Integrated amp + dac for Focal


Hello!

Looking for recommendations for an integrated amp with built-in DAC. Main inputs will be mac mini usb + optical for mostly 2ch music and some HT use. Will be used with Focal Aria 948 in 8 X 15 x 38 ft room. The NAD C372 with a Cambridge DacMagic 100 is what I'm looking to replace with the new unit.

I'd prefer to buy used and like:
Pass X250 (keeping the dacmagic dac)
Parasound Halo Integrated "HINT 6" 160 W
Cary si-300.2d


What do you think?

Thank you!


disector88
I'm trying to wrap my mind around those room dimensions! How are things set up and what's your distance?
yeah, room is one of a kind ;) speakers have their backs to the shorter 15' wall set about 10ft apart. Sitting area is 10-12 ft from each speaker. So most of the back 20ft of the room is empty. 
Focals love current. Something that’s stable to 2 ohms.
Budget? New and/or used?
I was fortunate enough to snag one of the first pair of Focal Sopra No2's that came into the U.S., about 2 1/2 years ago.  To select them, I listened to a LOT of speakers, I was upgrading from a pair of Totem Fire monitors, moving my system to a much larger room as well.

I find the Sopra tweeter does much better with a smooth sounding amp.  I have heard them driven by "fast" sounding amps, and I found listener fatigue to set in fairly quickly.

I'll probably get slapped around for recommending this...but, I'd recommend you look into a McIntosh integrated, especially one with autoformers in the output stage.  I have heard Focal's driven by an MA6700, and mine are being driven by an MC452 power amp, and to my ears they both pair well with the tweeter.

Happy Listening!
ejr1953 -  interesting. I too hear focal is considered bright and pairs with smoother/warmer amps (like mcintosh) . I've only heard with my nad so don't have any other reference, and find treble is harsh and fatiguing at times. I will look at mcintosh but I'm always overwhelmed by Mc options, so appreciate the recommendation to look at autoformers. 

kalali - ideally used and $4k or less


How about a gingerly used combo?  McIntosh c15 and mc202?  I retired in Seattle and soon moving. 
As an owner of Focal speakers I can attest to their tendency towards the analytic and bright sound.  It took me some time to discover that I needed tube power amps for them to live up to their potential.  I don't know which integrated to recommend but  tube output is necessary IMHO.
The amps I found to work beautifully are Opera Consonance Cyber 800s.  They are tube monoblocks, their price even new, is far from prohibitive.  They do require a pre amp so ultimately they may be more than you want to spend, or trouble with, although easy to use. 

I used to drive my Sopras with a Mcintosh MA8000 then moved on from McIntosh to Hegel. The H360 would definitely be worth a look. It has a pretty nice sounding DAC as well
Hegel looks interesting too. thank you.

any takes on the cary SI-300.2d?

I actually have a NAD C370, not C372 as op'ed.


If you can find one used I suggest the Pass Labs INT-250. I have one
connected to a ModWright OPPO and B and W 802 D3s. The sound is simply extraordinary. The Pass can deliver amazing dynamics and all the power you will every need.  I have not heard a tube amp that can do what the Pass does in the bass/lower base while producing excellent mid and highs. 
I've got 936's and they're getting their juice from a modified Pass F5 doing about 32 watts. It effortlessly drives them as loud as I like. I'm about as far from mine as you are from yours so I'd consider that kind of power ideal. I personally think tubes are a sub-optimal solution for speakers like these because of their current demands. I don't find them to be bright at all, and if an amp is going to make them sound bright, this F5 would be it with it's flat response out beyond 500 KHz. 
I seriously doubt you need more than an INT-60 to be honest. I'd feel comfortable driving mine with an XA25 or 30.8. The F7 is very well suited to fairly reactive speakers like these, too, 
I have Pass x250.8 and xp10 with Bluesound Node as my source running into Focal 1028BE 's in a dedicated purpose built sound room, 13 x20 on a concrete slab, insulated walls and some sound treatment. The system sounds great, Pass is class A to about 30 watts, wand rarely crosses into AB, the Focals are the best speakers I've owned and are musical, tight, fast and have incredible detailed and deep bass - when it's supposed to be there. They like and handle power and current so I'd go the route of a Pass powered system to get the most current and musicality, no tube set up will have enough current and control in my opinion. 
Sorry, didn't see you wanted a built in DAC, my bad
The parasound Halo integrated is very smooth and i would consider a good choice and level with the Aria.
I currently own the focal kanta 2 with it.
I'm searching for an upgrade now(separates) might sale mine;)
From all the suggestions I saw, if you are looking for a one box do it all and good synergy with focal then I would  recommend a listen to the hint or hegel h160.
Good luck!
I really can't emphasis enough the necessity to put the best possible amplification behind those speakers. Something that doesn't quiver at all in the face of a 2 ohm load. Focal voices their speakers with Naim amps so their integrated amps might be worth a look. 
I think you should look into Naim for this...either supernait 2 or separates. 
The Lyngdorf tdia2170 or 3400. The room correction is flat out excellent. 
I heard a pair of focal sopra’s with a Naim uniti star and thought it was too much detail.  Bright is another way to say it.  I can understand why some like their music that way.  So much detail.   , But, maybe use caution there.  I haven’t seen any recommendation for Peachtree.  Used to be made in Canada then went to China now made again in Canada.  Some, but not all models have a tube pre-amp stage to add some sweetness to the mix.  I would think that could be a good combo of some of the great suggestions above.  All come with DACs so at least I’m ticking the boxes to meet your criteria.  
I have 1007be, tried few amps:
Rega elexr - no, too harsh
Naim - no, sounds like b&w, I hate this combination (often presented at hifi shows since its the same mother-company)
Pass (few models with few different tube preamps) - really good
Hegel h160 - ok match for jazz, not for rock/electronic, too laid back for my taste
Accuphase (owned E213) - good match 
Audio Analogue Puccini Anniversery (my current amp) - accuphase-like sound, smooth, musical, but with little bit more control (accuphase is 80/120 on 8/4 ohm, where AA Puccini is 80/160 at 8/4ohm, so that maybe explains better control)



I'd certainly want to try a Mark Levinson 585 integrated amp with the 948s.  At AXPONA, one of the display rooms paired a ML 585 with the new Revel F228be tower speakers.  That was some gorgeous sound!
Lot's of good suggestions. I have vintage Whatmough 202 Leadline monitors which use (modded) Focal drivers. After trying a lot of amps, I was pleasantly surprised at how well they paired with bel canto dac3.7 and amps. That smooth their bright nature thing and gives them more dynamics and solidity of the images. Best of luck. 
Great suggestions!

Mark Levinson 585 looks very good. McIntosh 7200 looks like a great fit as well. How will the ML sound compared to McIntosh ?

Although Pass sounds great, does not have DAC, so will have to eliminate.