It would help if we knew your friends' budget, room size, type of music and preference for seperates, integrated, solid state or tubes. Regards,
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I am not endorsing these products nor have I listened to them but the Musical Fidelity AC3r amp and pre retail for about $3000 and got quite good reviews. Because they are solid state and new you could look around here for used. They seem to be a good match because the Contours have low sensitivity and the recommended power is a minimum of 65W in medium rooms. I'm sure you will get other good suggestions so your friend may want to put together a short list. Personally, I'm a big fan of Bryston and their 3ST amp might fit the bill. Happy hunting,
Your friend will definitely want something with reserve power - preferably something that has at least 100 w/ch into 8 ohms and doubles (or nearly doubles) into 4 ohms. If you give those speakers the right power / current, they'll really sing. While I don't have personal experience with either, I think Wirehead's advice of investigation Musical Fidelity's stuff and/or Bryston is excellent advice - the MF stuff is really good looking on top of being very well reviewed.
I don't think it's the Dynaudio's that are giving your friend the over-brightness, particularly if he was listening to a Parasound driving them. I own a pair of the 1.1's (as well as the 3.0's) and I wouldn't use "bright" as an adjective for them at all. -Kirk
He might be happy with McCormack electronics, solid-state but a very rich, sweet sound and incredible value. A TLC-1 preamp and DNA-0.5 or DNA-1 amp would be well within his budget. The deluxe versions are even more refined. There seems to be a good selection of used McCormack stuff here on Audiogon and on ebay right now.
Ruo: The cdp is something your friend should wait on because of the SACD v. DVD-A wars. I'm waiting to see what happens. I think SACD will prevail and then watch the prices drop and other manufacturers get involved. In the meantime, and only as a stop gap, I'm telling my friends to buy a DVD player that plays CDs. Pioneer seems to be ahead in the chip race and their lower end models play CD and CDR. And you can watch movies! I bought the lowest model they make and it gave my CD trans and DAC a real run for the money, I couldn't believe how good a cheap DVD could play CDs. I'm waiting another year because I've heard SACD and it is good. I think your friend should concentrate on the amp. BTW there is another thread in here about Odessey amps. They have a twenty year warranty like Bryston. Cheers.
If the Sim I5 is only 60 w/ch, I agree that's not enough. I was thinking that the I5 listed for about $4500 and had more like 150 w/ch, so either I'm thinking of a different model, or I'm just completely off base. Either way, the VAC mentioned about is only about 60 w/ch too, and, again, I agree you want more for the 1.1's.
Depends on your budget! I had excellent results w. the Plinius 8150i using the analysis plus copper speaker cables. I used this set-up for about a year and for me it was very satisfying!
I also had great results surprisingly with nad's cheapest integrated amp called the C320. The 40 watter seem to control this speaker well enough.
A word of caution, this speaker does not like tubes at all, so don't bother using it with tubes. At one point, I had also a hybrid drive it based on an Audio Note Pre-amp and a Krell 150 as power amp. DOesn't sound so good, its very rubbery!
Hope this helps.