Best warm sounding amp under €300?

cirjakvoja

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Oct 27, 2015
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Hello dear tom'sHardware users!! I am looking forward into buying a new amp. Since I am looking forward to use them with either the new Wharfedale Diamond 11.1 or the MA Bronze 2's (which should I pick) I would like the amp to provide warm sound, especially if I go with the Bronze 2's since they can get bright and harsh. I own Sennheiser HD598's so a headphone input would be nice, and a DAC would also be nice, btw what do you think do I need a DAC? So far I have come down to the following amps: Onkyo 9010- 250 euros Onkyo 9030- 300 euros (what is the difference between the 9010 and 9030?) Denon PMA720-ae- 300 euros Denon PMA520-ae- 200 euros (big price difference between the 720's, do you think it's worth investing 100 more euros in any other amps in this list?) Marantz PM5005- 280 euros
Now I dont understand what all ports and inputs and outputs are for, that is why I am posting this question, could you help me out understand the difference between these and what I need and what I dont?
 
The Marantz PM5005 is the warmest of these IMO.
The difference in the two Onkyo intergrated amps is output power.
They all seem to have phono inputs so you could use a turntable without a built in phono preamp.
The Denon has a DAC built in so you could connect a laptop to it with a USB cable or other sources with coax or optical digital audio outs like a TV or disc player.
The Denon and Marantz don't have pre/sub outs so you would need a sub with speaker level inputs if you wanted to add one.
 

cirjakvoja

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Oct 27, 2015
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Thanks for the answer. Did you mix the Onkyo 9010 and Denon's? As far as I know Denons dont have any sort of DAC or optical inputs, the nkyo 9010 does have a Dac though.
I still dont know with which one to go with though... :/
Which is the warmest after the Marantz?
Also does that mean that DAC is only used to connect more sources? Can't it be used for a pair of headphones?
I just looked at the specs and the Denond PMA520 have 0.02% THD, PMA720 have 0.01% but the Onkyo 9010 have 0.08% THD, does that mean that it will have a worse sound than Denons?
 
Specs I found online seem to be different than what you found. If the integrated amp doesn't have usb, coax or toslink inputs it doesn't have an internal DAC.
I would say that the Onkyo and Denon would be similar in warmth.
The built in DAC allows you to bypass the internal DAC if your source has a digital output. If the DAC has a USB input then you can bypass the DAC on the motherboard of any computer. Laptops don't often have digital audio outputs so that can be very convenient.
The DAC would affect the sound of the headphone and speaker outputs for the sources connected to the digital inputs.
The total harmonic distortion specs are meaningless.
To pick speakers you really need to listen to them. Bring some of your own music (not mp3 if possible). The store may be able to suggest an integrated amp or have a used one that will fit your budget.
 

cirjakvoja

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Oct 27, 2015
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the Onkyo 9010 does have a coaxial and optical inputs, so it does have a DAC, however Denons dont have DACs and dont have a coaxial and optical inputs. The thing is I dont use a turntable, CD player etc. the only reason that I would like a DAC is for my Sennheiser HD 598's. Then on the other hand I could just cheap out and get the Denon PMA520 for 200 euros and then I would have 100 euros to buy a DAC for my headphones.
Another question though, I noticed that Denon PMA720 has 8 inputs for speaker whereas the PMA520 and Onkyo 9010 have 4, does this mean that you can connect 2 pairs of speakers to the PMA720?
 
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