subject.

A 300€ amp would also do the job, unless the purpose is to waste money in order to have warm and fuzzy feelings.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #14
Then a normal discussion about amps is clearly not possible here...
Except that it is and has happened on countless occasions. That they don't support the idea that more $$$=better isn't our problem.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #15

I just came back from a listening viewing session. I've audio-visually compared the Rotel pre-power combination and the Primare I35 (other model) they had at the moment with zero controls, including volume, incredibly. They did sound slightly different in favor of the Primare. PS. Why shouldn't there be subtle differences between different amplifiers? A tube amp sounds different than a transistor amp to the clueless, but a AB amp can also sound different than a class D amp, but it doesn't have to.

I'm posting this on Hydrogen Audio.
would I be a fool then?
Yes.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #16
Quote
It's not a blind test, but the Rotel setup had clearly more bass, more than I liked.
With solid state electronics it's cheap and easy to get flat frequency response over the audio range.   As antz says, it's not cheap or easy with tubes.   The problem isn't really the tubes, the BIG problem is that tube power-amps require an output transformer to drive the speakers and it's very difficult and expensive to make a good "big" audio transformer that can handle "watts".     

I assume neither amp was defective, but it's possible that bass was turned-up or down on one amp or the other.    Or if they weren't level matched, the louder one will seem to put-out more bass...  When you turn-up the volume it sounds like you've turned-up the bass even more (see Equal Loudness Curves). 

...Its also possible that you were fooling yourself.  


 

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #18
It's not a blind test, but the Rotel setup had clearly more bass, more than I liked (can I call it wooly?). It was just a bit too much for my liking, as I also have a sub. This could end up being too much....

99.999% of the box loudspeakers available on earth are totally inaccurate in the bass domain.
http://www.geocities.ws/kreskovs/Box-Qa.html
It is a little tad pathetic to make the noise so expensive if you are looking for something accurate IMHO  ::)

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #19
Surely with an amplifier measurement tells you everything? The amplifier output should be an accurate reflection of the input, that is easier to confirm by measurement. And is trying to give an amplifier some sort of sonic character not just introducing distortion, which means degrading its performance? The thing I have never understood about this is why so many hi-fi enthusiasts and magazine reviewers rave about the idea of characterful sound in amplifiers but then have a pathological aversion to tone controls. That seems illogical and stupid as if you want to adjust the sound (and I have no issue with that) then surely using tone controls which can be adjusted is way more sensible than spending $$$$$$$'s to get distortion you' re then stuck with. Not to mention that tone control can be very helpful in adjusting a system for room acoustics.

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #20
It is very simple:

1) Character in sound raved about in reviews
a. Magazines make money selling ad space.  Negative reviews will garner fewer sales for both the manufacturer and the magazine. This should be easy to understand.
b. Most reviewers are both stupid and batshit crazy.

2) The existence of tone controls in the signal chain degrade purity of sound (unless the designers are daft this simply isn't the case; at least not audibly so)
a. Manufacturers include bypass controls or simply omit tone controls because that is what the market wants.
b. Consumers of these products are both stupid and batshit crazy. Same goes for boutique designers who actually believe this nonsense. Part of the stupidity lies in their cluelessness about Fletcher-Munson. This also suggests that the people who want tone controls omitted because they believe these controls result in poorer sound quality based on what they hear are deaf.

TL;DR: Supply and demand.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #21
TL;DR: Supply and demand.

Sorry, i resume for the average guy (like me).
All well designed modern amplifiers are perfectly transparent, there is no point to choose one or another.
Tone controls are badly implemented, they are useless.
People don't care about HIFI when they buy their HIFI stuff, they just want to feel good and happy.

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #22
RE: Tone controls are badly implemented

Not those that are well-designed (in terms of how they alter tonal quality). To suggest that all tone controls are badly implemented is idiotic.  Furthermore I contend that the average listener doesn't know how to use them. This includes amps with only bass and treble controls, as the average listener also doesn't understand that volume is an additional tone control as well.

Edited for clarity.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #23
All well designed modern amplifiers are perfectly transparent
Should be. Barring evidence to the contrary.

there is no point to choose one or another.
Sure there is. It would depend on the load they are to drive, at what levels and things like price/power consumption and yes, looks matter too.
There are plenty speakers out there, new and old that can stress lesser amplifiers to where they might make a "sound".
Luckily, most popular brand speakers have relatively benign impedances, so it then becomes only a question of how loud.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Re: Choosing the right amplifier (Rotel vs Primare)

Reply #24
RE: Tone controls are badly implemented
Not those that are well-designed (in terms of how they alter tonal quality). To suggest that all tone controls are badly implemented is idiotic.  Furthermore I contend that the average listener doesn't know how to use them. This includes amps with only bass and treble controls, as the average listener also doesn't understand that volume is an additional tone control as well.

A wide bands equalizer applied on loudspeakers designed to sound flat in an anechoic chamber will unbalance the spectrum amplitude of your direct singal.
Solve the soundfield problems by modifying imperceptibly the direct sound requires virtuosis competences and advanced tools, i'm dubitative about how ignorant people with simplistic tools can perfom it.

 
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