I would try the NAD 390dd
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I have the Nad D 7050 which is suppose to have the same sound signature as that amp but less power. It has oodles of tight bass and big sound stage but the Highs are rolled off and it sounds artificial, not much of sound upgrade over the Nad 356 BEE which I actually like alot for the price. The Marantz however is much more refined, detailed, and pleasant, just lacking in low end control. I had originally considered the Nad 390dd but went with the 7050 first to see if I would like the sound.
I have driven Contour 1.4s with a Musical Fidelity a308 for the past few years. In my setup, this combination has plenty of control, and a sound stage both wide and deep. The more muscle, the better the Dynaudios seem to perform. If you are fine with getting a used amp, I would recommend the a308. I think it is rated something like 150W in 8 ohms and a dampening factor of 1400.
I agree the MF A308 is a great amp, however the DF is 140, and not 1400. The amp just has plenty of muscle due to its power supply. Also, damping factor is just something you do not need to be concerned with. Read this thread,
and this article,
IMHO, I don't like Class D amps because as you said, they sound artificial. I'm sure the MF A308 would give you the desired performance, or look for something with that type of build quality, an amp that is very stable with the speakers 4 ohm load, and will double power, or close to double, with the 4 ohm rating compared to the 8 ohm rating. The A308 is 150w into 8 ohms and 300w into 4 ohms.
Since you say moderate listening levels, and with the speakers sensitivity being 84db, I doubt that you could have too much power, unless you went way beyond the speakers capability.
Another thought about damping factor is that if you do the calculations to see what damping factor is actually achieved at the woofers' terminals, it is much less than the amps' specification due to speaker wire and speaker crossover. There will be a very slight difference at the woofers' terminals between an amp with 100 DF compared to an amp with 2500 DF, but in each case the DF will be well under 50.
When I had my Dyn C1's I had a Bryston B100sst - Naim XS - Octave V40se V70se and a V110. I've also listened to the Naim Supernait. All extremely good matches for Dyns. Even though the Bryston had the highest power rating (180W @4ohm) it was my least favorite. Somewhat musical but dry sounding. The Octave and Naim have better 'control' of the music. With the Octave being a tube integrated I can swap some tubes and change up the sound (more musical to more linear like almost SS sounding).
I had a pair of dyn focus 140 in the past. I used a mf a308 integrated and a308 cd player. That was a very good combination. At the time I had a sim i5 in another system. I set up the i5 with the 140's just for a listen. At lower levels it was ok, but at medium to higher volumes the i5 ran out of steam. I think the mf a308 series of components was one of their best, build quality and sound. If found used at a reasonable price, it is a hard to beat match for the dyn 110's.
This amp is so punchy and fast... The best way I can describe it with the 110's is snappy and extremely dynamic. Forward sounding is another term that comes to mind. As you turn the volume up the sound stage grows in width and height, but the sound also crawls to you dynamically in depth.... No so great if ya have a sleeping 10 month old : ( I have heard the the term hard sounding used to describe this amp...I think this is accurate with some source material, speaker dependent, and room acoustics sometimes. The sound is liquid smooth but can be hard if the source material is laking in micro dynamics. I can't help to think how well this would pair with Merlin speakers if you are not wanting to go the tube route. Punchy and rhythmic at lower levels.. can't see imagine Naim Xs being more rhythmic. I"m on the fence.... I miss the high freq detail and warm midrange of the Marantz pm 8004,but the exposure is so punchy and gripping as you turn the volume up. Maybe I will use the Marantz pm 8004 as a preamp to the exposure and see what sound I get .... : o
djverne OP48 posts06-27-2016 11:32amwanted to add to this thread even though its almost 3 years later. I have found my amp zen. I moved up the ladder to the Exposure 3010 S2 and paired it with the a LDR Passive Preamp from Tortuga Audio. I am very happy.Thanks for the update. The Exposure 3010 S2-D has been getting some really good reviews everywhere. I think this is the one to beat at the moment. Certainly an upgrade from the 2010S2 in all departments. The dynamic and punchy sound of the Exposure would suit the Dynaudios well. Since the Dynaudios are not the easiest speaker to drive, I presume the extra power of the 3010S2 will make a difference with the Focus 110.
Interesting that you matched the LDR passive pre with the 3010S2. As a standalone unit I believe the 3010S2 should be quite good on its own.