Looking for Opinions on NAD C372 vs Denon POA-2200 + Denon PRA-1100


Hello, 

Just as the title suggests I am looking for opinions on performance and sound quality( as subjective as that is) from anyone with experience a NAD C372 and/or a Denon POA-2200 + Pre-amp combo. The pre-amp I have with it the Denon PRA-1100.

I bought the Denon because so many people have told me that once you get a dedicated power amp and move away from integrated pieces you really start to hear a difference. To my ears there doesn't seem to be any noticeable difference in what I am hearing, though I have to pain painstakingly switch wires and inputs every time i want to hear the different amp so I am not getting a very direct comparison. My only observation thus far is the Denon seems to run super cool. The NAD while not running hot by any means is noticeably warmer. Aside from that I can't discern any real difference in quality.

I have tested the units with the following speaker pairs: Mirage m190i, Paradigm 5se mkII, and Paradigm Monitor 7 v7. I use tone defeat to bypass any EQ or what have you for any and all listening. None of these pairs have any real heavy power demands and have recommendations that fall well under the power specs of either the NAD at 150wpc ( i think) or the Denon at 200wpc(i think), which as I've gathered is what most people aim to provide their speakers...more power than they need so they can draw as much as they want.

That being said I've driven all these speakers with a Yamaha R-700 from the early 80s. 40wpc but the loudest out of the three amps and i don't notice any sound quality difference there either. That might boil down to the fact that I'm just not ever using more than 40 watts regardless of which amp due to my volume levels...it is a small apartment after all so i guess i just don't need much power to achieve high volume and the low end on these speakers isn't THAT deep...though plenty for most musical minds. 

Anyways, that was a bit of a tangent but i wanted to provide some detail as to the scenario. It seems like at least a slight majority of people skew in favor of NAD for musical rendering, but classic Denon power amps get their fair share of reviews, and I myself am at a stalemate. For some reason I want to believe in the Sound quality of NAD, but my ears can't find it, and The Denon combo looks so damn good.

Given the choice between the NAD C372 and the Denon Combo POA-2200 + PRA-1100, which would you choose and why? Perhaps knowing that my next hopeful purchase, and really the reason I am looking for high quality power is because I want to get a pair of Totem Acoustic Sky towers. I'm trying to find an appropriate power source for them, without breaking the bank.
rookiophile
The Denon combo is a very nice sounding rig.  Neutral sounding with great resolution and fast and punchy bass drive.  Plenty of horsepower with the POA-2200s spec'd at 200w/[email protected],300w/[email protected]  I have owned four 80's/90's Denon integrated amps and PRA-1500/POA-1500 combo and all have been very reliable, and fast and punchy as described above.  Pretty close to the same experience with the NAD pieces I have owned.

Bill

Update: I have set up each amp on it's own PC for a source. connected the left channel to the denon combo and the right channel to the NAD. Synced up an album on my itunes and have each amp taking care of a single channel...this way I am able to match volume levels precisely and hear both amps at the exact same time.  It's almost impossible to hear any discrepancy between either amp as far as my rookie ears can tell.

I hope to hear some people chime in with their experiences soon.

I definitely like what I hear Bill, and what I see. The only thing i noticed in my research was I didn't see a spec listed for 4 ohms for the Denon POA-2200. I thought it specifically rated it from 6-16 ohms...which was a bit of let sown because there's a pair of 4 ohms PSB Stratus silver towers that operate at 4 ohms nominal I wanted to consider. The NAD will handle those according to the specs. You are familiar with the Denon model and can confirm it's ability to drive a 4 ohm load?
I am familiar with the 2200 but have no personal experience with it.  The Denon POA-1500 I owned was a beautiful amp that sounded great but it's protection circuitry did not like my Klipsch RF-63s at high dBs for an extended time period.  I have read more than once that the 2200/2400/2800 would be better suited(than the 1500) for 4ohm loads and especially the 2400 and 2800.  The 2200 specs I saw did suggest that you only use speakers from 6 ohms to 16 ohms.

With all that said, if you do not get crazy with the volume knob and you room is not the size of a concert hall, I think you may be okay.

On the other end of the spectrum, more recent PSB speakers are matched to NAD gear.  Not sure if that was the case when the NAD 372 and your Stratus Silvers where designed and mfr'd.

Bill
All i can tell you is the NAD is circa 2003 while the Stratus lineup is circa 2005. If PSB were designing speakers with NAD components in mind the C372 would have been pretty timely for the Stratus series. That’s not something I was aware of, thank you for that incite. In fact I know very little of PSB all together. Only that they are Canadian and I am always interested in home made gear.

On a side note: would you say at over 30 years of age the Denon has a long life left? The NAD is only 13 years old. If quality is assumed of NAD one could potentially get a couple more decades without much major maintenance. The Denon combo are still sounding quite clean but I know they've never had any servicing done other than the can of compressed air I used on them when I bought them. Is there enough life left in the Denon to make it worth a proper servicing? My ears point to yes, and if how cool it operates is any indicator it runs very cool..even with the pre-amp stacked directly on top of it, and being inside of a cabinet with just a couple inches of clearance for the stack on either side...after several hours of operation at fair volume it's barely warm to the touch. The only other piece of equipment in my possession that runs that cool is my Onkyo TX-SR608 but it uses an exhaust fan.