tboy,if there’s any way possible bump your budget up a few hundred & get yourself an amp like I have,the iFi Audio"Retro Stereo 50".It has EVERYTHING including a world class DAC,MC/MM phono stage,2 headphone circuits,one optimized for low impedance/high sens.& one for high impedance/low sens.cans,honest to goodness tone controls & the icing on the cake is it’s a TUBE AMP!Uses the audio specific EL84 tubes & makes wonderful wonderful music.Mine is driving Dynaudio Excite X14 monitors in a smallish living room & it’s honestly the best sound I’ve ever had & I came from a Sonus Faber Toy Tower/SimAudio i5.3 integrated amp system so that’s saying a lot!
Welcome to the forum tboy. Undoubtedly you'll find this is a great place resource wise to pose audio related questions.
The 1200 is a tough price point but for just a bit more ($1400?) perhaps a Musical Fidelity M3si would fit your needs. Among other niceties it has a asynchronous USB DAC built in (streams up to 24-bit/96kHz) so you could hook your computer right up to it and save some dollars elsewhere on a stand-alone DAC. Musical Fidelity typically gets a thumbs up on this site, but there are many here that know more than I and I'm sure will weigh in with their own recommendations.
In addition to the NAD you suggest there are several nice solid state integrated amps for sale on Agon now at or below that price point including: Creek Discovery 50A, Naim NAIT 5i, Hegel H70, Vincent SV-256 mk, and Primare I22. Depending on your taste, some nice choices. I have heard all but the Hegel and like them, but think I would look hard at the Primare as it would sound good with MA Silvers.
As paraneer suggests, pick your speakers first. The MA Sliver 10 is a great speaker but I would want at least 100 strong watts to drive them properly. Not just for satisfying volume levels but for good control of the speaker so you can enjoy all they can do.
A good amp that you could get for close to $1200 would be the NAD C375BEE.
Decide on the speakers first and then find an amp to properly drive them.Agree! If you do this you will be reducing your risk of wasting lots of money. Decide what type of speakers float your boat first (sealed box, ported box, panel, open baffle, horn, etc.), then select your favorite of these. Only then shop for an amp to match what your speakers require. Of course, you should also check out powered and active speakers as well, thus saving you the trouble of purchasing an amp.
I'd second the Croft. I recently purchased a Croft preamp & it really made my MA Silver 2 speakers sound so much more alive & musical. 50 watts at 4 ohms is probably enough for most people--it will easily get you over 100db. I believe one reviewer of the 10's even preferred them with his 25-50 watt amplifiers.
tboy, you would likely have to pay for tidal premium to match CD. Even then I don't think (not sure though) if their bit rate is any higher than 16 bit. I am sure though that even if it is higher you probably wouldn't hear any difference. That's (bit rate 16 or 24) a topic discussed elsewhere on the forum.
I've been streaming tidal since it became available in the US and I love it. Steaming from a Sonos Connect to a decent DAC will get you much of the way to a very expensive system. And, I sure do like the huge variety of streaming services and UI with the Sonos. Also, I've had an NAD 355 driving a low impedance load in my floury bakery production area for years now and I have to say that it still sounds great and is extremely robust. Maybe not as refined as some of the great choices mentioned above, but it will have plenty of juice for any future speakers you may have, or if you want to wire a pair of remote speakers in your kitchen!
Bel Canto C5i can be had for that used. I own one and can’t recommend it highly enough. It has everything in a small efficient package and sound quality along with overall implementation is most neutral and top notch overall, espeically for the cost. Worth looking for IMHO. Rogue Sphinx tube hybrid is another good choice in that price range that I have heard and liked a lot but you will need an external DAC for that. These two are my choices for that price depending on what you need.
There are plenty of very good previously owned integrated amplifier options in your price range. NAD, Music Fidelity, Exposure 3010S, Classe to name a few. The Exposure would be high on my list to investigate. Or even a 2010S paired with its sibling power amplifier in a biamp configuration. No doubt it would sound excellent with the monitor Audio's.
If you can live with a solid 50 watts/ch., buy the Audio Refinement Complete Integrated that just popped up here on A-goN today. It's $500 and it's a killer integrated at that price. It has remote, but no phono input and no built-in DAC. But it is an exceptional value. Unit sounds much more expensive and is very musical. Build quality is way above the price.
You can thank me later........
I just got a PS Audio Sprout, and I love it. It replaced a Krell KAV-300i, and I'm not going back. The Sprout just sounds more...fun!
I bluetooth from my computer, use the headphone jack for a Sony Walkman (mostly for the FM tuner), have a Theta Pearl CD transport that plugs into the DAC in the Sprout. Little Sproutie does it all admirably.
Trouble is, it will only set you back $499. But that means you have money left over to pair it with Spatial Audio M4s, which have way enough sensitivity to be driven well by little Sproutie. M3s if you want to stretch. I have the M1 Turbos, and a subwoofer because I am addicted to bass. It runs off the analog output of the Sprout.
It is a magnificent setup, and overall, an incredible bargain. I'll probably spring fro the M3 Turbos sometime soon, and move the M1s and the Krell to my basement system in the guest quarters, where my NAD CD is in storage. Lucky them
bbarlow690, are you seriously comparing the Krell KAV 300i with the PS Audio Sprout...! I had the Sprout for one week and couldn't wait to send it back. I suppose cables and/or system "synergy" could have major impact but in my opinion they're not even in the same league. But all that aside, I'd second Rogue Audio as a great value, especially if you can find it used.
The Monitor Audio’s are 4 ohm 90db sensitivity 250w. Albeit wattage handling numbers can be a little loose. There isn’t much point in buying a steak if your only going to take two bites out of it. Thats what you’ll be doing with the PS audio sprout. It is a nice all one for fitting applications. Even though the 10’s have a somewhat friendly sensitivity rating unless an amplifier is packing an extra large power supply I would aim higher than "50 watts" per channel.
Is there some reason that you have to have an integrated amp? When you buy an integrated amp, you are committed to only having only that power rating and sound. What do you do when you change speakers? And you don't say anything about how much power you need for your speakers or what kind they are.
For $1200, you could build a Bob Latino ST70 power amp ($900) and something like a Hafler DH110 for about $300. Or you could look for a good deal on a tube preamp and look for something like a used B&K or Hafler power amp.
There are many possibilities.
Peachtree 125 on here and several Peachtrees on Ebay if your into class D. Cant vouch for SQ though. I did demo one of their integrated awhile back and it did sound comparable to my Rotel preamp and class D amp setup I had.
I upgraded my pre to a Rogue and I can vouch for their stuff. Love there customer service. So if you can get your hands on one their integrated I bet it would satisfy, depending on your speaks of course.
I will sell you a NAD phono stage if you go with Peachtree.
I agree with those who recommend you buy the speakers first before any other component. If you don't, you are playing russian roulette with your audio system.
With speakers there is something within the specs that is called sensitivity.
Sensitivity is a measure of the relationship between the power input and the sound output. The standard for achieving this rating is 1 watt/1 meter. This means the speaker will produce sound at the volume of xx dB, measured by a microphone placed 1 meter away when it's given the input power of 1 watt. Basically it means the higher the sensitivity the better.
Another important factor to think about is frequency response. The range of human hearing is generally regarded as being from 20Hz, very low bass tones, through 20kHz (20,000Hz), the very highest treble. Presumably a speaker that could reproduce that range would sound lifelike. Basically, this means the lower the first number and higher the second number. However, this is not always true. You need to consider how the speakers are constructed and the components they use in building the speaker.
For example, I have a pair of mini tower speakers with a sensitivity of 92dB and a frequency response of 48Hz - 24kHz, and a pair of bookshelf speakers on their stands with a sensitivity of 90dB and a frequency response of 55Hz-28kHz. I have a solid state and tube integrated amp, and the second pair of speakers sounds better in my system in my room which is 11ft wide x 14ft long x 8ft high.
Do yourself and your wallet a favor, purchase the speakers before any other component. You will be more happy doing this.
I second checking out a Marantz 8005. I got one two years ago as backup to my Vintage McIntosh separates. I was curious to hear a modern integrated and auditioned Rogue, Marantz, Rega, Cambridge,NAD, Yamaha, others. I was very taken by the Marantz because it offered good clean dynamic sound, transparency, a neutral to warmish sound, ample current, direct to amp signal or extensive tone controls, ability to use two sets of speakers, preamp out etc. I got it and have set it up as a second modern system right beside my semi vintage kit. It was made in the Japanese Marantz Reference factory sounds very close to their Refernce gear (I compared) for less money. I have found its too good to be a backup. It's different than the sound of my primary system but also good. BTW, I run it with Kef R300 monitors but it also sounded good with my Ohm Walsh speakers and my Spendor S3/5s.
I recently purchased a NuPrime IDA-8 for $1,000 and use it on my desk system. I find it superb for the money with an excellent onboard DAC though no phono or phones. Has Bluetooth as well if you want to use your phone and the sound is good - for Bluetooth. It's one of five amps I own and by far the cheapest but I find it well worth the pesos (and it's quite small).
They Rogue Sphinx recommended has been well reviewed and people love it. I hope to hear it one day. I thought I'd mention another; the Arcam FMJ A19. I've really enjoyed mine the past three years.
Check out the review at Soundstage. The reviewer compares the Sphinx and the A19. It's an interesting read and good example of how two great amps can have different personalities.
I just must mention it because that's what I listen to, and I am quite hard to please. Redgum Audio RGi120. 120 watt/ch/8ohm. There is one here for sale from Canada for $999, perhaps less. The current price new is about $2700 directly from Australia. No DAC or phono stage, though. It does everything well and sounds powerfull, fast and balanced. Not bright, not dark, just right. I will only upgrade it to high level separates or best integrateds like Gryphon Diablo, Ypsilon Phaeton, perhaps VAC etc.
Forgot to mention. The Redgum has passive preamp section, no gain, something which is questionable and depends on your taste. Personally, I don't quite like it despite the gain in transparency and usually run my phono stage thru deck monitor and then to the Redgum. I lose some, very little, transparency but get more full bodied sound. I use very high quality cables.
The don't come available very often, but $1200 should buy a Coda Unison... If you want a solid state, its hard to do much better at any price. All 3 versions are quite good. All 3 double their power from 8 to 4 ohms.
3.1 125 watts
3.2 200 watts
3.3 300 watts...
The difference is how much power is biased into class A.
The only brand new modern integrated I know at that price point that will generate enough watts to drive efficient (i.e. 6 ohm) floorstanders is the Cyrus One. I heard it at the Munich High End Show and it was a jaw dropper. Hard to believe something that small and reasonably priced could be packed with so many features and still deliver the goods - and it did!
If you are prepared to consider the used market then I highly recommend any Octave integrated. They don't hit the used market often and when they do they get snapped up quickly. Their build quality, reliablity and (most importantly) sound are very hard to beat.
Another vote for marantz. I bought the 8400 integrated 6 years ago, and it's been on close to 24/7 and it works and sounds great. Built like a tank. What I have had in the past does not even come close in terms of quality and durability.. (adcom, arcam, nad).
I bet that the new yamaha line of integrated sounds good too.