I have a Mira 3 and notice none of the qualities you describe. Perhaps it is your speakers, or interconnects. I'm using JPS Ultraconductor and Signal Cable interconnects for the various sources I'm using, as well as REL Strata sub and VonSchweikert VR1 speakers. Plenty of deep, punchy bass, NO coldness, plus the mids and highs you describe.
What I found on my Brio 3 (now sold) was that the spk. binding posts are pretty cheap quality and sound poor. It's easy to change out to something better. Vampire BP Hex's or even better are Superior Electric BP-31's. Changes the sound for the better. Smoother/warmer. Along w/power cord and interconnect's, you can improve on a very good Int. amp. It's amazing what simply little things can improve the sound! Good luck w/your search.
Thanks for your responses - may try to work with the Mira, then, before throwing in the towel. Like I said, the detail is remarkable, and its only on 'rock' music (25%) that I sense the loss of overall warmth or full range power. Thanks again.
I agree with Kotta. A good upgraded power cord can also bring noticeable improvements as well.
What speakers are you using? These might be contributing more to your sense of "coldness" than the amp. Or perhaps the amp / speaker mating isn't optimal.
I find it interesting that you say it sounds good for classical but not rock music. I associate both with similar needs, and if anything the classical music requires a higher dynamic range. By classical do you mean just chamber music?
One integrated that I highly recommend for people looking for the type of sound that you are is the Music Hall Mambo. It really is a wonderful amp, and sits on the warm side of neutral, but not annoyingly so. I use one in my home office.
Not that I don't hear differences in cables, but generally speaking they won't transform a system. Just my experience.
Rega's forte is sources IMO. The Mira and Brio are good for the money, but not as good as the Apollo and Saturn. Those integrateds can sound a bit dry and congested to my ears.
What is the rest of the system? Source is very important, as are speakers. Without knowing those, it's hard to give any suggestions. Maybe the Mira isn't powering the speakers properly? Maybe the source is out of balance quality wise?
I just thought of one other thing I would do along w/changing out the binding posts, change out the cheap IEC socket. For under $20 you can get a nice Furatech model. (Gold plated version for more warmth.) It's a easy upgrade on the Brio 3. Then find/make a really good powercod. Great Interconnects and spk. wires can make all the difference and bring the sound to the next level. (If you considering IC's, I can whole-hearthed recommended you check-out Auricle Audio's entry level IC's. Amazing sounding. At times, they are on Auction for a song. These IC's took me off the merry-go around.)
All of my equipment - from speakers to cables to CD (Apollo) - is commensurate with the Rega Mira in terms of price (so, speakers to cables, everything is solid, but not stand out). To answer the question about classical vs rock: I am referring to chamber music (Shostak. quartets), not symphonies, so rather piano sonatas, or things like Stockhausen's Tierkreis (played on music boxes) or Morton Feldman, and the Rega is great for that, as it is for stuff like Amon Tobin or Boards of Canada. Electronic/experimental stuff sounds sharp and rich too.
Whoever said the word 'dry', however, that sums up the rock experience with the Rega. It feels like there is, simply put, a 'precision' most unbecoming of rock music, reminding me a bit of mixing down tracks in a studio using studio monitors.
At any rate, I appreciate everyone's comments. And yes, as much as I like the Mira, Rega should do something about those posts. Thanks again,
I said the word dry. Its not gratingly dry, but it can get get dry none the less. Rather than modding the Mira, I'd move on if its not doing it for you anymore. You'll probably lose more money on it if you mod it.
I run a Bryston B60 with a Rega Apollo. Great combo IMO. The B60s can be found here for pretty good prices. Some say they're clinical or analytical, but I really think its revealing what else is in the chain.
There are a ton of good integrateds out there. Depends on preferences, needs (room size, speakers driven, etc.), and budget.
I don't often see the words "cold" and "Rega" mentioned together in the same sentence. A small part of me wonders if there's a bad synergy going on.
For what its worth, I never cared much for the Mira 3. I owned it. Twice. Good build. OK sound.
If you want a romantic,more 'human' sound.. I'd consider going the tube route. I'd advise checking out Prima Luna. Many of their entry level products feature a self biasing circuit, which means that you won't have to worry about biasing each tube when it comes time to replace them. Just plop in a new set and you'll be back to listen to your music in no time. Oh yeah, the sound isn't too bad either.
My first decent amp was a Mira 3. Sound is clear, mid and highs are detailed - analytical to the point of coldness. On some music it sounds great (electronic, classical) but rock sounds dead, no oomph, even with sub-bass.
So, looking for a 'modest' priced integrated to return that sense of analog warmth to my sound (while hopefully retaining some of that great Rega detail, clarity). Any thoughts on an int-amp that is more 'human' without breaking the bank?
Try the equivalent Naim Nait 5i, better still the Nait XS. Rega makes good musical amps but I often find them to sound soft and little flat in rock music. FWIW I have listened to Brio3 and owned the Elicit.
Naim or the Elicit. But really, it comes down to the speakers more than anything else in my opinion and you don't seem to say what those are. If you have a pair of something like the Rega RS5's with the mira it would not be dry or lacking in snap, drive, whatever the words are you are descrbing it lacking in. I'd look at speakers before
Oh, I bought a pair of Totem Dreamcatchers. Sorry!