NAD- See Sam Teiig's column last month in Stereophile. Less expensive model may also suite your needs.
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I recently picked up a new (dealer demo) Atoll IN-100 integrated amp for well under $1K (OK, under $800). I did not purchase the optional phono stage, but it is available for $300 or so and it sounded very good when I demo'd it.
Great amp - build quality is second to none and it sounds wonderful. Better, in fact than some of my more expensive seperates. I use it in my small sound room when it is too hot to fire up the tubes.
Not too many dealers carry them but they do show up occasionally on A'gon or (shudder) craigslist.
The Atoll looks nice - I love the simplicity of it (really no need for balance, tone controls imho), and the reviews stress the neutrality of it, again, good. But - only one pair speakers, no (included) phono input, and no balanced inputs - I'd really like to have two or more of those features if possible. Maybe I'm wanting/asking too much...
Atoll does have phono stages for all of their pre/int amps:
I like the fact that you can have them or not - your choice. Re: your other comments - yes, more speakers would be nice but is it really necessary? And as I am not a fan of balanced connections for short runs, I can't comment. But, given a choice, I will take better sound/build quality over minor* features any day.
*minor to me, that is. YMMV
I guess for my purposes, these are more "must haves" than for many hifi users - I'm integrating it into a pro-audio setup (my recording studio), where all the connections are balanced, so a balanced in would be nice. As for the 2nd set of speakers, it's for AB comparisons with a radically different set of speakers, good for checking multitrack audio mixes. Again I realize these are things that many audiophiles don't necessarily need, but they seem to be present on quite a few hifi amps nonetheless. Just not the ones in my price bracket!
I managed to pick up a Rotel 1052, dirt cheap, on Craig's List. This is not nearly as high-end as my goal, and has too many gozinta gozoutas, but it'll keep me happy until I find the right piece. Question - how much better, if any, is an NAD C372 in comparison? If it's too similar, I'm definitely gonna have to stay focused on the higher end stuff.
Given my original post, how about an Anthem 225? This has all the features I want except for a 2nd pair of speakers, is priced so that I could stretch my budget a little and get a new one (or find a used one), and seems to get as good reviews as anything. Anyone have experience with this amp, opinions pro or con? Thanks in advance.