Thoughts on choosing an amplifier


After much thinking, too much actually. I have narrowed my amplifier choices down to a Parasound a21+, a Benchmark AHB2, or two Schitt Aegirs. Presently, my modest system is a Pioneer PL 71 turntable with an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge into a Schitt Mani into a NAD C 326BEE feeding Quad 12L Classic monitors. Time for an upgrade, eh? I though I would start with an amp and some more speakers. 

The plan is to remove the jumper on the NAD integrated and use the NAD as a preamp until I choose a preamp to go with the amp. For what it is worth, I am leaning towards a tube preamp - maybe a 6NS7. I also plan to buy a few modestly priced speakers, such as Magneplan LRS,  Zu Omen Dirty Weekend, Bowers & Wilkins 603, GoldenEar Triton Five, KEF LS50, or Warfedale Linton, rather than one more expensive speaker. I like the idea of swapping out speakers for fun, type of music, etc. So I am looking for an amplifier that pairs well with many different types of speakers designs.  Which one of the three amplifiers would you choose?

From reading the forums, people often ask the poster what type of music they like to listen to. My music tastes run from Americana to jazz to opera to classic rock to ambient electronic; mostly Americana and jazz tho.

Thank you in advance for your collective advice. It is very much appreciated.
Cheers,
BigMusic - First time poster
bigmusic
If you really want a Pass XA25, Reno hifi has a used one for $3595.


That's a nice price. However, a Pass Labs XA-25 is underpowered for some of his speaker choices, and he wants an amplifier that can drive them all.
Agree on choosing speakers first. Once I knew I had the sound I wanted I went through a few demos before picking the perfect match.


If I were to make a wild guess as to what would drive the majority of speakers well, I'd go for the Parasound. When I was looking, I had power up the wazoo, but not quality current. Once I got that, I found I didn't need that much absolute wattage. It just seems the speakers I gravitate towards are usually difficult loads.
I definitely recommend the A21+. I have the A21 and love it. I’m using a Parasound P5 preamp which is ok and I too am thinking about a Tube Preamp.

i agree you should choose your speakers first. The Parasound will drive pretty much anything you’d buy. I loved my Triton 5’s and they were my main speakers until I recently bought Klipsch Cornwall IV’s. I did however have to use two subs with the Tritons to get the extra oomph I wanted out of my system. They still sounded excellent without subs, that’s just a personal taste set up thing for me. The Tritons are very detailed and smooth sounding speakers. 
Best of luck to you!

John
I use Magnepan. 7's with the Parasound A21. I purchased the A300 Emotiva and it just could not drive the Maggie's. The Parasound has complete control, the sound stage is immense and the instrument separation is the best my 62 year old ears have ever experienced. 

My feeling is you can't go wrong with the A21+.
I’d suggest going with the Parasound Halo, or Hint integrated instead of the A21. I own one and I’m extremely happy with it. It has a built in phono stage (moving magnet or moving coil) for your turntable, as well as a DAC, should you consider streaming. It includes controls for a subwoofer which I would recommend if you purchase the KEF LS50’s or Magnepan LRS.

You wouldn’t need to purchase a preamp, so you could sell your NAD and apply those funds to your speaker search. I purchased my Parasound integrated used last year in near mint condition for $1700, which would leave you money for a power conditioner and to upgrade your cables.
Read the reviews on it, its highly rated and loaded with features, including a remote control.
Good luck.