@johnto I have looked at some Parasound gear which seems reasonably priced. Any particular Parasound Integrated you would recommend?
@mcreyn I have always admired the Bryston warranty. I think it says it all. I've heard they are very neutral and built like tanks. I have never heard their stuff, but a 20 year warranty certainly speaks for itself in terms of build quality.
@mcreyn I see a lot of PS stuff listed as "repair only" and being sold with busted outputs etc. It has made a little reluctant to go the PS audio route, though I dig Paul's blog on YouTube and have learned much by reading and watching him. I read the reviews of the Stellar Mono 700's which are uniformly applauded and praised. Not so many reviews of the Stellar 300s that I have found as of yet. I'll look after work tonight.
Thanks all and keep the recommendations coming. AND if it helps any my preferences sonically are as follows:
1. I'm more into sound stage and imaging than I am into tone
2. I'm more into details than rich warmth
3. Impact over nuance
4B (there is a 4BST on hifi shark for $995) is probably your best choice as it fits your description of what you like. Parasound edges toward warmth. A McCormack DNA 1 would also be good for your wants.
If you look at the odyssey, you should be looking at the Stratos, but it is $1300. The Khatago lacks sufficient power. Larger Maggies really wake up with 300+ watts per side. They are very innefficient, but not a hard load to drive (nearly a resistive 4 ohm load).
I had the Parasound 2.1 Halo Integrated. It gives you a very good phono mm and mc pre section as well as digital inputs and bass management for a sub. Very smooth sounding with 1.7i and plenty of power. It was the model prior to the current one which can be found at reasonable prices. Stereophile rated A product and you can hear why.
I have used an A21 Parasound for my MMGs. I used a McCormack DNA 125 and an Odyssey Stratos before that. The A21 was much better in all respects, not even close. It is a beast. My 2 cents. John Curl design with many great engineering feats behind him. The amp is quiet, with enough power and finesse to drive Magnepan speakers without strain.
Flatbackground - Another site had someone who ran measurements on the CDA-250 from Class D and they were pretty ugly. Not sure if the more expensive ones are better, but it appears to be a design issue with lack of power supply filtering. That is why I suggested the PS Audio. A used Wyred4sound would also be a good Class D choice.
I use a Wyred4sound 1000mkii stereo for my second rig and like it. It is my first step into class d, but is above the budget for the op and my daughter. Class D Audio presents good numbers in their specs, but I have not received any feedback from owner/users. Perhaps a Schmitt vidar is a better choice.
At a hair over a Grand - you should be able to get your hands on a Brand-New Emotiva XPA-2 Gen-3 (2-Channel, Modular Amp)
One of our local HiFi shops recommends them highly for driving Maggies
$1049 plus shipping Direct
For a bit less, you might be able to find a USED XPA-2 Gen-2
People have also had GREAT things to say about Emotiva PA-1 Monoblock Class-D Amps (these are based on a high-current version of the B&O ICE Modules) You can pick-up a Pair (One for each channel / each speaker) for about $650 total.
Class D amps in general have worked very well on my Magnepan 2.7QR speakers. I've used two stereo class D amps (Class D Audio SDS-440-CS and an Emerald Physics EP100.2SE) and I'm currently using a pair of D-Sonic M3-600-M mono-block class D amps.
In general, good class D amps have extremely low distortion levels, dead quiet noise floors, have very good bass response, good dynamics, are very detailed and have a very neutral overall sound presentation, adding or subtracting nothing from the inputted signals like the audio amp ideal of performing like "a straight wire with gain". The midrange and treble on good class D amps is detailed, creates a solid and stable soundstage illusion good but is still smooth and avoids being bright or harsh.
Before trying class D I had used good quality class AB amps (Aragon, Adcom and McCormack) for decades. Based on my experience, There are many good class D and class AB amps that would drive your Magnepans very well but I would suggest using a good class D amp unless you're willing to buy an expensive top quality AB amp like a Pass.
Class D advantages you'll clearly notice are a lower noise floor, better bass response,better dynamics and a more neutral and revealing overall presentation. I would characterize their midrange, treble and soundstage performance as very similar with good class D having the edge on detail level over the good class AB amps I've used in my systems.
There are also numerous non-sound quality advantages to class D amps over AB amps: smaller, lighter, cooler running, more electrically efficient and relative affordability.
The best bargain/best value class D stereo amp I'm currently aware of is my initial D amp, the Class D Audio SDS-440-CS at about $650. It's an all around very good performer for the price. American made, not exactly ugly but definitely not audio jewelry. Here's a link:
If you buy one, you get a 30-day in home trial period, you can get a full no questions asked refund if you don't like it, no risk. My experience was it sounded great right out of the box but gradually performed even better over the next 6 months or so.
Yes, I get it, especially when you can find really good, not very old units out there for reasonable money. I even drove my MMG's with Anthem PVA series for awhile, but I wasn't in a huge room driving them to crazy levels either.
I do think the Anthem amps are good, especially at used prices, but they tend to get dismissed as not being "audiophile approved" at times. Hopefully you will find something that works for you!