Simaudio I-5 and Dynaudio Contour S 1.4

My current system is a Simaudio I-3 driving a pair of Dynaudio Contour S 1.4s. I'm extremely happy with the sound so far, but am wondering if the upgrade to the I-5 may eke out some more detail. Both the Sims and the Dyns seem to complement each other nicely.

My concern is that the Dynaudio's tend to be a touch inefficient. While the 100W/Ch I-3 seems to drive them quite nicely, the I-5 shaves off a few Watts per channel in favor of a more refined sound (at least according to Sim's marketing).

I've also heard that the I-5 tends to sound a bit more subtle, whereas the I-3 has a more forward, energetic sound.

My question(s):
1) Does the I-5 really sound that much better than the I-3?
2) Does the I-5 still have enough juice to power the Dyn's?
3) Would (in your opinion) the I-3 or the I-5 pair better with the Contour S 1.4s?

I'm listening to the system in a relatively small room and pretty moderate volume. And, I have a separate subwoofer, so bass "slam" is less of an issue.

I'd appreciate any thoughts...

/* Jonah */
Jonah -

I have your speakers and have heard them in a variety of systems with a variety of gear. The fact is that these are really high-end speakers, and the better your amplifcation and front end gear is, the better sound you will get from them. Also- they are pretty finicky with gear. If mismatched, I've found they just don't sound good at all. I don't know what your budget is like, but moving to well-matched separates will pay dividends in terms of fidelity. I haven't been too impressed with Simaudio's preamps (including the ones in their intregrated, they have always sounded dry and thin to my ears) but I think their amps are fantastic.

Are you looking to buy new or used? Something like a w5 matched with a quality tube preamp would be ideal for your speakers. A used w3 would also be awesome, and cheap.

Regarding your actual question - Though the S1.4s are relatively inefficient, the bigger issue is that they are a 4 ohm speaker, and as such, need a healthy supply of current. My understanding of the I5 (someone correct me if I'm wrong) is that even though it is 70 WPC instead of 100 WPC, it is a higher current design then the I3, rendering it a better match for the Dyns than the I3.

What subwoofer do you have?
Goat: I'm using a Sunfire Solitaire 10 subwoofer. I've been very impressed with its transparency. It does a good job of extending the sub-bass without adding any sonic artifacts (at least not that I can hear).

But, since you asked -- do you know if there is any type of hi-pass filter in the crossover of the S 1.4s? Since I've plugged the sub into the preamp-out of the amp (instead of threading the pre-out through the sub's high-pass filter) I'm wondering if the speakers are smart enough to not try to reproduce < 40Hz signals or if it really makes sense to route a preamp signal through the sub and use separates.
Borrow a W-3 power-amp from your local dealer and use your I-5 as a pre. Then decide for yourself if you could use more power.
The new issue of HiFi+ magazine, no. 40 has a great review of the I-5, well worth checking out. The mag is available at most bookstores and it's the best HiFi mag on the market in my opinion. Whatever you decide, have fun and happy listening!
Just to complete the thread, I took the plunge and upgraded. Luckily, I was able to get a great deal on an I-5 LE, so it ended up being a bigger step up than I originally thought. Like all Sim gear, it will definitely take a while before it's fully broken in, but here a few initial impressions:

1) the power level appears to be fine. It doesn't seem to be that different from the I-3.

2) definitely a more refined sound than the I-3. While the previous I-3 delivers a clear "up-front" sound, the I-5 imparts a touch more smoothness to the speakers. there is now a lot more apparent detail to each instrument.

3) a huge improvement in soundstage. With the I-5 LE the sound is no longer coming from the speakers -- you can clearly hear instruments and voices in specific locations.

I'm very glad I shelled out for the upgrade -- I had no idea it would be this much better. The I-3 is an amazing little amp, but the I-5 LE is noticeably more refined.