I guarantee that you will keep the NAD
There's an Esoteric AI-03 up for sale for $2K that should sound better than the NAD. You have lots of options with that budget and it just depends on what aspects of your current system you're trying to improve. A better DAC or cartridge, or even room treatment might give you the best incremental improvement. Just need to find the weakest link.
The Jolida has no phono stage. My friend owns an older Cronus Magnum ( 50 watt) that uses EL34 tubes and it is real nice. There are plenty of dealers that sell Rogue. You should find one that has a return policy in case you don’t like it! Your speakers have a 90 db sensitivity ,so if you find an older one ( 50 watt ) it should be enough power for your speakers. BTW, there are some used ones listed right here on AudiogoN !
Your speakers have 92db sensitivity, 40-50 watts will be more than adequate. When your speakers hit 101db, you are still only using 8 watts!
My room is smaller, my listening position is 10 feet away from my speakers which are rated at 89db sensitivity. I have driven them with a 35 watt Primaluna amp with no problems. At a minimum, try a nice tube preamp/ss amp combo with the focals.
@jmdavidson87 - Add the Rega Elicit-R to your list. It's a really great solid state integrated amp and slips in right in the middle of your proposed budget for a nice second hand unit. I've had lots of solid state, as well as tube, amplifiers over the years. I'm completely content with the Rega. It also has a good sounding phono stage built in. I have the Pro-Ject Carbon Debut DC Esprit SB with the original Ortofon 2M Red and it sounds fantastic through the Rega Elicit-R.
@nutty - We should have an integrated amp shootout sometime. BTW, I had the Anthem Integrated 1 and Anthem Integrated 2 in the past. I liked the Integrated 2, but unfortunately the volume control did not have enough steps and it was too loud at minimum volume and the steps were way too far apart with my relatively efficient speakers. Both sounded good, just didn't work for my situation.
Rogue Audio Sphinx is pretty amazing. New at <$1500. Very dynamic with a touch of tubes.
Primaluna Dialogue is a touch over $2000 but all tube goodness. I have a Primaluna Dialogue Premium, really elegant with a smooth but accurate response. But have heard the Sphinx with some Tannoy's DCT series that was amazingly dynamic, maybe similar to your Focals.
Balanced Audio Technology VK-300SE Integrated. These typically sell in the $1500-$2000 range. I've been using this model for 15 years and I highly recommend it. These have been around a while so check the serial number with BAT for a recent issue (my latest one is about six years old). Very musical, powerful, versatile, and has a sound that is both stable and "right". For best results, you must buy the "DR" 6H30 driver tubes ($600/pr) but this can be a future upgrade.
Good luck in your search!
I recently sent my Anthem I225 to Parts Connexion. I had Chris install (2) Mundorf 82131 AG 15,000uF- 100v Capacitors and a 110k Blue Velvet Potentiometer. I still have the original Nichicon Caps in storage. I believe the new changes have given the amp a little more refined sound. The volume pot has been tamed as well.
So, like several Focal speakers, the 836 V excel in having a low impedance around the worst locations in the bass (100Hz). It is practically their trademark. See here:
This actually IS a speaker that could benefit from bi-amping, but with no terminals for it, you are stuck. What these speakers need is unusually beefy amps. Not high in power, but with excellent low-impedance drive.
I would suggest among the best values are the Parasound A23/A21 amps in the linear area, and Hypex or nuForce amps in the Class D range. Look for amps that can drive 2 Ohms.
For CLASSIC ROCK i wouldn't recommend spending good money for a better amp. The reason is simple- more revealing equipment is not a great choice for most of what's out there. But for acoustic instruments (folk/jazz/classical/female singers) perhaps you would benefit- but then you would need a better CD player. I am not sure about your turntable.
Ex: i put on CSN&Y Deja Vue on the other day and the mixing errors,
timing errors, etc. almost ruined the usual pleasure i get out of listening
to this album. Sounds much better on a mid-fi setup IMHO.
Of course there are exceptions- like Pink Floyd, or remastered Rolling
Stones, Santana, etc.
I have heard and much admired those speakers. They are fairly balanced and on the warmer side. I don't think they need tubes in the mix unless u like to roll.
I have the older amp version of your INT - 372Bee for the last many years. It is a keeper. I recently swapped it out for a well received 500wpc ICE amp($2K). Could not hear a difference/upgrade! I paid 350 for the NAD 6 yrs ago for a used unit.
What are you looking to do with this change?
I like Brystons personally with any speaker - lots of good deals on SST2s with the cubed out. That said there are many good choices.
+1 for the Esoteric integrated. Its a great deal. You could also look at a Parasound Halo Integrated. You should be able to pick up a used one for 1700-1800.00 or a new one for around 2200-2300.00. I went from a Rogue Cronus Magnum 100wpc tube amp to the Parasound Halo and in my room the Parasound sounds much better.
I listen to 95% rock and out of that 70% is Classic Rock. It all sounds fantastic on my system which certainly isn’t mid fi. Funny you mention CSN&Y, as I listened to Deja Vu on my VPI Prime Saturday afternoon with a ZU/Denon DL103 cartridge played through a Rogue RP-5 tube preamp, an Odyssey Stratos Extreme amp to my GE Triton 1 speakers. The sound was quite breathtaking and I heard no timing errors, just pure blissful music. So, in regards to what you posted, I am not buying it.
@nocrapman This change is mostly geared towards the fact that I think I can get more from the Focals than the NAD gives, and fortunately I have some money to play with ☺️ When I auditioned the Focals, the amp they had hooked up was a Krell S-300i, and it sounded fantastic.
Already so many good posts on this thread and a lot of great looking amps mentioned!
Also, I am not concerned about the phone stage on the amp because I am using the Pro-Ject Tube Box S phono preamp (forgot to post that in the beginning)
I am torn between tubes or SS. Before I posted this thread I was already looking at:
Rogue Cronus Magnum II
Audio Research VSI60 that's on AudiogoN right now for ~2k
Now I also like what I read about Jolida, BAT, Parasound, PrimaLuna.
I have an Audio Refinement (YBA) component stack for sale that would work great with your speakers and budget:
AR Complete tuner
AR Complete CD player
AR Complete integrated
The AR integrated beat out a Rogue Cronus Magnum side by side for warmth and musicality in my system tests. Plus, very very good reviews. You could have all 3 of the above with remote for $1000 plus shipping...
I totally agree with the Rega recommendations above. This set-up on Canuck Audio will fill your life with joy (the phono stage on the Cursa preamp will destroy the Project BTW, which you can sell, and the Exon monoblocks will best the Elicit-R):
The Audio Refinement is not sold, as I am the seller. It is up on a certain Canuck site, on the US side:
I have the Focal 836V's and an SW800V sub. I can highly recommend the Marantz PM-11s3 integrated amp to pair with these. The amp is rated at 100w@8ohm doubling to 200w@4ohm,but has been tested by a few magazines and puts out significantly more power than this. Also benefits from an excellent mc/mm phono section.
Here's my experience: I've had a Nakamichi Receiver 2, which I love, for 25 years. Someone gave me a NAD 7250 PE a few years ago, so I thought I'd set up a second system in my basement, since I already had a pair of Boston Acoustics T 830s. I was disappointed with the NAD/BA combo, so I sold the NAD and bought a Rotel RX-1052 receiver. I upgraded the BAs to Canton 3-way towers to get more out of the Rotel and soon decided to upgrade the Rotel to get the most out of the Cantons. I'd heard some Prima Luna separates that I really liked, but my room is pretty big. I listened to a Belles Aria a few times and fell in love; but I need a balance knob 'cos of a slight Hearing Loss....I'm making things too wordy. Here's what I've heard ranked favorite to least favorite considering cost:
Primare I32 (no phono, though)
Prima Luna Dialogue (too expensive)
Creek Classic 5350SE
I really wanted to hear the Krell S-300i; but didn't get the chance before I had to decide on the Primare. I am very happy with the I32!