Grounded Grid and McCormack DNA amp. Transparent and fast for the money. Tough to beat.
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Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1m): 87dB
Impedance: 6 ohms
Per the Manual, the built-in 850W amp powers the 12" sub. and the lower crossover frequency is at 80Hz with a roll-off of 24db/octave. I'm guessing the remaining 3-way array which includes a 6" woofer could be viewed effectively as a 6 ohm 3-way speaker that has the bottom deliberately rolled off nothing past 65-70Hz...?
If you don't listen at very high levels I'd put the PrimaLuna Two on your list. I bought the Prima Luna One for a second system and it drove 86dba speakers to moderately high levels with no difficulty in a midsize to smaller room. Very musical and with some tube rolling it tunes easily to what you might expect. Its only shortfall in my opinion is the bass, while full is not quite as tight as it could be. Thats why I recommended the Two - it has larger power tubes (but not that much more actual power) fast recovery diodes, and it should also be tunable to your expectations, including tightening up the bass. It also has auto bias and is fused so if a tube blows up you just replace it - no trips to the repairman to put in new bias resistors. BUT it is a barebones integrated - no remote, no HT pass thru, no tape loop, and you can't seperate the preamp stage from the amp should you ever care to do so. Pricewise though its really a great amp.
Thanks for the great input so far - keep it coming, I'm loving it!
I have looked into the McCormack DNA amps, and am interested in knowing if it is actually worth it to buy a used one and then pay as much or more than the purchase price to have it upgraded. Do new models such as the current DNA-125 come with the upgraded parts, or are they at additional cost? Again, Thanks to all for the input.
A total $1500 +/- budget suggests that I'm looking to spend maybe $800 to $1000 on the power amp... More than $2000 total for amp, pre, and interconnects is out of the question.
Audio Research models for a grand or less present a good choice; ie, SP6, sp8. Used Kora Eclipse which has a remote is supposedly a good option and less than 1500 used I've seen. There is a used Art Audio w/phono for 995 firm; well, there was a few days ago. Nice unit.
Amplifiers I would think of the Conrad Johnson EL34 model at less than a grand used. The VTL IT85 might make a good choice, too, and has the benefit of being able to add a second IT85 amp to match the internal amp.
I'd run the McCormack unmodded. I think people were just recommending that down the road when you're looking to replace the DNA, you could pursue the SMc audio upgrades rather than replace the amp outright. The stock DNA isn't bad, and it fits in your price range. Spend the rest on a decent tube preamp, IMO.
Hello Hi-end2! Looking at Audiogon listings, a pair of 120 mono's would run over 2K alone, and even if I go with the Transcendent, TAD-150 or Symphonies Plus pre, I'm way over budget...
What about the Rogue 88 or Magnum 88? Tube amp alternatives available used might also be Consonance M-100 w/Svetlana 6550's, or a Jolida 502B. What is your take on this?