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Thanks for all the responses so far- I guess I left out some vital information: I intend to keep the Snells long term, but the Wharfedale’s may not stick around as long. I’ve been finding their sound a little too unresolving for my taste. That said:
@stevecham: I’m worried the NAD may further complicate my concerns about the Wharfdales. Too much warmth?
@freediver: The Cayin looks like it’s a bit of a stretch, but thanks for the idea.
@donvito I‘m fairly ambivalent about Yamaha. Is there a particular model you’d recommend?
Overall, hoping to find an integrated amp that I can keep around while I audition other speakers in addition to those I already have. Perhaps my title was misleading and I should reframe in a new thread: Any neutral high performing integrated amps available for between $200-1000 that work with a wide array of speakers with sensitivity ranging from 88db-95db?
The Anthem I225 Integrated amp would sound amazing. Onboard phono section. I've powered Paradigm Studio 100v2, 100v3 and Totem Forest Signatures. It punches above its weight class. A very clean presentation. Lots of Power at 225 watts into 8 ohms/310 into 4 ohms. I have one I'm not using. Contact me if interested.
stevecham makes a good point. "Warmth" I believe is a subjective term and is dependent on the human ears, speaker pairing, and room acoustics. I can only add my opinion concerning NAD gear since I have experience with the brand.........
The C326BEE is a good choice. While power rating is nothing huge it still has the current to drive many speakers adequately. I believe the 326 is the only slightly older NAD line to retain it's model designation when their newest line came out. It is closest to the NAD 3020 (a vintage classic) than any others in that price range. The NAD amps a couple of steps up in power from the 326 don't sound quite as musical.
I have a trusted dealer and, while auditioning amps, he recommended the 326 although he had higher priced models. The C356BEE, while being more powerful, didn't sound quite as musical as the 326. I settled on the C375BEE which sounded as good as the 326 but with a bit more power. It has the capability to add a phono and/or DAC module but I haven't added either to my system.
So, auditioning used/vintage stuff is difficult unless you have access to a dealer who carries used equipment. Good Luck.
Thank again everyone- the NAD (326) keeps coming up as a recommendation, and seems rather appealing considering the price. The S500/501-801 seems alright but I'm not sure I really need that much power.
I guess the decision will likely come down to whether I should commit to the NAD versus trying to score a deal on something higher end...
Music direct has the 326bee for $450 right now. Seems like a good deal.https://www.musicdirect.com/integrated-amp/nad-c-326bee-integrated-amp
I don’t think 50 wpc would allow all the possible combinations of future speakers to shine through but it should be enough for under $1k bookshelves to get an idea. After all some people drive the well regarded kef ls50 with 150-200wpc to get them opened up.
Sorry, but pete23 lost what your main objective is......get an amp that will well suit the speakers that you have. Other upgrades such as more powerful amps and different speakers is in the future if you want that?
Amp and speaker combinations are critical. When I first bought my NAD amp I used a pair of Klipsch bookshelf speakers that I had used with a previous HK integrated amp. Sounded OK. Those speakers weren't the "big box" model bought at Best Buy but their high end Reference line. I was disappointed with the sound.
I went back to my dealer and asked to audition some other bookshelf models with the amp I had. Funny thing...when I first bought the NAD amp I was listening to it thru a pair of PSB speakers at the dealer's showroom. I didn't know at the time that NAD and PSB are or were sister companies. So, there is some compatibility there. Whether NAD sounds even better with speakers of other brands....I don't know.
So, stay with what you want now and see if you want to go down the road to higher end equipment.
Well, if listening at low levels in a small room, a quality 50wpc amp well drive any honestly rated 6-8 ohm speaker having 85-90dB sensitivity. Pairing the right one to a particular speaker to suit one's preferences is the key.
I have owned the NAD 326BEE and like that one. If wanting something new and at reduced budget the Yahama A-s301 (~$350) is a good bet.
I use the Outlaw RR2150 with the Dentons in a bedroom system. Nice combination. Granted I don't do most of my listening with this system, but it does sound good and the Outlaw has done well with other Wharfedale speakers that I have had in the past (Diamond 8.1 and 9.1).