I owned Big Aragon amps in the past and would steer you towards the McCormack. The Aragon's have a more SS sound regardless of preamp used.I am kind of surprised that they cost roughly the same.
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I owned both amps up until several months ago and rotated them in and out of my system that featured Vandersteen 3A's and various Audio Research tube preamps. As far as SS amps go, both got the job done with a nod to the McCormack for both refinement and greater levels of detail. Usage between the two was 3:1 in favor of the McCormack (though I tend to run ARC tube amps more). When it came time to "thin down the herd", I kept the DNA-1 and sold the 4004. It was a 4004 mki and not the mkii. My musical tastes tends towards jazz and rock & roll with some classical thrown in the mix.
Thanks for the input thus far. Definitely leaning toward the McCormack. Total cost to me is actually within $50 which seems to make the DNA-1 an even better deal.
I keep running into other amps that just muddy the issue, a single BEL 1001 mk2, McIntosh MC2105, B&K Reference 4420.....etc. Lots of great amps in the $700-800 range!
At this point I am limiting the search to SS amps.
Hi guys. Thought I would follow up on this thread. I went ahead and bought a stock DNA-1. At this point I could not be more pleased. The amp is in great shape. It is built beautifully and really fits well in my system.....and I think it is a great match with the Vandersteens. It has a sweeter, more musical top end and midrange, but what actually surprised me was the authority it has in the lower octaves....just a much more rock solid grip on the bottom. It may be just a factor of more power....~185 watts for the McCormack vs ~125 with the Classe......but this is a pretty significant improvement in my system
And to top it off, I have been able to converse directly with Steve McCormack regarding the amp.....pretty cool.
Thanks for the input during my search.