Where do you ultimately want to end up? It's not worth the investment if these are only stop-gap solutions.
Do you want to have either of these pieces two years from now?
If not, save a little more cabbage and make the move when you can get a piece that will fit in with your long-term goals... Just my two cents.
What speakers are you using? Amp and speakers is
very important.I have learned that the amp, should
be able to drive and match your speaker nicely, and
without a sweat, I did the pre and cd upgrade before
the amp, I did not get the result I am looking for,
until I replaced the amp.Why dont you try to audition
cdp, and, pre and amp one at a time?This is a lot
of work, but thats the way to do it.
My speakers are B&W N804 & ASW800.
Your speakers are fine and can handle much much higher grade electronics.
An upgrade to me is not just going to a slightly better Rotel. The next step is lower priced gear by major audiophile brands like Conrad Johnson, Blue Circle, McCormick, YBA, Bryston, or higher end Creek, etc, etc, etc.
Get away from the Rotel its not HIFI gear its MID FI
I think the Bryston 4B-ST is a better choice for about this amount than Rotel. I had one for years and it was a great product.
Thanks for your responses. My budget can not afford $3000 preamps and amps - although I do wish it could. I am looking for solid state vs tubes - just my choice. I don't consider Rotel MidFi - Denon, Pioneer, Marantz, Onkyo, etc is MidFi to me.
I started with Rotel several years ago and still use a Rotel A/V receiver in my HT system. They do make pretty good equipment for the money. However, I have to agree with what others have posted here. I don't think is it worth it to just moving up the Rotel line. If you save a bit more and look to the excellant deals you can get on the used market I know you will really get the best bang for your upgrade buck. If you want to get some tube sound into your system without going nuts on power tubes, look at blending a tube pre with a SS amp. It's not that hard to do and the sound may be just what you're looking for. A tubed pre will tame some of the brightness of the Rotel amps.
Any suggestions ona tubed pre/SS amp combo. I lesten to mostly classic rock. My speakers are B&W N804 & ASW800 sub. Thanks for all replies.
A buddy of mine has your speakers. For shits and grins I brought over my Krell 400xi integrated. We rocked the house down! Sounded phenomenal. Tight, smooth and dynamic. Sell both the amp and pre-amp and get a used Krell, it will be under 2 grand. That should keep you on budget.
After I left, he re-hooked up his Denon receiver, all I can say is blah. Flubby and week. The Krell kicked ass w/ those B&W's. I have the CDM9's, not as nice as your speakers. The Krell will sound outstanding.
your weakest link is probably your pre-amp.
i had have been very fond of rotel over the years. it was my first upgrade into entry level separates. recently had to seek out new equipment as my rotel pre petered out. she was very good to me and to be honest - it was difficult to find anything that the rotel line had to offer that was nearly as musical as my original $550 8-9 yr. old pre.
i auditioned all of the newer rotel pre-amps with all my familiar gear.... with disheartening results. the only one that even began to sound as musical was their highest end model @ $1500. my ear tells me that their new amps are still decent - but their pre-amps are not nearly what they once were.
this got me thinking - if i am going to spend 3x the bones just to get back where i was - then why not consider how far this same $ could go toward used higher end.
my go-to high-end sales associate here in san diego was very patient thru my rotel dependancy withdraw process. when i couldnt hear the music i was listening for with rotel he finally encouraged me listen to a 10 year old audio research LS3 pre-amp. let me tell you the difference was night and day. i ended up spending $800 on something that was light-years beyond my current paradigm.
get out and start doing some critical listening of all kinds of gear. find a good hi-end store that shares your love for music. take your system in for side by side comparassons. have them set up a sound stages close to what you have at home and let your senses be your guide.
p.s. dont underestimate the benefits of cleaning up the electricity with a power conditioner... improved my systems sound by 60%
Might I suggest a Musical Fidelity A308 Integrated. I feel that this would fit the bill nicely. There is currently one here on the gon for $1699.00 which is within your budget.
I use one to drive my N803's with great satisfaction. FWIW I have a warm detailed system.
I use the Bryston 4bst mated to a Cary slp98 with great results; rock, classic rock, jazz, blues it all sounds great.