Beernut, you can't go wrong with the PM8005 assuming it is about the same as the older version I am familiar with. I am not sure it would be an upgrade over the MF A3.2 though. Consider Yamaha as well, A-s2000 perhaps.
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The 8005 has a killer phono section and is a wonderful amp. We love our 8004; however, for you it might be more of a different flavor than a large step up. Your MF is no slouch.
If you're itching to play with tubes and want to take a true step up, I would skip the Sphinx and go straight to the Rogue Cronus Magnum II, new or used. Several Triton Two and Three owners are using it to good effect. There's also a good review of it on Enjoy The Music that paired it with the Triton Three.
I've owned the Rogue Sphinx V2 and the Pharoah.
Both have nice resolution, and overall dynamics, however, neither produces solid, deep bass at low volumes. If you always listen at somewhat loud volumes, the Sphinx is a good amp. Overall it has a "front row" sound.
I'd bet a considerable sum that if you listen to the Marantz and Rogue back to back at moderate volumes, the Marantz will play deeper.
Dialogue premium Prima Luna HP integrated - I use it with a Marantz - sounds great and has both a headphone and phono stage installed. Best part is tube indicator light which never goes on - but its there so you don't have to wonder about tube quality. Looks great too. I'd agree with the person who suggested Cronus magnum as well as an alternative.
To me, it doesn’t sound like you know what you are trying to achieve with the amp upgrade, because your only fault with it is "long in the tooth". I would seriously consider bringing it with you to your demo and having the dealer a/b it with whatever you are considering. The 3.2 and the other MF stuff of that era was a good, non-offensive amplifier and you may end up preferring it to what you are considering. I would also consider listening to a better CD player. That might achieve more in the way of better sound than an amplifier swap. I think you are wise to enlist the services of a dealer instead of stabbing around in the dark. They should be happy to do the comparisons for you. Well, maybe not happy, but they should do it.
I've got a case of upgraditis too, and have been considering a new integrated. I'd suggest putting the Parasound Halo integrated on your short list. Stereophile recommends it as an "A" level product. it has a well regarded dac section as well, so you could use your Marantz as a transport, and let the Halo do the decoding.
It's not cheap, but open box deals can be had at Audio Advisor and Safe Soundhq.
Hi , interesting discussion . I don't have a solution, just some rambling thoughts . When I changed amps , it was to get more power in SS or go to tubes . I think Chayro's spot on about source . I use Tidal over CD's. But I would recommend looking at getting a good DAC and transport . Now, you add vinyl to the mix and there's no change . As far as integrated goes, the Rouge ships with JJ's , they sound like stale bread . I have a Rogue RP-1 pre and pulled them after a couple of days . Both run 12AU7's . I run NOS Telefunken and Seimens . Huge difference . Also take your headphones . My Rogue can't hold a candle to my vintage Marantz receiver or my Shiit headphone amp . I haven't gotten back into vinyl yet , so I can't comment on the phono stage . So if you get the Rogue , plan on a tube change and a modest power cord upgrade . Also if it demos well , consider a used one and a tube change . A $100 Silnote power cord will help too. The Chronus is cool . My friend is a former Rogue dealer and has mucho extra gear ( none for sale 😞 ). He has the Magnum II in his office. Last year he loaned me his Modwright KWI -200. What a big amp . It was really nice , but didn't pair well in my home. Bryston stuff is OUTSTANDING ! I would really consider separates . It sounds like you are on a modest budget like me . Have you changed interconnects and cables and cords ? Your current amp might sound a lot different with a different pair of interconnects . Can you give us info on that stuff . Danger Will Robinson Danger ! Tube rolling is as addictive as tobacco and as fun as street racing , so you've been warned ! I think going to the dealer is your best option . My current system started with an $800 pair of used speakers 18 months ago . I'm at $8000. Cause I went back to tubes . I stayed in touch with the fellow I bought the speakers from , as he is a tube audiophile and his advise has really helped guide my decisions. The advise on this thread is very good, and not a single EGO has jumped in . If you get into the Rogue and want to try some tubes , I will help you . Cause that's what WE DO . So please chime in on your wires . Regards , Mike from Sun Baked California.
I might suggest the Wyred4Sound ST Integrated 1000. Nice balance of power and detail, good for both "big" listening and intimate ensembles. Get one used or find a "b" stock on the W4S website. Pretty different from the MF, and you might want new speakers afterward, too. But isn't that the way it goes with this hobby? Upgrade one thing, pretty soon you're looking for something else .... anyway, it's a nice little amp, and if you follow my suggestion, you'll pay somewhere around $500+ for the upgrade.
I heard the Triton 2s with the Rogue Pharaoh and that was a really nice sound. I'm not sure what "long in the tooth" means here in context. But when you find the right pairing of amp and speaker, you'll know it and you'll not want to leave it except maybe to upgrade the whole system. Always remember to buy the best equipment you can that way you won't have so much swapping or sideways moves. Amp/speaker pairing is paramount. Buy the best source you can too. Good luck!
Owned the marantz 8005 and was very favorably impressed. It drove my magnepan 1.7's beautifully. (I liked the sound better than a well known $3000 hybrid power amp that is well regarded by many) I was so impressed I sent stuck with the brand and upgraded to the Marantz Refernce Series.
Marantz gear is very musical, never offensive, images very nicely and has testicular fortitude when called upon. It never seems to get flustered or come unraveled.
Can't imagine going wrong with this pick.
You might add the upper tier Yamahas to your list, maybe the A-S2100. They sound great, look great and have impeccable finish. 50 lbs of good ol' class AB MOSFET grunt. I have yet to hear an integrated amp that produces more accurate piano and string tones (to my ears of course). They are very neutral overall.
The strength of the Parasound Halo is "body" in the midrange and upper bass. It makes for a very smooth listen but doesn't sacrifice much in detail. It can also drive just about any speaker with ease.
Tube integrateds will typically have a more 3D soundstage, but as mentioned, can become expensive in the long run for tube rollers. That said, if you've never owned a tube amp, you owe it to yourself to give some a try. I waited far too long to venture into an all tube amp. There's many great tube integrateds that are relatively affordable, especially in the used market. The Raven Audio Nighthawk is highly regarded, as is Prima Luna Prologue/Dialogue, Line Magnetic (various models) Cayin A88T, and Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum, just to name a few.
A very good, under-the-radar, but somewhat spartan amp is the hybrid tube/MOSFET Croft Phono Integrated.
I have to chime in here you really need to go considerably higher in price to get an integrated amplifier which will beat the Musical Fidelity you have this is still an excellent integrated a little soft on the top and bottom compared to newer designs but still a nice piece.
We have a demo Plinius Hutongha which is a $5700 integrated that will beat the Musical Fidelity, and so would other similarly priced used or demo higher end integrated amplifiers, the Rogue Sphinx is an okay piece which in some ways would be better and in other way not.
The Marantz is a decent piece but again not a better product than what you have a lateral move at best.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
A lot thoughtful replies on here. I will agree with most that you will need the spend some cash to better that MF. Tubes are different, better at some things, not as good at others, and rubs rolling is a never ending process. Which, while fund, can get into more money than the amp. The Bryson integrated, whichever model you find be, can be fitted with an internal DAC and phono pre. If you want to get serious about vinyl I would recommend a separate phono pre that is adjustable for gain and load. The Emmaline Nighthawk is very nice and adjustable on the fly.
It sounds like you're looking for a "long term" center piece to build a system around. The MF you have now would be sufficient but 3 to 5 thousand will buy you an improvement that you could live with for several years. I don't think you'll see much of an improvement for much less cash.
No one has suggested the Moon neo 250i integrated or higher.... is there something wrong with Simaudio? I am asking because beernut has transmitted his upgrade-itis...
I have had the Marantz 8400 for more than 5 years now. It runs almost 24/7, it is dead silent, it has enough power, it is built like a tank, runs cool even when driven moderately loud, and it sounds relax, laid-back, with some decent detail. The volume control offers great contol unlike a nad, it adds decibels slowly with precision. Before the marantz, I have had a nad 316, arcam alpha 8 (bi-amp combo), adcom 5300...
I paired the marantz with psb image t5 for some time; not a good combo at all.. it lacked dynamics and sound was too dark as if you had blankets on them. I also have had the rega rs5 plugged-in; excellent combination, really really good... lively, clear, transparent midrange... I kept this for 5 years. Next, I have had totem hawks - good combination, but I think it does not bring the best midrange that the hawks are capable of, unless they are not capable of superb midrange. I also have a pair of wharfedale Denton 80th. Again, 2 laid-back components, not the best match...sounds a little too dark.
hence, me too... the upgrade-itis.. Moon Neo 250i anyone?
I have a Musical Fidelity M6si and was a owner of Golden Ear Triton One. In a week or so I’ll be a proud owner of the GE Reference. Only point of my mentioning the speakers in this thread is it would seem we have similar "taste" as you too have a GET speakers.
If you’re looking to upgrade your A3.2, I’m curious why you wouldn’t consider staying with the brand and buying into the M6si.
Edit: And I'm a beer connoisseur. Seems we have that too in common :)
Nice! My studio type apt. won't really accommodate the larger Tritons and for the the 3's are great. I'm not dissatisfied with the 3.2, just thought something different might be fun. I had a higher end MuFi years ago (I forget the model) and really liked it. Maybe I will just sit tight and save my pennies for a more qualitative change. McIntosh has always had my eye....Beer? Oh yeah. I'm into the craft beers for sure...
Good suggestions from those mentioning Rogue or PrimaLuna. Those are things I'd like to to try in that price range.
That said, I think gdhal has made the best suggestion....the MF M6si. I also owned this amp for two years and thought it was just great. Had to upgrade to separates many many multiples in cost to meaningly improve on the M6si.
While doing some, at my home, auditions, of both SS and Tube amps and integrated amps to pair with my Magnapan 1.7s. Two of the tubed amps I was able to compare was the Prima Luna Dialogue HP and a Rouge Cronus Mag. II. When paired with the Maggies, both sounded very nice, with equally large sound stages and very good detail and imaging, but the Cronus Mag. had better dynamics and an easier time driving the 1.7s. I finally (with no regrets) even over a couple of very nice SS amps - choose the Rouge. I was also pleased that the Cronus Mag II has a very decent phono stage, capable of running a mid or high output MC cartridge.
For the money or even considerably more money, I found the Cronus Mag. II pretty hard to beat.
If you haven't already chosen - maybe something to consider.