Help me with a major amp upgrade...


I need your help and recommendations...

I am looking for a great 2 channel amp to power my speakers (Mezzo Utopia) which are part of 2 channel / HT setup. My current gear comprises of the Mezzo (accompanied by a Center Utopia and Elektra 905 as rears), Integra Research RDC7 as the processor, Electrocompaniet EMC1 and Marantz DV8400 as source and an Elektra Reference 5 channel amp. I am using ensemble cabling and PC’s as well.

I listen to a lot of 2 channel and while I rally like the setup (for both 2 channel and Movies/SACD/DVDA – all sound great) I am thinking about a major upgrade, starting with the Amp.

My budget is around $5K for the amp. What I want (guess everyone wants that…) is great clarity in the mids, big soundstage and good bass. I listen to Jazz, vocals, etc.

Any recommendation guys? I am not looking for tubes (although the Mezzo is very efficient) and would like to avoid huge amps (all of this sits in my living room…).

I am open to any suggestions and your help would be greatly appreciated...


SimAudio Moon I-5 is a great choice if you want the simplicity of an integrated amp. SimAudio separates are unbeatable, too.
Best wishes,
1st- understand that your results will be massively affected by the amp's SYNERGY with your speakers.

Having said that, I will offer another recommendation for Sim Audio, ESPECIALLY the W-5 LE, of which there is a 10/10-condition used one for sale on the 'goN right now in your price range.

Also, since you are already familiar with the EMC-1 player, the Electrocompaniet AW220 monoblocks should definitely be something to consider. A nice used pair of these can be found for about half of your budget.

I have both of these models in my combo 2-channel/HT system right now, and listen to music that is very similar to what you describe. I feel they are both terrific products that get nowhere near the kudos that they deserve.

... But, YMMV...
Ayre V5x comes to mind,dynamic,and transparent and more...Bob
Before you buy anything I would audition a wonderful Aussie amp, Redgum. I have a 120i which has been upgraded to a larger power supply and it is the most wonderfully musical amp you could find, easily as good as the more esoteric brands like Krell etc but at a much lower cost.
I suggest you visit redgum's website and take a look.
Look at what Kora has to offer. You can find integrateds and separates on the Audiogon at great prices. The Koras are tubed, and sound wonderful from top to bottom.
Please read the reviews on the Rowland M201. They are mono amps but very small. I love mine and listen to similar music. Best part, you can get them used for about $3200. I am telling you these amps are just fantastic. Great resale value as well.
I recentley got a McIntosh C46 Pre-amp and a McIntosh 402 Power amp. I started checking them out after reading Absolute Sound's outstanding reviews. To me they sound absolutely wonderful, at least when paired with B & W Nautilus 800s.
I would also check out Steve McCormack's DNA-500. Very dynamic, musical and great presentation - "as if you are there". I just got one after listening to all the "big names" and its even "livingroom friendly", i.e., it will fit in your rack! Read the reviews and see what you think....
Thank you all. I appreciate the feedback and suggestions. It seems that I have a lot of good options and my problem is that I can not demo the units in my house before I buy the amp. I will do some more reading I guess and then just buy one of these and see if it makes me happy....


hi Raanan,

You are welcome to try out the sa1000 in your home for 14 days.

Best part is that its only $1799 but will compete with amps in the $5k category quite easily (and will even put some to shame).

of course I am a bit biased as they are my amps but hey...what's wrong with a little shameless self-promotion now and again?

Sounds interesting, but you lost me at the 1 year warranty.
Hi....I've got Diva Utopia's and had the Mc C46 Pre / Mc 401 amp combination in house a few weeks ago for audition. Very synergistic with the JM Labs....I'm buying them.
My advice : McIntosh new MC402, Bryston 4b-sst or +, Bel Canto Evo's bridged, or Classe possibly. LOVE my (2) EVO2's in mono!!
My experience with the Ayre V-1xe into my Micro Utopia BE's has been very satisfying.

I second the vote for the Ayre V5X. Music, music and more music.