Integrated amp question.....around $1000..could use some help!
I am looking for an integrated amp and can spend right around $1000.....give or take a little. I have been out of the hi-fi game for awhile and could use some help. My speakers are bookshelves 88db sensitivity at 8 ohms and they are on the warm side. I will be using my mac running Audirvana most of the time in a relatively small room in an apartment. I was initially going to get a NAD 388 (around 1200 refurbished) or a Nuprime ID-8. I am looking for the best sound quality I can get and I tend to like detail more than warmth if that helps. I am currently using my very old Yamaha rxv-2090. Anyone who has ever used this amp knows it has a very rolled off high end.........very warm, but no detail at all. before that I had an NAD 3020 (years ago) and liked it a lot even though it was lacking in the power dept. I have been checking out the used stuff on here and it is daunting to say the least....... If anyone can give me any input on these amps or the two mentioned above I would really appreciate it! I have a DAC but it is older so if the amp had one great but but I want the best sounding amp I can get first, and will worry about a phono preamp etc. later. Obviously I am concerned about reliability with some of the older units... This is the used list..........Thanks in advance.
Exposure 2010s2 Bryston B60 Creel Evolution 50A Primare i22 Simaudio i.5 Classe cap-151 Sony TA-A1ES Rotel RA 1570 Magnum Dynalab MD 308 Wyred 4 Sound Mint Marantz PM 15s2 Musical Fidelity M2Si
Based on your stated preferences I’d second the Musical Fidelity M2si. I found it just a bit too bright with my Maggie MMGWs, but it has a very clean, energetic sound that might suit you. I paid $600 for one new at Upscale Audio and kept it thinking I’d find a place for it. I previously auditioned NAD 358 (I think) for another system but found it gave acoustic instruments and voices an amplified timbre. I bought a Rogue Sphinx v.2 instead for Maggie 0.7s. Love it. And I think DACs should be separate components. So many advances in digital compared to amps. Good luck!
I’ve heard a few of the amps on your list in various incarnations. Seems like you want a neutral, analytical sound more than euphonic so I’d say cross the Primare and Creek off your list. Musical Fidelity, too - but not cause it's warm rather than boring and average/below average sounding. The Exposure I thought was ok but the Simaudio was more detailed and muscular sounding.
Wow the outlaw recommendation post was removed - was it really a plant?
I got a Yamaha A-S801. Super fantastic, crystal clear and detailed but not analytical sounding. Came from an 80s NAD receiver with a similar profile that you’re describing on your old Yamaha and I haven’t looked back.
The yamaha has a hi-res DAC that can be used with the USB from your Mac. Also includes a decent phono pre-amp. Recommended!
Me again. Totally forgot about the Anthem 225; I used to own that! It’s OK, fine, on the same level as the Exposure. But still the Simaudio Moon was a cut above; more engaging with better imaging. I think it’s the best option on your list. This last is of no help but their I7 was also a solid improvement over the I5.
Seeing as how a recommendation for Outlaw was removed, I would also recommend them, good review and measurements from Stereophile (JA mentioned the DAC was just ok, but looking at the measurements, I doubt you’d hear any coloring/distortion/noise).