Newbie question - do quality amps matter for budget speakers?


New member
Username: Zzzxtreme

Post Number: 1
Registered: Aug-08
Hi , What i have is I guess budget bookshelf sony speakers from 90's I think. They certainly aren't the ones from those sony hifi sets with colourful LEDs and boast their PMPO power. my budget spearks gives me clear bass and not the techno THUMP THUMP.

my yamaha av receiver is basically dead. Not really dead, but it shuts down after few seconds I switch it on. it's from prologic era, no digital input.Fixing it would cost 80 or 90. and certainly not the first time it acting up weird. I'm certainly not the only one with that problem with yamaha receivers.

well I guess it is time now for me to get a budget, reliable integrated amplifier. Well I thought of buying a $500 NAD or Marantz. But... I only fed the my old amp (which I was happy with) with MP3 and CD audio from my computer, (occasionally digital piano) and not the audiophile grade CD player.

So I'm thinking, wouldn't buying a $500 integrated amp be a waste for me? would buying an elcheapo amp gives me the same bass clarity? cause i assume it is the speaker, not the amp.

Silver Member
Username: Magfan


Post Number: 330
Registered: Oct-07
What's your final goal?

You could: and this isn't all you could do.
1. Go in debt bigtime, get integrated system that sounds well and plays well together. Use the computer as a music server.
2. PLAN future upgrades. put up with weak link, knowing it's going to be replaced.
This is tough, but it can be done.
3. Go pre-owned......some good stores have stuff that'll work fine for you.

If all you want is stereo, I have seen people on this forum recommend the Insignia receiver at Best.......Cheap / disposable but at least NEW.

and depends. Depending on several factors you may or may not get lucky. If you get a good cheapo, ::less than likely:: it may give you the desired result, but may just be a waste. Besides, better stuff, and I don't mean megabuck, lasts longer and saves money in the long run by NOT needing upgrade / replacement when the junker smokes. Learn from the Yamaha which apparently has been none too reliable.

Silver Member
Username: Afj


Post Number: 105
Registered: Jan-08
nick, like leo said, whats your final goal. if youre planning to upgrade in stages, then go for the nad (or something in that range) and then a good pair of bookshelf speakers - will set you back anything between 300-500 usd. IMO you dont need a nad to power your current speakers. apart from the insignia, you could also look at onkyo, hk. you'll save 2-300 dollars. if all you want to do is spend 500 dollars and get the best sound out, sell what you have and buy a pair of bookshelves (i've heard the jbl L820's and they're good) and a onkyo, marantz, hk amp

New member
Username: Zzzxtreme

Post Number: 3
Registered: Aug-08
thanks for the help guys

i was certainly happy with my sony speakers + the yamaha receiver. certainly liked it better than my friend's marantz av receiver + bose acoustimass 5. (which i love too)

so my final goal is to keep my speakers and get an amp for me to use for a long time.

maybe i could get onkyo or marantz, it won't be overkill? but note that I don't play CD using dedicate player.

and "why" do I get clear,nice bass from my sony speaker from that old yamaha amp?
is it the speaker or the amp or both?

Silver Member
Username: Afj


Post Number: 106
Registered: Jan-08
in terms of quality of amplifiers, the onkyo / marantz / hk and pegged just a little higher than the yamaha. nad being at a level higher than all of them. so on that front it wont be an overkill. in terms of output you'll need to match a suitable amp to your speakers. what is the specifications on the output of your speakers. an upgrade on the cd player wouldnt hurt either and you would get all this within your budget of 500 dollars

"and "why" do I get clear,nice bass from my sony speaker from that old yamaha amp?"

it would be a mix of the two though i feel that with an upgrade on the amp the bass would be a lot tighter

Silver Member
Username: Afj


Post Number: 107
Registered: Jan-08
and bose is by no way a bench mark when it comes to music. its way down the ladder.

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 2951
Registered: May-05
I agree with a lot of what has been said here. I think the most important thing is to figure out where you're looking to go long term. If you're only looking for a replacement and not to change out/improve other areas, it may not be worth spending more money on a receiver/integrated amp from soley a sound quality perspective. I don't know anything about your speakers or the recording/sound quality of the music being fed to the system to be able to determine what the weakest link is. The best way to gain a solid improvement is to upgrade the weakest link. But in this case the receiver obviously needs to be replaced first.

There are a lot of benefits in getting a better receiver, even if there's little if any immediate sound quality improvement. A better built receiver should last longer under normal conditions. A better receiver may have better connectivity options for now and down the road. It may have a better tuner section and phono stage if necessary. I saw a post in the phono section asking about a turntable. A lot of receivers and integrated amps don't have one built in anymore. Nowadays, most have to be bought seperately.

For an inexpensive solution, Harman/Kardon makes excellent stereo receivers. They have two which are essentially the same, but have different power outputs. H/K is also very honest with their power claims.

Marantz and NAD make very good receivers as well. They're more expensive in price and have different features. I like the NAD more, but everyone's tastes are different.

One of the best regarded stereo receivers right now is the Outlaw RR2150. I haven't heard it, but its got a lot of great reviews from professionals and customers. A few people here have heard their gear and reported very good results. It's reportedly very well made as well, and the company's customer service is excellent. It has a subwoofer output and bass management (I think the only stereo receiver with this) if that's needed/a possibility down the road, and a USB input for your computer music. I don't know if it has a built in DAC for it or not, but Outlaw will be able to answer any technical questions. It also has a phono input.

Personally, I think the Outlaw receiver is the best choice before sound quality is considered. I haven't heard it, but it should be able to compete with the best. It also has a 30 day (maybe more?)in home trail period. Its $700, but sometimes available for less as a B-Stock item.

New member
Username: Zzzxtreme

Post Number: 7
Registered: Aug-08
thanks a lot guys for the tip.

my yamaha 'was' ok yesterday, and this morning, it shuts off itself again.

i don't think i'd be able to get an outlaw receiver here, but i will certainly remind myself about it when i look for a new receiver.

harmon kardon seems to priced OK here, and it looks damn good too.

then maybe i'd get myself the much talk about wharfadle diamond pro.

Gold Member
Username: T_bomb25

Dayton, Ohio United States

Post Number: 1638
Registered: Jun-05
If you want substancially better sound and be able to grow into speaker and source upgrades,check out the Pop Pulse T70 it is has only 1input,but its sound quality rivals amps in the $700 to 1k range.another option would be the Yaquin VK 2100 for 279.95 from Canadian Hifi on Ebay its a hybrid intergratedamp with a tube preamp and mosfet amp with 85watts into 8ohms,it has fantastic build quality and should be priced a lot higher.

Bronze Member
Username: Zzzxtreme

Post Number: 13
Registered: Aug-08
thanks all for the help guys
i went to the stores with my sony to test the marantz pm4001 , and also tested the wharfedale diamond 9.1. the sony sounded OK, though bass a bit lacking comparing to wharfedale. Not as warm as NAD,but at $240 with phono input, marantz is a steal!

the wharfedales are next in my list
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