I don't know about the 2 speakers bit, but I just heard a new Yamaha A-S2000 integrated and was very impressed.
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Thanks for the responses so far. I probably wasnt very clear...reading my submission back. What I am trying to really understand is the performance gain from modern equipment? I have read lots of stuff online and I think its mainly more clarity, some better resolution and detail, maybe access to a remote, smaller form factor. The tradeoff seems to be that many pieces are less musical, brighter, give you listening fatigue, and may be less durable. That may be why I have gravitated to McIntosh...I am familiar with the sound, durability, it sounds like music and I can hear it here. BUT, arent there other brands that can provide that, with the exception of being sold in HI, too? That was why I was mentioning Creek, LSA, they see to pop up alot. My interest in Rogue is because I have never had tubes, its American made, the company gets lots of kudos and they seem to be well made and customer oriented.
I'm a bit confused. In your original post you say that you are looking for probably SS integrated. Then in your second post you are questioning the Rogue, which is a tube unit. What gives??
Your conclusion above seems to be fairly accurate, in a general sense. As time has marched on the audio world has been chasing higher resolution, which means that many more modern designs offer more articulation, detail and resolution. As with any clearer picture, the result depends on what you are looking at/listening to. If your recording is full of warts, these warts will now be better exposed. That is why many still like the older, more musical, lower resolution gear of yesteryear.
Creek to Rogue to Mac is a wide range in price and quality. With a current amp, you are getting something new with a warntee and new technology, not to say older amps are obsolete. Getting two speaker outputs could be a challeng with the better and more expensive amps. I recently downsized and looked at all integrated options from $4-10,000. In the 5K price range, I can suggest, Modwright (hybrid), Unison S6 (tube)or Unico 50(hybrid) - both are very musical and enagaging, LFD might work well as you have Spendors, and Resolution Audio Cantata C50 (this is a sleeper of an amp). On the used side, a UK made Creek 5350 will offer you two speaker outputs and can hold its own against many current integrateds. I am uncertain how it compares to the new models. You can probably find one in the $750 range and leaves money to update other parts of the your system. Hope this helps.
Thx for all the responses and questions. Yes, looking back at what I wrote there is some contradiction. Its more a matter of form. I started out with the idea a while back that I wanted to try out tubes...which led me to the Rogue. However, home improvements killed that idea off. Subsequent to that my wife resurrected the idea with her spin of get something new so that you dont have to mess with it or mess up your back. I deviated to SS simply because most of my experience is there and I was thinking along the lines of getting something that woudl just allow me to be "done". I DO have an interest in hearing what a tube amp would sound like in my system and how it would work but given the back issues pragmatically I am probably just best getting something that sounds good, get it into place and hopefully not have to move it for a long time. The wide divergence in brands is not as broad as it seems as I was thinking Creek Destiny 2 ($2500), various Rogue (2300-3500) Mac 5200 (4500). The only one of those I have heard is the Mac so my frame of reference is at the very least lacking.
I am going on vacation in a few months so I am hoping to be able to hear some of this stuff down in FL and LA. I appreciate the ideas here especially as my thoughts have not been as clear as one would like. Sort of living on painkillers right now so my brain is actually not clear.
I'll take a stab at answering your question.
Short version: In general vintage gear has a more blended, homogenous sound (more "musical" maybe). Modern gear presents music better resolved into its distinct parts - bass guitar distinct from bass drum and coming from right center and behind the singer. It can come across as maybe drier, less "musical", but for me was really a matter of getting accustomed to more life-like sound. As to reliability, doubt newer means less. Likewise, new doesn't mean bright.
Longer version: A few months ago I was considering the same thing - keep using an older Mac SS receiver that I enjoyed or try something newer. This was in a second system, so I had the luxury of redundancy and experience of modern sounding equipment in my main system and a chance to try alternatives to the Mac, including tubes (had always been curious but avoided tubes due to the perception (mine) of unreliability).
I have not heard Creek or LSA but did listen to Sim and Rogue integrateds. Even though not with my speakers, the audition was enough to know either would be more enjoyable than the Mac. I wound up with a tube amp and Rogue preamp, bought used here on A'gon. Neither is exactly modern - 10 to 15 years old - but sound better in every way and have been perfectly reliable (9 mo.). I don't miss the Mac but would have trouble choosing between the tube system and my main system that cost 4X more.
I know that doesn't address your concerns about service and logistics in HI. Are there any technicians you'd trust?
Just how modern are you willing to go?
Both HK (990 integrated) and NAD (sorry, don't know the model#) provide digital signal processing of the type usually encountered in AVRs. You'll get internal DACs, active digital x-overs for subs (if you ever choose to employ them), and room correction software. The solid state power amp sections in both are time tested designs (the HK uses a Matti Otala derivative and NAD power amp sections have been generally well regarded for many years).
Used as a traditional stereo integrated, I thought the HK sounded pretty darn good on audition with a pair of large Gallo line source speakers. Adding the DSP and (later) switching to a Gallo sub/sat for further auditioning was very impressive.
Bottom line, the feature set in some modern designs makes it a really apples to oranges kind of deal.
I will second Martykl on the HK990. I have one and it is an excellent integrated. Mine is driving my Tannoy DC8s currently (pun intended), and will be relegated to the office to run my Gallo Strada 2s, and matching sub. The Tannoys will be run by my Marantz PM-11S3, which has a lovely balance of warmth and detail. These are both excellent options, however, in your situation, you might be best looking at something like Luxman. They have a class-a integrated amps that would come closer to the sound you have, while still giving you the modern advances and conveniences. Might be worth a listen.
Hope this helps.
OK, the update on this was that I was able to get some listening in tho not enough. Heard ayre cx5 integrated? About $3500. Nice but I was told it was best tthru balanced ICS. It was with Wilson speakers...fabulous but not in my range speaker wise. Anthem 225...just OK I thought. Arcam fmjxxxx (doing fr memory a i cant find my notes on my phone)...again OK but not wowed.That was it as my wife was hungry so we left. I decided that i may need to get better or different speakers too....so i would be interested in hearing more from the Ayre hooked to speaks in the $3-5k range. Still in the hunt I guess
"That was it as my wife was hungry so we left. I decided that i may need to get better or different speakers too....so i would be interested in hearing more from the Ayre hooked to speaks in the $3-5k range."
I have a pair of Wilson's in my 2nd system. I tried them with the Ayre and the combo sounded fine. A much better speaker for Ayre is Vandersteen. A pair of Model 2's with the CX-5 will sound incredible. You really have to hear this for yourself, but I would be very surprised if you didn't like the match.
Update is I bought a Marantz PM8500 and Kef R300 speakers over the holidays back East. I am happier with the speakers than the amp but that is not to say the amp is bad. Initially, it sounded better than my recently upgraded McIntosh MA5100 which had not been used much since I got it back late in the year. So, I have been breaking both in along with the speakers. For the first month or so it was really to the better from the Marantz. BUT, in the last week or so I started to notice that the Mac was sounding really good. I thought I might be off so I had my wife listen blind to each unit playing the same music with the same speakers etc. only change was the amp. I have them on top of a rack and can change it out quickly. 10 minutes and she chose the Mac as the better sounding unit. I was surprised to say the least. I then tried an experiment that I had been surprised by. I did the comparison as the Mac with the tone controls flat vs the Marantz without any tone control etc...just direct to the amp. She felt they were just bout even...the same conclusion I had. Interesting as it means the preamp in the Marantz doesnt add value. That was kind of why I got it as I liked the idea of the midrange tone controls. So, will keep listening. Her comment was the McIntosh sounded more real. She is amused to say the least.....