Newbie - Integrated to go with Paradigm 5seMK3's

Room size: 15 x 20 x 8

Current system (6-7 years old):
Yamaha RX-V490 5 channel, 70 watts
Yamaha 5 disk CD player
Yamaha cassette deck
Sony Turntable
Grado SR80’s

Speakers (6-7 years old):
Paradigm bi-wirable floorstanders
Silk soft dome tweeters I believe (they’re black,not metal!!
7 ½ woofer
Say will handle up to 100 watts
Amp range stated is 15-150 watts
8 ohms nominal, 4 minimum

The Yamaha drives them easily. With all of this, I listen to all kinds of music, except rap, mostly rock (not hard), blues and the likes of Boccelli, Enya, Krall and Brightman. Even Yanni!!

I am looking to further enhance my listening experience using my current speakers and CD player. At some point down the road, say 2-3 years, I will probably be buying equipment again as I expect to purchase a house. But for the time-being, I want to better my current system. I was thinking of moving the receiver, cassette deck and turntable to my bedroom and getting an integrated (under $2000) for my living room to go with my speakers and CD player. Shortly thereafter, I will probably pick up a better CD player too. Then in 2-3 years move what I get now to my bedroom with the Paradigms.

So I have been looking, listening and reading. As of now, my short list (new or used) is:

Arcam Diva A85, Creek 5350SE, Classe CAP-151 and Musical Fidelity A300. I am also considering Musical Fidelity A3CR Pre/Amp combo.

I have listened to the Creek with a Creek CD player (43??) and B&W CDM 7NT speakers. Sounded good. I also listened to a CAP-100 (not 151) with the same set up. Nice and comfy!! Warm, yes? I have also listened to the Arcam with an Arcam CD92 and Vandersteen 2CE’s. UUGGHH!! Talk about a horrible experience. However, in saying this, I am still considering the Arcam as the reviews have been tremendous. For me, it must have been the combination together that was such a turnoff. Finally, I have not listened to the MF equipment yet but have read great reviews.

Out of these choices, can anyone provide some comments on what would work best with the Paradigms? I would like to keep the list to these pieces if possible (so my head doesn’t spin anymore) but if you are/were a Paradigm owner and can recommend others based on your experiences, please do!!! Sound wise, I believe (if possible) I like a big soundstage, transparency, decent detail and more laid back than forward. Newbie so sorry this is so long!

As the British would say, adding any of those amps mentioned would give you a very unbalanced system and would not be an effective allocation of your funds. The source should always come first. There are many fine CD players to choose from under $1000.00 from Arcam, Rega, Rotel, Nad, the list is pretty long. An appropriate amp would be one step down from what you are proposing such as Creek 4330, Rotel 971, NAD C350. If you like the Paradigm sound you might consider switching the floor standers for the Studio 20s. Finally, it wasn't mentioned, which is a crime, but cables are a very critical part of the sysem and should comprise 10 to 20% of the total budget. At the high end of the scale look at a Rega Mira integrated and Planet CD about $2000.00, with a 10% discount you have some cable money. I would go the cheap way Rotel RA-971 amp $500.00, 971 CD, I think it's around $700.00, Paradigm Studio 20 speakers with stands $830.00 and 10% off for cables. I prefer the second choice as it is a much more balanced system, but either way will yield much more musical enjoyment than the single upgrade that you are proposing. Best of luck.
Your CD palyer is by far the weekest link in your system.
You dont know what your gear sounds like yet.
Spend 1K on a good palyer and listen for a while.
Or if the CD player has a Digital out put in a DAC.
Viridian/Natalie, what if I bought a CD player, like a Music Hall MMF-CD25 (approx. $500)and then one of the integrated's I listed (about $1500), total about $2,000. Yes, I would also pick up appropriate interconnects. Would it be a decent upgrade (go with the Paradigms) and would my system be better balanced (or not)?

Definitely better balanced, but I think that you are throwing money away when using a $500.00CD player and the old Paradigms with an amp of that caliber. I am not bashing the Paradigms by the way, I own a pair of the Studio 20s, that I recommended, in my second system. But there are any number of great speakers at moderate prices from JM Labs, EPOS, B&W, Triangle and too many others to count. An amp of this caliber will only show you the inadequacies of the speakers first and CD player second. I would go with Natalie that the Music Hall is one of the better contenders, but if the MF is your route, buy an amp for under $800.00 and spend the rest on the down payment for the new shack or splash out on some new CDs. We havn't even asked you about your record player yet, how big your record collection is and what percentage of your listening time is spent with each type of source media. It could be that the table is.......the weakest link.