Don't know the NAD, but I traded out my Audio Research gear for an A-52 amp and I love it, very warm (not dull) and can listen to it for hours. I suspect its biased fairly heavily into class A as it puts out a fair amount of heat.
If the Matantz is working OK for you, why not just keep that?
Monitor Audio is a brand which makes exeptional good crossovers. Wenn you use the right amps you can create depth and even a 3-dimensional stage. Marantz is a 2-dimensional brand. You only can create depth wenn you use an amp and pre amp as weel which can give depth. I sold a lot of Monitor Audio. I also give shows with Monitor Audio. I tested many amps with Monitor Audio to see if the amp is a 2-dimensional ore 3-dimensional amp. Onkyo is the only brand in his price tag who can give depth. I sold it a lot with monitor Audio. Primare is also a warm sounding amp with a 3-dimensional image. Many of my customers use Onkyo with Primare. These two brands are superior to Marantz with Monitor Audio. For me it is that simple!
Since you like the sound of the Marantz, I should have also mentioned the MM7055. Its a 5 channel amp that lists for about $1200. It probably has a lot more power than your receiver.
Primare A30.5 version 2. Sound realism is superior to the Marantz sound. Drive and control is a lot better with the Primare. Marantz uses cheap transformer they give less amperage compared to Primare. Focus of voices and instruments is sharper also. And it can give a deep and wide stage. Marantz almost gives a flat stage. I sold Marantz for a long time. And I did hundreds of tests with Marantz. For me it is like 1 and 1 is 2. For me it is that simple!
Having just gone through this and purchased a few amps to try (used and new), and in borrowing a couple to try.
On a used budget- harman kardon signature series 2.1, debating selling mine, but can be found on eBay for nice prices. These were US built harman. Spectacular amp for the money.
New or high end used - butler 5150. Which is what I am going with for now. It's a bit more detailed than the harman, and maybe slightly more forward, but still warm.
NAD also warm, but I try to stick with non china built stuff where I can. I also don't like fan cooled amps.
I demo'd the parasound and thought it was a bit brighter than the others.
With lexicon, depends on the series... I have heard good things about the b&w signature stuff.
NAD is since 2006 not natural/warm sounding anymore. It has a more cool sound these days. With a poor focus. I invested in 2007 in a lot of NAD amps at the shop which I run at that time. It was a bad decision I took.
+1 on the Butler recommendation
B&K is out of business. Their multichannel amps are on the bright side. They are great for explosions! I would stay away from them given your criteria. However, if you really want one you can make me an offer on mine :)
The Theta Intrepid 5 channel amp is a bargain at its price.
Onkyo is warm.
Check ACURUS new power amps. Really great.
Hey Bo172: could it be that NAD went to all digital amps since 2006? That would explain the departure from warmth and more towards cool as you describe. What does everyone think of digital class D vs analog (class A-B) multi-channel amps?
"Hey Bo172: could it be that NAD went to all digital amps since 2006? That would explain the departure from warmth and more towards cool as you describe."
As far as I know, the only digital amps in the NAD line up are the M2, C390DD, D7050, and D3020. None of their multichannel amps are digital.
I am not talking about there digital amps. Those amps are based on Tact ( lyngdorf) I sold these as well. To be unnest I do not like them either. There was no brand which had so many problems with reliability as NAD. Even the new amps in our shop didn't work. Wenn I wanted to give a demo, they didn't do anything. I sold a Tact Millenium to one of my best friends. Wenn we did compare it with other amps you could hear what they miss. Individual focus of instruments and voices is average, not sharp as it should be. And the stage is not so deep and wide as other are in this price range.
class D for Home-cinema could be nice for bass. The limitation of this tech shouldn't be a huge problem in HC.
Forget NAD! too many defects and a bad service are enough to throw your future NAD by the window!!!
I had a NAD in HC. It was very nice until it broke down...
W4S is probably a good choice for power amps cause they are on the warm side of neutral (may be not neutral at all). The STP-SE preamp in the other hand is not warm at all and probably one of the best preamp for the price!
Parasound A-51 is a killer 5 channel amp; its built like a tank, weights 100 lbs, and has good detail and grip on all channels...I use one for my HT set up; and it delivers all the sound I can hope for. It's only a 'tad' bit warm, but very accurate. Its been around for a while, but very reliable.
How about Bill Bakers new Line of products Class D hybrids with Tube Stage. Here is the link: http://www.responseaudiony.com/Ibrido.htm
Bill also produces the Purity Audio line which we have aqquired. I would say his build quality sound and customer service is pretty hard to beat in this industry. The Class D Hybrid should give you a good cinematic impact together with a warmer presentation of the tubes. These amps are fully upgradable and he can modify and upgrade caps or anything you need.
That's exactly what I thought, Iblieve. Wyred is on the warm side of neutral AND it has the power needed for a theater if that's what one has.
Aver79, are you out there?