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Compact 7 and cayin A88T Amp - Good match?

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  • Compact 7 and cayin A88T Amp - Good match?

    Hi All,

    Im looking at purchasing the Compact 7ES-3 and have come across a Cayin A88T Amplifier.

    I was wondering if anyone has used or come across this combination and any thoughts regarding this would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks for reading.


  • #2
    Not exactly the answer you’re looking for but I have a Cayin A88T which I previously used with the SHL5’s. They seemed to sound “sweeter” than transistors (Bryston B60R which I now use instead). Imo and experience, the “sweetness” is tiring on the long run, as it adds a layer of sound (harmonic distortion?) which is actually not “there”. (i’m not a scientist or audiophile so im using these adjectives).

    With transistors, the SHL5 might sound a bit dry and boring initially, but after extended listening, I realise that this shows off the potential of this great loudspeaker ie. the SHL5 being uncoloured, reflective of recording, tight (not bloomy), musical and just plain transparent.

    This is of course a personal opinion and a listen on your own would be the most important. and one more thing is that with the Brystons, it is possible to listen to the Harbeths very loudly without hurting your ears. It can be so loud that it is no longer possible to talk to anyone but my ears can tolerate it. With the Cayin's and i imagine tubes this threshold is lower.


    • #3
      Naim 5i?

      Thanks for your response Kittykat.

      There are a few other options within my budget to consider like the naim 5i which people seem to find work well with harbeth.
      Will keep researching.
      Thanks again!


      • #4
        Better with NAC202/NAP200?

        With C7, you will be better match with Naim Audio Nac202 and Nap200 combo, with its separate Hicap power supply. The Nait family might be low in power to make C7 fully perform, that's from my audition. The tube and Solid State is a matter of personal taste, I have audition both and I feel that one day, when I have more disposal income, I wish to have 2 systems. One with Solid State amp and the other with a tube amp - thinking that my second bedroom system will be P3ESR with a small tube amp, and my current system is C7 with Naim Audio. Cheers.


        • #5
          Rega with C7ES3

          Any well designed amp performing up to spec will work. A member of Alan's staff (I believe) is using a Rega Brio-3 with the C7's.

          I don't say that as a recommendation but to illustrate my point. The Nait family can easily handle the C7's. I run a Rega Brio-R with my P3ESR's and it sounds great.


          • #6
            C7 + Cayin

            I recently set-up my Harbeth C7s with a Cayin A50T amp. I love the combination.
            I did upgrades on the tubes of the Cayin A-50T and change caps to Mundorf.
            With the Cayin A-88T, the combination should be great.

            {Moderator's comment: as indeed should be a combination of the C7 and any credible amplifier. Harbeths are all amp agnostic.}


            • #7
              For Naim fans

              When I auditioned the Compact 7 ES3s for the first and the second time, in the same store, they were driven by a 122x/150x pre/power combo, with no external *cap, in a largish room, and I was amazed at how good they sounded, and at how good they made the Naims sound...

              The two Naim entry levels showed no difficulty whatsoever in driving the C7s, and I am sure that a Nait 5i (i?) would do equally good. It's a very performing integrated, and has a crowd of lovers in the Naim world. But I never play music at loud levels.



              • #8
                Nait 5

                Ciao Maxterbola!

                Indeed, there is no denying the symbiotic synergy between Naim and Harbeth, both of which are proud symbols of British audio at their best - quite different from their counterparts across the Atlantic who have a different audio philosophy of 'big is best'.

                The Naims should have no difficulty driving the C7's to satisfactory listening levels. In fact, the Nait 5 sounds very nice paired to the Harbeths. I've heard the pairing before and felt they were very musical and enjoyable. I understand the Nait 5 is the entry integrated but it sounded anything but entry - very composed, engaging and sure-footed. The pun was intended as the little Naim sure make your feet a'tapping.

                If you check the Harbeth link somewhere, you will find a photo of a Nait in the middle of Harbeth speakers.

                {Modrator's comment: is that the pix in the Harbeth User Guide?}


                • #9
                  Owners manual pix

                  I think the pix that Denjo is referring to can be found in the owner's manual.


                  • #10
                    Cayin A88T and comments on A-B generally

                    I have a Cayin A88T amp and what I like about it is that it is very well built. The fit and finish are excellent as well as the way it is put together "under the hood". I have run my Compact 7ES3 with the Cayin, in addition to some very expensive tube amps and a very inexpensive Class 'D' amp; all of them produce music very nicely. I also like the Cayin as it runs silently, absolutly no hum, which some other tube amps are known to create (like my really expensive ones...grrr).

                    The only thing about the Cayin to be aware of is that bias adjustment is not user friendly (you have to get into the guts of the machine from the bottom) and if it needs to be done, a pro should do it as death is a likely possibility if you don't know what you are doing...mine goes to a pro, (maybe once a year at most, not really a huge issue unless you get into the hobby of tube rolling etc...)

                    All that being said, if you want to compare amps properly, you need to do A-B testing, otherwise you are playing a fools game of marketing hype...see other threads to learn more...




                    • #11
                      Moderator, yes that is the one I was referring to!