Mdp...you 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?
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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 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.
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.
01-07-10: MdpAs 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1262883213&openmine&zzCmalak&4&5#Cmalak. Just a thought.
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.
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.