I've found the rega integrated amps to have a nice smooth sound. I've used the Mira and a friend has a Brio. There is very little difference in sound quality between the two. The mira is a little more powerful and has a remote though.
There's a used Audio Refinement Complete integrated amp for sale at $600 here on AG.
It's only about 75 wpc, but some to many reviewers have rated this little guy extremely well. Supposedly crosses the solid state line and sounds like an excellent tube amp.
I've never listened to it.
I have been thinking about Roksan Kandy, Rotel RA-02,Cambridge Audio A500 and Arcam A65. Any opinions on these?
oh,and Rega as the guy above mentioned.
While my regular tube amp was in for service, I spent a couple of weeks with a Rega integrated. (I believe it was the "Maia", not 100% sure 'bout that though.) I found it to be an enjoyable piece with a fairly warm, smooth sound for a solid state piece. Black Diamond cones -- #3 "hardness" -- helped improve the sound. It seemed very well built, and showed zero problems even though it was the dealer demo/loaner piece. If I were looking for a low-priced/good-sound solid state rig, I'd look for one of those for sure. Just my $.02...
Look at the Jolida 1501 Integrated amp. Yes, it has 2 tubes in the preamp stage. But you can expect 15,000 hours from them and they are never an issue. The amp is 100% solid state with 100 watts per channel. This is a great sounding Integrated for under $600.00 new, with a warranty. I am a dealer and can help you if interested. Walter
You really can't go wrong with the Rega. It's very easy to listen to in the long term. It also brings out lots of emotion in the music. However any of the amps you're looking at sould provide an upgrade. You might even be able to find a Naim Nait in your price range.
Creek 4330R MKII, new $599, used would be in your price range.
At the risk of appearing self serving (I have an item up for auction here on Audiogon that would profit form the folowing recommendation) may I suggest you consider separates at this price point. Besides some technical advantages separates would permit you the opportunity to customize your system and allow for greater flexibility for future upgrades.
There is a used Nak ta3a available on gon for 400 i think.
I second the Audio Refinement, one day my friends and I compared one to a Levinson 383 ($6000) and while the Levinson was better (with B&W 803's) we were all amazed that the Audio Refinement was not only listenable but had at least 80% of the detail and tone of the Levinson. Not to mention it seemed quite powerful too.
hope this helps
I have three systems in my house. From what you are telling people, I would recommend the Acurus DIA 150. It is an int. amp that has a killer sound. They sell new for I think $1500. You can find them on AG between $500-$650.
Read about this amp and I think you will find it is a beautiful sounding amp with plenty of power to push any speaker out there.
Good Luck with your search.
I own an audio refinement now and think it is a great integrated. Others to consdier would be a Mistral, anthem INT 1 or 2. You can sometimes find them in your price range. Creek is also a good suggestion. If you don't like the harshness, I would stay away from the Rotel. Just my opinion.
Rega Brio - we sell a lot of 'em to customers in exactly your situation. Great sound, bargain price.
You might want to consider taking the pre-outs from the yamaha to an external amp. For 500 you could get a pretty nice 2-ch amp, then eventually add a similar quality preamp. If you are patient, you might find an Aragon 4004, McCormack DNA .5, Anthem 1, Bryston 3B, etc
anyone own an Audio Analogue Puccini? And for you Rega owners out there does it have pre-outs?
Try a anthem intergrated 1.I had one and regret i sold it.It is well built.I had to spend alot more money to improve on sound.A must audition at the prices used!
Suggest you include an NAD C350 on your audition list.
The Rega Mira does have pre-outs. You could bi-amp it with a Rega Cursa later. Get a Planet CD player, and you'll have some great synergy going. The other nice thing about Rega gear is that it sounds good with inexpensive speakers.
Hooray I finally got an Arcam A65 plus. First impressions:
Bass is fuller and the music is slightly more detailed. Midrange is more pronounced also. It needs more time to break in though. Anyone else own one? Happy Thanksgiving!