Integrated amp reccomendations

Hey all,
I want to upgrade my amplifier. I would like to stay in the integrated solid state world. I don't want the hassle or worrying about tubes, and a preamp-amp combo is probably out of my price range. My system is a Cambridge Audio Azur 640C CD player, an NAD C370 integrated amp, Sonus Faber Concerto Home speakers, and a REL Stadium III subwoofer. I use Cardas Cross Speaker cables, and Monster M550 Interconnects. OH! I also have a Musical FIdelity X10-V3 tube buffer between the CD player and integrated. I would like to buy a(new or used) integrated that will take a little of the hardness/edginess away from the sound. Give it a more fluid, life-like quality. It has to have enough power to run the Concerto's in a medium to large sized room with vaulted ceilings. The bass is handled by the REL, but I still want that midbass presence out of the Concertos. Lastly, I don't want to break the bank. I listen to everything from hard rock/metal to classical and acoustic music. Progressive rock/metal is my favorite, but of course, being progressive, it has a little of everything in it.

I know this is a tall order, but I need help.
My NAD always received good write-ups. Should I stick with it, or is there something reasonable in price that would be a real improvement?

Thanks in advance!
What is your budget?
i would stick with the nad.
What is "reasonable in price"?
If reasonable is $1600, I'd say a Musical Fidelity A308. If reasonable is $500, I'd say Audio Refinement Complete.

And, if reasonable is $3500, I'd say the Jeff Rowland Concentra II.
Check out Nuforce they have an intigrated for $1200,50 watts ,100stepped atenuator,it's digital and veery very fast ,
If $950/obo is reasonable, I would consider this:
I really don't believe that the NAD370 is creating the hardness or edginess you are hearing. I honestly would look elsewhere in the system. It is not the last word in amps but it's certainly musical and if anything, a haired layed back.
You may need to play with setup of the Sonus Faber speakers some or maybe check your room acoustics. I have found over the years that hardness starts there. There's things you can do with the room and I personally consider it THE most important aspect of the "System."
Your system doesn't look to be one that would be hard. I have seen people spend mega bucks looking for improvements that did not come because of room limitations. The best equipment cannot overcome a bad room.
You would have to spend a good bit of money to make an improvement with electronics. The NAD isn't bad and can stand comparison with more expensive equipment. Don't under estimate it.
If you must change, I would agree on the MF's 308 integrated. Another would be the Creek 5350se. No hardness or edginess there!
My top pick in integrated's of reasonable money would be the Ayre AX7e. A very, very good sounding piece but MUST be run balanced to get the most out of it. You can get it discounted to about $2600 or so or by used where they still run $2400 or so.
there's a Portal Panche for sale on the gon $950 - have one it is a fine amp , very musical from top to bottom , neutral, 100 wpc; can directly say that it is a better amp than the NAD 370 - have one in another system and like it as well but it isn't as refined as the Panache - a few of the Panache's have come up on the gon in the last week or so and haven't lasted more than a day or two - very good value for the money
I was thinking Musical Fielity A5 integrated. Is the A308 that different?

Maybe I'll stick with the NAD. People seem to think to get a substantial performance incrase, I would have to spend a lot more.
The Blue Circle NSCS should be on an integrated amplifier audition list as well . . .
I haven't heard the A5, so I can't comment. The nice thing about the A5 is you would have better resale if you didn't like it than you would with the 308.
Creek 5350se with phono stage. Resale should be around the same thing you pay for it 900-1000 inc case you dont like. Bryston b- 60 is another one costing about the same . Class A Stereophile. Excellant unit
Consider the Dussun V8i. 250w/CH for $1600. Great reviews and 30 day money back guarantee from AAA-Audio. What do you have to lose ?
Hi, how a bout adding a tube preamp to your Nad amplifier section, and loose the buffer. Maybe a tube pre w/ dac like the Monarchy, $980. new direct. That should smooth things out in both the amp and cd player. I've used a tube pre with Nad amp section with excellent results. Also i might try some different ICs like Cardas, Audience AU24, Harmonic tech copper, Anti ICs, etc. The Nad is a nice amp, works well with you speakers, keep it and try a tube pre/cables/DAC. Just a thought, good luck, Alan
I tend to agree with Alan. Tubes in the preamp section are virtually hassle and heat free. Tara Labs and Cardas offer some nice and smooth cables and ICs that can help take the edge off of the digital/solid state nasties.

Ok, I just have to toss this in...I can't help myself. Tubes are nothing to lose sleep over and sound heavenly. Take the plunge.
I also recommend the Dussun V8i. Nothing hard sounding there. It'smooth and powerful. As Erider says-what do you have to lose with the 30 day money back guarantee? It's a lot more amp than it should be for $1600. Just change out the stock preamp jumpers and give it several hundred hours of break in.
Jalanc, I like that idea, of adding a tube preamp. I looked at Monarchy's web site (I don't care fot the web site) but I can't find the item you're describing. I saw a new Pre/Dac that costs around $1500, but I Can't find the one you mentioned. Doesn't the tube buffer do just about the same thing already, though? I thought the Wolfson dac in my CD player was pretty good. WOuld that monarchy's be significantly better?
I'd get either used Plinius 8200 or used Krell KAV300i. They both sold in $1300+- range and great step-up from NAD.
Another option is to try Portal Panache integrated amp.
I second the recommendation for the Dussun. I own one at it is wonderful
Try new integrated Flying mole.
the cairn 4808 is an excelent integrated .sam tellig of stereophile gave a class a . alan at audiowaves is closing them out for 995.00 . it was money well spent for me. i wrote a review on it if you would like more of an opinion.
OK, it's down to about 3:

Plinius 9100
Musical Fidelity A5

ALl used

I don't want to go the tube route...yet.
Of these 3, for a warm, well rounded, full sound, Sonus Faber 2 way stand-mounted speakers with REL sub, and I listen mostly to rock, which is the better bet AND a step-up from my C370 NAD

Thanks in advance. I really appreciate the help!
I don't know why you eliminated the Dussun V8i from consideration. It's 1600 new, with a 30 day money back. It is warm and full sounding. I had the NAD M3- it also has a warm quality and smooth sound and offers great flexibility. (has tone controls- balance, and plenty of features that other integrateds lack)-read the recent stereophile review as well as the TAS review.

I had the Plinius 9200 not the 9100- great integrated- lovely midrange- nice highs--a bit lean in presentation.

No experience with Mu Fi.
i agree with bigtee about room treatment etc. own a NAD 372 int. and found it not hard sounding but some nad stuff can be... dunno about 370. i just purchased a scott nixon DAC for my NAD cdp and it makes for a really nice improvement in average cd sound. check out his site. makes a model with tube power very affordable and interesting approach to DAC. i don't think the amp is the problem as much as i have read from this string. imo sounds like a DAC solution may be the ticket along with some well placed wall panels. bigtee has made some very astute points. good luck, you have a nice system going there already.
I haven't really eliminated anything. You reccomend the Dussun that much, huh? What do you mean by "lean presentation" for the plinius?
I'd love to mess with room treatments, but I don't think the others living here would be appreciative. I don't have a dedicated listening room. The system is in a large, vaulted ceiling, great room.
Here's a thought: What if used the NAD as a linestage feeding a PASS labs X-150? That way I can upgrade to seperates later. Everyone says Pass is very clean and musical.
Of the three you are down to, I would prefer the 9100, Iv'e heard the A5 and very much prefer the A308, Iv'e heard the NAD and think they are "only OK". Keep it simple at this price range, mixing and matching with so-so preamps into so-so amp is crazy making, especially if price of really good interconnect is figured in. Mike.
agreee with cheapmike to a point, in that room environment fiddling around with ss amps will not have a helluva effect without going high dollar...imo. vaulted ceilings can be a hindrance with non acoustic source.(as well as acoustic) did you find the scott nixon website? he is willing to speak personally to you and is very honest about recommending suitable gear. fwiw, tubes are not that big of a hassle nowadays and you have the sub for any loss of bass slam. i switched from NAD to tubes + sub, could you 'borrow' some tubes and audition them? other than warm up time they are not that big of a hassle once you get used to them and harshness is nearly obliterated usually.
Yes, I highly recommend the V8i. It is a great bargain offering substantial build quality and smooth sonics top to bottom. Referring to the Plinius, i'm referring to a somewhat lean bass. A little lacking in fullness.