Best Integrated for SF Signum?

This is my first post in this forum. I recently fell in love with Signum. My current equipment is; Marantz SR-18EX, Pioneer 525, DH Labs Q-10 + siver bananas, and Energy Encore 5.1 package (one pair used for main is now up for sale). As you can see, I am shifting from HT to more 2 ch. I bought Signum because Marantz is so good and it deserve more decent mains. Now, my bug is telling me that Signum is so good and it deserves more decent amp. Based on my estimate that I will NOT be able to have a much bigger listening room (living with TV and other stuff - there is not much space to spare for equipment) for the next 10 years and that I will stick with Signum for 10 years, I decided to go with integrated. My current candidate are as follows; - Plinius 8200 - Sim Moon - Krell 300i or 500i My favorite music are Classic, especially strings, piano, organ, and choral. Also, I still would like to utilize Marantz and Encore for movie watching. Am I asking too much? Please let me know which one you would recommend, with respect to combination, balance, flexibility (for HT system), and Manufacturers' service. Or if you have strong oppsition to my selection, please free to bash me. Thanks in advance!
Maybe go with a good but less expensive amp (Sim or Musical Fidelity), kill the HT and spend the rest of your budget on a "good/fast" powered subwoofer for the Signums (50% amp/50% sub). The Signum/sub combo may be all that you will need for movies, plus with the addition of your new amp and sub you would be cleaning house, so to speak. I have not put a lot of thought into it, but I really cannot find anything to bash. Perhaps if you were to give me more to go on.
If you have that choice, you should go with Plinius 8200: very musical, good tonal balance, one of the best SS integrated that has some tube like top end and enought punch! also go well with SF! Regards, Rute
I have to agree with Rute1 on the Plinius. I listened to the SF Concertos run by the Plinius 8150 integrated at a local dealer and the combo sounded "right". I am not familiar with the 8200 model. I also listened to Linn Tukans on the Plinius with equally favorable results. The amp appeared to master full control of the speakers with no noticable strain even at higher volume levels. I also feel that a good sub would do wonders for the type of music that you prefer (the Signum's have moderate LF response) and of course would add slam to your HT use as well.
Thanks both of you. OK, recommendation for sub and/or CDP? My current DVD player is not good enough, is it?
Khokugo: Search this site using "sub" or "subwoofer" as a key word, there is a lot of info on the subject. I just looked up your speakers at and it looks like most of the owners do use subs. I try to avoid switching more than one thing at a time in my system as it becomes to confusing and difficult to asses the change that the new piece of equipment makes. I also do not use subs now and just know that I did not find the under $1200.00 models that I additioned to be adequate for quality two channel use. Your current player may sound pretty good through the preamp section of the new amp that you select. I would wait on changing the player until you hear the combination. Also if you go with lets say a Plinius amp, the bass that you achieve may satisfactory for your room and listening tastes. Since you definately want to try a better amp is seems, then maybe this would be a more logical approach to take. Perhaps my suggestion that you "skimp" on the amp was not such a good one at that, now that I give it more thought. Feel free to bash me if you wish:-)
PS: Your player is the reccomended mate to my Bel Canto DAC, I believe. How bad could it be?
Dekay, thanks again. Then, it seems batter to buy a nice DAC later. Any info on your Bel Canto?
I have not hooked it up yet as I am still waiting for my digital cable to arrive. I listened to the same model (DAC 1) in a friends system hooked up to an old Marantz player and it made a major improvement. It increased the amount of detail but at the same time gave a smoother sound to the system. Instruments also sounded more like they should (IMO) and because of this I found the presentation to be more relaxing as there was less to (mentaly) find fault with. I thought that the system sounded great before. I guess you never know until you try something else. I hope that the effect is almost as noticeable in my lower resolution system.
Dekay, Which digital cable are you going to use with the canto? Thanks, Rute.
Hi Rute: Don't follow my lead because I am clueless when it comes to digital cables. This is the first time that I will have used one. I received recommendations for Illumination 60, the top of the line Wireworld and Nordost cables and a $300.00 Tara Labs. What I have ordered is a digital cable from Mapleshade (their Double Helix model). I went with this one because I have enjoyed talking with Pierre at Mapleshade in the past in regard to other hi-fi matters and I wanted to check out one of his products. I do not know anyone that has used this cable and I have gone with a product that is completely unknown to me. That said, I am looking forward to checking it out and have an odd hunch that I will like the cable. When I get the system settled in again I will then audition other cables from The Cable Co., but you have to start somewhere and who knows this may be the one.
Dekay, I am getting very much interested in DAC 1. Now I even feel that it may be the first thing to do for my system. In addition to Rute's question, how much is it really (I saw some mint used one priced at 800 to 900 on Audiogon) new retail, and where? Thanks, Ken.
Hi Khokugo: $800.00 plus seems to be the going used price right now. I think that the list price is around $1300.00. If you search the web under "Bel Canto" and hifi you should be able to locate their website that will give you the specs as well as dealer information. I had really wanted to go with a good all in one unit like the Theta Miles or the Resolution Audio units, but even used they are very expensive and I felt this was the best way to go for my budget as I wanted a pair of new speakers as well. I am not certain what the upgrade path is with the Bel Canto but for now it suits our CD collection and should work well with my CAL player as a transport. Some people say that Bel Canto is slow to return calls and emails, but when I emailed them telling them up front that I was going to purchase a used unit they returned my email answering my questions the same day. This was my experience with them. I do believe that they are a small company and because of this may be overwhelmed with calls and emails at times. When it rains it pours.
Dekay, let me know how you think about it after you hook up Bel Canto (modified, I presume). Oh, I will let you know the outcome of bi-wiring experiment on my SF Signum once it has broken-in. Thanks again. Ken.
Hi Ken: I purchased the DAC without the new mods. I will wait for the dust to settle on the updated version before I consider the upgrade. The buzzwords "increased dynamics" do not do a lot for me as I would have to listen to why this is so and wonder if it is at the expense of smoothness. The smooth detailed sound and accurate (IMO) pitch, attack and decay is what first attracted me to the Bel Canto, other than the price. For example I prefer the sound of my stock (other than an upgraded PC) CAL Icon II to that of the later models (it sounds more musical to me). I will post in a month or two when I feel that I have it well integrated into my system. I will want to experiment with isolation devices and IC's as well, which take some time. Although I have only listened to your speakers once at a dealer, I liked them a lot. Small boxes with big quality sound always get my attention. I did not give them a lot of thought because they cost as much as my entire system. The bass that they did have for their size was also very nice, not "bumped" up like on many other small moniters and I could distinguish low electic bass notes (by pitch) just short of the low "E" in that listening room, which was pretty well setup. Anyway, as long as you do not get too wrapped up in the gear (once you get it properly set up, just forget about it for a while and enjoy the music), hard to do I know, I am certain that you will have fun with your Signum based system.
Dekay, did you compare with Perpetual Technologiy's P-3A? What do you think about it?
Ken: No I just briefly read what info was available on it. It seemed that the DAC needed to be linked to their optional power supply to give better performance and then there is the room equalizer "thing" that also mates with it plus I understand that the software to actually use the "thing" is not yet available. I may not have gotten all of this straight, but that seemed to be the jist of it to me and the cost for the total system is around $2000.00. I got the impression that the DAC on its own was good but not great and that the "extras" are what makes it desirable. Again, this is just my understanding from doing a quick study and I may have missed quite a few points in my haste. I have no expereience with using outboard DAC's in my system and am really quite new to digital. I have a tendancy to approach it from an anolog point of view because that is what I have always listened to in the past. We have only owned a digital source for six months or so and I took approx. fifteen years off from this hobby and just started again. The only thing that I do have going for me is that I know what sound I do and don't like and do not have much trouble making my mind up on what to buy after the auditioning is over. Not being wealthy really helps to narrow the amount of choices down as well. LOL. After searching here and at Audio Asylum under Dac's you may want to start a thread here for specific info. as there are other DAC's as well that are the talk of the Web. Something called the Millenium from a small company and also not so recently new models such as the Muse DAC 2. Their are also many people that believe that by using a quality preamp section in the link that most better quality digital players will sound very much the same (same meaning very good indeed). This is why I suggested that you may want to wait until you upgrade your amplifier before changing your source as the synergy between the preamp section in your new amp and your current player may be just the sound that you are looking for. Sometimes I feel that we are just sometimes looking for something different and not necesarily better for the sound of our system. By this I mean that the change that you get from the new amp and its synergy with the rest of your gear may be that different sound that you are looking for. Who knows you may then try an "improved" DAC and not like the different "improved" sound. Although I have done just the opposite I think that it is still better to change only one component at a time when upgrading a system for obvious reasons.
Dekay, thank you so much for detailed reply. Like you, I took fifteen years off from this hobby. I was first interetsed in those HT hype, and now I am already sorry I did. Not that HT is wrong, but that I spent too much already for the gear. Yes, I searched all over, too. Your input is now very inspiring. I finally could get approval for speaker upgrade and I don't know when and how I can upgrade another. I should be lucky that I am not wealthy ^^;). I will think about it, and try to calm down my bug. But anyway, my only digital source is a cheap DVD player and I may have to do something about it (I am not sure how good my receiver's internal DAC is). Let me know how you like your new Bel Canto sometime. Thanks again. Ken
You are welcome Ken. I was lucky and did not have to consider HT this time around as we have watched a total of three movies and one BBC sitcom on video in the past nine years. I am not anti HT just glad that I do not have to buy 2+ of almost everything in the system, plus set up more than two speakers, Ugh! Funny thing, we just received a total of sixteen CD's in the mail last night (two shipments) and the only thought that I have put into the system since then is to insert a new CD and adjust the volume. I wasn't even twitching for the new digital cable to arrive today. I would also be interested in listening to the DAC with your player (if I can borrow one locally) to see what that's all about. Guess that I would need a Tos link as well to follow Bel Canto's recommendation. You already have the speakers that you like, I am sure that the rest will fall into place as it seems that you enjoy researching and auditioning equipment.