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That's a very reasonable suggestion, of course. I do love the Creek sound. But all their new amps are very expensive, sigh, and I don't really know what's what in their lineup. So I'm now toying with the idea of getting a (slightly) used Creek 5350 SE from ebay on the premise that it will sound like my beloved 4330.
Yogiboy: my budget is, let’s say, $500 to $1000 for a new integrated amp. I’m also willing to try used gear even though this seems like jumping off a cliff. I don’t need any special features: the 4330 had everything I need (only one set of speakers, nothing optical, no phono, etc). Listening is almost entirely classical: symphonic, chamber, voice - pretty much everything.
This system I referred to is a secondary system in a small library. Vaulted ceiling, 10’x 14’. Von Schweikert VR-1 speakers with an REL 10” subwoofer. The 5350SE delivers a sweet controlled sound. I could listen to this system all day. The source is either CD or a networked Apple TV playing from my Mac Mini and USB drives in FLAC. DAC is Cambridge DACMagic optical input from the ATV. I call it my Brit system. The 5350SE is a great piece of kit. I’ve had it for many years and still love it.
Why couldn't HiFi Heavan find and correct the problem? Twice? I hope they didn't charge you much for their work. I once owned Creek seperates and a 4330 SE. So many pieces have come and gone...I'd say find a shop that could fix for a reasonable amount of money. What repair shops does Creek recommend? 25 yrs old is nothing. Just breaking in! Can't think of too many new pieces of gear I'd buy to replace what you have. I will say the Musical Fidelity M2 si for $569 (Upscale Audio) would merit consideration more so than the Music Hall 15.3 in my mind. Now buying used...5350 SE or an older Arcam Alpha series int. amp. I absolutely love the the musicality/sound my recapped Alpha 10 int. amp makes. Runs hot and has 100w per channel. The extra power sure has a way of improving how your speakers sound. Good Luck!
Thanks to everyone for responding. A very helpful discussion! In the end I couldn't bear the thought of tossing my 4330 on the scrap heap just because its volume control is on the fritz. So I sent it out for repair.
That said, let's take another step and focus this thread. I now ask everyone to vote for one (or more) of the following replacement amps, all in my price range. Btw, these will be paired with Epos ES11 speakers; I listen to classical.
1. Creek 5350SE (not the Evolution bearing the same model number)
2. Arcam A28
3. Music Hall A15
4. Musical Fidelity M2si
We are considering two used vs. new int. amps. The Arcam and Creek had list prices at least twice what you can buy for used. The MF lists for $999 and can be bought for $600 new. IMO, the Musical Hall is not in the same class as the rest. BUT, I have no experience w/any of these models. Let me throw one more int. amp out there for you to consider. The Teac AI-1000. New $499/$999 retail. (HIFI Heaven) I remember these @ a local dealer and everyone was impressed w/this model. (I remember on Amazon they had this model for $380 new and I didn't pull the trigger! ) Now the real question is how are they going to sound w/your Epos'? You have a mellow amp w/mellow speakers listening to classical. A more forward amp w/more top end treble may push you from a musical listening experience to an analytical listening. Short term wow but not a long session pleasure/involvement. (I'm sure you understand this.) Now the question. If you bought whichever amp and have to resell what will be the easiest to resell and lose as little as possible? Tough call! I know recapping a Creek would involve many capacitors! I just though of one other used int. amps to consider...Rega Brio3. Follow your gut on this one. (I think you're leaning towards the Creek 5350.) Best....Bill.
I'm not so sure how many opinions you're going to get here on AudiogoN. I really suggest you do some research and read as much as possible. I really think you should wait for your Creek to come from service and see how things sound. I don't know what cabling you as using as this can make a world of improvement. I can't speak highly enough of Qed Signature spk. wire. Very reasonably priced and great sounding cable from Future Shop UK. Also, my recent purchase of Wireworld Equinox 7 (when it was offered for sale @ 50% off.) has been wonderful. I will say, when I purchase a piece of audio equipment (esp. used) I'm very mindful of the seller's rating/comments and what kind of things they sell. (Ebay) You may be making a lateral move. If buying new, see what satisfaction policy the seller has. Nothing like trying out in your system. I just checked on Ebay and there is one amplifier I would buy in a heartbeat. (Under $200 from what seems like a reputable seller.) Par it up w/ a nice pre-amp (Rotel RC-972/Schiit Saga, etc.) and for very little $ have a VERY nice sounding system. One finally note: I own three pieces of Arcam gear and their customer service when I asked for a part was stellar. (They even shipped it free!) There's a silver A-18 for $399 on Ebay. Preceded the A-19, their newest model. Reading on line some opinions of the two, I sense the A-18 had a warmer midrange but less sparkle and wasn't as dynamic (powerful). Don't know about the A-28 but being in a higher price point would put it into a higher class I would think. I hope all works out well for you. Bill.
Absolutely. One needs to plan/dream and look towards the future. I did end up buying an amp yesterday. (Wasn't planning on it but this thread brought back memories as I once owned Creek separates many, many yrs. ago. A nice little Creek A42. 50w power amp. Doesn't have the multiple capacitors as your 4330 or A43. Small,compact and refined. Just what I needed for one system in the living room. Please follow up on how things are going.
Bill, to answer your question about cabling (and other equipment): I am using Tara Labs Prism Biwire. Not sure about the interconnects, I bought them all a long time ago and went for good quality but not excessive expense. I have a subwoofer (Hsu Research VTF-2 MK 2) separately wired off the amp. The CD player is Njoe Tjoeb 4000. The tuner is Magnum Dynalab FT-101A, but I hardly listen to it anymore because there are no interesting classical music stations in the Washington DC area (end of small rant).
I have quite a few systems put together, all very moderate/inexpensive to AudiogoN standards. Using Prism Labs 22/33 ( Australian 8n solid cu) as well as some older Wireworld Oasis 3/3+ (which I bought used for $10 per cable pair.) In my modest reference system, better Wireworld and Furutech IC's. QED Revelation spk. cables. Upgraded power cords as well as dedicated ac line just for stereo. Your system must sound very nice! Too bad about your FM stations. I have PBS/Roanoke College and many other good radio stations to listen to. Next I'll be streaming one day hopefully.
I'm back to answer my own original question. In the end, despite all the very interesting and helpful and enthusiastic advice, I decided to repair my Creek 4330.
If you've followed this thread you know that a local shop, HiFi Heaven, failed twice to fix the amp's problem. I next contacted Mitch Singerman and sent the amp to him for repair. He immediately diagnosed the problem (HiFi Heaven had "installed nonstandard parts causing additional failures" and was a "really bogus job") and fixed the amp. It sounds fantastic now, just like the amp I fell in love with 25 years ago.
I asked HiFi Heaven for a refund but got no reply. Now preparing my online review of their - and my - mistakes.
Thanks again for everyone's help!
I can totally relate to this thread and your love for the Creek 4330 Integrated amp. The good news- yes, the 5330SE is a nice step upward while retaining all of the sweetness of the 4330. Do not hesitate purchasing the 5330SE, as this model, is getting harder to find (especially in excellent/mint condition). These amps are special indeed and hold their own compared to other Integrated amps costing substantially more money.
Keep us posted on your progress.Happy Listening!
Here's my review of HiFi Heaven in Fairfax, VA.
HiFi Heaven might be the right place for some people. Not for me. I brought my Creek 4330 integrated amplifier in with a bad volume control (one channel had dropped out) even though I knew this wasn't an authorized repair shop for Creek equipment. That was a mistake I won't make again. Here's what happened next.
I paid for the repair and brought the amp home. After 10 hours of use, the same channel stopped working. I brought the amp back and Brett said he fixed a frayed wire on the volume control "caused by the technician." Hm, okay. Brought the amp home again.
A few days later the same channel went silent again. I asked Brett for his recommendation for an authorized repair shop. No reply this time or, for that matter, ever again.
After some research, I sent the amp to a repair shop in California. The Creek expert there tallied up everything HiFi Heaven had done wrong, writing that it was a "really bogus job" which "installed nonstandard parts causing additional failures." He removed the parts and fixed the amp. I sent Brett the invoice detailing these mistakes and asked for a refund. No reply. Frankly, I don't much care anymore. I've learned my lesson. My amp finally works and I won't make this mistake again.
Thanks for the follow-up. I'm glad the Creek is working well again. Not sure how long capacitors last, but when the time comes for your Creek, please check out "Kendeil" from Italy. I ordered from Greece the ones my Arcam Alpha 10 int. amp needed. Wow...what an improvement. ($40 total w/my own labor to install.) BTW, the Creek A42 I bought on Ebay arrived and it is a wonderful sounding compact amp. Definitely hear the class and pedigree. Good listening! Bill.
It is really simple answer, you replace a 25 year old anything.
Even if you get an older piece repaired many times another not related problem occurs, parts age, when a product gets to 20+ years it is a logical assumption to replace.
The othe part of the equation is that newer products generally sound better.
The little Rega Brio is rather amazing sounding for $1100 bucks, great phono stage, dynamic, punchy, great midrange Creek Like but better
The Musical Fidelity stuff is good but less of that midrange warmth that the Rega will bring.
Listen to the Rega, Creek, and Arcam the newer Creek stuff is a bit cleaner and less Creek like of old, the Rega reminds us of Classic Creek very smooth, big presentation, clean midrange, the Rega has a bit more dynamic slam very engaging little amp.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Rega, Musical Fidelity dealers