NAD vs Cambridge audio vs Music hall

I am a college student on a limited budget putting together my first real system, i have found a pair of totem dreamcatcher monitors and have a small sub to go with these speakers, i have posted forums before, asking about cheap tubes vs ss etc. i think at this point i am going to go with a ss just because of the fact that i still have a year of school left and that im not all that experinced and dont know if im ready for the 'maintenance' of tubes right yet. I have narrowed my choice down to 3 budget integrateds, the NAD c320bee ($400 new), the cambridge audio 640a ($479 new), and the music hall A25.2 ($600 new), unfortunately i do not have the ability to demo any of these. I apreciate all recommendations and and experience that anyone has had with any of these amps................ thanks
I compared some of the lower end NAD stuff to the Rotel and CA stuff, both integrated amps and CDP's for a system I wanted to get my son for his birthday. I listened extensively to the integrateds, the CA sounded better than the other two brands mentioned. I liked the CA CDP better also. Never listened to the music hall. All pretty reasonably priced.
Oh dear, I'm going to disagree with Hammergjh. I compared the Cambridge and NAD models you mention and came away with a clear preference for the NAD. I was happy about this, because it left me with more cash for a source or for music.

(BTW, my preference in sources was the other way 'round. I liked the Azur 640 CDP better than the NAD BEE player.)

However I haven't heard the new Music Hall model you mention. If it's a Shanling in disguise, chances are it is a killer value. It would be nice to have a post from someone who has listened to it.
yeah i believe that the music hall piece is relatively new to the market, it is about in line with the others as it is a 50wpc. Music Hall also makes the Mambo integrated which is also 50wpc but it costs about 1300, i realize that it has a DAC and a 'better' build quality, but i am wondering what else it might have over the 600 a25.2 if anything
I have recently purchased a music hall a25.2 and I am very pleased with it. I had a question directed to the technical department and the big man himself answered the same day. Very courteous and available. Try that with NAD or cambridge audio. The music Hall is very smooth, liquid and rich sounding without any distortion (.004%). The build quality is superb with a gorgeous real aluminum remote. I'm sure that the rated 50 WPC is very conservative which is important if you want to run totem speakers. I'm purchasing a pair of totem rainmakers for my system. I'll let you know how it all works once I get them. Nad makes good stuff. I have a NAD CD player. But they look cheap in the black plastic. The cambridge audio is cheaply built and they seem to have problems. Check out the forums on the internet. It's too bad there aren"t any english reviews on the Music Hall. I bought mine without hearing. A german magazine did a review on the a25.2 and loved it. Front cover stated "Music Hall of Fame."
I started with a pair of Dynaudio Audience 42's. I listened to both the Cambridge and NAD. I thought the NAD had the better sound with the 42's, at least to my ears. I use this set up in my bedroom. It works well.
From your 3 NAD is best but try Creek 4330 if you don't mind going used.
I own Music Hall a25.2.
It is bright sounding (at least in my system with Rotel phono stage) but very realistic. It takes time to get used to it's sound (it took for me anyway) due to the fact that I was coming from Yamaha separates that sounded muted and bassy.
Music Hall will not impress any heavy metal fan with deep bass. This amp is perfect for classical or pop. It does not have dramatic or colored sound but rather very revealing and quite natural sound indeed.
Some poorly mastered records would be almost unlistenable with Music Hall. But if you have a good CD player SACD or really good record that amplifier would sing and shine.
It is built like a tank.
NAD is going to be more rounded and laid back sounding - perhaps the most neutral of the three. Cambridge is going to be more forward and "exciting" sounding, but 640 is a more capable amp than the NAD C320 (might want to look for an NAD C352 as Internet closeout for under $500 and packing 80W as alternative). I think the Music Hall is the highest quality amp of the three, with more solid build and decent sound. Suggestion about the Creek is interesting.
Side note: Before buying Music Hall I took home and auditioned Cambridge Audio 840A V2 ($1700.00 retail).
I found CA sound to be veiled with no realism or stage. Sounded like a good FM station on my radio.
Also I was turned of by a number of useless gizmos in that amp and all digital toys, clicks and pizzas that I'am frankly was more annoyed than impressed. Give me $1700.00 worth of components and sound and please keep stupid doo-dadz to yourself CA. Well clearly I am not a target audience for CA top of the line integrated.
So, yea based on sound first and appearance second I chose Music Hall 25.2 at under $599.00
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