I'd strongly recommend finalizing your speaker choice first so you can optimize synergies in the critical amp/speaker pairing. I'd also greatly favor running a good integrated rather than pairing a good amp with your Rotel. I also had an older Rotel pre/pro (RSP 980 I think) and while not horrible it cannot provide the tonality, imaging, or overall refinement that the preamp section of a good integrated will provide. Don't make the mistake of underestimating the critical importance of the preamp in the audio chain. Hope this helps and best of luck.
I second everything that Soix said above. If your serious
about music, you want an integrated to drive your speakers.
Not HT gear.
The stereo preamp sections in HT processors are an
afterthought. Your Rotel was not designed with 2 channel
music in mind. It was designed for digital multi-channel.
After a ten plus year affair with the HT mistress, only to
constantly be left unsatisfied, I went back to a quality 2
channel integrated and have never been happier!
But decide upon the speakers first and then select the amp
that will properly drive those speakers.
Went ahead and ordered the Focus 340 today. Room is 12.5x13 with an open back.
I dont listen to my music loud but with enough volume to give it some liveliness. I'm sensitive to bright sounds and it fatigues me. Anything on the warmer sound would be great.
Congrats on the Dyns. I think you made a good choice. They are great sounding speakers and I am sure you will not find them fatiguing with their soft dome tweeters.
Either amp you're considering will do a more than adequate job driving the Dyns as the power output between the two is negligible. My preference would be the Hegel H100. Hope you hear from others who actually own these units and comment from experience. Good luck and enjoy the new system!
Agree with Paraneer you made the right choice and congrats. Given your preferences I'd recommend the Hegel over the Krell. If you read the reviews the Krell excels in power and control and from the mids on down, but since you don't listen all that loudly I'm not sure the power and control would be all that important to you. Of more concern is the treble that has been described as thin and brittle and upper mids as nasal and more rosin than tone on strings. For those reasons the Krell doesn't seem like a good fit for you, but the Hegel on the other hand would seem to be an excellent fit with its more refined or less pronounced upper mids/treble relative to the Krell. Hard to see you being disappointed with the Hegel.
If you can stretch your budget and would consider buying used, some other brands worth considering would be Ayre, Pass Labs, and maybe Musical Fidelity. Or perhaps even going higher up the Hegel line. Given you're running $7500 speakers I'd think they would reward you the higher up you go if you can swing it. Best of luck in whatever you choose.
How much higher up?
I don't think the H100 would suit me but rather the H80 would as it has optical inputs.
Also found a used Mcintosh MA5200 which has optical and USB inputs and supposedly it's not as warm as traditional Mcintosh amps but still has that toning down quality.
Don't think I want to spend much more then $3k new/used as I don't like stretching my budget for such incremental increases.
FWIW, I considered the Mac MA5200 too but could not find a 4 Ohm rating for its amp section anywhere on the internet and on Macs own website. In fact the back panel of the 5200 clearly states 8 Ohm by the speaker terminals. The Dyns you ordered are 4 Ohm and do love current, so you may want to rethink this one. Unless some 5200 owners can give assurances that it can properly drive your Dyns.
The title of your thread is asking about the Hegel H100. Now you state you need a DAC so you're looking at the H80? Have your needs changed since your original post?
If so, here's one to consider that may meet all your needs - the new Parasound Halo Integrated. More powerful than the H100 or Krell and with a built in Wolfson DAC. At $2500 its right in your budget.
How much higher is hard to say since it's so subjective. I just think you've got excellent speakers that would justify and greatly benefit from higher quality amplification. And if they're rated at 4 Ohms it's a good bet they drop below that in at least one point along the frequency curve. One example of a higher level integrated would be a Pass Labs INT150 that's for sale here listed at $3700. It puts out 150W and doubles into 4 Ohms that I think your Dyns would appreciate, and it operates in pure Class A up to 10W that would probably be where you'd do most of your listening. I think this could be a great fit both for your speakers and your listening preferences, and it should be much more than an incremental improvement over an H100 or H80. There are several reviews from Stereophile, Positive Feedback, 6 moons, etc. that would be worth reading. I think it's more on par with the quality of your speakers as well. It's like buying a sports car -- you could put cheaper tires on it and it will still run, but it's capable of providing much better performance with better tires.
The Halo is a nice recommendation, but the treble is likely to be a little hotter than the Pass. Not sure if it would be too much or not -- that's entirely your call, but the risk of you finding the treble irritating is probably higher with the Parasound.
I think you're greatly limiting your choices by requiring an onboard DAC. And the way technology is changing I'd recommend buying a standalone DAC, which would also give you more choices there as well. For better or worse.
I've never heard the Parasound Integrated, but based on my experience I find it hard to believe that the treble would sound hot. I currently own a Parasound A21 and have owned and heard other Parasound amps. I submit Parasound is on the "warm" side of neutral.
Not much in the way of Ayre or Musical Fidelity on the used market right now. Read some reviews on the Pass and it doesn't seem to have warmth to it like the Mc would possibly have.
The Hegel and Mc MA5200 don't have built-in eq so I will probably pass them up as I would like to have some sort of control over the sound as they will be at least three different sources.
Too many options out there.
I may just use my Rotel Processor for now and get a nice amp and then upgrade the preamp later.
BUT, for those of you who use external DACs what do y'all use to adjust the sound, like a 5 band EQ or something at least.
@Ricred1...The Halo integrated is brand new with a power output somewhere between the A23 and the A21. It appears to be full featured too with a built-in DAC amd bass management. Here's a link:
Looks good at $2500 for those wanting a one box solution due to space constraints.
Using an external DAC or not doesn't really have anything to do with speaker EQ, room correction, etc. If you don't have a well-designed and treated dedicated audio room I think speaker/room correction is one of if not the most significant and cost-effective improvement (depending on what product you use) one can make to a system. The demonstrations I've heard were pretty much jaw dropping in terms of the improvements, and just goes to reinforce how big an influence the oft-neglected room plays on the sound we hear. There are several products out there, but for effectiveness, cost, and overall ease of use I like this well-reviewed unit: