i have heard the classe a couple of times once one a pair of magnepans and another time on a pair of revel f30s. i was not impressed with it. it did not draw me into the music. it was very boring and not very refined. never heard the mcintosh. if you are looking for an intergrated i would recommend a plinius 8200, unison research unico, or a vtl it-85. the plinius is the best solid state intergrated i have heard. i have not heard them all and i am sure there are better but this amp is very sweet. it sound very warm a little tube like, and at 175 wpc it has power to drive most speakers. i currently own the unico and it is a great integrated amp. it is hybrid amp that uses 12au7 tubes in the preamp stage. it is very warm, and extremely natural and transparent. it just disappears. the vtl it-85 is an all tube amp. it is pretty quick and produces good bass for a tube amp. and it obviously has all the qualities of tubes. the plinius can be had easily here for under $1500. the unico cost $1295-$1395 brand new. i got it for $1100 used here. the vtl is very hard to find used. i am still looking for one. it cost $2500 new. as far as source goes i believe sony's, don't remember model number, sacd/cd changer is the best changer you can get for the money. it goes for $800 new so it is a real bargin if you can find it used. hope this helps and good luck.
forgot to mention one other thing. i used to own a pair of 805s and i used it with the unico for about a month. they are a great match. the tubes tamed the nautilus tweeter a little, and added some more sweetness to an already excellent midrange.
you didn't say how big your room is. I use Cary V12i/SLP 2002 to drive my N804s. In my 11x13 room, 50wpc triode is plenty of power for them. I used to use a Classe CAP 151 and it was effortless and a little tubelike for an integrated. The Unico would be a good bet if your room is small like mine.
Thanks for your replies!
My room is 12x20 with large opening to the dinining room.
I've just listened N804 with Mcintosh MA6500 integrated amplifier. I liked the sound. The female voice is very natural, plenty of bass. Much better comparing to DENON 5803.
I do not think I care about SACD for now, just good 5-CDs changer.
Could you also advise me how can I extend my 2ch integated amp into home theater.
These babies require lots of current. If you can, try listen
to something like the Plinius 8200 as well as the Classe.
Avoid the common Krell/B&W combination - it's like an
icepick in the ear.
I'd like to add that good sound is my priority. I listen mostly classical music and some rock.
Along with the Plinius 8200 you should try the Jeff Rowland Concentra II. It has 150 watts per channel and does a very very good job with mine, also using Cary CD301 for cd's. I listen to mostly rock and pop music. Best, Charlie
I second all of the opinions about the Plinius 8200. I use an older 8150 with B&W 803s and love the combination. I suggest that you audition several CD players. With good speakers and int. amp, a lesser CD player will always be your weak link. I use a Linn Ikemi in my system and love it. I see that one has just been listed for sale at $2K.
Try the Musical Fidelity A300 150 wpc int. Antony Michaelson is into classical and his amps sound like that. Soundstage did a review on N804 / M-F A300 and called it a symbiotic match or something. Find on A-gon for around $1k.
Ditto the Musical Fidelity recommendation...2 great Brit pieces that work well together...the big, open midrange Brit speakers are famous for plus a very smooth, airy top end...nice combo...I would also avoid NAD cd players...there amps are very good for the money...and has always been there "bread n butter"...also...if possible...stick to single load CDP...changers have far too many moving parts...which can cause reliability issues...the original REGA...another Brit piece...can be found for under $500 used....and is built like a tank ...good luck...
How Musical Fidelity compares to McIntosh?
How can find Musical Fidelity dealer in US for auditioning? Their website is not any helpful.
I've used an NAD 751 for a couple years now with the 804s. It has been a temporary holder until I decide/can afford the right pre-amp and amp combination. The NAD has been very good. I'm sure it doesn't get the full capability out of the speaker, but the sound is still great. I think the 751 is now the 761, which has more power. The CD player I'm using is a Naim CD5 (which made a huge difference from my previous player).
I'm using Musical Fidelity separates with my N804s. Sounds magnificent. MF and B&W work VERY well together. Go for the MF.
I used to own some N804s for a little while. I felt they were too bright with Krells and found McIntosh to be majestic and beautiful with them. Mc is excellent at controlling brightness. The MC6500 has effortless liquidity and warmth with a remarkable amount of power when needed. A buddy has a Musical Fidelity A3 setup (on CDM9)that is very nice but I like my McIntoshes better (on Paradigm Ref. 100.2). They have more soul than the MF, more body and strength without any loss of detail. Anyway, I just find McIntosh to be one of the best in their price category. Not to mention the Mcs look stunning. If you like the Mc sound, you won't find a SS substitute IMO.
A little known but remarkable set of integrateds come out of Audiomat (French company). The Arpege reference (bottom-end product) kicks the ass of anything I've heard for at least twice the price. I own one, and have been in complete love with it for over a year. I have a NAD 521i CD player that I'm upgrading today (Vecteur L-4), but even with the NAD...outstanding piece of equipment. Soundstage has done reviews on Audiomat products, including the Arpege. One is currently for sale on Audiogon for about $1500. Goood luck
Audio Analogue Puccini, faboulous sounding amp and extremely musical, it is for those discerning listeners who want nothing but music coming out from their transducers.
I've decided on McIntosh MA6500 new. I might upgrade to MA6900.
I am looking for CD Player now. firstname.lastname@example.org, what do you think about Puccini CD Player?