little more than your budget, but a Pass Labs 250 would be nice....
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Look into a Primare i30. New they're around 2400,00, but usually go for around 1295.00 used. One just went off of here for 999.99 -the ad is still up. Like you I have pair of Aerius i's in a smallish 15X10 room. My amp setup is a little larger, but if I were to scale down, the i30 would be my first choice with these speakers.
Thank you for the feedback! After much more reading and discussion with a few locals, I have narrowed down the options to consider as follows:
Bel Canto S-300 iu
Cary Audio CAI 1
Krell KAV 400xi
Musical Fidelity A5.5
Wyred 4 Sound STI-500
Please help me reduce this list. I am going to purchase two or three and do some extensive testing. Thanks again for your input!
The Wyred for sound may be an excellent choice. This amp has a stranglehold on the electrostatic panel and dynamic drivers. It will make the sound much more of a single source rather than two separate drivers. I have experienced this first hand, and it is something awesome to hear. The coherency of the speaker makes the soundstage ever so much more wide, deep and tall. The sound you will get is so fast, so tactile, you will find yourself looking for the generator of that sound, be it guitar or violin, it is just so real sounding you will be surprised.
wish you well...let us know what you get.
Have aerius (not i) and got an OdysseyAudio Stratos a few years ago (150wpc, red board with extra caps, total 180microF, to handle 1ohm loads). Great punch, instruments are texturally there in 3D, my wife and I are still constantly amazed every time we sit down in front of them. Paid about $1350 or so. (Klaus is great, too.) We regularly attend Library of Congress string quartet concerts and sit in the first few rows right in front, and decent recordings are almost as good as being there with this setup (also blackgated a used Superphon Revelation II preamp, pianos are amazing).