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Really fabulous really cheap (power or integrated) amps

Discussion in 'audio' started by mandryka, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    The reason I make the comment I do is because the MF casework I've seen is a bit cheap and plasticy. Nytech were another example, I have one but the casework is crap. Say what you like about the contents, but Naim certainly knew how to make boxes.

    You might think so but I advertised my pal's one on here at somewhere around £1100 for weeks. Who came and looked? Nobody.

    I do like the 820. Maybe ought to find one.

    I think that's part of what this thread is about. There's a pleasure in getting something for nothing. It's like tracking down a Fiat Strada Abarth for half the money of a Golf GTi in the 80s, a Suzuki TL1000R for half the price of a 'Blade "because the TL will try to kill you" or a [insert favourite deck here] for less than a Sondek.
     
    Arkless Electronics likes this.
  2. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    I believe a guy on PFM nabbed a pair for £250 the other day, which makes them the speaker equivalent of this amp thread. I’d offer mine but not for that sort of money. I think they’re about to start making new ones again at least.
     
  3. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Whilst quality of casework is something that personally I couldn't give a toss about I wouldn't say there was anything particularly shoddy or plasticy about MF casework other than in their most budget stuff such as the B1/Typhoon/Tempest which basically shared the same casework, with some mods.. I struggle to think of anything else of that era that had any plastic... the control knobs on A1's maybe but the rest of the case is metal.... good thing as it would have melted if it were plastic!

    I reckon the simple fact that the most popular models (A1 and A100) ran very hot and really could have done with more heatsinking and higher rated electrolytics has ruined the reputation of everything they made... especially amongst those who are less familiar with their higher end gear.
     
    stevec67 likes this.
  4. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    I was thinking of buying a Musical Fidelity Nu Vista 300, but was put off by this email hatchet job I got from someone I know who used to work for Marantz in Australia

    "Well, they're Musical Fidelity products. As such they:

    * Have poor heat sinking.
    * Use components that MF purchased cheap. Those components were used,
    despite the fact that they have not been manufactured for 60 odd years
    and replacements cannot be obtained.
    * Use cheap quality components wherever possible.
    * Things like electrolytic caps are marginally rated and fail prematurely.
    * Are a triumph of style (which is, IMO, stunningly ugly) over substance.
    * Should be avoided at all costs.

    I've serviced a large number of MF products over the years. They're
    hugely over-rated and just plain horrible. Still, I make good money from
    the company's cost-cutting and dumb design decisions.

    MF products are seriously dodgy. The Nuvistor valve used in all MF
    Nuvista products ceased production in the mid-1960s. Now, I will
    certainly acknowledge that some MF products sound pretty good. That
    includes some Nuvista amplifiers. However, IMO, there are better, more
    honest products available. None are branded MF. I reckon you do better."
     
    gx502 and Caledon1297 like this.
  5. Tigerjones

    Tigerjones Bagpuss

    I wasn’t aware they’d stopped but it must be a good 7 or 8 years since I had mine.
     
  6. Shane2468

    Shane2468 pfm Member

    Brutal!

    S.
     
  7. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member


    I'm seeing a lot of really enthusiastic comments about these amps. I want to hear one . . . .
     
  8. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Cabinet maker retired; they’ve recently found a new one.

    They’re hardly the most exotic cabinets!
     
  9. 406v6

    406v6 pfm Member

    Already mentioned above but any of the Nytech amps should give a great sound for the price. The CTA252 receiver sounds great when it works - I'm listening to one right now - but any on the market is unlikely to be in full fitness and will need some work.
     
  10. The Bish

    The Bish pfm Member

    anybody have a view on whether the more recent Heed obelisks sound as good as the old Ions? I have a pair of Heed monos and think they sound great, and second hand or ex demo Heed stuff seems to go for well under original selling price on eBay and the like maybe because it’s a bit left field. Not quite in the really cheap category but bet they will be in a few years.
     
    samz likes this.
  11. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I cannot recommend this amp highly enough and it is one of the best sounding amplifiers I've ever heard at any price. All of the MF amps that use this topology and the Sanken output transistors are rather wonderful. Quite possibly the best class A/B amplifiers ever designed. Period. The nuvistor valves are a gimmick though of course. It indeed uses cheap Chinese electrolytics but so do the majority of manufacturers these days. The one I did a re-cap on was still working fine and no sign of leaking caps or anything like that. The owner wanted it done just to be certain it was operating at its best after 15+ years use. Unless you have worked in the industry you would not believe the lengths almost all companies will go to in order to save just 30P here or £1 there even on a £4000 amp... they all do it though.
    It runs at around "body temperature". Not hot at all.

    I believe @Thetiminator experienced one of this range in the form of the Titan and was rather impressed?

    What I would not recommend was the Audio Research LS25 preamp that was with it. It sounded pretty uninspiring.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  12. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    Nytech, Ion and Heed are all the same basic technology.
     
  13. cpg

    cpg pfm Member

    As I understand it, from internet half truths etc, Nytech with their active 602 amps with ARC speakers were considered for a while to be better than Naim and Linn but subtle pressure was applied on dealers to ensure the Naim/Linn pairing won the day. Both Nytech and ARC ceased trading.
    Richard Hay moved onto Ion Systems and produced the highly regarded ION Obelisk 3x and the SIGNIFICANTLY better MA40 mono power amps which are now very rare.
    All the Nytech and Ion amps to this point were capacitor coupled (as the majority of later HEED amps) but Richard Hay then had a brainwave and managed to keep the existing topology of the capacitor coupled circuit but eliminated the capacitor coupling by "quasi" bridging 2 power amps together (perhaps someone else knows exactly how this was done).
    He then left ION after they incurred financial difficulties and worked as a consultant with HEED in Hungary. HEED released an improved version of the "bridged" non-capacitor coupled amps in 80W (PAS80, stereo) and 120W (PAS120, mono) versions. If you can find some of these secondhand they would be worth having reconditioned by HEED.
    There is a german guy who asked the pfm diy colleagues for help in reconditioning his 602 power amps. He has now taken the Nytech basic circuit and updated it to use modern transitors, he posts on Facebook as Nero Audio. He must think the basic design is very good!

    One of the most important reasons for trying to find a secondhand Nytech 602 or ION amp is that Nytech Audio in Cardiff are there to help you to refurbise your amp to the best possible condition.

    The first amplifier I bought was a Nytech CTA252 Tuner amp, also sounds very good with efficient closed box speakers, which had at the time a bad reputation for reliability. I used it for 10 years without problems, gave it to my mother who used it for a further 20 years and it is still working now.

    Lots of old amps to choose from, difficult choices.
     
    Snufkin, Nytechy and Alex S like this.
  14. cpg

    cpg pfm Member

    Another possibility is the Musical Fidelity A1000 integrated, I don't think it has been mentioned yet, 50W of pure class A to keep you toes warm in winter! Very well reviewed in its day.
    I hope Arkless won't say it has reliabilty problems, the only issue I know of is a couple of power supply foibles.
     
  15. Rana

    Rana pfm Member

    I suspect my Linx Nebula (and I expect also the Linx Quasar) will trounce anything modern under £2000 RRP. Think "Naim Nait 2 beating" PRAT, with 3-dimensionality and unflappable power.
     
    Cato likes this.
  16. wiresandmore

    wiresandmore pfm Member

    wonderful amp - shame I had to sell as I went back to college and needed funds around 1997....
     
  17. Ginger

    Ginger pfm Member

     
  18. Ginger

    Ginger pfm Member

    It's funny how we can all hear things so differently. I've done the side by side Nait 2 / Rotel 820 and I wouldn't give you anything for the Rotel. I'd simply look for something else. Maybe someone could do a 'Cheap amps' room at the Wam show?[/QUOTE]
     
    Caledon1297 likes this.
  19. Tarzan

    Tarzan pfm Member

    Another shout for the Amptastic Mini 1- incredible sounding amp for the money.... used within it's limits.
     
  20. narabdela

    narabdela who?

    Someone did a cheap as chips secondhand kit room at Scalford a few years back. It put a lot of the other rooms to shame.
     
    Stuart Frazer likes this.

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