Integrated for Dad


I'm looking to get an Integrated amp for my Father for under $1,000. I'm looking at Creek, Rega, etc. but haven't heard any but the Rega. Any recommendations would be helpful. Older used stuff would be great. The less he spends the better for him. We're definitely looking for best bang for the buck. He listens to mostly vocals, and Jazz, and has no desire for big bass. It would be teamed up with a modified Rotel 970 CD player and new Polk R25i speakers with Kimber 8TC. A phono stage would be best, but we can go external if need be.
revdog
Check with Artech Electronics (do a web search-they're a distributor) to see if they have any Audiolab 8000A's left; they selling them I believe around $550-phono stage MM/MC but no remote, or the 8000S with remote but no phono. Excellent value for money and even better with a decent aftermarket power cord-I use a Blue Circle BC 62 with my 8000A and some are for sale on Audiogon new at $125. I'm also using 8TC.
If you'd consider a tube gear, I'd recommend GW-Labs Cyclops. I've owned one for almost an year, and it is amazing how this small tube integrated amp stands its ground against more expensive SS amps. I think the price was $900 from www.gw-labs.com. Of course, you'd have to consider the efficiency of the speakers first, as it only puts out 12WPC. It doesn't have a phono stage, and only two source inputs. Good luck.
I'd reccommend a used Classe CAP-100. It's built like a tank. The phono section was $200 extra when I bought it new. I drive Spica TC-60's with it which I originally thought was overkill but I love the results. Good luck.
You might want to check into the Sim Audio I-5080. There are a couple of used ones on AudiogoN for around $800. I have had great luck with Sim equipment. What a great gift for your father. Good luck finding him something nice.
There is a Creek 5350se for 1100 at this site now. Nice stuff.
Audio Refinement Complete integrated, they go for $650 used and come with a remote control. This is an extremely fine integrated that will surpise him with it's musicality, especially vocals and Jazz.

Check out the reviews:

http://www.goodsound.com/equipment/audiorefinement_complete.htm

http://www.audio-ideas.com/reviews/systems/audio-refinement-complete.html
I auditioned my current speakers with a Magnum IA170 integrated amp that retails for $750 (add $100 for a phono stage when ordering). The phono is in the same ball park as the add on units by NAD and Creek (the non SE model). The amp was on the neutral side with exceptionaly good bass and mid bass control (nice tempo to the music). It also has a mono switch which comes in handy with older LP's. Not a "10" for detail, but great overall sound, IMO.
Musical Fidelity integrated amps are great as well.
Anything from Creek. The 4330R (with remote) is more powerful than it's rating would suggest. If you need more power, get the 5350SE and never look back. Charlie
Must second the Audio Refinement recommendation. Very musical, strong current delivery and just plain well built. YBA has done their homework.
The Creek 5350SE is an excellent unit, and while the MSRP is $1500 you might be able to get one used. The other integrated that I strongly recommend to you is the Bryston B-60. It's a bit more money that the Creek, but worth it given the 20-year warranty.
I'll also recommend the Audio Refinement Complete. The Bryston is very good. They'll need a phono stage. The Rotel RQ970 phono stage for under $200 is very good. The Creek 5350 mentioned has an optional plug in phono board.

The best bang for your buck would be a used Cambridge Audio A3i. It was designed by Michael Creek and comes with MM phono standard. They tend to be no more than $250 used. Cheapest way to get a Creek amp with phono. I love mine that I have kept since new and now use in my home office bedroom. It is a keeper.

I'll also recommend the Audio Refinement Complete. The Bryston is very good. They'll need a phono stage. The Rotel RQ970 phono stage for under $200 is very good. The Creek 5350 mentioned has an optional plug in phono board.

The best bang for your buck would be a used Cambridge Audio A3i. It was designed by Michael Creek and comes with MM phono standard. They tend to be no more than $250 used. Cheapest way to get a Creek amp with phono. I love mine that I have kept since new and now use in my home offce system. It is a keeper.

bryston bp60.
I have an Audio Refinement Complete, but would only recommend using it with a very good front end and not with Kimber speaker cables. Also, it does not have a phono section. Suggest you audition an NAD integrated amp.
I recently purchased a Redgum RGi120s integrated, this was a little more than $1000, but the RGi60 might be found for that price. This is the best sounding amp that I have heard for anywhere near this price range, Very musical, tight , quick, powerful bass, detailed highs, and smooth crystal clear midrange, never sounding bright or fatiguing. The Creek or Rega would probably be good choices also, as I looked into them also before buying the Redgum. You could also check into Roksan.
Dekay, you are the only other person that I have ever heard of, that has listened to the Magnum IA170! I originally auditioned my Reynaud Twins with the Magnum and was really impressed. It had a deep, rich, tonality that was totally engaging. Really rocked my socks, music wise.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find anyone else that had any experience with them and didn't want to take the risk since money was tight at the time(still is). So, I wne t with the AR Complete because there were so many satisifed owners who use it with the Twins.

The IA200 is supposed to be even better.
I like overkill. For years I drove a pair of TC-50s with an Audio Research D-250-mk II and an SP-11 preamp. Talk about overkill! I think they were the world's best sounding 50s though.
As Revdog's original post was dated last December, he has probably already made his choice, but the thread is worth continuing for others. While Revdog was looking for an integrated amplifier for under $1,000, he also said "The less he spends the better for him," and added that the amp would be used with Polk R25i speakers. What about an NAD C340 or C350, or a Cambridge Audio A300 or A500? While not as good as Creek, Audio Refinement or Bryston models, they offer decent sound quality at reasonable prices, and would match the Polk R25i speakers than more expensive equipment.
It doesn't matter. I went throught this with my father. Just buy a respectable integrated unit and hook it up. If he wants to make changes from there let him go for it. Give him something to do.