Can anyone reccommend a better integrated cd combo for under one thousand used?
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I owned the AR Complete integrated for a few years and it is a fantastic piece of equipment paired with Jean Marie Reynaud Twins monitors. The combination was amazingly musical and smooth, but still retained detail and high frequencies.
That setup replaced one that was diametrically opposed to it, sonically - Rotel RC-980BX preamp, Rotel RB-980BX amplifier, and B&W RM601 speakers. This sounded hard and hyper-etched to me. I think a large part was due to the B&W metal dome tweeters. The Rotel amp was pretty damn good, but the preamp was fairly sterile sounding, to me.
Regarding the Ascend Acoustics Sierra Ones, the minimum recommended power is 45wpc. The AR Complete is 50wpc, that's cutting it afully close to the minimum requirements. So, close that there's a good chance you may not be able to realize the speaker's full potential.
I can't think of a better combo under 1000 dollars. I have owned the complete integrated 5 times. I owned the complete cd player once. In my opinion it is the best integrated in it's price bracket. Atleast of what I have ever heard. It is 50 watts, but I never had an issue. I did drive some tough loads with it. Revel M20, Magnepan MMG just to name a couple
Bigmoneyv4 : I lived with the Audio Refinement gear (amp, pre, and CD) for 6 years. It was quite satisfying, open, warm, and suprisingly detailed. However, being 'mock tube' solid state gear, it made me hungry for the real tube sound. Now I have an SET amp which I absolutely love (Art Audio Carissa). Looking back it was the best move for the money. I say go for it.
Yes, the refinement seems like a killer integrated as far as true sound quality goes, but likely I will be using inefficient bookshelves, either b and w cm1 (84db), 685 (88db), or ascend acoustics sierra 1 ( 86db). My question is no longer adressing the quality of the amp, but rather if it was designed or is capable of driving the less efficient speaker with only 50 watts?????
My speakers are 88 db. They are monitors and I utilize diffusion more than absorbtion so my room is fairly lively. I've played my system very loud many times, but I have yet to clip the Complete.
This may be in part because the amp has very satisfying bass and drive. I don't need ear splitting decibels to achieve satisfying room pressurization.
I have Soliloquy 5.0's and I love them. If you are anywhere near NYC you should buy the 5.3's floorstanders here on Audiogon with the newer drivers like mine. If I could get up there, I'd be all over 'em.
If you do get a pair of the 5.0's, I can give you advice about setup and cabling to realize their potential.
I'll have to look up the Ascend speakers you mention to see what they are.