As long as the pre out is a variable one controlled by the volume control it should work with any amp. How much better [or worse] the sound will be with the 909 is hard to predict. The basic question is do you really need more power? You don't mention speakers or room size so hard to tell. Just putting a 100 [for example] watt amp into a system in place of a 50 watt one will not improve the sound in every case. What is it about the sound characteristics of the two units that make you think that the Quad would be an upgrade? The Creek has a very good reputation for sound; I have used both of these brands [ and do now] but not these particular units, but even if I had the results would depend on your system and taste and not the experience of anyone else. Since IN GENERAL the preamp section in an integrated amp is weaker than the power one you might also consider getting a better pre and using the power section of your present amp, if this is possible. I have done both of these myself and it is hard to say which will give the most improvement in advance.
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You both (Stanwal and Elevick) provide good points which I kind of surmised, especially about the "weakness of pre-amp sections in most integrated amps.... Let me add some details. The speakers are Acoustic Zen Adagios. I believer they are 89db efficiency; Rega Apollo player, Rega P3-24 T/T with a Dynavector 10X5 and Rega's upgraded power supply. I have changed standard power cords on the amp and CD player. The CD has/had the AZ Tsumani plus cable that was recommeded by Sally Reynolds when reviewing the Apollo. With it the Bass is tighter with somewhat better dynamics. I bought a closeout Shunyata Diamondback PC for $99.00, and have switched the Shunayata to the player and the AZ Tsumani on the Creek to see which offers the best improvement. Results are not final about the switch.
Waiting in the wings is AZ Hologram 2 speaker cable which I have yet to install due to placement and room size....The room is a bit of a dog----12X14 with a wall of glass sliding doors. The speakers are about about 7 ft from my ears on the short wall. The speakers are probably too large for the room, and overall produces a bright sound, though not overly so. The long wall probably would/might provide better sound, but there's a lot of moving to do. I currently use Analysis plus Oval 12 speaker cable which is at least 10years old and will be replaced by the AZ [email protected] The so-called fourth wall is open for a counter top dining area, There is a big overstuffed couch against that partial wall. The sound is actually good and the Adagios are get speakers.
But, imaging could be more precise, soundstage is only between the speakers and affords shallow to average depth. Two months ago, I changed the rake angle of the speakers by raising the front spikes and that provided better imaging and less of a lower mid-range bulge which is anybody's guess---acoustics, placement, lack of damping material or bookshelves. I am sure the AZ speaker cable will make "some" difference.
I like the Creek; it is an excellent integrated amp, but it often sound edgy---cymbals, highhat percussion are not clean and defined. I would like a somewhat smoother sound, but not less detailed. As mentioned, the Creek is excellent, but I want to give theses speakers their just due. That is why I mentioned the Quad separates, also there was a few pre-amp and power-amps for sale on this site. I have considered integrateds, like Krell, Rega, Cary, Prima Luna,, but they did not fit my needs. I don't need a lot of features, and like the fact the Quad 99 pre-amp has a supposedly respectable MM/MC stage. The question is how much better is the 99 and 909 combo....Two other posssiblities are the Anthem 225 integrated, and the new Creek Destiny 2. The Anthem has a MM phono stage and has gotten very good reviews. Finally, I am not going to spend $6000-8000 for the new super integrateds like Pass, ARC or the Sim Moon 600i reviewed in TAS this month. I tend to play it loud and spin classic rock, fusion jazz, some big band and classical..... So there it is guys, I hope this info helps.
If you want to spend some money the big Musical Fidelity integrated amps are a bargain. The NuVista, TriVista 500 and 550 all show up under $3000 quite often. My NuVista was superior to a friends Mac separates[ 402 amp and matching pre] driving his Wilson Sasha and it is the lowest powered of the 4. It gives my CJ 350 a good run. These all have tubes in the front end, but ones that will last years as they were developed for the military at the end of the tube era. But even my $5000 MF does not have a phono stage equal to the rest of the amp. I tend to think that the brightness comes from room/cable problems but rooms can be a pain, I have a 12'9" x35' myself and also have speakers that would do better in a larger room. What I would do first is to buy a ProJect Tube Box 11 SE[ or SE 11, I forget ]. I think you can get them from some of the retailers like Music Direct or Audio Advisor which allow home trials. They are about $650 and have beaten $2000 ones in HIFICRITIC tests. You may also want to look at something like the Ready Acoustic panels that I use, my wife actually likes them and they make a huge difference in sound; my room was way to live [bright] before I got them.
It's funny, I was thinking MF gear and then read Stanwal's follow up. Big speakers in a small room will always cause issues with imaging/soundstage. You may have to keep trying with layouts. I've never felt that Creek was "edgy". A cheap fix may be an MF tube buffer? Normally I'm not into muddying up electronics but it may be helpful?
My only other input is new speaker cables do take a lot of time to burn in. Most of what you will buy, if new, will disappoint you at first. That's why I'd only buy used.