add YBA Passion Integre to your list.
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Prepare to be impressed if you audition the Aronov LS 960i. They usually run about $1600, used. I don't need a second one, or I would be contacting Audiogon member-dealer Jboeyjus who has one in his inventory of used items for only $1250. Compared to $3600 new, this seems to be a "best buy." I don't agree with his flamboyant business title, which you can read for yourself on his website, but it certainly gets your attention. I have no personal connection, but have followed his ads for a while.
If I can inspire interest in this unheralded, champion tube integrated, then I shall have done my good deed for the day.
Not heard the 5.4's but i am very familiar with a pair of Craffts.Give a listen to the MA6900. I use it with a pair of Studio monitors (18Hz-20Khz)which sound similar to Dynaudio's.The 6900 will surely bringout the bass the Dyns are known for, adding a bit of warmth to the slightly lean mids.Good luck.
I recommend you the REGA Mira integated amp version 1999 (The model which has the appearance of a BBQ not the 2000 one) Why? Because the phono preamp is good and the sound is warm, soft and dynamic. Finally, it doesn't cost the earth! About 1300,00$ CDN. I use it with my REGA Planar 25 turntable. The only default of this amp is that it emits a lot of warm. I use a fan and it stays cold. It is build like a tank!
I searched for over a year and settled on a Karan Acoustic KA-i180 based on a TNT audio review. It retails for about $6K. I got mine used for $2200.00. I switched from tube separates to this integrated. It is solid state 170wpc into 8 ohms, warm sounding with great bass control. I use North Creek Rhythm speakers.
Allow me to weigh in with my absolute endorsement of the Musical Fidelity Trivista 300 Integrated Amp. I have been in audio heaven with it for a few months now. My Trivista is powering Wilson Sophias and I'm running Transparent networked cables.
The sound is detailed, musical, involving and liquid. The three dimensional nature of the image is remarkable --there is a reach-in-and-touch-it quality to it. The Trivista/Sophia setup seems chameleonlike in its reproduction of recordings of differing source and quality. You will be able to hear the vast differences in recording and production quality and values from recording to recording. However, unlike some speaker/amp combos I auditioned, you will not feel the urge to throw away some of your cds/lps. I listen primarily to blues from prewar to present, and 60's rock, and the Trivista has the power to kick butt with my stuff (even as poorly recorded as so much of it originally was) and sound great doing it. On the other hand, it has the finesse and the refinement to reproduce voice and acoustic instruments as if they are present in your listening room.
I listened long and hard for a combination of pieces which would satisfy my need to hear the music accurately reproduced, yet also satisfy my (perhaps stronger) desire for musicality, and occasional need to crank it up. Trivista hits it all(the Sophias help). Accurate musicality (with balls) seems to sum up the Trivista.
I also extensively auditioned the Mac 6900. I found its sound muddy in comparison to the Trivista, and I felt that it was a bit lacking in power.
I also listened to some very high end ML non-integrated amps, and frankly, was not as engaged as I continue to be by my Trivista.
The Absolute Sound review is pretty accurate in its assessment of the Trivista. The review of the Wilson Sophias in OnHifi (linked thru Wilson Sophia reviews on AG) will give you further input on the Trivista, as it was used in the review of the Sophias (a great combination, I must say.)
I hope that this is some help to you, Apache. Please forgive any of my shortcomings in this note, as this is my first time authoring a response. Good luck and happy listening!
I wonder if bill listened to the Mac before it was completely
run-in. I too experienced quite a bit of muddiness & congestion in the MA6900 initially. The MA6900 having a transformer coupled topology makes it necessary for it to be run-in more than the usual.I guess about 300 hours would do it.So make sure when you audition it has quite a bit hours in it.
My speakers are transmission line & reach down to 18Hz. To put it simply i just love the bass this combination produces. Not artificially tight, just right i think.
I also listened to the Levinson 383 with the Dyn Craffts. The 383 couldn't handle the bass at realistic levels. 100 Watts is just not enough for the Craffts. The No.334 is a different story.
Since you liked the Pathos TT you should try the Pathos Logos. Tons more power than the TT and less $$ than the BAT or TRIvista. I have heard the BAT and owned the Logos cant comment on the TRivista. The Logos is a very good piece of equipt for the $$$. Not to plug a dealer but Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio sells them and can recommend tubes to taylor the sound to your liking.