First Post, Looking to buy Amp& Pre, $7,000

The first thing I'd like to say is "Thank You" to all the people on this forum for their knowledge! I've learned so much from my daily trip to this wonderful site.
The reason that I,like many others I suppose, have not posted before is that I think there are so many people here that have so much more to offer in knowledge and experience than I do. Well..... on to my questions.
My system consists of PSB Synchrony One speakers, A VPI Classic tt with a Dynavector 20XH cart. A Simaudio LP3 phono. Cambridge Azur 840 CD player.
My current amp is a Denon AVR 4806,that also doubles for Home theatre.
My current system sounds very good, But.... I'm wondering how much better could it get? Will new amplification be a huge improvement over what I've got?
I would prefer to buy used because I think I could get more performance for my money.
I listen to Rock,Classic Rock,Blues, and Jazz.
I would prefer a sound that is neutral,but a shade on the warm side. I suffer from tinutus in my right ear.and any high notes that are too dry, or too bright, irritate my ear!
I also need a pre with HT bypass,as I have everything in the same room

mdp should get a material improvement in sonics by upgrading from the Denon AVR. One quick question: do you have any preferences in terms of amplification type: SS vs. tubes? Do you just not want to bother with tube occasional upkeep/maintenance for example or are you open to either technology?
Tubes would be fine in the Pre. But I would rather stay with SS in the amp because of high amount of time it would be powered up watching TV or movies.
Also I'm thimking that my speakers could really benefit with a good amount of power.
FWIW, in his review of the Synchrony One, John Atkinson preferred the amp/preamp combination of Parasound JC-1 and Levinson 380S with the speakers. These components can presently be found for sale in the listings for close to your $7K budget.

Doug Schneider liked Sim Audio components in his review of the Synchrony One.

I find reading what owners and reviewers use with speakers to be helpful in narrowing the choices (although their selections are not the only possibilities).
I would look to a Pass Labs Integrated - that should be plenty of power and there are few that do SS as well as Pass. That being said, a SIM integrated should also be an excellent match. I don't know the Denon, so I can't speak toward the "huge improvement" comment, but assuming you have enough power and your impedance matches are good, I would not expect huge improvements (rather subjective notion anyway).
I second the Pass integrated, or maybe a Krell or McIntosh integrated
I'll third the Pass integrated. Buy it used and save a few $$$ for your next upgrade.
Buy a Coda int,and also save a few thousand
I had a chance to audition the new Audio research dsi200 int. at a dealer in Dallas with my PSB's,but the room was bad and I asked if I could take it home. They were not too excited with that idea.
I've condidered the Pass, but i didn't know if the difference in power would be noticeable. The Denon puts out 140wpc @ 8 ohms.
The JC-1's sound interesting. would they work with an ARC LS 26 pre. I am considering the ARC or maybe a McIntosh C2300.I don't know if the C2300 has a HT passthrough.
I'm really not planning to upgrade anything else in my system for a long time,so I want something that really makes the PSB's sing!!
I do stand by my Pass Integrated recommendation, but I do want you to understand that a SIM integrated is just as worthy of your consideration, if you want it to match with your phonostage. You absolutely cannot go wrong with either brand, they are among the best out there, and I include the McIntosh in that group too. Between those three companies you will find reliability, good customer service, and a strong likelyhood they will be in business for a while to protect your investment. Frankly, I would choose the one that is at the right price for you and that looks best to you. There will not be huge differences between them sound wise, they are all well designed. In fact, with the Mac, youdo have the option of a model with 5-band eqaulizers that might help with your issue with high frequencies. There are alot of products out there, and those that will champion any of them, but with these three, you are in good company.
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Tvad,thanks for the links. As I suspected, Doug Schneider says in his review that the Synchrony One's need a lot of power to really sound their best.

Pubul57, I thought about the Mc MA7000, but it doesn't have a HT passthrough. There aren't a lot of integrated amps with tons of power, that I know of or can afford.
I actually have a very similar system to yours, with nearly the same AVR (3808) and the same turntable, I have a Cary SLP98P F-1 and monoblock amps, and my cost was about what you are looking at, used, and it sounds stellar to me. I wouldn't suggest the same amps that I have since your speakers are so differnt, but you may be able to toss in a great Wyred4Sound or SandersSound amp, or maybe a McIntosh with those speakers.

Good luck.
Pass integrated is a good suggestion. I don't know about your power needs, but if your speakers like power, I would consider a used Pass X350.5 and a used X-1 or XP-10 for I think about the same money or slightly more. If 100 watts are enough, the integrated would work wonderfully.
01-07-10: Mdp
Tvad,thanks for the links. As I suspected, Doug Schneider says in his review that the Synchrony One's need a lot of power to really sound their best.
As I recall what he particularly emphasizes is the amp's ability to produce power into low impedances. For this reason, I'd suggest an amp that doubles power as impedance is halved. Not sure of the JC1 amps or the Sim Audio amps do this, but it'd be easy for you to check.

It'd also be good to carefully read John Atkinson's test measurement section of the Stereophile review. He often provides clear guidance as to what would be the best match.
If you are considering an ARC LS26 you should give the ARC SD135 serious consideration as a partner. Absolutely wonderful amp.
Mdp...I used to own the ARC LS26 and then upgraded to the Ref 3 (both in conjunction with the ARC Ref 110 amp) and I can tell you the LS26 is an excellent amp. As to whether the LS26 will work with the JC1s, the output impedance of the LS26 (700ohms through Balanced connections and 350ohms through SE connection) vs. the input impedance of the JC1s @ 100Kohms suggest at least from an impedance matching perspective they should work fine together. Whether they will sound good together is a different story. I would not buy them independent of one another without getting a chance to hear them together.
01-07-10: Tvad
For this reason, I'd suggest an amp that doubles power as impedance is halved. Not sure of the JC1 amps or the Sim Audio amps do this, but it'd be easy for you to check.

JC1s: 400/800/1200 into 8/4/2ohms
Sim i-7: 150/250 into 8/4ohms
I have owned a Denon AVR, and I agree with the comments that you can expect a significant improvement from better amplification. Several posters have suggested Pass Labs, and I think that is a good choice. I have owned two Pass amps, and they fit your description of "neutral, but a shade on the warm side." I have not heard your speakers, but I read JA's review in Stereophile, where he mentioned that...

[The Synchrony One's] superb retrieval of recorded detail was accompanied by a slight lift in the presence region. This was not nearly so much as to add brightness to the balance, but voices were presented as being more forward in the mix.

I mention this because, in my experience, Pass amps could be described the opposite way. Combining the two might therefore result in a nice balance, given the preferences you described. Good luck.
You should consider buying products manufactured here in the United States. This country still designs, creates and manufactures the best Hi-Fi gear in the world. Pass, Bel Canto, Spectron, Audio Research, Odyssey, Edge, Krell, Cary, VTL are just a few of the makers of great Hi-Fi gear.
Interesting you mentioned Odyssey - I forgot about them. I liked them very much when I heard them at a show, and they are unbelievable value (for the high end). That is definitely a company worth looking at for high quality, great sounding SS, with power at a great price - I owuld not avoid them because they appear to be so "cheap". If I understand it correctly, they are very similar in design to the gear from the German company Symphonic Line, which is some of the best gear in the world.
MDP.....I too have the synchrony ones. I am using an Integra DTC 9.8 for HT with an older B&K 7250 power amp. For 2 channel music, I recently purchased an Ayre K5xe mp preamp (new for #3500) as it has the HT pass through, and I love it combined with my B&K. With your budget, you could get the pre amp and any one of a multitude of good power amps although I'd recommend a used Ayre V5xe power amp (there is one for sale now on "da gon" for $3,500. IMHO, the combination of the two Ayre pieces would give you some great music, and you'd still come in at budget.
I really appreciate all your responses, Thank You very much!!
I've purchased a Pass Labs XP 10 Pre. and now I have to find an amp to pair with it. I assume a Pass amp would be logical. But I am willing to listen to other suggestions. I'm thinking an X250.5 or something along those lines. Any thoughts would be appreciated
In the Pass line-up, and with your budget, I'd definitely look at a model with the "X.5" denotation. They double output as impedance is halved.

There's a pretty good price on a X150.5 at the moment. I'm not sure if you need more power (although more is usually better). It would depend on the size of your room and the decibel level at which you listen.

Also, see what Mark at Reno HiFi might have in his used, demo, trade-in section.

Tvad, Thanks again. I have a large room and sometimes listen at pretty high decibel levels, so I want to make sure I have enough power. I'll check out Reno HiFi

I lurk more than respond but what you said about a little bit on the warm side and maybe tubes or SS I had to respond. You can see my original system under my systems list. I will remember to never list my system as "Done for now." :-) The Soliloquy 6.3's are the only thing still remaining. Wonderful speaker for the price back then. ($1400 in 2002) I wanted a warmer sound and added a CJ 12L to get the warmer sound of tubes. I played around with SS amps but wasn't really happy. The Butler TDB 2250 is in my system now and it's staying. If you want to have the SS grunt in the amp and a unique tube placement in the line that IMHO gives a warmer sound give it a read. TDB 2250 will give you a beginning read. Do a Google for reviews from there.

Hope this gives another idea and of course my opinion.

I think the suggestion of a tube/SS hybrid amp (like the Butler 2250 or perhaps a Moscode 401HR) is worth considering.

While Pass Labs makes excellent amps and preamps that are hard not to recommend, the Pass house sound is neutral rather than warm, IMO.

Keep your eye on your goal.
While on the topic of hybrid tube/SS amps, Magnum Dynalab (known for their tuners ofcourse) seem to have a hit on their hands with their new MD 209/309 amps. This may be worthwhile checking out: Just a thought.
I would consider the Threshold T800D amp that is listed and a ARC ls16mk2 pre amp.
Would McIntosh amps be worth looking at?
Of course they would, and if for some reason they are not your cup of tea, you will be able to sell them easily and get what you paid for them, and few amps are as nice to look at. Many people live happily with MAC and you can't underestitmate the importance of reliabilty and company support should have a problem; assuming you want to get something you can live with for a long time.
Has anyone had any experience with the Moscode 402Au? I have read good things about it.
I'm not in too big a rush that I can't wait a little while to see what pops up.But...... A Mc402 sounds a little tempting.
Regarding the Moscode 402Au, I owned a Moscode 401HR, which was a tremendous amp in my system used with Von Schweikert VR4 Gen III HSE loudspeakers (89dB, 6 ohm). The 402Au is supposedly more refined (aren't the latest models always so), but I can say the 401HR was no slouch (it replaced a $10,000 VAC Phi 110/110), and in my view you'd be smart to consider a used one.

Moscode offers a 33 1/3 day home trial for their amps. It's absolutely the best way to determine if it'd be a good match with your speakers.
The reviews of Moscode were great, But in John Atkinson's mesurements he didn't think it would be a good match with speakers rated at 4 Ohms,as mine are.
Also, in his measurements of the Synchrony One, said that the speakers would dip as low as the mid 2 ohm range at two frequency levels So I'm re-thinking,and trying to remember my goals, to match the amp's sound to my speakers AND have the treble where it will be pleasant to my ears. Oh yeah, lots of powers too.
I'm leaning to a McIntosh, maybe a MC 402.
What do you guys think???
Mdp, I read Atkinson's review, too. The 401HR worked extremely well with my speakers that dipped to 3 ohms in the bass, but I understand your hesitation.

If the 402Au measures better and it's within your budget, then it'd be worth auditioning through Moscode's Home Trial policy.

I've never owned a McIntosh amp, so I can't offer any insight there.
The levinson 383 is a good choice for integration into a home theater system. It can be fully automated with the creston system, has the bypass and by and large it has the best operating system I've used. However it's downfall is power, it just won't play extremely loud. That's why I bought the 7000 but it's for two channel only.
CJ CA200 will save you mega bux (3-4K) and sounds like tubes.