SS integrated recommendations - the final piece to my system


Hi everyone,

I hope you're all safe and healthy.  As the heading says, I am looking for a solid state integrated to complete my system.  Things have come together nicely recently, and my (vinyl-only) system is currently:

-Acoustic Signature Wow XL turntable with Grado Sonata III cartridge
-Don Sachs phono preamp (amazing!)
-ATC SCM 11 v2 speakers

The only thing that I'm lacking is a quality integrated amp to drive the ATCs.  Right now I'm using the amp from my office system - a Yamaha A-S701.  It very good for the price, but I'd like to find something much more refined that is more appropriate for the quality of the rest of the system.  The Yamaha is 100wpc, and that's enough power for the ATCs in my room - 15x13ft, but a bit more wouldn't hurt.  I listen at moderate volume levels - peaks in the low/mid 80 dbs. on the rare occasions that I turn it up loud.  The Yamaha sounds a bit brittle/hard in the treble, and overall it is slightly thin and artificial sounding.  So, I'm looking for something with the following characteristics:  

-at least 100 wpc. 
-smooth, non-fatiguing treble
-good soundstage
-good separation 

I'm less concerned about extreme dynamics and deep bass.  Looking in the range of units priced at around $3,000 new, but I hope to buy used/demo and spend closer to $2-2.5k.  The shortlist at this point:

-Exposure 3010s2D - I have liked the Exposure SS amps that I've heard.

-Dayens Ecstasy III - I had the Menuetto, and it was phenomenal in terms of sound quality - one of the most enjoyable amps I've ever heard.  However, there were significant quality control issues with both units that I tried, so I'm somewhat hesitant to spend even more money on the Ecstasy III.

-Musical Fidelity M5si or M6si - I had the M6si about a year ago, paired with Revel M105 speakers.  Very high quality amp.  They only criticism I had was that it didn't sound full at low/moderate volume, at least with the Revels. Perhaps the ATCs would be a better pairing.

-Parasound Hint 6 - For some reason I've generally overlooked this unit.  It seems like I'd be paying for many features I don't need.  Also, the majority of the reviews understandably focus on how the various connections sound - the DAC, the phono stage, the subwoofer outputs, etc.  I don't get a sense of what the unit sounds like through the analog inputs, and that's all I'd use it for.

-Yamaha A-S2100 - it's only 90 wpc, but I've heard so many positive comments about it, and the review descriptions of the smooth mosfet sound appeal to me.  Plus, you know, meters :)

The only real dealbreaker for me is any harshness, grain, sibilance, glare, etc. in the high frequencies.  

I appreciate any suggestions that you might have!

Very sincerely,Scott

smrex13
I really like the Ayre A7e integrated.  It was A rated in Stereophile, and used can be found for less than $2K.  I use mine with KEF LS50s, hardly high-efficiency speakers.  One caveat is that you want to use it with balanced connections.  I use balanced input from an Ayre QB-9 DSD DAC.  You'd want the phono-stage to have balanced output.
i have very good luck with the belles aria - lovely sounding amp, clean top to bottom, some midrange warm where solid state often too thin, treble maybe ever so slightly tilted up... gives a nice sense of life to the sound....  

...guess it is proof that YMMV... some tried it think it is a dog

me i think it is lovely
I second the opinion on Belles Aria.  Wonderful integrated. Non fatiguing sound with great dynamics and soundstage 

Just thought I'd close the loop on this discussion.  I had the chance to listen to three amps in my system - the Marantz PM15s2, the Creek Evolution 100A, and the Unison Research Unico Due.  My favorite, by a significant margin, was the Unico Due.  I'm loving everything I hear and it's just getting better as it burns in.  Thank you for the recommendation, as I wouldn't have considered it otherwise.

Cheers, Scott