Anthem I225 upgrade


So I’ve got an Anthem I225 and recently bought an upgraded Anthem I225.  The upgraded one offered me exactly what I was looking for sound wise except the xlr inputs had way to high of a gain and I was not going to be able to use a cd player, which is going to be a future purchase.  In retrospect, I should have bought an xlr attenuator but I just thought about / figured that out today andhave already shipped the Anthem back to the original seller.

Anyhow, now that I’ve had a taste of what the upgraded Anthem provided, I don’t want to settle for something less soundwise.

What the upgraded Anthem offered over my stock Anthem was a cleaner, smoother top end, more laid back sound which allowed louder listening volumes, and quite a bit more punch / bass slam.  The bass was so much stronger that it would negate any thoughts about adding a subwoofer to my system.

Anyhow, what are some recommendations on integrated amps around $1200 that will offer me what I am looking for?  I would shoot for a used Belles Aria but I don’t think thats going to happen as they don’t come up for sale used and people have been promoting them more and more around here, which is going to make it even more difficult.

I’m looking at a primare i30, was considering a Rogue Cronus, but am open to any suggestions.  Even separates if need be.  I’m slightly picky about how the amp looks internally with regards to the way its laid out snd power supply.  I’m also picky about the back of the unit and don’t want the binding posts stacked on top of eack other or right next to the power cord as I have spades and don’t want my speaker cables sitting on top of my power cord.  I also would prefer to use balanced connections.

With my long list of expectations and little amount of $, I’m having a difficult time finding something but I know it can be done.  The modded Anthem would have been the ticket if it weren’t for the high gain on the xlr inputs.  
Anyhow, thanks for any tips or suggestions and sorry about the long initial post!

Best Regards,
Bruce

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I should add that I’d prefer to stay with class a/b because of the tonality and punch but could be swayed if you have a strong argument.  I’ve looked at sugden A21, Peachtree Nova 300, Nad M3, Musical Fidelity A308, Rogue Tempest II, Kinki EX-M1...quite a few varied amps and layouts.  I’d really like to keep the price around $1100-$1300 tops if possible though so that I can take care of some bills and also so I can get a cd transport sooner than later.
Thanks again for suggestions!

Best Regards,
Bruce





The Kinki EX-M1 is the best choice here and the one I would buy for myself. I posted favorably about it a few years back!
I'd keep an eye out for a used Parasound HINT - the first version.  The newer version (HINT 6) has a few upgrades to the phono stage and the volume control, but the sound quality should be the same.  The original HINT be found fairly close to your price range.  I recently saw a new one at $1400 on Audiogon.  It has an XLR input, good subwoofer connections, a phono stage and a DAC.  Puts out plenty of clean power to drive whatever speakers you have now or might acquire in the future.

Have fun in your hunt!
Scott
@roberjerman, Thanks for the confirmation!  Kinki is something I’ve wanted for awhile and would definitely move me emotionally with just the pride of ownership.  They seem to do what I am looking for and Nonoise seems to love his and still has his.    

I’ve tried contacting the seller Twice now for the Kinki that I can afford but got no response...  he’s in mexico but has quite a bit of positive feedback.  Its a little concerning though sending someone $1800 in mexico when he won’t reply to my initial e-mails...

I’ll look into the Hint! Thanks for that.  I like Parasound products so that may be an option for me.  Thank You  A $1400 hint and a CXC is the same $ as something like the Kinki so theres value there for me.

Any thoughts on a nicely constructed DIY First watt F5 paired with a Schiit Freya+?  If it sounds amazing that would be a consideration.  Also, if it doesn’t play loud enough, maybe I have a vidar in cue to connect when I want to rock out?

I feel like I’m getting closer to a decision simply based on what I have began to rule out so Thanks!


Best Regards,
Bruce
Hi.  I think that, failing the Belles, you might find some good hunting among the Brit brands.  I'm thinking specifically Creek EVO 100A, but there are brands like Exposure, Croft, Rega to consider too.  I used to own a Creek A52se power amp that was self-effacing but very good.
Kinky looks cheap and Chinese. The parasound suggested is a great choice. 
The Kinky is Chinese but it gets great reviews and looks like a solid build.  Quite a bit of Chinese gear does look nice though, and I would agree that most of it is cheaply built.  
I think that the Kinky, the Belles Aria and the Ayre Ax-7e are my top choices today.

I was really digging into the W4S Sti-1000 lastnight too and was considering that.

I’ve been getting some Hegel recommendations too, I’m just not sure what is what with regards to the Hegels.  It seems like they all have on board dacs which is something ai don’t need since I just purchased a gungir multibit.  I suppose if I found a good Hegel with a nice dac, I could sell the gungir and put that $ towards a Hegel.

I do like Parasound as well. I had a ZDac back in the day and thought it was a really nice little dac.

Another option I am kicking around is a Schiit Freya +.  I’d buy a schiit amp and have a full pile of Schiit gear but I hate that the vidar is half size.

I also was think about a Rogue Cronus Magnum MkI and going with tubes but then I will buy $500 in tubes to be happy and will wonder about reliability.
 
I should have jumped on that Ayre when I had the chance but just wasn’t there yet when it was suggested earlier in this thread.

It’s too bad about the modded Anthem that I purchased had some funky gain stuff going on with the Xlr inputs otherwise that would have satisfied me.  In retrospect, I should have tried a passive attenuator to turn down the gain but I guess I would have felt like that was a band aid as well.

Anyhow, I enjoy the process of researching all of the possibilities and appreciate all the input and advice!  Keep the guidance coming if you’d like 😁

Best Regards,
Bruce