I like Gryphon or Goldmuns as options for trully high-end Integrated amps. Check them out.
I had a brand new MA6900 for 6 months but sold it. I really wanted to love it because it was such a beauty. As you know, they do have very good resale value if you get one and decide to sell. The Audiogoner who bought my 6900 sold it (pretty fast) reporting that it was one dimensional. He purchased a Rogue Audio Cronus followed by a Rogue Audio Tempest II. I also onwed the Plinius 9200 which was superior in every way to the MA6900 (particularly in the midrange which is excellent) In my setup the Mac was also very one-dimensional. Of course, the build quality and beauty of this amp is without question. You can easily be seduced just by looking at it. (that's part of how I ended up buying it) I would not recommend it though based on the sonics I experienced in my setup. In some other setups, and based on other posts I've read, you will need to have the right associated gear to create the synergy to get the best from the MA6900. There are quite a few posters here and elsewhere who really like the Mac so it must be good in certain setups. I just received a new Dussun V8i integrated but have not had a chance to set it up yet. (dual mono) Hyper Class A (whatever that is) 250 per channel and inexpensive -in audiophile terms. (no tone controls) To get equalization, you are going to have to go with a Mac integrated or you can get tone controls on the Accuphase integrateds (which I have great admiration for). You would need to buy used since they are expensive. I love integrateds though. Good luck on your hunt. If your short list only has the MA6900 then it must be because you're looing for tone controls. No many integrateds with those. But for integrateds without tone controls there are quite a few high powered integrateds that should be on your short list. I would look at some of the chinese stuff like Dussun too. They have a 30 day trial; you won't get that on most of the high powered integrateds available at retail, but if you buy used you can always sell it here.
Chord intergrated is powerfull ,expensive and refinedif you have a budget t hat will allow it blows doors on all mentioned and like say the (excellent)Music Fidelty.I sold Mac for 6 years and know it's gear thjat if you like it you love it and right now am thrilled they again offers a 75 KT88 based tube amp of 75 watts which is equivillant to 150 solid state watts.Because it's tube carefull impedance matching would necessary.If you like Krell with ultimate bass grip and slightly metallic mids and clean highs the new krell Int. is an excellent choice.I sold and had previous 150 watt 300i and word is 200 watt 400i is better not only more powerfull.To clinical for some ears or speaker matches and not good with Maggie or Thiel) still Krell could be your ticket.You can neve have too much current (within reason I had a 300 wat Adcom 5802 hooked up to monitors and had to run pore pasive to use more than up to ten o'clock of volume dial.Lost dynamics in passive mode but needed to to use the volume and get fine adjustments of said volume so there are limits.But of course you can much more easily damage speakers with too litttle power by driving amp into clipping than you can by having to much current .It will be too loud and you'll back off.
Hope these tidbits help
You're chasing your tail. You already identified the best integrated at that price. Just get it and start listening; don't look back. The Krell has power and dynamics. Unfortunately, it lacks tone and is unable to make anything resembling music. The Chord and MF get a lot closer, but each lacks some of the features and none will sound good into as wide a variety of speaker loads.
I owned the Krell 400xi and had it matched with Dynaudio Contour 3.0.With Piano and Jazz it was sublime absolutely beautiful in tone and clear as a bell without being clinical. With other "bigger" music it just didn't rock the Dyno's. To be fair to the 400, the Dynos were just too power hungry for this amp. In the right application, I would gladly buy the 400 again. The beautiful high's and mids and the lean base was the exact opposite of what I expected from a Krell. BTW, I now own a Mac amp.
"The Krell has power and dynamics. Unfortunately, it lacks tone and is unable to make anything resembling music."
I'm guessing that you've never actually heard the Krell 400xi that is being discussed here. While I think your description of Krells is harsh and inflamatory, I do agree that the typical "Krell sound" is not everyone's cup of tea and certainly isn't mine. However, the 400xi didn't inherit that sound. I auditioned it as I too am in the market for an excellent integrated amp, and was taken back by it's transparency and lack of the Krell 'house' sound. To my ears, it wasn't the best match with my speakers but it was excellent with another speaker brand demo'd.
Have you actually heard the 400xi or are you basing your opinons on previous Krell intergrateds? With the right digital souce (make it the best you can afford) it offers great balance and bloom. Any edge brought into the fold is that from the source player. Even John Wright of Museatex has mentioned to me how different the latest Krell offerings have sounded.
The Krell 400xi is a must audition even for those considering seperates. I haven't heard better under $3K or seen better for that matter, the piece in Black is gorgeous! Stereophile measured its output @ 290watts into 8-ohms, so obviously this Amp. has plenty of juice for any reasonably sized Speakers & room. Don't let the cheap-price fool you, if Krell doubled the price tomorrow, then all of the sudden it would be viewed as the new "state of the art". Remember, for an additional $10K you could always upgrade later into Krell's new FBI...now your talking about a "High Power Integrated.
Thanks again for all the great suggestions.
Would love to hear some things like the Krell, Rowland, Blue Circle, Musical Fidelity etc.. but home audition is next to impossible.
I was not able to demo the Mac MA6900 but I was able to bring home the smaller 6500 and the MCD201 SACD player. It was very pleasant but could not drive my speakers properly. I would love to bring home the C2200/MC501s but my budget fall just short by about $10k.:-(
I've been very pleased with my NAD 320BEE and c541i cdp so I thought I'd give their new Master Series a try. Brought home the M3 integrated and the M55 universal player. I'm glad I did. This gear sounds fantastic! Briefly, it has power and dynamics with deep bass and great highs. The brass really comes through. The resolution is outstanding and the mids are full and very pleasant.
I have a few other things I'd like to check out but unless it betters the NADs significantly I could be very happy with the M3/M55 combo. The only thing I worry about is reliabilty and service.
I did in fact listen to the Krell 400xi discussed here, in my own systems and a friend's which I know well. Is it improved over the unfortunate house sound of Krell electronics? Yes, marginally. Is it absent the lack of musicality emblematic of Krell gear? No, unfortunately. I'm not being inflammatory, I'm being honest. Krell amplification and its sound, IMO, has been a primary contributor to the decline of audiophile credibilty to non-audiophiles for many years. When I saw the 400 and related components go into mass distribution, I was hoping for a better outcome, truly. I just cannot agree that it earns any sonic preference whatsoever over several other alternatives in the market.
Really, Stevecham, I've tried hard to like Krell amplification. One of my best friends was a dealer for many years and I gave him every chance to convince me with each new product. I can't think of any comparably-priced electronics that produce sound less akin to music, more stripped of tone, more dense with sonic distraction, than Krell -- even granting some product-to-product variances in the family sound. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that if Dan D' and Krell made the only amplifiers in existence, I wouldn't own a hifi. A Tivoli shelf system would be so much less distracting and my mind's ear could fill in the rest. Fortunately there is a vast array of alternatives, so I don't have to deny myself.
I've had the Krell 400xi in my system now for over 2 years, along with the SACD Standard (via balanced) powering a pair of B&W Nautilus 802s and the sound is simply amazing. It has performed flawless since the day I installed it. I purchased the system new and hooked it up back in May 2004 and haven't touched it since. I haven't heard an Amplifier over the past 2 years that I prefer to the 400xi. In this hobby, to say after 2 years that you are completely satisfied with your system and wouldn't change a thing is very rare and is saying alot.
My advice is simply to buy the Krell 400xi and you are done, out of the stores, classifieds and magazines and at Home listening to music...and enjoying life.
Just released is the new Calaf Integrated in the Forbidden City line from Consonance. 200 watts into 8 ohms 400 into 4 ohms with the first 40 watts Class A and a pair of 6922's in the preamp stage. Retail is around $3,300
and it comes in both black and silver chasis with either black or red faceplate. I've heard it and damn if it don't sound killer. I've dumped a lot more into my system then this piece costs and I don't know if I should be happy that someone has made it or pissed that I wasted so much $$$ already.
You'll be hearing a lot about this piece.
213 well perhaps if I heard the very system you have listened to Krell in I might agree with you. As many know I am a proponent of the system and not the component that makes the sound. All I know is that my Krell set up is every bit enjoyable as my small cj all tube setup, although very different, but very musical.
I would be interested to know the context that your experiences are based on.
cford, if you like the classe sound, don't pursue krell. night and day difference in sound. classe has a warmer tube like sound, the krell has a more analytical sound. i also sold my classe 47.5 preamp and odyssey monoblocks and purchased an integrated amp to drive my totem mani 2's. i did try the krell and i didn't like it. i have also owned the macintosh ma-6500 integrated (before the 6900 came out). very nice musical amp but not powerful enough to handle my 4-way speakers at that time. before purchasing any amp, you need to demo one in your home with your equipment to see if that is what you want.