Integrated amp upgrade


I'm using a Classé Audio CAP-151 to drive my Thiel CS 3.7s at the moment.
I'm not sure if i should upgrade, anyway if i do so i'm looking for a used integrated amp in the $2K to $3K price range with balanced inputs.
I've seen a Sugden IA4 for $3K and a Musical Fidelity KW 550 for $2,4K but it's not balanced.
If i upgrade it would have to be really worth it otherwise i'd rather keep my CAP-151.
I have someone who would like to buy my CAP-151 for $1,6K.

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Do you plan on listen to the amp first, or are you going to take a chance and hope for the best? Also, you should list your entire system because it makes it a lot easier to recommend something you'll be happy with.
Well it's not going to be possible to audition gear on the used market.
My source is a Hegel HD12 streaming music from Qobuz via USB.
Perhaps a Luxman 507ux (used)?
Keep the Classe!
I'm not sure if i should upgrade, anyway if i do so i'm looking for a used integrated amp in the $2K to $3K price range with balanced inputs.

If i upgrade it would have to be really worth it otherwise i'd rather keep my CAP-151.  I have someone who would like to buy my CAP-151 for $1,6K.
What exactly is wrong with the Classe or the sound of your system that would get you to think about upgrading?  What are you hoping to improve?

Your statements above indicate uncertainty.  Are you sure you just haven't come down with a case of upgraditis because you have a good offer on your current Classe?  You have a very good amp and to trade it for either of the ones you mention, is just trying a new flavor.  But what will it improve?


"My source is a Hegel HD12 streaming music from Qobuz via USB."

If that's what you are using for a source, there's no need to worry about balanced operation. Your dac isn't fully balanced. At best, you may notice a slight difference, but nowhere near enough to not go with a single ended component that you like.

The upside here, is your dac has a volume control, and if that's your only source buying just a high quality amp can be a very big upgrade. The biggest problem with integrated amps in your price range is that the preamp section is usually the bottleneck. Its difficult to find a good sounding preamp for 2-3k, let alone finding one in an integrated amp where the cost has to be shared between 2 components. So, if you can't get a good preamp, don't get on at all. There's no shortage of good used power amps within your budget. You can even find a good, high power tube amp like an ARC VT-100 or a VAC PA 100/100. Most tube integrated won't have enough power to properly drive your speakers. 

The Parasound Halo Integrated  has both balanced inputs and outputs. 
paraneer there is nothing wrong with my Classe except that i might add a pair of Thiel CS 7.2s to my Thiel collection.
CS 7.2s are difficult loads for modest int amps like my Classe.

mgreen27 yes my Hegel has a volume control, it might be a good idea to look for a solid amp you are right.


If you’re thinking of a pair of 7.2s, you can’t fiddle around with little amps. You need big power, so look to Threshold or Pass or Krell, etc. If you like the sound of the Classe, look to one of their bigger amps. With a volume control on the Hegel you might not need a separate preamp so more of your resources can go into the amp. Couple of possibilities:
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/solid-state-threshold-stasis-7-0-2017-01-20-amplifiers-75243-dalla...
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/solid-state-pass-labs-x250-solid-state-amplifier-2017-01-21-amplif...
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/solid-state-classe-ct-2300-balanced-stereo-amplifier-2017-01-21-am...
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Musical Fidelity M6si
gdhal i was actually looking at the M6-500i but can't find one under $3K used.
As a prior Thiel owner, I recommend a large ss amp with a tube preamp.  I don't think you'll be content in the long run with an integrated, especially with cs3.7.

As mentioned by mani-2, Pass, Krell, Threshold...also CJ, Belles.  Good luck!

Consider an integrated from Wyred4Sound. Built in the USA, has the balanced inputs and sound great. I bought one to drive my current hungry Maggie .7's with great results. Replaced the highly regarded Parasound Halo(nice amp) and to my ears was an improvement...
If you were intent on getting an integrated amp, there's this ModWright which puts out 200 watts into 8 ohms and 400 into 4 ohms. Always a good sign when an amp can double up its power output when its impedance halves:
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/solid-state-modwright-kwi-200-integrated-2017-01-26-integrateds-98...
paraneer there is nothing wrong with my Classe except that i might add a pair of Thiel CS 7.2s to my Thiel collection.
Well now.  That's changes everything.  Your getting lots of good suggestions.
I've had both classe integrated and separates. Still own a cap-101 that I used in my living room that I'm selling. Classe integrateds are nice. I sold my classe separates for my dedicated audio room and went to a Hegel H300 and love it. Much better than the classe cap-101/151 and it includes an internal dac that is comparable or better than the Hegel you have now. If you want to keep your dac, you can use the dac-loop feature of the Hegel h300/360 with your external dac. If you can get $1.6k then I would sell it and that's 1/2 the price of a used Hegel h300
Thanks guys, the thing is that i have to determine if i do a little amp upgrade now or wait until i get the budget to build my ambitious high end system with my Thiels.
End of february i should get a home autidion of a full Ypsilon  system.

There's a listing hear on AG for a pair of Pass 0 mono amps. lis7gccg

I used to have a pair myself. They have tons of power and sound incredible. They had no problem driving my B&W 800's and ProAc Response 3's. It would be hard to find a better amp for the money.

Hegel H200 would be a good upgrade for you, and there is one for sale on US Audio Mart for $2,200.  I've compared H200 to a number of integrated amps, and I find it to be one of the best under $5k.
I think that you might be very surprised and happy listening to a Marantz PM-11S3... The Reference Marantz Integrated is very detailed, incredibly fast, yet is NOT cold! It has serious power that easily surpasses its rating and can power most any speaker with ease (it just bullies my 4 ohm Monitor Audios). It has a very sweet, layered approach that offers a huge soundstage with excellent separation.
I have A/B’d the Marantz PM11S3 and the Hagel H300 for many hours and between the two, to me, there is no contest! The Reference Marantz was and is the clear winner!
The Marantz Pm-11S3 Integrateds are balanced units and come up for sale here time to time right at that $3000 point and in my opinion is not only a great deal but a steal and would be something that you would really want to consider....

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I'd go for an Ayre power amp for that set up. 
I think Yamaha a-s1100 and a-s2100 is in your range and is spectacular
I will second the Hegel H 200 recommendation. I am very pleased with it. Good luck.

Ill second the modwright kwi 200...its one of the two I would get used...dans local so I went with his piece.

Hegel or the modwright...both have some umph

Rogue   Pharaoh , plenty of power . price is in you range
Thanks mfm22 but Rogue Audio is not imported in my country.
Looks like a nice unit though.
I think the best choice for a nice reasonable upgrade is the Hegel H360 but for that i would have to sale my Classe and my Hegel HD12.
I auditioned the H360 last november and found it very refined and organic.
Probably one of the best integrated in this price range with a DAC that's at the same level as the HD12.
carmenc yes integrated amps is just momentarily because hopefully within the next 2 years i will have the budget to build an all separates system with gear that's in another league, for that i'm looking at Dan D'agostino Classic stereo amp and Nagra Classic preamp, here we're talking $32K combo.
So that's SS amp with tube preamp like you said.
I think the Hegel H360 is a solid integrated.  I was going to purchase that amp and spent many hours listening to it.  I ended up getting an Ayre integrated (got a good deal) but the H360 was my first choice. You can't go wrong with it. 

Since you are looking to make a significant upgrade in 2 years I would keep the Classe till then.
mesch yes i should be able to build my dream system in the near future with my present speakers, budget up to $80K.

thieliste-

what gear have you auditioned lately?

Happy Listening!
Hey jafant what are you up to lately ?
Right now i'm investigating on Technical Brain.
Are you aware of that brand from Japan ?
Today i called the ditributor in France and we talked for an hour.
The preamp and monoblocks are unfortunately out of reach for most of us : $125K but the integrated would be worth a listen at $25K.
Therefore i will probably go see the distributor in april to audition the integrated.
He told me this integrated can easily compete with $50K worth of separates.
I don't know if it's in your price range but you might want to look at it for your CS 2.4SE.

http://www.technicalbrain.co.jp/index_e.html

From what I have read, JV gave a full endorsement in TAS, then took it back when he found just how unreliable the Technical Brain components were.  They were never mentioned again.
The problems you are reffering to concerned the earlier versions.
It has been fixed since then.