Look at Musical Fidelity A3.2, Unison Unico, and maybe used YBA. Depends on your taste in music.
13 responses Add your response
You are going to get so many "other" suggestions that it is going to make your head spin.
The point being, there are many very good integrateds out there for around 1k-1.5k, including the Creek. I currently have the 5350SE (see my system) and yes it is a great soundng amp. Very neutral, great detail and bass, etc. Does eveything well. On the laid back side. Very versatile too, has a headphone jack, 2 sets of binding posts, pre-outs/amp-in, and can record from one source while listening to another.
I recently purchased a Unison Unico and am awaiting it's arrival. I have been curious about tube/hybrid amps so it will be interesting which one I prefer (Obviously, preference is a personal choice and system dependent). If I decide to sell the Creek, I will drop you a line.
I have a Musical Fidelity 3.2 integrated, I am very happy with it, the sound is very smooth with such a detailed top end for an entry level integrated. The Unison is also a fine amp, under much advice from other forums I auditioned it and if I hadn't already own the MF it would be the definately on the list.
I recently bought a Creek 5350SE. Am using it with Audio Phyic Brilon II, Rega Jupiter, and Nordost cabling. I'm quite happy with it---its quite neutral. I also liked its looks, and it fit into my space requirements. It's been highly reviewed in many publications----Stereophile, TAS, and the British mags. So enjoy it! Yes, there are other fine integrated amps out there----but it takes time to do the research/legwork to check them out. Happy listening!
Is cost the only reason why you're committed to an integrated? If so, it needn't be. In your budget, buying used, you could put together a very nice preamp/amp combo. You would gain increased flexibility this way. For example, you could pick up a used Conrad Johnson 10al preamp for around 500$ to see if you like tubes. There are usually a range of amps in the five to seven hundred dollar range that would give you more power than the creek. I'm assuming you've listened to the stratus golds (a very nice speaker imo), but have you listened to them with the creek or a similarly powered integrated? You might want to a/b the speakers with an integrated v. more powerful seperates. Good luck and have fun.