£100 SYSTEM: Episode #02. Can the Sansui TUD 99X, the NAD 4020B and the Rotel RT850L see off the Cambridge A1 V3?

THE OBJECTIVE:

The objective here is to, on a continual basis, refine the best system, under £100, that can be achieved today, pre-owned.

A FEW GROUND RULES:

Please look at episode #01 for clarification

PLEASE NOTE:

Every item in the system has been purchased by me off the auction sites.

At this cheap-as-chips level, the individual prices paid are irrelevant. Focus if you will on the system synergy as a whole please. The experiment has only just got under way. From time to time I’ll purchase a pre-owned item, insert it into the system and see if overall the sound is improved. And then I’ll tell you the differences I have found – if any!

£100 COMBINATION #01 (as per previous episode)

  • Amplifier: Cambridge Audio A1 V3 integrated
  • Speakers JPW Minim
  • Interconnects: Very cheap Black Rhodium
  • Power cords: Only those hard-wired in
  • Speaker cables: Very cheap anonymous
  • CD player: Sony CDP XE530

October 1st 2020. Could I find a "better amp" in this system without taking the total above £100? Worth a try I felt and so last month I bought off an auction site the following pre-owned units, VERY cheaply:

  • NAD 4020B
  • Rotel RT 850L
  • Sansui TUD99X

Nothing else in the system was changed.

STAGE 1: I compared all three to each other. Within the system, all amps were compared at the identical volume, in truth I could find very little to distinguish them sonically from each.

CONCLUSION 1: All are reasonable performers at an average price of around £35 each.

STAGE 2: All three were compared to the Cambridge Audio A1V3

CONCLUSION 2: Without any shadow of doubt, none of the NAD 4020B / Rotel RT 850L and Sansui TUD99X amps came close to replicating nor exceeding the superb performance of the Cambridge. ***

Episode #03 (sometime in the next few days) reports on my attempts to find "better" speakers without exceeding the £100 total system budget.

Watch this space / Thank you

••• My auditioning criteria will be clarified in a separate page here in due course.

Mr. A. Miser

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