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The Blue Circle CS is very new; but based on Gilberts other offerings, I am confident it will be nice.
Other integrated amps to consider in that range is the Audio Refinement Complete; and the Creek 4340R or 4340R Mk2.
The CS is not remote capable I believe, if that matters. The "R" on the Creek denotes it has the optional remote. The Complete's remote is also optional.
The Audio Refinement Complete will be the most "tube like".
Guys, thanks for the suggestions - all good. I think the McIntosh may be a bit clunky for her taste (great product though). Yes, the Blue Circle won't have the remote - should be fine though. Yea, I have the Blue Circle BC2s and love them - that's a key reason I'm considering the CS - looks like a nice, tidy, femme-friendly package too.
Also, I do have the likes of Creek and Rega on my list of considerations - love the British mid level amps (also considering Musical Fidelity and Arcam) - they're all a bit 'boxy' though. I think she may appreciate something a bit more interesting looking (I know the sonics are the key, but I think she'd be looking for a good looking amp too). Yes, Audio Refinement would be another nice choice (I have the YBA CD1a from same designer, and love it - have a lot of respect for YBA's design philosophies). Am also considering the Jolida 302b - don't know much about it but got a nice offer on a new one, and it has that interesting tubey look.
She, like the rest of her department at work, are losing their jobs this week, so I want to perk her up with a good system (I have speakers and front end and cables I can give her, but need the nice amp to go with it). Cheers,
-As long as she can get by with only 15 watts/channel. You'll need easy to drive speakers but the amp is very nice sounding and the investment is minimal.
The unit will accept high output phono cartidges so a turntable is possible. The line section is passive- theres a total of 8 tubes in the unit.
By rebuilt: new power supply filter caps and new coupling caps in the output section. Find a decent set of 6BQ5s or else put in new ones. Set up right, the amp is very reliable. Set up poorly and you'll be pulling your hair out.
The fun part is it'll totally give the new integrated amps a run for the money- it has the best sounding output transformers Dyna made.
Hi, thanks again for all the responses. I don't want to spend too much (rather upgrade my own system :-), so would rather spend in the $600 area. I'm still leaning toward the Blue Circle CS as I think she'll like that most and I'm already a happy Blue Circle owner. I think the CS retails for about $800, but I believe a 20% can be had direct from Blue Circle with shipping included if there's no dealer in one's area. Anyway, I'll think about it further. Speakers would be $300 infinity bookshelfs (can't remember the model # offhand). They should do the job. CD player, will, alas, be either a CD walkman or some cheap Sony DVD player (I know, almost sacrilege, but will get her started - I'm hoping the amp will be the first step toward long term upgrades for her).
Dekay, by the way, in reference to an older thread, I took your advice and got loads of IKEA Lack tables for my components - they work so well - I cut all but 3 inches off the legs. Thanks for this cost effective idea (so cheap, that the shipping cost more than the tables :-) Cheers,
I've a correction on the CS price - Blue Circle told me the retail is $1195, and with discount would be $920 plus $25 for shipping, if there's no dealer in the area. So, looks a bit pricey. I've pulled out an old Harmon Kardon receiver (AV10) from my garage that I may give her to get her going ($200 on jewelery may work better as a gift than a $950 amp that she'll only half appreciate ;-)
Problem solved !
Email Walter Liederman at email@example.com for
details on the Jolida 1501RC, a sweet integrated hybrid
amp that costs under $600. I just bought one and it
sings. Your girlfriend would be very happy. Pair it
with a MMF-CD25 (Music Hall) CD player ($500) and you've
got the makings of a near-audiophile system.