You can get a good deal on a used Plinius 8200. It's just recentyl discontinued, but a great amp.
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Yesterday, a review appeared in the "amp/preamp" section of AudioAsylum.com The writer did a good job of comparing integrateds from MF, Classe', Bryston and Portal. You'll find it under "Portal Panache Review"
Disclaimer:I'm associated with Portal. The review, from an Audiogoner who purchased a demo unit, was not solicited; it was a pleasant surprize.
How efficient are the Europas? Are they 8ohm load and/or 90db> plus in terms of sensitivity? Are they floorstanders or monitor size? How big is the woofer size?
Are you leaning to tube,hybrid, or solid stage amplification?
You will get more accurate recommendation from Audiogoners once these above questions answered.
I had Europa's for awhile, and a couple of amp/source combo's that were ~$1500. Depending on whether you like tubes or solid state, I would recommend the following:
Source -- I used a Jolida JD-100A with all of the amps below, and found it to be a wonderful CD player. I had previously used a Philips SACD 1000, and in many respects found the Jolida to be a more musical unit. I think for ~$550 used/stock, it's a great deal. For slightly less, the Cambridge (recommended above) and Music Hall units are about $300 used, and are well regarded.
Tubes -- My favorite amp with the Europa's was the all tube Jolida 502A integrated. I was using KT-88 power tubes. The midrange was just right with the 502A, and it really made the Europa's sing. I believe the 502a can be found for ~$600 used.
Tube/Hybrid -- Per Gunbei's suggestion, the Unison Research Unico has gotten very good reviews. I've never heard it myself. I did use a Jolida 1501RC with the Europa's, and while it sounded okay, it was definitely a step below the 502a. The midrange sounded muddy and congested in comparison. But, you don't have to worry about power tubes, and the 1501RC is about $500 used.
Solid State -- I used an Audio Analogue Puccini SE and the Audio Refinement Complete with the Europa's too. I think both of these units are among the best integrated's under $1000. With the Europa's, I preferred the Complete. It had better bass control (actually, the best bass of all the amps I mention), and a more dynamic sound. The Puccini is a smooth operator, but it sounded a little too laid back for me. Pete Whitley, who also has experience with the Europa's, mentioned that he had a problem with the Complete not having enough power for the Europa's. I never had this problem, but I never play music very loudly either. Something you might want to keep in mind.
Other than that, I think the Plinius is a great recommendation too. Never heard the Plinius with the Europa's, but I'm sure it would sound great. The 8200 might be stretching your budget, especially if you spring for a nice source like the Jolida (which you should!). Maybe look at the 8100 or 8150? I think those can be found for ~$1000 used.
Thanks for the compiment Matty!
I'd definitely like to hear what you think of the Unico and how it compares to what you already own. I had a chance to hear the Unico powering Triangle Antals at this past CES in Vegas. Very lively!
I didn't realize the Music Hall CD25 was such a bargain. What kind of mods did Dan do for you? Should be a fun listening session for you for quite some time!
I am a little bit new to legit. "hi-fi", although experienced in "mid-fi". I am also seriously considering the NAD c370 and the NAD 541i combo with the Europas. Can anyone here give me an objective assessment of the negatives associated with this combo vs. some of above suggestions? In other words, what would I gain with an Audio Refinement Complete / Jolida JD100A combo (for example) vs. the NAD combo for the extra $300-$500? Thanks, Jb3
Jb3, try Audio Aero Prima integrated amp and cdp. Call Audiogallery in Toronto to see if they have any demo's available. When I bought mine, the amp was used and the cdp was new, but the previous model. The amp is a hybrid and the cdp is a tube output. This might be a very little more than what you want to spend, but it is well worth it. Check the website for info.
Definitely the Sony TA-F808ES MOSFET integrated and Philips 963SA SACD/CD player. Why? Because I have listened to this combination (along with my vinyl) for about a year and it is great!! I especially like the 192 kHz upsampling built into the Philips. Really takes the digital 'edge' off of redbook CDs. The Sony integrated is so good that I just bought the Sony TA-N90ES amp and a Threshold preamp to replace the integrated. Have a new listening room, so back to separates. I will eventually get a BAT VK-3i to try with this combination, as well.
I've had the Audio Refinement Complete, the Jolida 100 and the Europas for about 2 months. All were purchased used. I can't compare them to other systems but the three pieces work incredibly well together. I listen to a wide variety of music and although it's a cliché - I'm listening to all my music again, for the first time. There is an amazing amount of music that I had on my cd's that I just never heard before putting it through these three pieces. My Jolida has had Level 1 mods which I understand makes a fairly big difference. Also, when I first got my Europas I emailed Roy Johnson about an integrated that would work well with the Europas and he told me that a lot of people had given him very positive feedback on the Cayin TA 30. Good luck
I have a tube int that I am told crushes the Jolida 502B...and its a lot less expensive too...$379 gets you an awesome sounding PP triode int amp with many extra tubes...you can then buy a great sounding cd player like a Naim cd 3.5 or Rega Jupiter...please see my ad under tube int amps...Wonderful sounding TRIODE INT AMP FS / TRADE - and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask, thanks for looking, Louis
I am on a tube kick as of late, just listened to a (used) Conrad-Johnson MV-55 tube amplifier yesterday and it was the best of anything the guy had in his store.
Very similar to that is Conrad-Johnson's CAV-50, integrated amp. At the least, I would have a listen to this wonderful sounding tube integrated amplifier - if you don't like it, nothing lost; if you do... welcome to Conrad-Johnson's wonderful world of tubes!