Krell K-300i (with its optional DAC) vs. McIntosh MA7200 (with DA1) vs. ? (including DAC)

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were fortunate enough to be parked in a nice sound room with a MAC MA8900 and a pair of Sonus Faber towers. I'm assuming the MA7200 is the same as the MA8900 without the tone control knobs. Unfortunately, I don't remember which Sonus Faber. I think they were something in the Sonetto line. I wasn't paying close attention to this kind of stuff because I was there for a demo of the Degritter. The sales person was nice enough to park us in this room and hand us an IPAD so we could entertain ourselves by streaming tunes on Tidal while waiting for several of my records to be cleaned. It was a slow day at this shop. I have no idea what streamer was in the chain. This was certainly a great way to spend about an hour, so so, waiting. Since then, I've had dangerous vicarious thoughts about the possibility of upgrading my MAC MA5200 because what we heard that day was outstanding! The detail, imaging, separation, soundstage and frequency response were absolutely wonderful! Although I love my MAC, I'm always open to any and all alternatives when it comes to stereo toys. I think most audiophiles want the best sound they can afford and I'm not one who is wedded to one brand or another. One integrated in the $8,000 to $9,000 range that's getting a fair amount of good press, these days, is the Krell K-300i. I absolutely adored the old Krell amps I heard back in the late 1980's through the mid 1990's but haven't listened to any since. I've also read a fair amount of good reviews on Hegel integrated amps. About a year ago, I spent some serious seat-time with a Simaudio Moon integrated that really impressed me and, about 4 years ago, a Musical Fidelity integrated that impressed me, as well. Since I'm looking for excuses to avoid home chores today, I thought I'd throw this question out for fun.

So, what say ye? If you had $8,000 to $9,000 to play with, what integrated amp would you go with? I listen exclusively to vinyl and CD. TT is a MoFi Ultradeck with Mastertracker. CD is Marantz CD6005 and speakers are Revel Performa3 F206. I know upgrading these, likely the speakers as a next step, would be a logical progression. This is why I mentioned this is "dangerous" and "vicarious" thinking! Frankly, in order for me to seriously entertain a move like this, my ears would have to convince me that this would be an appreciable improvement in fidelity with the speakers I have now for a few years, or so, before the next move. I'm skeptical of anything other than a subtle improvement, at best, and for this kind of dough it would have to be more than subtle. There is one high-end shop within reasonable distance that deals McIntosh and Revel. I could likely get a reasonably good sense there of what an MA7200 would do with a pair of F206 but all the other shops near me do not deal Revel and the other amps I mentioned. So, this would require more sophisticated critical listening and educated guessing. Just curious what you folks think and especially curious if any of you have done serious A/B seat-time with any of the integrated amps I mentioned and/or upgraded from an MA5200.

P.S. I'm really not interested in the opinions of equipment bashers or otherwise pompous, arrogant, self-involved humanoids who only want to prove they're the next best thing since sliced bread and prophylactics. Critical analysis is fine and welcomed. This can and should be done intelligently and respectfully. If your aim is to crow about your equipment and choices at the expense of others, please do it someplace else.
@oldaudiophile   I hope all is well.  A little more active over here compared to the Stereophile forum.  

I might focus on improving your DAC.  You can keep using the Marantz as a transport, but stepping forward with a better DAC will have a big impact.  

That being said, a better amp can have a positive impact.  Mc and Krell are great.  I don't listen to either one frequently.  A buddy had the Krell and sold it but kept a Krell Power Amp driving a pair of Focal Arias.  It is very good sounding gear. 

I have preferences for a few other brands.  If you are looking for clean, clear, accurate and powerful, Hegel is awesome.  If you are looking for something that is more musical and engaging while still delivering a lot of power, I love AVM.  

You are between the 390 and 590 from Hegel but they have very good internal DACs.  You would get excellent amplification AND a DAC upgrade with either.  

The AVM A5.2 is a nice unit and would leave you room to upgrade your DA converter at existing budget.  Read the review from Gary Beard over at Positive Feedback.  Or the A6.2 Master Edition is right on budget. There is a recent review from Herb Reichert in stereophile. 

Both would be brilliant with your current speakers and would work well with speakers would be natural progressions from the Revels like higher end Revels or Perlisten, etc....
as usual, scott (@verdantaudio) provides solid, specific advice

my only add to his comments is that the h390/590 in the hegel int amp line provide an excellent degree of ’musicality’ to how they present the music, noticeably moreso than the lower models (h190 and down) in their stepladder which are quite as scott describes (i have no affiliation to hegel, other than having had or currently have their h390, 590, 160, 190, 90, rost, h20)

while the onboard dacs are very good, the analog amp sections are truly among the very best in powerful solid state
@verdantaudio, yes, that is certainly solid advice! I’m using the Marantz as a transport now with the MAC’s DA1 DAC (Pangea interconnects). What I’m finding is the DA1 might be just a hair "better" than the Marantz (e.g. tiny bit more bass extension... smoother frequency response overall... ?). However, a more objective pair of ears (i.e. my wife) really doesn’t notice any difference. Fact of the matter is, I listen more to vinyl than CD. Regardless, any suggestions for an external DAC? I’ve read some about Chord DAC’s.

I’ve spent quality time with Focal Aria 926 and 936, powered by my amp and amplification similar to it. I loved the 936!

I’ve done a fair amount of reading on Hegel amps and read some reviews by professionals my ears tend to agree with but I’ve never heard any. Certainly can’t argue with "clean, clear, accurate and powerful", provided something like this is properly paired with appropriate speakers! For example, I’ve always really, really liked Dynaudio speakers and have always been very impressed by them. However, I’ve always found other speakers I enjoyed just a tad more in the final result. I think my ears tend to find the Dynaudio sound signature just too darned accurate & flat (good flat) and there is certainly nothing wrong with that! Quite the opposite, as a matter or fact. There’s a lot right with that! However, my ears can never seem to fall in love with them. My ears are so fickle!

Not familiar with AVM amps and haven’t done much, if any, reading about them. Also never heard of Perlisten speakers. You’ve given me some homework. I’ll have to check this out. Thanks!
@yyzsantabarbara, thanks for that review! I had already read it. Your tip compelled me to read it again. Much appreciated!
@bigtex22, yes; by all means, let us know how you make out with speaker placement after everything is seasoned or broken-in. That would certainly be useful information! I'd especially be interested in whether or not you felt the need to spike them or do anything else other than just placement.