Kenwood KA-9100 Vs KA-3500

Discussion in 'Kenwood-Trio/Kensonic-Accuphase' started by Almonds, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. Almonds

    Almonds AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    84
    So, this may seem crazy to some people........

    I have both integrateds and I can't believe it but at reasonable volumes, I prefer the 3500. It has a nicer sound stage and just sounds nicer to me.

    Now, of course the 9100 has 2X the power, and I can get chest thumping bass and the feeling of being front row at a concert with the 9100, but I swear I feel the 3500 sounds like a better amp.. how can this be?
     
  2. macyjrm

    macyjrm AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Sometimes less is more. For example, I have a Sansui G6700 that is just terrific. It's middle of the line for this series but it resides squarely in the sweet spot. Additional degrees of complexity doesn't guarantee better sound.
     
  3. SicMan

    SicMan Fire up those speakers Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,959
    Location:
    Wolcott - CT. USA
    If both units are stock you are not getting the total performance of either one of them. 35+ year old components
    don't tell the real story. Also speakers etc may or may not make a diff.

    My .02
    John M
     
  4. Almonds

    Almonds AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    84
    both units have been tested and serviced
     
  5. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

    Messages:
    18,119
    Location:
    SE PA
    The lower powered units in many cases sound better than the big boys. Happens in a number of different manufacturer's lines. The 3500 uses discrete components, doesn't it? And the 9100, a power pack? That alone can be a big difference.

    This is not something that worried the manufacturers as the public usually didn't look at the entry and top units on a line but more adjacent models and other companies' models in similar power levels. So these two might have never been pitted against each other in the prepurchase sonic evaluation. And if they were the salesman could make one work way better by speaker selection.
     
    ferninando likes this.
  6. Almonds

    Almonds AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    84
    Very interesting Blue Shadow. I was wondering if anyone else had experience with the KA-3500 being so nice. I find it's a much better amp than I expected. I'm keeping both!
     
  7. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

    Messages:
    18,119
    Location:
    SE PA
    I have an HK 330c, sounds great. sometimes one needs a small system. Main rig is over 150 wpc but I don't use those speakers with the 330c. For a Luxman receiver, I have an R-1050., 55wpc before the R-1070 and doesn't blow up like the few R-1120 I have. The sweet spot in that line up.
     
  8. KeithD

    KeithD Active Member

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    La Crosse, WI
    I don't have a KA 3500, but I do have a KR 3200 and 4200, and I've been blown away by how good they sound. My main system has a Pioneer SA8100, which was second from TOTL, and the 3200 sounds every bit as good plugged into the same system.

    One thing I find is the higher end systems become very complicated, and I have wondered if it takes just one transistor or cap to go bad to affect the performance - and there are so many more of them in the high end systems. When I open up the KR 3200, it's very simple in there. Also, I suspect the high power stuff may be more likely to fail with age as you are pushing a lot of power through some of those components.

    So, what one has to sacrifice (unfortunately) with lower powered systems is features. Each step down in a manufacturer's line received less and less features. So, it's a balancing act for me. My Pioneer SA 8100 has all the features I want at 40 wpc; however, I find the 13.5 wpc of the KR 3200 is sufficient (in terms of power and sound), but it does lack in features that I really like in the higher end Pioneer.
     
  9. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

    Messages:
    18,119
    Location:
    SE PA
    You could just go newer than the 8100 to lose features. That amp is loaded with versatility.
     
  10. KeithD

    KeithD Active Member

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    La Crosse, WI
    Agreed, amazingly the next generation (SA-8500/9500) lost features. The Pioneer SA-8100 and 9100 have features not seen on any other amps AND they sound great.
     
    kydog likes this.
  11. Almonds

    Almonds AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    84
    i love the kenwoods with the VU meters!
     
  12. Almonds

    Almonds AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    84
    I know this setup is probably breaking some rules, but it gives me immense pleasure looking at it!
     

    Attached Files:

  13. stevo137

    stevo137 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,806
    Who cares about rules!

    Great setup!
     
  14. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

    Messages:
    18,119
    Location:
    SE PA
    Curious if those low mA draw LED meter lights (they seem nice and bright and white) is the reason your KA-5700 is rated 60 when the specs show it as a 40watter? Nice amp and with those speakers, you have something. I really need to go over to a friend's and give his DM6 set up a listen.
     
    stevo137 likes this.
  15. restorer-john

    restorer-john Super Member

    Messages:
    4,351
    Location:
    Australia
    The KA-3500 is a lovely sounding integrated- one of those babies in the range (actually two models up) that really impresses.

    Remember they were pitted at the time against the Marantz 1060, later 1070 the Sansui AU-505/555 the little Pioneers: SA-5300/6300/7300 etc. They all had to sound amazing value for money on the sales floor and they all, without fail, had tweaked frequency responses to give a nice big fat sound.

    Further up the range, the amps became a lot more accurate and perhaps even clinical sounding.

    I've got a KA-3500 and it was so sweet sounding and fat and totally un-'kenwood' sounding. Nice, yes. Accurate, no.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  16. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

    Messages:
    18,119
    Location:
    SE PA
    Interesting comment about sweet not accurate. The spec sheet shows em as accurate but you may well be correct that these smaller units do have intentionally inaccurate frequency response. I'd like to see evidence of this. I know me ears hear clarity and cleanliness further up the line
     
  17. stevo137

    stevo137 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,806

    Correct, my mistake!

    The 5700 is 40 watts.

    Thanks for the correction.

    I use the 5700 for my living room with a set of ADS L520's.

    Was just checking it out with the DM6's.

    DM6's get powered with a Carver C-1 pre and Epicure M1.
     
  18. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

    Messages:
    18,119
    Location:
    SE PA
    The 5700/520s is a much more expected system. I've had a pair of the 520s come through here and they are sweet. That would be a great system.
     
  19. ferninando

    ferninando AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    12,465
    Location:
    San Jose Ca.
    the 5700 at 40wpc and the 7100 at 60wpc are my 2 KWs that both sound equally wonderful
    in their own right. No complaints here. Love em both.
    Have not heard other KW amps but have no doubt they are superb performers.
    the 3500 being no exception.
    Enjoy
     
  20. jimbo2k

    jimbo2k SWTPc Tiger 01s Tiger 215 2000ESD SB Touch BX300

    Messages:
    578
    Location:
    massachusetts
    Always been my belief that a discrete amplifier sounded better than one using a STK pack, especially in the early years of this technology. I also believe the manufacturers knew this, because I can remember a IC amp pack that had discrete output transistors on it, that were replaceable. What more proof was necessary. I also believe the IC amp pack got better sounding as the technology aged
     

Share This Page