There are (new) models from Yamaha, NAD, and Marantz in your price range that offer A/B speaker selection.
23 responses Add your response
You will need to pay special attention to the amp's user manual because the 4 ohm load created by the Ninkas could present a problem if you intend to drive both sets of speakers simultaneously.
I have a NAD C375BEE which is a very capable integrated that has the A/B speaker settings. Even if purchased new, it is within your budget. NAD, however, does not recommend using both speaker settings simultaneously UNLESS ALL speakers being driven are 8 ohms or higher.
I can't speak for other manufacturers, but conceptually, it would make sense that a single amp capable of driving four separate 4 ohm loads would have to be a beast.
I'm interested to learn what else is recommended.
Heard the new Rotel integrated at Audio Connection in NJ yesterday. Was really caught off guard. I was in shock as to how good it sounded for an affordable integrated. It even has balance inputs and the A/B that you are looking for. I think it's in your range and if so, it's a must listen to. I know Johnny from AC is on this board and you can tell him you are a member and he'll make sure it goes with your system. Good luck.
The HK990 occurred to me also, but it was recently discontinued so there may not be any new stock left. One possible exception: IF you're a CitiBank customer, the CitiDeals website (their 'rewards points' website) still lists new HK990s for $1299 + 700 rewards points. I can easily imagine though that they're out of stock even though the website shows them as in stock.
Hawthorne Stereo in Seattle has a Linn Majik Integrated (Black Square Version) for under $600 that would work with the Ninkas & Katans. Hawthorne also has a Rega Brio integrated that would also work.
The owner of Hawthorne likes to steer people towards Naim. In that regard, I don't think a Nait 5i pushes out enough power for the Ninkas, but it would work with Katans.
If you're a devout Linnie and able to flex a bit, have you considered getting a Linn Kairn or Wakonda Pre and matching it with a Linn LK140? They are not the easiest separates to find, but they are out there within your price-point.
I'd also avoid the Linn Klout due to the age factor. They tend to run hot and would likely need to be re-capped in short order.
Bmdduck, if you aren't going to use the speakers simultaneously, then the NAD C375BEEE is hard to top for the money. Lots of power for the Ninkas and lots of bang for your buck.
Yogiboy, I've looked at a few outboard switches in the past. The best designs (with minimal intrusions on the signal path) don't resolve the issue of potentially overloading the amp.
I am selling my NAD 326BEE that did a great job in my second system. I can see the larger one working well, however when I heard the NEW Rotel vs the NAD as well as that Linn that was talked about above, I felt the Rotel was much more dynamic and open. It wasn't harsh on top like some of the older Rotel's I had heard at some stores. I fell in love with the new line they have for the money I don't' see it being beaten by much, even the used gear. Guys/gals, if you haven't heard it go check it out at your local dealer. I think you'll be very impressed. Neutral enough to use with even the Vandy 2ce's. Plenty of power to drive them to realistic levels. I have no dog in this fight and think that there are a few here I'd personally stay away from and about three that sound like strong choices. JMHO
I did consider using an external a/b switch but I've heard that they can degrade sound quality unless it's a very good one. Any recommendations for a switch that won't degrade SQ?
I've heard the Bryston switches are good but they are a little pricey.
Ctsooner: what is the a rotel model you are recommending?
If you have ever put a switch into any system and listened and then taken it out, there is a world of difference even in lower resolution systems. Even the Bryston changes the sound for the worst. They just don't work well even in the high end stores. Just my take.
I"ll ask JOhn at Audio Connections which one it was. My cousin just bought one from him. It lists for 1599 so it will be in your range. It's a powerhouse at 120W and high current. It will drive most speakers out there. As close to high end as anything under 2K is goign to be. I was in shock as it's the first Rotel unit I've liked in years. (funny as I'm now selling my Rotel table with Vdh MM1 cart). They have a smaller unit with a much smaller price. John sells the NAD as well as Rotel. The Rotel has much more dynamics and isn't harsh on top like it was just a couple of years ago. This is a special product from them for the price. Most of the integrateds we all see in this range aren't a real 120W with high current. It's a beautifully made piece to. You should call John to see if he can help you. Not sure if Rotel has protected territories. He sells Creek and Rogue etc... and this Rotel is kind of fun. We were using the Rotel separates with the Vandy 2's as I said and for not too much, it was very much high end and made your feet move. We also ran the new desktop Maggies with two subs with it and it drove the heck out of them, which isn't easy to do. That surprised me.