hifi engine

Amplifier Upgrade?

I have an old Marantz PM32 amplifier (circa 1992) driving a pair of Harbeth HL-P3 speakers and I am thinking of exchanging the amp for an Onkyo A-9110.

Other than a higher output power on the Onkyo, the spec is no better than the Marantz - indeed the harmonic distortion is significantly worse - 0.05% compared with 0.015%

I have only a limited budget. So I would be grateful if someone could tell me if, in terms of sound quality, I would hear a significant improvement with the Onkyo. The reviews are good but I'm not completely convinced..

Chris Walsh

analogdino's picture

Re: Amplifier Upgrade?

"0.05% compared with 0.015%" You will not hear any difference. Both are "statistically zero" in audio perception.

Re: Amplifier Upgrade?

The extra 15 watts per channel isn't going to mean that much.

Re: Amplifier Upgrade?

Thanks Johnnysan.
I sit just a few feet away from the speakers, so I don't need the extra power.
Most of the other specs are similar but I just wondered if amplifier design had moved on since 1992 and the new amp would sound better in some way.

Re: Amplifier Upgrade?

Yes, Amp design has changed a lot since 1992... it's gotten CCCCHHHHEEEEAAAAPPPP!!!!

Seriously, amps have gotten much cheaper in recent years. Especially an amp from Onkyo that only costs $350 new. You could spend that 350 on a much nicer vintage amp that would sound worlds better than that Onkyo.

Why are they cheap now? Well, the amps are very lightweight since they contain one Chinese IC amp and a very flimsy transformer and power circuit. I've had to work on these in recent years and you wouldn't believe the amount of cheap they add now a days.

Onkyo's bad as a rule too. They have been for the past 5 years.

My solution? Marantz is a great brand, but if you want to upgrade, go with a nice Luxman LV series integrated amp. They are very reasonably priced, and over incredible sound. A nice pioneer silverface amp would also be a welcome upgrade as well...

For more info, checkout the VINYL-Engine forum, they have much info about this.