I think AR makes some great gear. For the price of $6000.00 plus I would
suggest you look at the McIntosh MA6600. More inputs, headphone and phono
stage and more. The new McIntosh MA6700 even has a built in DAC.
I have the MA6600 and I find it to be wonderful. Chose it in part for the many
features that others brands did not have. Happy hunting, post your results.
As to sound characteristics of the four brands noted, my general impression is that McIntosh would tend to lean a bit warm, ARC the most neutral, and Musical Fidelity and Bryston would tend to lean a bit bright.
As to features, if you want both a headphone jack and phono stage, then McIntosh or Bryston offer really good candidates. These are both excellent brands which hold their value as well as any and getting service when needed should not be an problem.
On the other hand, if you need the phono stage but can do without the headphone jack, then the Musical Fidelity M6PRE/M6PRE separates would be worth considering. They are what I use and they pack a lot of value for the money; however, MF may not hold its value quite as well as the others and some have reported problems getting service on MF products.
If you don't need either the headphone jack or the phono stage, then I'd put ARC at the top of your list along with Bryston (I assume you'd be looking at the b135 sst2 where I think headphone and phono are options that you can take or leave).
If you need headphone but don't care about phono, Bryston looks like the best option to me. A 20 year warranty is pretty hard to overlook!
I don't need dac or headphone,wouldn't want to "pay" for unecessary features.
I'm disappointed AR have 3 imputs & no phono stage option.
I heard one a couple of years ago - I think through Quad panels. For an class D amp it sounds really good, but still wasn't up to the same standards as the rest of the AR line.
For a good integrated the Pass Int-150 is also a good choice in your price range. Also, Van Alstine has a 100w integrated. His stuff is always exceptional for the money.
For $6500 you can do better then an ARC DSI-200. I heard the 200 driving a Magnepan 1.7 and was disappointed. The ARC produced a fake type of "sweetness". This was an early production model, maybe ARC has improved the sonics? Since I have not heard the Synchrony One I can't zero in on any specific amp. I would look into an amp on the slightly warm/dark side of neutral-BAT/CJ/Coda/Electrocompaniet/Marantz/Nad M3/Quad 909/Roksan.
The Audio Research digital switching amps all "suck sonically ", and do not sell very well!
Any analog amp will sound better!
Buy a Pass Labs.
Thanks for the heads up
I agree with the advice &
No longer interested in this amp
Does Musical Fidelity power amp on the pre/pwr has a decernable hum?
Hi Fishing ... If my ear is within one foot of the Musical Fidelity M6PRX power amp, I can hear a hum. This hum is inaudible to my ears if I am any further than one foot away from the amp; therefore, I consider it to be irrelevant to normal listening. To provide a point of reference with another piece of equipment with which many are familiar ... I also have an Oppo 95 in my system. The 95 is known for emitting fan noise. The fan noise from the 95, which also is not loud enough to affect normal listening, is many, many, many times louder than the hum from the M6PRX.
About the McIntosh MA 6600, I used to own one and felt that it was good only up to a certain volume. Above this level, the sound is in tatters - ragged, congested, collapse of soundstage - in a word, unbearable. The level at which this occurs would depend on your system and you will know when you have reached this level as you can easily hear it.
Considering MF pre/prx after reading 5 star review on Tech Radar
Fishing, if you decide to go with MF and you buy new, dont get sucked into paying full list price. You should be able to negotiate a discounted sales price on MF M6 components. Id say at least 15% off and possibly more.
Second, whether you buy new or used, make sure you know exactly who will handle repair service if you ever need repair service.
Third, if you are considering buying new, before you do take the plunge, make sure to confirm what the warranty period now is and who stands behind it. When I bought my components 2 years ago, there was 4 years of extended warranty from Tempo (who was MF's US distributor at the time). This presumably gave me a total 5 year warranty. However, Tempo is no longer the US distributor, and unless I missed it, I dont see anything on MFs website that indicates what the current warranty terms are.
In my case, it has just dawned on me that I had better find out if MF is or is not standing behind the warranty extensions that Tempo was giving out. I assume that MF is standing behind the 5 year warranty that I received even though Tempo now seems to be out of the picture, but if I find out that I am no longer covered by warranty, I am not going to be a happy camper.
Regarding my warranty, I just checked with MF's North America sales manager and he indicated that years 2 through 5 of my M6PRE/M6PRX warranty are covered by Tempo, not Musical Fidelity. Thankfully my MF components are working just fine, but going forward should I ever need warranty repair service, I have to wonder how responsive Tempo will be. As I indicated in my previous post, I do not know the length of the warranty coverage that MF currently offers, but if it's only 1 year, then I think anyone considering buying new MF gear would do better to look elsewhere.
Check out a Coda 5.5 at 5000.00 pure warm class A.
Jon2020, just curious - how did you focus on(i.e., quarantine through testing) the amplifier in your system breaking down at a certain volume as opposed to other culprits, such as the speakers or the room itself? What was your control?
I knew it was the amp because everything else was working well until I changed it. My previous amp was the Krell 300i integrated and I was looking for a warmer sound. In the showroom, I guess the dealer knew how to keep the volume down as indeed, it sounded good then. Back home, things were still good but orchestral crescendoes just melted before my very ears when i crank it up to realistic levels. I changed the Mac to a Levinson and the problem was gone.
That's very interesting, thanks. I wonder if was running out of headroom or something.
Yes. The dynamic headroom was indeed restricted. It was just a poor match for my speakers, MBL 121,which were a bear to drive - low sensitivity at 84 dB with impedance dropping to 2 ohms at times. The Mac power does not double with halving of the impedance.