Budget Amp and CD player for B&W DM7's


My good friend inherited a pair of B&W DM7 MK2's from his father and has been running them from a lousy Yamaha receiver that finally kicked the bucket. He is looking for an amp/pre or integrated amp & CD player and wants to spend around $600 for used equipment. The speakers, with an effiency rating of 86dB, would probably need around 100 wpc I am guessing to be sufficiently powered. There are the usual integrated amp offerings from NAD and Rotel that, used, may fit the budget, but was curious if there was anything else out there worth looking at. Any recommendations would be appreciated and doesnt matter how old or new the equipment is as long as it can hold up to the speakers.
Oooh I have an answer!

I highly recommend the Parasound HCA-1000A (100W) or HCA-750a (75W) high-current amplifiers. HCA100As sell for $233-$300 on eBay, the 750 for under $200.00

In a smallish room, the 750A (75 watts) will surprise you with its tremendous power and authority. It's very clean and will do wonders with medium to low efficiency speakers. I will now disclose that I also have one for sale. :)

Another good one to check out is the Adcom GFA-545 (the first version, not Mk II). It's an older, sweet yet authoritative sounding 100Watt high-current design. You can get those under $200 on 'bay and around here too.

You'll still need a pre-amp and a cd player, I'll leave that to other 'goners in the know.
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I am the poster boy for all the suggestions on this thread.

I have been powering my 2-channel living room system for 7 years with a
mid-'80s Amber Model 17 preamp and Amber Series 70 (70 wpc) power amp.
For the longest time, this little combo took all comers, as I tried one thing
after another to replace it with something newer and preferably with remote

In the past three years, however, this modest combo has rebuffed many
efforts to displace it, including an Outlaw RR2150 receiver, which couldn't
touch the Amber stack, followed by the 1st-gen Parasound ZPre, which
couldn't dislodge the Amber preamp. I tried a Hafler Series 915 J-FET class A
line stage; no dice. I tried a newly-fixed VSP TransMos 150 power amp, and it
was a definite improvement over the Amber amp, and replaced it.

I still wanted newer, more reliable, more rack space efficiency, and remote
control. After reading copiously about the Onkyo A-9555 integrated amp
(including a post from a fellow A-goner who had owned both the Amber and
VSP), I bought one. Heeding the advice that this amp takes a long, hard
break-in, I ran this thing in 24/7 for 4 days, alternating between an iPod and
FM tuner.

I tried various power cords with it as well, which all had an influence on the
sound. You can't pick the power cord until it's fully broken in, however.

My verdict: This thing is for real. It blows away my Amber stack in every way-
-transparency, speed, clarity, extension, ability to follow multiple melody
lines and vocal harmonies, percussion, midrange warmth and honesty--you
name it, it trumps the Amber, and is clearly superior to the VSP Labs as well
(which is at least equivalent to a Parasound HCA 2200 II) in bass clarity and
overall speed without giving up anything in musicality.

The best thing is you can get this marvel for $400 at accessories4less.com for
a factory refurb, or $450 for A-stock from J&R Music World, or $474 from
Amazon in either silver or black, with free shipping and a 30-day trial period.
It is better than any used gear I have tried in the $600-700 range. Usually
shopping vintage gear is a lot of fun and you can often find great sound for a
lot less money. Lord knows I've been doing that for at least 20 years. But this
integrated amp represents a complete paradigm shift in price/performance.
There. I said it.

I am listening to it as i write this and it is simply astounding at this price. It
has remote, too. If you're into vinyl, the built-in phono stage is pretty good,
but I'm using an outboard Cambridge 640P which elevates it to yet another

Of the three power cords I had on hand, the one that's making this amp sing
once broken in is a PS Audio ExStream Prelude.

I can't say this amp is the actual A-B equivalent of the Ayre or Rowland
monoblocks, but it reminds me of those amps more than anything else--fast,
musical, clear, extended, and emotionally involving.

Try one from Amazon; the worst that happens is that if it doesn't work for
you, it costs return shipping. But make sure you don't listen seriously until it
has at least 100 hours on it.

Onkyo also makes a favorably reviewed matching CD player, the C-7555.
Not to de-rail the thread, but Johnnyb53, you have me curious!

But what speakers are you using with it?

I have Triangles...super efficient and while a little on the warm side in the bass, they are very revealing of everything that comes before them. I've never had the inkling to try a Class D amplifier with them, but I am curious what you're using.

Back to the thread, sorry!
Joelv: I'm using MIrage OMD-15s.

I would describe them much like you described your Triangles--efficient (91 dB, 1w @ 1meter), just the slightest on the warm side of neutral, and very revealing as well. I can easily hear differences in cables, power cables, amps, preamps, etc. upstream. In addition the Mirages are forward-biased omnidirectionals, so their in-room power response is very uniform throughout the room.

This amp/speaker combo is plenty good to fill the listening space, with is a vaulted ceiling, open architecture living area, comprising the living room (about 16x19), entry hall behind it (with only a waist-high counter between), and dining area that's an open area off to the side.

When this amp is breaking in, you are fully aware that you are listening to digital solid state. But when it passes 130 hours (and assuming you have a good matchup with your power cord), it is hard to say what the topology is, because it has that low-level organic flow reminiscent of tubes and the speed and clarity of really good solid state without any etch or harshness whatsoever. In my rig it is astounding in its bass performance in areas of clarity, fullness, pitch accuracy, and extension. That's not to say it's weaker in midrange or treble; it's exemplary in both. It's just that it's so rare to hear this level of bass resolution that it stands out and is one of the first things people notice.

This amp is so good, it's hard to keep from sounding crazy with hyperpole. I know that the VTL Siegfried and Reference amps are better, and more powerful amps will have a broader operating range, but soundwise, there are very few other amps I can say with certainty sound better than this one.

Oh, and since your Triangles are super efficient, you will be pleased to know that this is the quietest integrated or amp/preamp combo I have ever had. Robert Deutsch, who reviewed this amp for Stereophile, tested it powering a pair of Avant Garde horn speakers. Because of the Avant Gardes' incredible sensitivity, he was accustomed to chasing down hums and buzzes when testing various upstream electronics. With the Onkyo, his reaction was, "Is it on?" It was.

Although both the Onkyo A-9555 and Outlaw RR2150 are Stereophile Class C recommended components, the Outlaw shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as this amp.
Thanks, that is a sparkling review!
Was looking for information about the B&W DM7 Mk2 speakers and found this thread. One budget amplifier that I found sounded really good with these speakers was a Sumo Nine.