Mark Levinson 383 or ML 334?
Merry Christmas and Happy new year!!
I want to get some words of advise from you on my situation. I always strive to have a system that allows me to visualize and feel the music, for example, being neutral, open, transparent, musical, neutral, life-like, and one that gives me a feeling of "I am there." I listen to classical music (80%) and light jazz (20%). Currently, I have Sony SCD-777ES -> Transparent Super IC -> Krell KAV-300i integrated amp -> MIT T2 Biwire -> B&W N805 on DIY speaker stand made of MDF filled with sand.
I recently auditioned Mark Levinson (ML) 383 integrated amp with a Krell cd-player (KAV-280cd) and B&W N805. I really liked it. It seemed to have more clarity and cleaner sound with a feeling of deeper and wider soundstage than my Krell 300i. One striking difference that I noticed was its transparency, almost see-through kind of feeling. Certainly, it does not have any harsh and aggressive high that I have grown accustomed to with the Krell 300i. However, I felt a lack of power that excites me. It was in some way, very polite and reticent. The dealer did not have pre-amp (380) and power amp (334) combo. I couldn't audition the combo. They want to see whether Levinson will come out with a new or updated model at CES 2002 in January. But, they told me that the combo would be almost same sound with more power.
My question is which of the following options would be better or wiser in the long run when I have around $5,000 to spend:
1) get ML 383 (with trade-in of my Krell and discount of ML 383, the cost of this option will be well under $5000), or
2) get ML 334 power amp, pre-amps like Adcom GFP-750 or other tubed-preamp, and HT Pro-Silway (Costwise, I figure that it will be about $5500-$5700), thinking that I will upgrade the pre-amp to 380S in a couple of years.
I read a Stereophile review of ML 383 by L. Greenhill that quoted "Sonically, it's as close as we could make it to the performance of a No.334 driven by a No.380 preamplifier," "And if you fail to use the best interconnect, a No.383 will be better."
Sometime next week, I will be able to audition ML pre-amp (380) and power amp (334) combo. I will be in a better position to make a decision. Any suggestions or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for a long post. Thanks in advance!!