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  1. #1
    Ajani
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    $1.4K to $1.6K Budget for New Integrated or New Amp/Preamp Combo

    Ok, please bear with me... I'm in the very very very slow process of rebuilding my 2 channel setup... so I'm looking for components to audition over the next few weeks/months..... though I was originally considering a Krell KAV400xi or NAD Masters M3, I decided it was best to lower my budget (I'm too impatient to save up for the Krell + the import duties will be a pain in the....).... So now, I'm considering a budget of Between $1.4K to $1.6K for either a new Integrated or a new Amp/Preamp Combo... So far I've come up with these candidates:

    NAD C162 Pre + C272 Amp = $1.4K (Ugly)
    Anthem TLP1 Pre + PV2 Amp = $1.45K (Has a built in tuner)
    Rotel RC-1070 Pre + RB-1080 Amp = $1.5K (Has the most power + I used to own this setup before I migrated)
    Cambridge Audio 840A Integrated = $1.5K
    Musical Fidelity XT100 = $1.5K (Sounds amazing but has lowest power rating)
    PS Audio Trio C100 = $1.6K (Really Small)
    Creek Classic = $1.6K
    Parasound Halo P3 Pre + A23 Amp = $1.65K (Best looking of the lot + I can get it for $1.5K)

    If there are any other strong contenders that you can think of, please let me know and feel free to comment on any of the brands I've listed above. Oh I'll be using it in a medium to large room with either Monitor Audio or Revel Speakers (yeah I know those brands sound totally different)....
    Last edited by Ajani; 02-16-2008 at 07:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Buy what sounds the best and will meet your power requirements for your speakers and any future upgrades in speakers. Thats a good list. The new Cambridge unit is supposed to be very good, but you might want to go with separates for more flexibility.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
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  3. #3
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    Good list, if possible I'd say some auditioning is in order.

    On the top of my list would be the Parasound, separates would lend to easier future upgrades and Parasound is my pick of separates on your list. Next would be the PS Audio, I wouldn't worry about the size, they were purposely designed like that and the Creek, good sound in my opinion.
    Mark Levinson #512
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  4. #4
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    Buy what sounds the best and will meet your power requirements for your speakers and any future upgrades in speakers. Thats a good list. The new Cambridge unit is supposed to be very good, but you might want to go with separates for more flexibility.
    Thanks.... I've actually auditioned a number of them already, only problem is that they were on diferent speakers in different shops (as I can't find one dealer with all/even most of those brands + the speakers I like)....

    So I'm still stuck with either a bit of guessing what will sound amazing together or buying from the limited options of pairings I've heard together...

    I imagine the Rotels combined with Revels should be a really good pairing based on my experience with both products seperately.... on the other hand I've heard a Musical Fidelity/Monitor Audio pairing that sounded amazing (so that maybe my default choice If I don't feel adventurous, when it's time to buy)....

    Oh and I agree that seperates do add quit a bit of flexibility later on.....

  5. #5
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Good list, if possible I'd say some auditioning is in order.

    On the top of my list would be the Parasound, separates would lend to easier future upgrades and Parasound is my pick of separates on your list. Next would be the PS Audio, I wouldn't worry about the size, they were purposely designed like that and the Creek, good sound in my opinion.
    Parasound huh? They have been intriguing me for some time, I've heard so much about them and finally found a nearby island that has them (for a good price too)... I'm anxious to audition them... The store also has Revel speakers which is a plus, but unfortunately no Monitor Audio speakers....

    I've never heard PS Audio or Creek but have read many good reviews about them.... The tough part about either of those two is that I'd have to order them over the internet, as I haven't found any nearby dealers...

    Thanks for the reply.

  6. #6
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    the parasound would get my choice.

    exellent products for their price, and more flexibility. if you're going for Monitor Audio, and you don't feel like trying things out, the no-risk option would be musical fidelity (Monitor Audio uses them to evaluate/ test their speakers), I found them them sounding good too with Denon though, especially their higher 'classed' products (new integrated amps, only available in Europe and Asia though...)

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
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    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  7. #7
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by basite
    the parasound would get my choice.

    exellent products for their price, and more flexibility. if you're going for Monitor Audio, and you don't feel like trying things out, the no-risk option would be musical fidelity (Monitor Audio uses them to evaluate/ test their speakers), I found them them sounding good too with Denon though, especially their higher 'classed' products (new integrated amps, only available in Europe and Asia though...)

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Cool! That's an interesting bit of information..... Makes sense given how good the Monitor Audio/Musical Fidelity pairing I heard sounded....

    EDIT: I found the link to where they mention using MF for testing on the Monitor Audio website...

    Thanks or the input....

    Based on what I've auditioned and the responses I've received... I'm leaning towards either a Monitor Audio/Musical Fidelity pairing or a Revel/Parasound pairing... But I'll still check out some of the other amps and also the new B&W 600 Series speakers with Rotels.... after I do my auditioning I'll update this thread with my findings (in case anyone else is considering similar setups)....
    Last edited by Ajani; 02-17-2008 at 07:09 AM.

  8. #8
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Cool! That's an interesting bit of information..... Makes sense given how good the Monitor Audio/Musical Fidelity pairing I heard sounded....

    EDIT: I found the link to where they mention using MF for testing on the Monitor Audio website...

    Thanks or the input....

    Based on what I've auditioned and the responses I've received... I'm leaning towards either a Monitor Audio/Musical Fidelity pairing or a Revel/Parasound pairing... But I'll still check out some of the other amps and also the new B&W 600 Series speakers with Rotels.... after I do my auditioning I'll update this thread with my findings (in case anyone else is considering similar setups)....

    what monitor audio's are you looking at btw?
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  9. #9
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    Ajani you have had Rotel before so you know their character, I was wondering when you audition other gear if you notice it having a bit faster pace than the Rotel? You should be taking the same discs with you on your auditions. My reference sound was from Krell or Arcam, so when I put the discs I was familiar with into an all Rotel system driving B&W the music sounded laid back to the point of seemingly having a slower pace or feel. I haven't heard MF to know if it differed from Rotel that much. If you can audition the Parasound you should give it a try, I'm sure the distinction would be noticed there if you were to pick up on the same thing I did.
    Mark Levinson #512
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    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  10. #10
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by basite
    what monitor audio's are you looking at btw?
    My ideal would be a pair of Gold Series 20s.... I heard a pair of them driven by a Musical Fidelity XT100 (in a small room) and it sounded like the heavens cracked open and music rained down upon me (Ok... maybe that's a 'bit' of an exaggeration, but it still remains the best setup I've heard).... But depending on how good the Silver RS6 sound in direct comparison with the GS0, I might save the extra $2k and just get the RS6...

  11. #11
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    I picked up the Rotel integrated for my dad this past christmas - seperates are more of the same sound, but more power. Sounds excellent driving a pair of Vandersteen 1Cs.

    I would suggest you look at the Rogue Cronus integrated amp - $1,800 but gives you that tube sound that the others can't touch. Comes with a phono pre (most others do not) - 55wpc though.

  12. #12
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey Mouse
    I picked up the Rotel integrated for my dad this past christmas - seperates are more of the same sound, but more power. Sounds excellent driving a pair of Vandersteen 1Cs.
    I agree with that statement, based on my comparisons of the Rotel Integrated and their seperates... But an extra 6 decibels are pretty useful in a larger room....

    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey Mouse
    I would suggest you look at the Rogue Cronus integrated amp - $1,800 but gives you that tube sound that the others can't touch. Comes with a phono pre (most others do not) - 55wpc though.
    I've never tried the Rogue (I'll try to see if they have a nearby dealer)... Have you compared it with the Musical Fidelity XT100? Since MF uses tubes as well...

  13. #13
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Ajani you have had Rotel before so you know their character, I was wondering when you audition other gear if you notice it having a bit faster pace than the Rotel? You should be taking the same discs with you on your auditions. My reference sound was from Krell or Arcam, so when I put the discs I was familiar with into an all Rotel system driving B&W the music sounded laid back to the point of seemingly having a slower pace or feel. I haven't heard MF to know if it differed from Rotel that much. If you can audition the Parasound you should give it a try, I'm sure the distinction would be noticed there if you were to pick up on the same thing I did.
    I can't say I've really noticed anything slow about Rotel's pace, but I haven't heard any Krell's yet and though I've heard a Rotel Integrated/Arcam CD setup I've never heard the two brands directly compared against each other.... In terms of pacing, I've found the MF/MA combo to be fast, better than my Rotel/Mission combo or the Rotel/B&W combos I heard....

    I'll definitely audition the Parasound before deciding on a combo.... I've read way too many good reviews for Parasound not to at least try one out....

  14. #14
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    My ideal would be a pair of Gold Series 20s.... I heard a pair of them driven by a Musical Fidelity XT100 (in a small room) and it sounded like the heavens cracked open and music rained down upon me (Ok... maybe that's a 'bit' of an exaggeration, but it still remains the best setup I've heard).... But depending on how good the Silver RS6 sound in direct comparison with the GS0, I might save the extra $2k and just get the RS6...

    the MA GS20's (and especially the 60's) are much better than the B&W 600 series IMO....

    Monitor Audio have earned their 'nickname' 'a poor man's avalon' for something...

    they are fast, very detailed, exellent depth and soundstage and with a really good defenition.

    I think you should be looking at B&W 804S's to do better.

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  15. #15
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by basite
    the MA GS20's (and especially the 60's) are much better than the B&W 600 series IMO....

    Monitor Audio have earned their 'nickname' 'a poor man's avalon' for something...

    they are fast, very detailed, exellent depth and soundstage and with a really good defenition.

    I think you should be looking at B&W 804S's to do better.

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    I've heard B&W's latest CM, 700 and 800 lines.... all were too Bright for my liking (well I liked the sound for the most part, but experienced listening fatigue within half an hour or less with each)... but I am interested to hear the new 600 Series to see if they will have the same effect on me....

    I would only consider the 600 series If I decide on the Monitor Audio RS6 or Revel Concerta F12.... if I stay with the MA GS20/60 & Revel Perfoma F32 price range then I'll totally ignore the B&W line....

  16. #16
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Interesting: Xindax XA-6950

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Ok, please bear with me... I'm in the very very very slow process of rebuilding my 2 channel setup... so I'm looking for components to audition over the next few weeks/months..... though ....
    I'd like to hear one of these XINDAK XA-6950. Supposedly 100wpc pure Class A.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    I'd like to hear one of these XINDAK XA-6950. Supposedly 100wpc pure Class A.
    wow Xindak is from china but sound not bad
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    I'd like to hear one of these XINDAK XA-6950. Supposedly 100wpc pure Class A.
    Xindak is from china sound not bad
    Marantz CD-5001 CD Player (The Chord Company Cobra 3 Interconnect and DIY Power cable)
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  19. #19
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    I'd like to hear one of these XINDAK XA-6950. Supposedly 100wpc pure Class A.
    Looks cool but should be really inefficient....

    My only major hangup with buying products I haven't heard about, is the question of reliability.... I might try it out in the store and it sounds great, but will it last? At least with the major brands, I can check out customer reviews on this site/other sites to get an idea of the product's reliability....

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I agree with that statement, based on my comparisons of the Rotel Integrated and their seperates... But an extra 6 decibels are pretty useful in a larger room....

    I've never tried the Rogue (I'll try to see if they have a nearby dealer)... Have you compared it with the Musical Fidelity XT100? Since MF uses tubes as well...
    An extra 6db would mean you either need to get about 4x the power you have now, 3db of increased speaker efficiency with 2x the power or 6db more efficient speakers (unlikely).

    Never compared Rogue to the MF gear as no dealer close by has both brands. Check out the Rogue Audio website for your local dealers.

  21. #21
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey Mouse
    An extra 6db would mean you either need to get about 4x the power you have now, 3db of increased speaker efficiency with 2x the power or 6db more efficient speakers (unlikely).
    Re: the 6 db, I was refering to the Difference between the RB1080 (200 watts) and the RA1062 Integrated (60 watts).... Though I realize that my math was off... since 4 x 60 = 240 watts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey Mouse
    Never compared Rogue to the MF gear as no dealer close by has both brands. Check out the Rogue Audio website for your local dealers.
    Thanks, I'll check out their site....

  22. #22
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    You could get a Roksan Kandy Mark 3 for that price. It boasts around 120 into 8 ohms and almost double that into 4.
    The cambridge looks nice.. Has a good power rating too

  23. #23
    Ajani
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    Ok, thanks to everyone for their suggestions so far...

    Based on the availability of nearby suppliers (specifically ones that carry the speakers I intend to purchase) and internet suppliers (in case I feel like taking a chance) I've narrowed my options down to the following:

    1) Musical Fidelity XT-100 (Only 50 Watts and no biamp option, but has the matching XDAC V8 with USB input for my computer)
    2) PS Audio Trio C100 (100 Watts + keeps it simple (only 3 inputs) + can be biamped with matching A100 amp to give 200 Watts + has mathing DLIII USB DAC!!!)
    3) Parasound Halo P3/A23 Combo (125 Watts + Can be biamped with another A23 to give 250 Watts + Looks Sweet, however has no matching DAC, so I'd probably have to use a Benchmark DAC1 USB...)
    4) Creek Classic (90 Watts + can be biamped with matching Classic amp to give 180 Watts + has passive preamp (which I love, in theory anyway) + I would probably buy this just so I could hear what that guy in Stereophile was raving about (he combined the Monitor Audio RS6 with the Creek Classic), however has no matching DAC, so I'd probably have to use a Benchmark DAC1 USB...)
    .
    I dropped Revel and B&W from my speaker options and am going to get either the Monitor Audio GS20 or RS6.... From what I've experienced and/or read on the net, all of the 4 options above should be good matches for the Monitor Audio Speakers....

  24. #24
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Have you given a go at the BW 683's?
    How 'bout the the RS8's?

  25. #25
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Have you given a go at the BW 683's?
    How 'bout the the RS8's?
    I haven't heard the 683's, but I expect them to sound similar to the 800/CM Series which I have auditioned extensively.... so based on that I don't expect to prefer them to the Monitor Audio's... though if I get the chance I'll audition them anyway....

    I've done and A/B comparison between the RS8 and the RS6 and the only difference I heard was more aggressive bass response on the RS8....

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