A B&K ST140 (or other B&K amplifier) would be a terrific match...and you could run a cable between line out and your amp and control things with your computer.
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These speakers are indeed revealing... which calls for quality DACs and preamp/amp. The NHT2.5i can be biamped quite easily... and I know of many who used tube amps for highs/midrange and a solid state for the bass. I don't know your budget, but I would recommend a used Peachtree Decco integrated, which has a usb dac and tube pre-amp section. I've seen these go for about $450-500 used here on audiogon. However, the power amp section is about 40-50 watts and would probably not provide enough juice for the power hungry bass drivers.... you could use the pre-outs and biamp with a Tim Rawson gainclone... these have surprisingly strong bass and come up used here on audiogon for as low as $200.
Don't you need the high current clone or would any First Watt clone work? I know they are not big wattage amps.
The OP request for low cost may preclude this but used Odyssey SS amps for the bass are fairly inexpensive. If you can get a used Cary made AES AE -3 preamp, especially the first models they are truly a bargain but the heavily upgraded later editions run up the cost. Never the less great sound.
Yeah I've read that the DNA-0.5 is a solid amp for these speakers, looks like they can be had for around $600 used. Definitely looks like a nice amp, I'm guessing it would be a big improvement over a B&K (which could be had for closer to $200 or so)? Definitely a big price difference.
Also, any other suggestions for a USB DAC? Anybody use the Decco or other DACs for comparison? Also, just wanted to ask again to get a response for whether these could sound overly warm with the Decco (tube preamp) and a warm amp like the ones being discussed? Thanks.
I see. I think I will be on the look out for a McCormack DNA-0.5. From what I've seen so far it doesn't look like they are too hard to find, so that's good. I'll also be on the lookout for a used Decco or maybe Decco 2 (anybody know how much better the DAC in the Decco 2 is?). These might be a little bit tougher to find, but I have plenty of time to keep searching. I know the Signal Path website currently has refurbished Deccos for $499 also.
Anyways, as of right now the McCormack power amp and Decco DAC/pre-amp seems like the perfect combo. Looks like it will probably end up being around $1,000 or a little more for both (as long as I can find them) which is more than I had initially planned on spending, seeing as how my speakers were so much cheaper than this, but I think that this would probably be the best way to go. Thanks for the help, and more suggestions/advice are always welcome!
Hi guys, so I ended up getting a Decco and a McCormack DNA 0.5 deluxe. I have yet to receive them/hook them up, but I had one more question. In using the power amp with the Decco, will the amp section of the Decco be bypassed? If the DNA is 100wpc and the Decco is 50wpc or so, will I be running 150wpc, or only the 100wpc from the power amp? Thanks.
Right that's what I had thought. Thanks! Excited to hear how this will sound. Hopefully 100wpc will be enough..for now at least. In the future I may bi-amp using the McCormack for the mid/tweeters and something else to drive the 8" woofers.
While I'm at it, just out of curiosity, any suggestions for amps for the woofers if I ever decide to bi-amp? Would NHT's SA-2 amps (two for stereo) be up to par with the McCormack? I figure it wouldn't make as much of a difference because it's just for the subs?
If you were to decide go that direction something you should consider would be using another McCormack 0.5 Deluxe and vertically bi-amping the NHT's. McCormack also makes a couple preamps that would work well in this situation the TLC-1 or the Micro Line Drive (MLD) that you can get for a couple hundred bucks here. Both of these are passive preamps, the TLC-1 has an additional output that's buffered while the MLD has an additional output that's an active out put but the output can adjusted +/- 3dbs. Both of these mate very well with the McCormack amps. One word of caution passive preamps require particular attention be paid to the type interconnects used because they will affect the sound. Lot of good information here on Audiogon and just search passive preamps, there also good information about this at SMc Audio.
Hey guys, yeah so I've had most everything hooked up for the last two weeks or so and I am loving how it all sounds. Again, I ended up with the Decco as my dac/pre going into the DNA 0.5 deluxe. I am using unterminated BJC speaker wire (Belden) which seems to be working out well. Heard a slight improvement over the ribbon cord I was using before.
The last thing I needed was ICs, as I was borrowing a friend's. After much debating, I ended up going with a great deal on Morrow MA-1s, which I received a few days ago. These made a very certain improvement in sound quality - I was very surprised as I wasn't sure how much they would actually affect SQ. They are currently going through burn in, and after the next couple hundred hours they should start sounding better and better.