Best suited amplifier for Rock and Metal music for around £150?

 

Bronze Member
Username: James_the_god

Doncaster, South Yorkshire England

Post Number: 63
Registered: Jan-05
Hi, theres a lot of debate between all you audiophile experts and what amplifiers are best for certain kinds of music but which amplifier would be best suited to Rock and Metal?
Im looking at spending about £150 but the Cambrige Audio A5 amp looks good as an all round amp for playing all kinds music at £120!
Just sometimes I only wished I asked certain stores what amplifier they used, because the music sounded great in a local music store in the town centre where I live!
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 401
Registered: Sep-04
My immediate (and somewhat predictable) answer to you, Jelvis is: Stay clear of the CA A5. It will not give you the 'bite' that you require in listening to Rock and HM. As a fan of the music myself, I find NAD gives a much better performance all round - grit, bite, detail, prescence - you name it. For around £180, you can get the NAD 320BEE. Stretching your budget will possibly be the best favour you could do yourself here, but if you buy the A5, you may regret it. Believe me, I talk from experience.

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 402
Registered: Sep-04
If you really can't afford to stretch your budget some £30 extra, then I'd say the NAD C320, an earlier model, if you can find a dealer who stocks one or two, will do the job for you.

I'm about to give my A5 to my mother for listening to her Christian pop music on. I think it is a fitting station for this amp. She doesn't like too much bass.... 'nuff said.

V
 

Bronze Member
Username: James_the_god

Doncaster, South Yorkshire England

Post Number: 64
Registered: Jan-05
Thanks thats helped a lot, I think ill go with the NAD, everyone says they're the top of the list. Its a strange thing, I came across the NAD 320BEE today, just looking about and though i bets thats good and for £30 more, it could be well worth it. Just wish I had the chance to go to demos of amps and speakers, never find the time! I bet its fun though.
Well thanks Varney, Ill post here if need more info from you!
 

nout
Unregistered guest
I'd listen to Rotel RA-01, you might get one for $150.
For Rock music and Metal this amp is great: upfront and somewhat flatter sounding than NAD 320 BEE. (Its sound is identical to his brother RA-02, but without remote control)
Bass is leaner but faster. NAD has more "allround" qualities, when listening to Jazz or Classical the Rotel comes short of depth and imagery. (imagery? is that proper English?), but you like Rock and Metal don't you? The Rotel is a must-listen.
 

Bronze Member
Username: James_the_god

Doncaster, South Yorkshire England

Post Number: 65
Registered: Jan-05
Ye, I love Rock and Metal, but a lot of the metal also has synth and 'classical' style music in. I love the band Muse which is quite classical like too, so I think I'll be sticking with the 'all-rounder' type amp plus its way more in my budget range. Nad is £180 (which is stretching from what i wanted to pay of £150) and Rotel is £250! Both got awards so i think the Nad 320BEE is the good option here. Thanks nout
 

Silver Member
Username: Ca_convert

CardiffUK

Post Number: 159
Registered: Jan-05
Jelvis, just to throw my comments in that will really help: i disagree with nout (and I respect his opinions so bear that in mind0 but the Rotel is a lighter sounding amp, not neccesarily faster as in more dynamic nor more musical. The NAD has an easily audible more thump in the lower frequencies. It is simply better period. For Rock and metal (I am an AC/DC fan for 25 yrs and juts bought UFO's latest You Are Here) it is unbeatable. JUST my opinion. Good luck!
 

Bronze Member
Username: James_the_god

Doncaster, South Yorkshire England

Post Number: 67
Registered: Jan-05
I believe what I hear about the NAD. Its quality more than loudness im after since I'll be using it with speakers in my bedroom-i spend most my free time there...sad i know!
However, a while back I was discussing about what speakers to get and how to connect them to my pc using an amp...ok i know how to do that etc but ive had a recent change in heart of the actual speakers i want to purchase.
Comparing the Wharfedale diamond 8.1/8.2s to the diamond 9.1s, I've heard there really isn't much difference despite the fact of the newly shaped 'wave refracting' cabinet design. Look at it this way, £90 or £120 for some great speakers or pay £180 for the supposedly upgraded!? Whats everyones view on the 2 diamond versions?
If i went ahead with the Nad 320BEE and the old diamonds, I'd be talking about £280-£330 and for a decent hi-fi setup to my computer, thats good (in my opinion).
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 403
Registered: Sep-04
Yes, Nout - 'imagery' is proper English.

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 404
Registered: Sep-04
I think I said before, Jelvis, I have a NAD in the sitting room and a NAD under the computer bench in the studio. You will not go far wrong using one of these hooked to your PC for the reason that it's upfront, highly dynamic presentation makes very good work salvaging those poor quality audio streams and somewhat treble-damped MP3s. You'll be getting the most out of it when you add a dedicated, fullsize CD player to the plan, of course.

At low levels, the NAD performs very well indeed. I find that low level listening with these amps is as involving and intricate as when they are cranked loud in the afternoon. You will also get a 'Low Level' switch, which is supposed to enhance the dynamic range and the stereo imaging when played softly, to bring the sound into proportion. It has the result of making you think it's louder than it is, when in fact, in actual terms of volume, it's hard to hear in the next room. Very good in my opinion.

As to the price - you will not regret spending the extra, I assure you - but you would so hate yourself if you bought the cheaper A5, then went to a mate's house to hear what the NAD 320 series sounded like! I am glad to hear you've decided to take this route.

V



 

nout
Unregistered guest
Yes, Nout - 'imagery' is proper English.

And I suppose in an "audio" context too then.

And Jelvis, you'll make a good choice with the NAD. If I had to choose between Rotel and NAD my choice woulde be NAD, without a doubt.
But you mentioned "the best amp suited for Rock and Metal" and many people like their Rock upfront and flat, so Rotel seemed to be the right candidate.
With some recordings (Pavement for instance) I like it flat and upfront too, with these recordings my Marantz is too refined and puts too much air and stagedepth to the music.
 

Bronze Member
Username: James_the_god

Doncaster, South Yorkshire England

Post Number: 68
Registered: Jan-05
I wouldnt say that Rotel isnt good, but I cant say enough that theres a price difference of £70 and to me thats a lot for an amp. £180 seems fine and I'm sure the NAD will please me greatly. Varney- Christian Pop lol, i found that funny!
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 409
Registered: Sep-04
Nout, I agree with you there. Rock often does benefit from less midrange (is that what you meant by flat?). I have been listening to a very old J.Tull album - 'Aqualung' today. The soundstaging on the NAD has instruments coming through I actually didn't hear before - all in their (digitally remastered) places.

Rock has evolved so much in the last 30 years, but I constantly keep coming back to that basic arrangment: drumkit, bass, rythym and lead. Black Sabbath, Tull, Led Zep - all those bands for whom the NAD produces the old Marshal and Laney sounds so very well. If you want a test of an amp for Rock, I suggest test it with this stupidly basic noise. If you get the full teeth-grinding portion of grit, texture and grime and it still manages to keep all those thing seperated in space, I'd say you've got a 'rocker' in your midst. I think then that it should also do your synths and effects quite well, too, as the underlying sound is (or should be) still there in modern rock.

Happy listening,

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 410
Registered: Sep-04
Oh, one more thing, Jelvis -

I've learned from experience that the money you pay is more indicative of the economics of any given company and their market. Not necessarily any gaurantee of quality, but perhaps a guide only to what quality can cost.

Confusing, I know, but that's life. Always to be taken with a pinch of salt.

V
 

nout
Unregistered guest
Nout, I agree with you there. Rock often does benefit from less midrange (is that what you meant by flat

I guess you don't agree with me, because I do not mean less middrange ;)

With "flat" I mean a decreased 3D soundstage and "upfront" with midds pretty much in yer face. Music coming from the left and right speaker and some in the middle, but not much behind it. With some records this is very pleasing, distorted guitars scratching your ears. (ofcourse it depends on how friendly the album is produced: agressive records will obviously sound horrible)
I find 3D imaging not always a good thing (in 90 percent it is however)
I like Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation a lot better when it's played flatter and more upfront, I like to hear the guitars loud in my left and right ear and not nicely placed between the speakers with much space around the different instruments. In this recording I like it really flat and direct, you could say compressed. A wall of sound rather than beautiful and refined tones placed in a 3D stage.
So you could say my Marantz PM 7200 isn't a rock amp, at least not for this particular album.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Tevo

Chicago, IL USA

Post Number: 42
Registered: Feb-05
With typical rock music's narrow dynamic range (i.e., it's practically always loud- not much contrasting passages of soft and loud) I guess I would agree with you in some sense.

For rock, I appreciate good, tight bass and quickness of pace, rhythm and timing (that PRAT thing...). Although I still would not like a total loss of soundstaging- especially with unplugged, live or acoustic sets. Not to mention good resolution.

Hmm... come to think of it, I still want it all regardless if its rock, vocal jazz, or classical. :-)
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 411
Registered: Sep-04
Well, it's very easy to limit oneself to one type of music. What we often forget is that at the end of the day - it's all Rock'n'Roll.

So much has used the basics of rock on which to base the foundation of newer genres. It's worth remembering also, that we are talking about a particular sound here.... much of the eighties pop, if stripped of it's 'poppy' electronics will sound very much like any other rock score if it were played either on an acoustic, or you had chance to isolate the bass-line. Of course, I've always believed there's a hint of Jazz thrown in. My wife, a hardcore gothic in her day, disagrees with me, for instance that Hawkwind uses a lot of Jazz in their music; telling me that just becaue it contains a sax, it doesn't mean it's Jazz. Just something we don't always agree on.

Come to think of it.... if you have it all, you have it all. Who in here would take a graphic equalizer seriously, for instance, which sports presets for 'Jazz', Rock, Pop, etc? I call them crapness switches. Line straight is the only way to listen to any music, in my opinion, which negates any debate about how any genre should be mixed system side. If the system is revealing and detailed with one type of music, then it is so with any other you care to mention. I just personally don't support ideas that 'some amps are ideal for classical; others more suited to Jazz'. I think they are either good at reproducing the sound stage and dynamics of the original, or they are less good at it.

Something I once heard was that it is the piano which is the most difficult instrument to replicate electronically. Certainly, this goes for synths. The difference between Iron Maiden and Meatloaf, for instance is vast. But if your tastes span the entire Rock spectrum, you may well be listening to Korn one moment, Maddy Prior the next. If you know that system can reproduce Sebalius in one stroke and with the next, it produces the nuances of Ian Anderson's flute perfectly, then you know that Pantera's guitars are going to work up a sweat without compromise.

V
 

nout
Unregistered guest
You're right obviously, but I wonder if there isn't one album in your collection that would sound greater with an "inferior" amp.
My previous amps didn't have such a wide soundstage my Marantz PM 7200 has. And most music sounds dead gorgeous with it, but sometimes, with a couple of records, I long for the crap sound I used to have.
As a teen I listened mainly to tapes made from cd's and lp's from the librairy (I didn't have the money to buy an album or cd), played on an old tapedeck, with few highs and big, slow distorted bass notes.
It was a beefy, dark colored upfront and flat sound without any real soundstage. Played loud it was an undefined wall of sound. But I liked it a lot. And at that time I discovered Sonic Youth and listened to their records (on tape). My perception of Sonic Youths sound is how I used to listen to it, on an old cheap hifi set, the music coming from the speakers and not between them.

 

Bronze Member
Username: James_the_god

Doncaster, South Yorkshire England

Post Number: 69
Registered: Jan-05
I'm not familiar with all this terminology, but when listening to music, I can notice so many different things with speakers but just dont know how to explain it. That is until I hear it off the likes of you people, the descriptive words etc all make sense and describe what I hear from speakers. V, you mentioned Korn, i find with my current old somewhat cheap 4.1 set that the bass is too deep, dull and not very 'independant'. However, listen to another band with lots of bass in like Chimaira, Soulfly or Powerman 5000 the bass is a lot clearer. Obviously you can see why I NEED to upgrade to a real system and any good speakers and amp is better.
Anyone is this post; my mate broke his 2.1 speakers by plugging in the wrong wire (the printer wire) into one of the inputs or outputs. Do you know whats happened? He said a couple of sparks came out and the subwoofer made a strange hum!
Jump to: Home Audio Forum | Home Video Forum | Home Theater Forum | Car Audio Forum