Intergrateds: Bryston,Creek,Naim,Musical Fidelity

Looking at B-60,5350,nait 5i, MF x-150...any thoughts on which one would work best with 4ohm load...looking for lively, transparent, detailed sound...thanks...
ALso...Arcam a85? More to the point(of all mentioned)...which one would have huge soundstaging with controlled bass...and a more "lively" sound than laid-back...thanks....
A fifth option, which is the one I'd take, is to buy the new Bryston B100-SST. Read the recent review on the B-100 in HiFi+ magazine for detailed information.
Put the Portal Panache on your short list. It has all of what you are looking for. You can get it new or as a demo unit from Joe Abrams with a 60-day trial period. I think it's in the price range you are looking at too. Do a search as there have been a few threads on the Panache and some may compare or mention one or two of your other choices (not sure, but worth a check). I've not compared to any of your other choices, which I'm sure are worthy as well, but I do enjoy the Portal immensely, and don't think it should be overlooked in a search for integrateds.

I've owned and enjoyed the B60 for over six years. As good an integrated amp as it is, it's an even better preamp - in fact highly acclaimed given its price- and also a good class A headphone amp to boot ('phones driven directly from line stage up to 1W). Thus a B60 may be a better long term investment since you can not only enjoy it now but pick up a high end used power amp down the road. The fact that it has a 20 year transferrable warranty doesn't hurt either.

For several years now I've enjoyed listening to the Sennheiser HD580 and HD600 headphones through the B60's headphone amp. Digital front ends are a Linn Ikemi for redbook CD and (just recently) a Sony DVP-s9000es (soon to be modded) for SACD, Cardas cross interconnects and - by far the weakest link in my system - B&W DM603 tower speakers.

The B60 drives my speakers to acceptable levels in my ~16-25 foot listening room, though the amp does seem to run on the hot side , which doesn't me any concern.

Based on both headphone listening (using Shure E4C and the two Sennheisers) and on speaker sound from the B&W using the two digital players mentioned, as well as a Rega Planet CD player, VPI HW-19jr turntable, and once in a *great* while an iPod, I would characterize the B60's as being a fairly 'neutral' and resolving of fine detail in the midbass to mid treble, reasonably well extended in the upper treble though possible wanting in "air" compared to say, a good headphone amp, decently weighty bass but not if "slam" is one of your top priorities, a tad on the lean side and not especially well resolved down deep. However this is surely a limitation of my speakers, as bass heard in the HD600's is magnificently resolved, quick, and vivid. Then again, that probably stems from the B60 having such a good preamp which as you probably already know, can be decoupled from the less-inspiring power amp by f simply unplugging the external jumpers. By the way, my tastes is mainly for classical and bluenote era jazz (my reasons for owning audiophile gear) and some classic rock .

All in all, I regard the B60 as one of the more satisfying audio purchases I've made in recent years - great sounding and solidly built yet physically unimposing. Capable of resolving so well that whenever something seems sonically awry, I come to intuit that it's not the B60's that's causing something to sound closed-in or constricted, but something else such as my Cardas Cross rolling off the highs or pushing the upper mids forwardt.

I heartily recommend the b60, especially at the current used prices.
add revox ellegance to this list...60w into 4 ohms..all are nice integrateds
I agree with the Bryston B100SST recommendation but it is priced quite a bit more than the others. I also own a B60 and recently owned the Naim Nait 5i. The B100SST is in another league as far as soundstaging and tranparency. It is also musical as heck, you can really follow the music. Simply the best sounding integrated I have heard. I'd try the Panache if you don't need remote.
The Portal Panache should definitely be on your list considering the sonic traits you mention. The only issue is no remote control. There are plenty of positive reviews listed at There is one change made to the amp since those reviews and that is beefed up binding posts, at least the posts on my Panache seem to be very high quality.
Another couple of integrateds to look at in your price range include the Sony (yes Sony) TA-F707ES and it's big brother, TA-F808ES. I have a 707 and believe it to be sonically wonderful piece of gear. You can run it in direct mode to bypass all the gewgaws for pure,clean sound. All the sonic traits you are looking for are there plus excellent build quality. Althought the Sony is the warmest running amp I've owned, it's also the quietest amp I've owned. Find one of these used cheap and keep it for spare. Love those MOSFETs. Good luck with your search and let us know what works for you.
Unison Unico SE is worth considering.
This review pits the Arcam A85 you mentioned against the Portal Panache.

This one mentions the Bryston 4B, as well as Krell and Manley Snapper.

Agree on the Unison Unico recommendation too. Damn fine little hybrid! Has a nice remote too!

Marco Bryston is out my financial position...does the Portal have any pre-outs?
No pre outs as the Portal has no preamplifier section. It is about as basic an integrated as you'll find. It has four line inputs, tape out, volume control, balance control, bonding posts for one set of speakers and a pretty good headphone out. If versatility is what your looking for, look elsewhere. This thing is built for quality sound at low price.
Portal...if no would one hook up a sub?
You can't hook up a sub to it.
You CAN hook up a sub to it. Just use one of the better quality subs with high level (speaker output) inputs