Best integrated for B&W 704 and Rega Apollo

I'm searching for a new integrated amp for my B&W 704s, hoping to stay around $11500 used. I'm soon to get a Rega Apollo CD player. Don't yet have a turntable. I tried a Sim I-5, loved the quickness and detail. (I thought it was remarkable in how each instrument in the music retained its own tonal quality. It's been my experience that even amps that are reputed to be neutral rather seem to discolor the music and make it sound grey.) But I also thought the I-5 was too bright and underpowered for my speakers. I need good power for low-volume listening, not high volumen. Auditioned the new Bryston 100ST, found it to be thin. Am thinking about a Musical Fidelity A308 but I can't audition it because I can't find anyone in my area who has it. I like that it's reputed to sound tube-ish, but if it's like the newer MF A3.5 or A5 then I'm afraid it will sound too sluggish and have poor imaging.

I'm basically looking for something that has the quickness, if not the great detail, of the Sim, but also sounds full and warm, and has power. Any ideas?

Thanks, R
See if you can find a used Classe CAP 151 (I think that's the model no.) You can get them for about $1200. The phono section isn't half bad. They seem to work well with the B&W speakers. In fact, I'd think that it would be a great match for the 704. They are fairly balanced with satisfactory bass control. If anything, maybe a tad on the warmish side. Good luck.
I heard the Classe integrated (it was the older 150) with B&W's, great match. Siltech cabling and Classe cdp made up the rest of the system I heard.

I have used the MF A308 integrated with both the B&W CDM9NT and now the N803. I am in love.
I am very familiar with the separates that make up the CAP151 and thought they were indeed excellent. For a slightly different style, McIntosh is equally good. Their MA6900 would actually be my pick over the Classe for your speakers and source. You will get more developed timbre and texture with very natural pace and timing.

However the A308 is a great integrated as well. There is no reason to think it is sluggish or has poor imaging - it is a highly sorted design that sounds really good. Some people feel Musical Fidelity is a sell-out but I don't think so. I feel they make high quality gear and I have enjoyed every MF amp I have heard.

But there are many other options too. I suggest you read all the reviews and then buy one that tickles your fancy and see what you think of its sound. You can't go technically wrong in this price range but you have to find one that suits your style. Good luck and have fun


As for my last post well I might have to take that back. I have brought in some equipment from the shed and am doing some testing to make sure it is all good and then it will go on the auction block.

I have 3 pre amps I am testing I have tested 2 so far using the amp section of the A308 integrated. One was a little on the bright side. The one I have hooked up now is shall we say much better. I had the wife sit down and do some listening to this pre and the pre section of the integrated and the presentation of the standalone pre is more even not as bright and the bass response is better.

I need to do some critical testing of the standalone pre and the integrated pre section to be sure I haven't lost anything and am actually gaining what I think I am.

I can't believe I am even considering this but a change may be in order. I have been a happy owner of the A308 integrated for almost 3 years now.

The A308 is by no means slugish and has beyond belief imaging.

Good luck in your search.
A 4th vote for the Classe CAP-151. I had the older CAP-100 before driving B&W's and the sound fit what you've described -glorious mids and very tube-like with ample bass slam. I can just imagine the CAP-151 driving the 704's with more ease and extension.
Thanks for the responses thusfar. Artizen, I don't think I'm too reassured by what you say. Within a couple of hours you went from being in love to being almost ready to sell? Although I didn't like the MF A3.5 and A5 (I thought those were definitely sluggish and the imaging was almost nonexistent) there was nevertheless something about the MF sound that I liked. Let me know if you're really thinking about selling. I like what I'm hearing about the Classe as well.
Has anyone tried the Portal Panache with B&Ws?
Creek or Naim both make lovely british amps that your B&W's will love. Great low volume sound. I love my Brystons, but a little old Creek integrated replaced it. It has a juicy rythym and pace that my Bryston never had.