PS Audio, Simaudio Moon, Parasound Halo are a few brand names off the top of my head; that won't disappoint.
I always liked McIntosh too, but I don't have the space.
If you get a quality stereo amp or monoblocks and a good preamp, there will be a very noticeable difference in sound quality. I went from a Marantz 8801 and Lexicon LX-7 to a Modwright LS-100 and Wyred 4 Sound st-1000 mkii (since replaced by rogue audio M180 monoblocks) and the improvement in detail, soundstage, etc was not small.
The Marantz AV880x processor line are very nice pieces. They have excellent power supplies and audio circuit design. The sound is very solid and very full and very natural. However, being Marantz, they are voiced very warm, which means the high frequencies are definitely rolled off compared to other preamp/processors.
The Lyngdorf is not going to be warm at all. It is a very high resolution device. However, when compared to Marantz, I think it might sound just a little bit thin and not quite as natural.
I haven't directly heard the McIntosh, but I suspect it may be somewhat in the middle. More natural sounding than Lyngdorf, and more high frequency resolution than the Marantz.
You may want to look at Krell Foundation. That is also a very clean sounding modern processor. My suggestions are all based on the assumption that you are looking to keep a HT processor in the mix and not go to a 2-channel only system.
However, being Marantz, they are voiced very warm,
Good thing EQ exists. However:
Unless you consider changes within 1/2 a decibel to be easily audible, Marantz are dead neutral.
yeah, measurements really don't tell the entire story. You can have measurements on a scope showing flat response to 20khz, but it won't really tell you if the amp is warm of soft or fast or bright. I've dealt with warm amps before. You can work around them with stuff like sliver fuses, etc., but it is a compromise at best.
Thanks for the responses. I am looking to utilize the same speakers subs and amps but am curious on an a two channnel preamp that would be a huge step up in performance while having a home theater pass through and preferable bass management of some sort. I’ve also levinson 585 but not clear if that’s a big step up. Again really no dealers in my area so really going on reviews and forums for feedback.
So I often find reading about audio like reading about wine in as much as terms which normally describe something else are often used to describe sound (bright, warm, etc). Is anyone aware of a CD which demonstrates these attributes in a way that any system could play and the listener would then understand the term better?
Try the Anthem STR Pre which has a home theater bypass with New ARC Genesis Room Correction launching next month.
Subjective sighted evaluations =/= proof. I could listen to the same thing and say the Marantz is brighter than the Krell, a totally opposite opinion. However, we both would be wrong, as it’s neutral, proveably so.Ah, so you’re one of those "if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist" type of people. That’s fine, I used to be just like that a long time ago, but after 20+ years in this hobby, I have learned that measurements don’t tell you what something is going to sound like. They may influence, but they are not the end-all. I will state again that the Marantz is warm. The high frequencies are there, but they are soft and rolled off, even though they are represented by measurement on a scope. They are definitely not crisp/clean like Krell or even Anthem.
Since you haven't even listened to the Krell/Marantz in comparison, you are just making an assumption and pre-judgement on what Marantz will actually sound like.