ConclusionFour beautiful devices. Four interpretations of how an integrated amplifier should be. Marantz goes for the offer of flexibility and integration. A streamer, dac and analogue amplifier - including vinyl - in one box. Delightful. A total solution. And that for 1199 euros. The reproduction is calm and civilised: as Marantz is known to us.
Cyrus goes for everything but a streamer. Also for 1199 euros. It has put the 'saved' amount of the streamer in the amplifier, so more resolution and control is audible. This manifests itself in a reproduction that involves the listener more in the music. Matching will not be very difficult we estimate.
Naim sends a 'good old classic': the Nait S5i. An amplifier that comes along very well. PRaT, fun, dynamics and enthusiasm. A bit more coloured than the Primare that kicked off the test. That one is a leader in price with 1500 euro. But also in terms of speed and space in the reproduction. The match with the DALIs is good.
Which one is the best? That is up to you. It is namely only what you are looking for and what you combine.
Primare i15 MM
We start the test with the Primare i15 MM. The most expensive one in the test -1500 euros – and that’s a risk. We always have to get used to the system a bit, as do the viewers. But it’s all right, because Primare produced a wonderful device with the i15 MM.
Primare’s i15 series comes in several flavors. There is a ‘bare’ version with only line inputs, an MM version with an MM phono stage and a Prisma version with a dac and streamer. We have tested the Prisma before. And that was a wonderful device that – in our opinion – performs above its class.
The Primare i15 is based on UcD class-D technology. But with a Nordic twist. The power supply and input stage has been modified. And that makes this amplifier sound very nice. Smooth, detailed rich, airy … it’s really all there. And it also matches very well with the DALI Rubicon 6 Jubilee Editions. Yes: the bass is perhaps a bit round, but that is not a problem: it does not slip and it does give ‘schwung‘ shall we say.
All in all, this Primare i15 MM left a particularly good impression. Without a doubt an amplifier to consider if you are looking in this price range!
Samples Primare i15 MM
Naim Nait S5i
Naim is of course an established name in the amplification market. They have been making amplifiers for decades. The basics: a big power supply and big transistors. And that’s exactly what we find in this ‘real’ Naim: the Nait S5i. Yes: it has been on the market for a while, but who cares…. if it sounds good, it sounds good.
And that’s what this 1425 euro Naim does. The Naim is a purist machine: 4 inputs. Two rca line inputs and two switchable between DIN and rca. Stubborn as Naim is, the speaker outputs are reversed: so pay attention when connecting! The Naim users of the first hour will know this and will not find it a problem. Real Naim users also put the electronics on the left or right side of the speakers, as Naim indicates…
The Naim Nait S5i needed to settle a bit. I took one track after switching on and off to stabilize again. But once settled we hear the PRaT we are used to from Naim. Bass kick, rhythm, fun… That’s also why you choose a Naim. And it matches just fine with the DALI, although the Naim is a bit darker in sound than the Primare, we notice. The newer class-D is a bit more open than the class AB in this case. However, it is not disturbing at all. It’s just different. Taste.
The Naim Nait S5i is a very nice amplifier witch someone can enjoy for years!
Samples Naim Nait S5i
With the PM7000N, Marantz sends in the most diverse amplifier of the bunch . And at 1199 euros, it is also a very affordable model. You not only get analog inputs, but also digital inputs and streaming. Oh… and bluetooth! Incredible for 1199 euros.
When we get the Marantz ready to play, we feel a lot of weight when putting it down. That is due to the substantial power supply for, among other things, the class AB amplifier. Right: no class D as we see more and more with Marantz, but class AB. Marantz always has a certain sound. A sound with a large fan base we know. It is calm, controlled, civilized.
And we hear that now too. After the spectacle of the Primare and in a way also Naim, this Marantz is quite different. Calm. But we do go back a step in resolution and focus as well. This is not surprising, when you consider that we now get both a d / a converter and a streamer … for 300 euros less. In short: the have to make some concessions, right?
Whoever is looking for a very diverse all-rounder with a civilized reproduction can’t really ignore the Marantz. It offers a lot of value for money. If you don’t need a streamer and dac, it might be wise to check another solution.
Samples Marantz PM7000N
Cyrus ONE HD
Cyrus. wow… it’s been a long time! The last one we tested from Cyrus was an old Q-Power. But that was a gem. The newer series: the ONE, we have not had our hands on yet.
Like Marantz, the ONE HD is a very diverse device. It offers analog inputs, digital inputs, phono and even bluetooth. In short: a kind of British pocket knife. It only lacks a streamer when we put it next to the Marantz. But anyway: all that beauty for 1199 euros is a good deal. By the way, the amplifier is of the class-D type. Just like Primare. And also Cyrus has given its own interpretation. Cyrus calls it Hybrid Class D. With 100 watts per channel, this is the most powerful in the series. The puts out around 60 watts into 8 Ohms and about 80 into 4 Ohms.
Now is this the famed British sound we hear? Again, it is rhythmic, nice, round and engaging. It sits in between the Naim and Primare if we judge it that way. The Naim is a bit warmer, but the Primare is really faster and more open than the Cyrus.
This Brit will conquer many audio hearts with this golden mean, we estimate. Although the appearance – in the opinion of your editor – is sensitive to taste… ah… taste, well…