System assessment--should I change amps?


Hello all. I have been making some changes to my system (primarily the analog side) over the past year or so, after about 10 years without changing anything. System: VPI Scoutmaster TT (SDS, upgraded clamp), Soundsmith Paua cartridge, Transparent Reference Phono MM2 cables, Herron VTPH-2 phono stage, Musical Fidelity TriVista 21 DAC, Musical Fidelity 3.2 CDP, Transparent digital cable and music link Ultra interconnects, Musical Fidelity KW500 integrated amp. (with Transparent modified internal cabling), Transparent Reference MM2 speaker cables, and Wilson Audio Sophias. Also Transparent power conditioner and power cables.
Question: would anyone suggest another integrated amplifier that may be better suited to this system? I have always loved the kw500, but it is 10 years old. I like the sound of my system as it is a lot. I am not the type to change components frequently. And, I am not bent on spending money on a new integrated just for the sake of change. I do want to stick with integrated amps. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks!
arsh
I think you have a very nice system. If it sounds good, why screw with it? Spend your money on music...
I use Transparent cabling and have owned several Wilson speakers (currently B&W802D's). The new Krell Vanguard Integrated is one of the most musical components I have owned....and I have owned 50K amp/preamp combo's!!
Arsh, you have what appears to be a well thought out system with fantastic pieces from start to finish. You say you like how it sounds a lot. Since you are satisfied I'd say sit back and enjoy such a fantastic set-up.
Thanks for your responses, Mofi and Samac.
"Question: would anyone suggest another integrated amplifier that may be better suited to this system?"

What do you mean by better?
Zd542, I mean one that might allow me to hear more fully what the other components in the system can do--better synergy, perhaps.
Thanks very much, Dave; I will check out the Krell amp. Anyone else with opinions about the KW500 or other integrateds with Wilson speakers?
Looking at your system, a better option might be to upgrade your digital front end. What you have now is not bad, but it still may be the weakest link in the system. For a new integrated, the new 5 series Ayre would be a good choice if you want to hear that's on your recordings.
Thanks Zd542. I will investigate the Ayre. I know what you mean about the digital side, but, strangely enough I really enjoy the sound of CDs played through my digital front end. Very musical, lifelike, and never fatiguing. That being said, I do listen to records much more now.
Depending on what you want to spend, maybe a D'agostino's Momentum Integrated amp:

http://dandagostino.com/products-momentum-integrated.php

Not only is the design wonderful, but it looks very elegant!
Arsh,

3 thoughts for your consideration...

As a former Trivista DAC owner, I can say confidently that as ZD suggests your digital front end can be greatly improved upon at resonable cost. No area in audio has made such strides since the time of your gear. Computer audio, etc is another whole conversation, but a good dac will be a very noticeable improvement and doesn't have to cost you much at all.

Your overall question is tough to answer because you haven't told us what you feel your your rig is lacking or that you prefer in some other that you've heard. In other words, what do you hope an amp change will do sonically?

The pairing of amp and speaker is always critical and the speakers usually have the greatest overall impact on the final result. I have to go against the grain here and ask have you considered upgrading the speakers instead? Depending on what you seek, that might be the best way to get closer to your goal. Your amp will drive many speaker options, and there are plenty that will get you closer to your nirvana than the Sophias, regardless of personal preferences.

Also, your budget would help everyone zero in on more meaningful advice. Sure the Momentum sounded awesome when I heard it, but I don't think at $45k it would make sense to suggest in the context of your system. Cheers,
Spencer
Thanks Jasonsim and Spencer. I appreciate the suggestions. Actually, I have changed to a Musical Fidelity NuVista 800 amp, and I am awaiting the arrival of Wilson Sashas next month. The NuVista is fantastic!! As for the DAC, that is intriguing. Spencer, as a former TriVista owner, what would you suggest as a replacement for someone who really loves that piece?

Thanks!
Arsh, it seems like there are ten new DACs coming out every month. IMHO, they depreciate like computers(i.e. fast!) more than other audio gear, so value percent of original price ties very much to age. Improvements in processors etc. keep bringing costs down (aka performance up).

My personal preference is to shy away from new or 1-product companies so that eliminates a boatload of good sounding but IMO riskier choices. That being said in more or less cost order my recommended DACs at various price points include:
Oppo 105 and Oppo 105D
Mytek
Bryston
PS Audio
Bricasti

Also, congrats on your Sashas; they are a huge improvement from the Sophias and the first Wilsons that I think I could be happy with. Cheers,
Spencer
Spencer, thanks for your advice and suggestions. I will look into those. And, thanks for the congrats on the Sashas. I am looking forward to their arrival.
Have you thought about tubes. Like an Audio Research integrated. Might go nice with your Sophia's.
So all is good now with the change to the Nuvista 800?
Bostonbean and Mapman,

The NuVista does have tubes (Nuvistors). It's a hybrid tubed pre/solid state power amp. All was pretty good before, with my KW500 (also a hybrid but different tubes and technology)--but even better now with the NuVista. Still very dynamic and powerful, but lower noise, higher resolution, smoother overall , more refined top end and even better bass. And it is beautifully made, a pleasure to use. Should go nicely with the Sashas, and does great with my Sophias too.
Did not know that, silly me. Yes, I've heard tubes and Wilson's go together well.