Since she listens to classical, I cannot think of a better integrated for the money than the Blue Circle CS. Nice amp.
Maybe she would get a kick out of the Blue Circle Music Pumps and Music Purse !!
See them at: http://www.classicpumps.com/mpumps.htm
Not familiar with your speaker choice. The Epos M12 are very nice for around $700, or a used pair of the original B&W CDM-1 or maybe the CDM-1NT if you can't find the original (skip the CDM-1SE version).
Also get her a nice used vintage tuner for listening to classical on FM.
If they still make them, the Castle Isis or Tay are absolutely wonderful sounding, with all the qualities you listed. They have a special sensitivity in the midrange, which gets tonality perfectly, and decent bass response, perhaps to 55Hz.
I have not heard the Titus but these are of course excellent as well I've read.
TomA Rocksan or Musical Fidelity amo are good, or NAD for less $$.
The Blue Circle would be a GREAT choice. I've not heard the Titus, but if they're half as good as the hype, then you probably couldn't go wrong.
I would also recommend finding a pair of Spica TC-50s. It's a sealed enclosure, so no problem with bass bloat and NOTHING comes close for soundstage and imaging. One of the greatest experiences in my audiophile life was listening to Stravinsky's Firebird Suite played through TC-50s. Absolutely magical!!
Let us know what you end up with. Sounds like a fun project and a nice gift for a very special lady.
I would recommend the Creek integrated and B&W 300s (they might be called 330 or something like that now). This is very inexpensive (even new) and nice sounding. A good match with the Marantz CD player.
Twenty-three years ago I sold my pair of Rogers LS3/5a's to my aunt for $320. I still regret it, but my aunt has lived happily with those driven by a NAD 7020 receiver ever since. Secondhand LS3/5a's go for around $700/pr now, and, like other true classics, their value will only increase with time.
I second the recommendation for Epos and Spica speakers. Both are great. The Epos is more capable, particularly at the frequency extremes, but also about twice as expensive. As for amps there are quite a few
Audiolab 8000A (used only)
Mission Cyrus 2 (there's one on this site from Daveyguitar ... I have bought from his and he's a great seller.)
Naim Nait (older version)
Arcam ... too many model versions to mention.
My pick of the bunch would be the Cyrus2. I have heard a Cyrus 2 with Epos Es11 speakers and the results are truly phenomenal for the relatively small cost.
A couple of speaker ideas from a non-expert:
1) Pinnacle makes some nice sounding small speakers for a very reasonable price. Not true audiophile stuff, but a big step up from consumer grade speakers.
2) I don't know what the price/availability would be, but I used to have a pair of Dayton-Wright mini monitors. They were slightly larger than most bookshelf speakers, but not hugeous at all. They are a slope front design for coherence, with excellent imaging and overall a nice, precise sound from top to bottom end.
Both these choices would be very effecient and not require a TerraWatt MegaPower MonsterAmp.
ls3/5 are good speakers .. I have used them with Quad amps. However I think they're a bit overpriced in the US when sold used. Just my opinion. Spica's are much better value this side of the atlantic. TC-60 is a more capable speaker than the ls3/5 for less money.
The LS 3/5 is a classic, but I might also suggest the
Soliloquy 5.0 It is modest in dimension, but capable
of true high-end sound, obviously restricted in low
frequency capability because of size. It is very musical,
easy to drive, and can later be augmented with a subwoofer
if needed. I sold a pair last year for $475 and they
are periodically available in that range. An excellent
speaker at an affordable price.
I would probably go with B&W CDM 1 NT used and an Audio Refinement integrated used. Or the regular CDM 1 as someone already mentioned. It would be a great way to get very nice sounding system that will last a long time.
The Spendor S3/5s are the modern evolution of the LS 3/5s, and are better IMHO. Used $50-600, and match well with the Blue Circle CS integrated. Have these in my study with an Audio Aero Prima CD which makes an excellant small system.
A fantastic int. amp to consider for your aunt would be Jolida's 301A. ($350 Retail) Compact and superb sounding.
Speakers to consider in addition to the previous ones mentioned would be Totem Mite, Ruark Icon, Alon Li'l Rascal.
As a point of reference, my small home office system uses the separate Blue Circle CS Power Amp, with the original B&W CDM-1 on stands. (I am using a CJ Motif preamp.) A Stan Warren DVD player is the source along with a 1970s vintage Kenwood tuner.
The less expensive route:
An NAD integrated ( which is warm and smooth ) with a set of smaller Pinnacles ( either 6 1/2" or 8" two way's / tend to sound a TAD bright / pretty efficient ) should work well together.
The more expensive route:
Musical Fidelity integrated ( clean and nimble yet slightly lean ) with Castle Richmond's ( warm and full bodied / medium efficiency ) should work well together.
Your Kimber 4TC would compliment either of these set-ups. How well the Marantz / MSB combo matches with either can be somewhat finessed via the interconnects. Quite honestly, i would probably suggest selling the MSB and just use the Marantz as a player. You could put the funds from the MSB back into the system in a place where they might make a bigger difference or more convenient i.e. speaker stands, small rack, reasonable PLC, etc...
Keep in mind that this is just my opinion. There are a million different ways to go about doing something like this and most all of them will net you better results than a CD boombox : ) Sean
If your aunt likes clasical music perhaps a small pair of floor standers (Meadowlarks?) might be better. If that's possible maybe a pair of Spica TC-60's will do. I find most clasical needs a decent amount of bass foundation. Good luck.
I have often reccommended many of the things listed above, but lately I think one can do better. The Musical Fidelity A3 integratedcould be found used or demo for 500-600 anda pair of Sonus Faber Concertos could be found used for the same amount and the result sounds just wonderful.
Sorry, that should of read as "If that's (NOT) possible...".
Pick up a Luxman Lv-103u Hybbrid Integrated. Beats the pants of anything under a 2K built in the last 15 years. Truly a great undervaluded piece. The Spica's a re a good choice also. They do very well with Classical Music I have been told.
Linn Kann used about $400-500 would blow you away for the price and sound. Give dear Aunt a tiny sub and a tube Jolida or Blue Circle int. amp and I am coming over to audition that fine system. I wish the Linn Kanns would play loud (real loud) as I listen to my music when the mood stricks I would have them in my system. Listen you will be sold.
Spendors S3/5 or the classic LS3/5a.
The Meadowlark Swallows. No contest on price versus sound. This is a shocking and great little monitor. Front ported so they can go into a bookcase without hurting sound. Will work with any amp.