I've owned the NAD T747, and while it is a very nice unit for the price, I think the Bel Canto would outperform it handily. Adding a NAD power amp would do pretty much nothing to improve the sound, as the Rainmakers are relatively easy to drive.
Suggest you give the Bel Canto a listen first, as there are lots of other good choices at that price point. For example, a variety of integrated amps with a separate dac. But as a one box solution, your are thinking in the right direction.
The Bel Canto should very easily beat the NAD. Haven't heard Bel Canto with Totems, so I'm not implying that it'll have a better (or even a good) synergy; just stating Bel Canto is far better overall IMO. Not bashing NAD at all. I've owned a few NAD integrateds over the years and really liked their performance for the dollar. However, Bel Canto is easily a step or two up.
Doesn't mean you'll prefer Bel Canto to NAD either. But I think you'd agree it's better if you heard them both.
The bel canto is a higher league than the NADs. Yes, i had nads and bel canto in my system.
The bel canto are very quiet, smooth & very tube like. The midrange has tube like qualities of being warm & smooth, top end is also very refine.
The NAD is a solid state sounding amp, not that its bad, but the Bel canto is just another level. The Bels are also more refine sounding.
I'd prefer the Bel Canto with Totem.
I hate the bel canto with totems... There, it must be said...
Bel Canto is not great musically. The Totems are.
How about a Naim Nait 5i? Naim and Totem are a good match.
Now that combo I love and adore.
Naim and most Totems go well together... Very well.
thanks for all of the responses. I am,however, a little confused by meiwans comment that the rainmakers are easy to drive as everything i have ever read suggests that they are very difficult to drive and like a lot of power(this was confirmed by an email to totem) which is why I was originally considering the nad 275. It also makes me wonder if the nait 5i would have enough power at 50 watts. although i have of course read great things about that amp. ideally i would find a solution less than 1400 used and it would be great if it had a nice dac but that might be dreaming.
Have no fear, the naim 5i will play those totems very loud,
What is also great with them is the Naim unitiqute, which has a built in DAC, but it's out of your price range...
Naim and Totem pair up quite well. I've heard many combos of them and never heard anything less than stellar.
Bryston also pairs up equally well IMO. A bit different, but equally well. Simaudio is another great match.
Bryston B60s go for under $1k here, depending on age and features (remote, DAC, phono). I like Bryston a bit better than Naim, as it's more 3D and a tad more relaxed sound.
Another vote for the Naim + Totem combination. I have owned two Naim integrateds, the 5i and the XS. Loved them both. They both paired quite nicely with a pair of Totem Arro floorstanders.
Some folks really like the Naim sound. If you've never heard it, make sure you find a dealer and listen with your own ears.
Do you like the NAD sound? Why are you upgrading? Do you feel there is something missing in your system?
Headshrinker2 I like the NAD sound its just that I feel that there might be more to the rainmakers. A friend of mine has the hawks powered by arcam avr400 and a vdac. Just heard it yesterday and the soundstage and attack? are amazing. Perhaps its less the amplifier than the speakers. I am planning on bringing them to his place so that I can determine if its the speakers or some other part of his system that I like. I was hoping that with better amplification and maybe the storm sub I could get close to his set-up without selling the rainmakers.
BTW aren't the arros much easier to drive than the rainmakers?
Your idea of trying your Rainmakers with your friend's system sounds great. That will at least answer part of the question.
A quick check to the Totem website will answer your question about recommended amplification for the Arro and Rainmaker. I don't know about Rainmakers, but the Arros are indeed easy to drive.
Let us know what you discover...
"but the Arros are indeed easy to drive"
PErhaps to drive in general, but do not let the small size fool you. To drive optimally for best balance and performance, I believe they require significant power and current. They are fine speakers especially for their size but I would not categorize them as "easy to drive"
Like your friend I am using an Arcam avr400 with my Totem "The ones" I'm using the Mites as surround and a Model one signature as center as well as a Jl Audio f113 sub (wich I love)
I'm very happy with the Arcam avr400 its very powerful real 90 wpc drives the whole thing easily with power to spare and the sound produced by the Arcam combined with Totem speakers is awsome.
The dealer I got it from had the Totem Forest set up with the Arcam avr400 thats what sold me.
My family room is 20x20x12 sloping ceiling as high as 16 feet on an open floor plan, thats a pretty big room (one of the reasons I got the Jl Audio sub) but the Totem monitors project very big sound and dissapear beautifully.
I dont feel that I'm missing anything the mids and highs are clear and as far as low octaves are concerned the Jl audio sub does a fantastic job, it takes a while to get the intergration of the sub to work to my satisfaction has been about two months and still working on it.
The Arros aren't impossible to drive, but I wouldn't call them easy by any means. They've got an odd impedence load that requires a stable power supply. You don't need kilowatts to open them up, but you do need an amp that doesn't have difficulty delivering current into 4 ohms and less. Not sure what they actually dip down to, but I'm pretty sure it's less than 4 ohms. If impedence isn't the issue, phase angle may very well be.
A Nait 5i has a power supply that'll take care of them.
The Rainmakers and Arros are pretty similar. Totem doesn't design lines per se (as in B&W 683, 684, 685). Every speaker is it's own individual speaker. However, the Arros and Rainmakers are quite often paired up together in surround applications. Same can be said for the Sttaf and Mites. I think the Arros and Rainmakers use the same driver, but different tweeter. Sttaf and Mite is most likely the same thing.
Just a heads up on Totem in general.
I have owned the NAD T747 and although my current Bel Canto DAC and Amp combination was per-dated by some other components I can offer two opinions. First, the Bel Canto should blow away your current NAD as it did with mine with both Focal and Dynaudio Speakers. Second, I would highly recommend the newer Bel Canto C5i overe the older, less featured S300iuas I believe it to have a better amp section and a substantially better DAC.