Most compatable amp for ACI Sapphire III

Just got these speakers a couple of weeks ago and am now upgrading the system to go with it. I want to replace the old Yamaha R-7 receiver with separates, already have a Magnum Dynalab F-11 Tuner on hold. Also using a Sony 80-ES CD player.
Been looking at Rotel pre-amps & amps...(RC-1070 & RB-1050) plus an older RC995 amp.
Any thoughts on the compatability of Rotel equipment with these speakers? I like a warmer sound, can go another $700 or so with the amp/pre-amp. Cabinet size limits me to just over 17" width, so that chucks some items out the window.
Thanks for any help!
Hi, forget about Rotel, the sound is boring. Take a foray into an integrated tube amp (antique sound, jolida, dynaco, used conrad johnson or audio research) and you'll thank me. Also get an NAD turntable and a grado cartridge (budget analog) and get some LPs. Then you'll hear the sound you want.
Anthem makes some very nice sounding tube gear for the money. Do a search for Anthem on Audiogon and read the reviews at the manufacturer's web site, The Integrated 1 is in your price range, but is a little underpowered at 25 watts. The integrated 2 is a hybrid model and should fit the bill. I've used a Pre1L and Amp 1 to drive these speakers--that may stretch your budget a little...but sounds very nice with these speakers.
I echo the tube option. Offerings such as the VAC Avatar, Conrad Johnson CAV-50, and Audio Research CA-50 would sound great.

Well, I have compromised and gone to a Jolida hybrid integrated amp, the JD 1501RC. After *extended* research, I found the reviews were decidedly positive and the description of the sound is just how I prefer it. Other brands mentioned above had to be eliminated because of size or cost constraints. Plus, as a hybrid, it is said to run cooler, important consideration given my enclosed cabinet with limited circulation.
I was unable to listen to them beforehand. There are only 2-3 places to showcase amps in my 100 mile radius. Stereo stores are increasingly showcasing primarily home theater and listening setups are spartan, relegated to some corner, poorly set up, if at all. Must be a far better profit in HT than 2-channel.
But, to get off topic a moment, salesmen in stereo and Circuit City-type stores have traditionally ignored me because I'm a female. I'm invisible and not worth spending time on. It's an amazing phenom to wait and wait, have a guy walk up and get waited on ahead of. I can't tell you how many times I was itching to spend money in a store but left because I was either not waited on at all or glossed over.
There's a store in Gainesville, FL that I have been into three times the last month...they have lost at least $2500 sales by not bothering to try and SELL me something. Imagine that! A salesman NOT trying to sell?
The first time I went was for speakers; Salesman 1 and I went to a very cramped 2-ch room that had what promised to be decent speakers (Soliliqy), but the trade-in amp had a defect and kept causing major clipping...the guy said, oh well...and didn't bother to put another amp on so I could listen to the speakers. Walked away. I never did hear how they loss, perhaps their loss. I ended up choosing ACI Sapphire III's unheard by reading reviews and opinions. Had them 2 wks and I'm liking them more and more the longer I have them. With the upgraded system, I think it'll be a very sweet set-up.
The second time I went, I got treated well by Paul (salesman 2), he tried to sell me Rotels. After reading your responses and reading Rotel et al reviews very extensively, I had decided on the Jolidas {no place to audition here] but had room to be talked into another similar brand if there was an effort made. I went back to this G'ville place because many of the brands recommended here listed them as dealers. I thought I'd give them a chance to keep the money local and see if they could "sell" me on whatever they carry. Salesman 3 who "helped" me today, he lost interest as soon as I mentioned 2-channel, said all they carry is Cary, "and they're in that room up front" (the one with the clipping amp and previously unheard Soliloquys). And then he just walked away without another word. Yep, there was a Cary pre-amp in there with the offending clipping amp (the brand escapes me) still hooked up, unlistenable to, a week later.
I left, went home and got on the phone. I called Response Audio, talked to Bill. Yeah, he actually talked to me, discussed the system, what to expect, etc. answered all questions, didn't talk down. Nice guy. We got the 1501RC ordered, a Creek phono pre-amp and some cables. They and my Magnum Dynalab FT-11 should be here by early next week, it'll be like Christmas.
Thanks for all your input & recommendations.
Let us know how the amp works in your system. The Jolida and the ACI speakers both are creating a lot of buzz, and I'd like to hear first hand experiences.
Will do...give me a couple weeks to allow delivery and break-in time on the Jolida.
Sorry to hear of your experience at the B&M. I'm here in Cary/Raleigh where they make both Soliloquoy and Cary, and you missed out on what could have been a very nice-sounding combo. But I've heard great things about Mike Dzurko and the ACI's for years and imagine you'll be very happy.

About your invisible treatment, I have actually seen that happen in stores as well. I am often embarrassed by it. One of my business ideas is to open an A/V store sopecifically catering to females. While the number of interested customers may be less, I believe that if the word got out, there would be plenty of appreciative and loyal customers (maybe even a few guys in touch with their feminine side ;-)
I feel the Sapphire III LEs can sound good with many amps. My CJ CAV50 makes an excellent match. Holographic imaging, huge soundstage, lots of guts.
I bet you'll be thrilled when you get them up and running. Do give them a lot of break in. At 50 hours things improve quite a bit. At 100 hours you're going to have a big smile on your face!
When you get the extra funds consider adding a Titan II LE sub. Much as I love the Sapphires on their own, getting the sub integrated into the system is a huge improvement. The added depth and weight in the bass of course, but an even more spacious soundstage and greatly improved dynamics. Have fun!
Well, I've had the Jolida for a week now, the Sapphires a month....maybe 60 hours on the amp, 120 on speakers? Here's the equipment I have:
-Sapphire III LE's
-Jolida 1501RC integrated amp
-Sony 80ES CD player
-Generic Monster Cable sized speaker wires that have a 30' or so run
-Moonlight Clarity interconnects between the amp and the CD player.
-And other things not having any bearing on the sound right now, as I'm primarily playing CD's.
Room characteristics: small, maybe 14' long x 12' wide, 8' ceiling. Speakers that sit on stands on a raised stone hearth on either side of a stone fireplace with wooden bookshelves behind on either side. Bay window to the right, open traffic path to the left front and rear right. Built in wood cabinet in rear left corner w/ components, couch, coupla stuffed chairs, carpet.
I'm not one of you golden eared people who can describe sound in infinite, poetic & colorful detail, so I will be stating things simply as an amateur.
I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I'm hearing things, details I never heard before, more spaciousness, more clarity, more separation of instruments, voices. I get those blissful moments of "ooooohhhhh, and aaaaaaaahhhh."
The BUT is that thus far it is too bright for me. My ears actually hurt if the volume is too high, and I'm not really cranking it up [8:00 max]. I'd like to, but I'm not. I've read reports where people refer to "bleeding ears" (not regarding this system) and I thought, yeah. That's what it feels like. Like when you're sick and hearing is overly sensitive, if that makes sense.
So, I have to think that something needs to be done to make this better. I don't know if it's the speakers, the amp or what. Is more burn time really going to make any difference? Any suggestions on what I need to do would be greatly appreciated as it's a bit frustrating to me right now. Thanks.
I owned Sapphire IIIs for a number of years, never thought of them as bright, very natural and non-fatiguing. A couple of things: Those 30' runs of speaker cable are awefully long, anyway to shorten them? The Sapphire IIIs are a 1st order design. They can sound harsh if you listen to them too high above their main listening axis. This is also true of Vandys, Thiels, etc. Correct height is with you seated in a normal chair, and the speakers on stands about 24-26" tall. I'm trying to picture your room, and it sounds like the speakers are quite close to a lot of stone and hardwood. These materials can be extremely reflective and make the sound very hard sounding. Just as an experiment, you might try moving the speakers way out and listening nearfield. Or try draping a heavy blanket behind the speakers. I know, it wouldn't be permanent, but it will help you find out if that was the main problem. Hang in there, I think your system has great potential. I'm not familiar with the interconnects you're using, you might want to try something else to see if they are part of the problem. I know it can be frustrating, took me years to really be satisfied. I do strongly feel that the speakers are not the problem. You can go nuts swapping speakers, so I'd play with the other variables.
Well, the holidays are over, I can write a brief update on this combination. I'm loving the speakers...I moved them off the hearth, away from the back wall, and they sound much more spacious, more bass. I had a religious experience listening to Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" album, the speakers disappeared and this wall of sound just blossomed in front of me.
I'm still having some sensitivity to brights but I have come to the conclusion this is a thing with my eyes because I have been having the same problem when other people haven't in different settings...maybe I'm having a symptoms of an ear problem that runs in the family. Anyway, I'm very happy with the speakers. I have been happily rediscovering music, pulling out old CD's I hadn't listened to in years.
The Jolida has a drawback, no subwoofer out...for me to add a subwoofer would be a problem. Doesn't make much sense to wire it in such a way as to run it through a powered sub thereby bypassing the Jolida. So, no sub in my future until the warranty on the Jolida runs out and I have my father (electrical engineer) add an sub-out to it. He called them, they said they'd get back w/ him re: if they could modify it but never called back. I wouldn't be inclined to send it off for god knows how long and be without my music.
So that's the short & sweet of it.
Just use the speaker level inputs. A Titan II LE would be the logical choice, perfect match with the Sapphire IIIs. I love the combination! One of my friends just called them to order, they told him it would be at least a month, be prepared to wait but it's worth it.