Looking for THE amp to anchor my system, Krell, Plinius or maybe a D
Ok guys, this is likely a dead horse issue but I'm at a crossroads and needing some advise. I've been out of the 2 channel game for a very long time, having owned vintage Krell gear way back. I sold all and made my way into the HT realm. But keeping up with the Jones got stupid and I've paired down to a simple AV receiver and streamers and decided it was time to get back into a nice 2 channel listening system again. What I already have is a used set of Usher CP8571 Dancers, Marantz SACD player, Cary C306 pre and an original turntable (never sold my Rega table-no one seemed that interested then, but that isn't a factor at this time, since the Cary doesn't have a phono section anyway, so it'll sit until I decide what to do with it and all my vinyl. .
I'm currently using a friends old Ayre V-3 amp to run my system (very nice) but while it sounds ok with the rest of the system, it doesn't have the umph the Ushers like. I auditioned the speakers through a Krell EVO 402e through a Hovland tube pre that took my breath away.I bought the only thing in the package I could afford at the time-the Ushers.
I figured I could get 75% of the 402e out of a 302e or 2250e but those are scarce and on the cusp of my $3K buget for this amp purchase. I've turned to the Plinius HT-301 or Kiokio range as they are supposed to be very Krell like. The others I've considered but not heard are (in now particualr order) Classe CA-2300, Sanders Magtech, Innersound DPR, Dreadnaught (I, II, III, IV), Ayre V-5 (or V-6) and even a Spectron Musician. I have even looked at the interesting fare of D-Class ICE and nCore type amps and I'm intrigued but being old school I'm not completely sold in spite of all the rave reviews. I am trying to stay open minded though.
All of these amps are in and around the price range with the Krells pushing the envelop. I can't touch a 402 or any of the FPBs nor any MBL, PASS, Vitus, PS Audio or other exotics so this is where I have settled. I also need it to be powerful, 200WPC min. (I know the Ayre is rated lower but it seems to push beyond its rating) which kind of eliminates pretty much all tube amps-but I'm a SS guy anyway.
So there you have it. I know the Krell works so that is my point of reference, but finding one in my price is tough so while I know the right way to do this is to listen, listen and listen some more but that isn't the easiest thing to do as there just aren't very many high end shops in my area. So any advise or direction based on your experience is highly appreciated, as I just don't have the funds to "try" and see how it goes.