On the integrated amp list, ad the Portal Panache.
Speakers...Soliloquy and Silverline are both outstanding and versatile choices for the wide range of music you enjoy.
You can find plenty of reviews and real-world opinions on any of these componenets online.
Have fun in your quest!
The Moon I5 can be found used under 2k. I had one and thought it was great.
If you are willing to buy used, the Plinius 8200 is outstanding. There's a MkII on Audiogon now for $1550, I think.
The Plinius includes a phonostage which you will need if you want to add a turntable, unless you add a stand-alone phono stage to your list. Not all the amps in your list do, so that's an additional factor to take into account.
second the Sim Audio I5..
I for got to mention I like full midrange and crisp highs. I'll check out the SimI5 & Plinius thanks for the tip. Has anyone heard the PSB Platinum M2's?
Audiomat Arpege/Prelude or more powerful Solfege if you can find one...lovely sounding pieces with exquisite workmanship
Add the Eastern Electric M520 to your list, it really is special!
I like the McIntosh MA6500.
Rule one when asking a question like this: expect suggestions of anything other than what you put on your initial list.
I can't help much. I own an A300 paired with B&W N804's that I am quite happy with. Haven't heard any of the rest.
Best advice is to listen to as many as possible and decide for yourself. Having said that, if you can't, the MF is good as is a Creek 5350SE which I have also owned. Sorry, couldn't resist something else not on your list.
I have heard the Rotel 1090, the Unico, the MF 300 and 308, the SimAudio I5, the Pathos Classic One, and the Audiomat Arpege. In terms of musicality, refinement, and the ability to cover ALL of the musical genres you prefer, I believe that the Audio Aero Prima Hybrid is in another league beyond those mentioned above. The only exception IMO is the Arpege, which is highly engaging, has a beautiful midrange, but does NOT have the tight, punchy, defined bass of the Prima Hybrid.
Don't take my word for it. Ask the people who own this amp, and consider what they have jumped FROM. It took a moving to $6000 amplifier for us to sell the Prima. Just my opinion, obviously, but I don't think your other options will grab you like the Prima Hybrid will. A MKI can be had for around $650 used, and a MKII for around $1300-1400.
Best of luck,
Three weeks ago I started with the same goal - to build nice sounding audio system around analog turntable. As I realized later there were some "underwater rocks" there...
From what I learned:
1. Most likely you would have to buy a phone pre pre-aplifier (step-up device). The signal that is being delivered from turntable is too low for "regular" amplifier to process. And as it was mentioned above you would have to have an integrated amp with build-in Phono Stage (or you would have to buy Phono Stage as separate device).
2. Moving Coil cartridges are considered to deliver better sound (but lower signal) than moving magnet ones.
3. Every cable you use to connect audio elements could cost more than actual devices it connects.
4. Most likely there won't be Bass or Treble knobs on your amp (since it is going to be hi-end :) So in order to tailor a sound to your preferences you would need to buy/replace/substitute different elements of your system searching for THE RIGHT ONE. It could be expensive and time consuming (but for many people it is where the real fun is).
5. If I would buy speakers now I would buy them new. The speakers seem to loose their original quality over time.
6. You would need a "special" phone cable to connect turntable to other equipment (I couldn't find it even in Magnolia HiFi).
6. Soon you get to the point when price doesn't matter any longer. What matters is WHEN it will be delivered!
No need to spend this much. No kidding, the Cayin TA-30 is a dream come true for audiophiles on a budget, even up to $ 2,000.00
The build quality (anodized anluminium Champagne faceplate and automotive deep blue finish casework is stunning. So is the sound with point-to-point wiring ( try to find this with most amps under 2K ). Read the Abslute Sound review...it's all for real.
It's very complete biasing design means you can use el-34, 6550, 6l6, Kt-88 and more tubes to great effect.
You can EVEN GO SINGLE ENDED by using only two tubes (out of 4) and biasing as per instructions that comes with the unit, for a whopping 4 watss of pure, SET sound, instead of the push-pull 30 watts.
How's this for fun ? And yes, it does sound like a 4 times the price amplifier...I dumped my Sim Audio I-5 for this, with no regret.By comparison, the Sim is dry and lifeless, what a shame, it's an epensive amp for sure. Not even close, this amp looks nice but they should have invested in the sound....
If you see a Cayin TA-30 jump on this unit! It's a steal!
For solid state look to a used YBA Integre...very nice piece with lovely construction. Used Vecteur int amps are excellent, too, and the Vecteur designer was formerly a YBA guy.
I have had great luck with the CODA Unison. I just sold mine to upgrade to tubes, but it was the best amp I have had in my system so far-very high current, Class A up to 35watts, and sounds very powerful yet refined (it is a real amp-55lbs). Better than my stock DNA-125. Fairly rich with alot of body for SS, but more than enough detail and no grain. Owners are few and far between, but those who have owned this unit seem to have nothing but praise (CODA stuff, like Aronov (the LS960i is another great choice) doesn't get talked about much, except by those who have had a chance to hear the gear 1st-hand).
I too have the Audio Aero Prima hybrid integrated amp. It is quite a bit better than the Rotel seperates that I was using before. It also cost considerably less money ! Don't get hung-up on brand name recognition.
I listen to the same type of music that you do and am real confident in recommending an older used Plinius Integrated. You can pick one up for about $1,500. If you pick up an early Mark I the 10yr. warranty is transferable. Plus, you'll have $500 to dedicate elsewhere.
A new Naim Nait 5i is well worth a listen in this category.
Minimalist and fuss-free, it has been aptly described as on the warm, even 'tubey' side for a solid state approach. All elements of the music seem to exist in a sufficient and satisfying balance.