Totem Dreamcatchers integrated amp, under $1000.


I'm in the market for an integrated amp for a pair of Totem DC's for under $1000. Has anyone had any experience with the Rotel RA-12 and DC's?, also considering NAD and the Rega BrioR. Problem with the Rega is that it'll put my over budget a bit by the time I get a DAC.

Regards
sonomatic
Haven't heard them together, but I've heard excellent things about matching Totem and Rega. If I were you, and depending on what you need in terms of inputs and features, I'd be thinking about the Brio-R and a very cheap DAC. I've had great results with a FiiO D3 (for $20-25). You can always upgrade the DAC later on ...
Creek is a good match too
Naim goes very with with Totem. I have heard the Naim Nait 5i-2 with Arro and Sffaf and really liked it. Should go with the DC also. Just checked, one on sale for just over $1K.

NAD could also be good. No experience with the Rega. IHMO, the Rotel can be a little forward and harsh, which may not mix as well with the DC.
could go with an older non-remote Brio model...this pop up now and then...creek, Nad, etc would also work...
You may be able to find a nice Arcam integrated amp within your budget. I've heard wonderful music with original Totem Model One's driven by an Arcam integrated. Have fun.
Well, i've heard of the speakers at one of my favorite local speaker dealer. The owner used an intergrated amp Cary cad300se, source is a cheap amc cd player go through a msb d/a. The sound of the dreamcatcher overall is fine, good soundstage, balance, clarity on high and mid, but if u are a fan of bottom-end sound then this would never be your choice.. Consider a size of a woofer, it only a little bit bigger then a kid bowl, 4" woofer, and also a size of your room. Small to ultra-small is suited but not medium to moderate.
I agree with the statement that Rotel can be forward and harsh.
So are you saying you're looking for a $1K integrated, or an integrated plus DAC for $1K? What are you DACing--CDs, computer files, network streaming?

The most astounding <$1K integrated amp I've heard is the Marantz PM8004. It was in a demo powering a $10K pair of Sonus Faber Cremona M floorstanding speakers. Its control over bass lines was fast and absolute. Its overall tonality, timing, perceived linearity, and especially musicality was exemplary. In short, the speakers sounded like they were being powered by an expensive stack of separates.

This is the lowest price amp in Marantz's Reference Series. They have a separate factory for these products in Japan. The other Reference Series amps are much more expensive and have a different model number designation. They are designed by longtime Marantz designer Ken Ishiwata in the Netherlands (going back to when Marantz was owned by Philips). Reviews indicate that even the built-in phono preamp is excellent. The amp is rated at 70/100 watts into 8/4 ohms but sounds much bigger. It's not just higher highs, lower lows, tighter bass, and more transparent midrange; this Marantz has that more elusive quality of being able to draw you into the music time after time.

The PM8004 lists at $999 but factory refurbs can sometimes be had for less at accessories4less.com or vanns.com. If you buy locally, maybe you can haggle a deal for the amp plus a low cost DAC for your target figure. It was a 2012 Absolute Sound Editor's Choice. Review here. And here's a recent A-gon review.

For integrated amp with built-in DAC for $1K, there's the Peachtree Decco65, It's a DAC and intgrated amp with tubed buffer stage all in one. As a DAC it offers asynchronous USB, two coaxial, and one Toslink input plus one pair of analog inputs. It puts out 65/95 wpc into 8/4 ohms.

Although the Marantz doesn't have a built-in DAC, it's more versatile in certain ways, particularly with phono and multiple analog inputs.
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08-09-13: Bob_reynolds
As always with integrated amps, I suggest you look for units that allow complete separation of the preamp and amp sections. Most NAD models provide this functionality.
Both the Marantz PM8004 and Peachtree Decco65 have preamp-out jacks. Peachtree even makes a 220 wpc power amp to work with their integrateds.

You also may not need pre-outs if the subwoofer has speaker level inputs. Some of mine do, some don't.
I second the Marantz PM-8004 with the caveat that I haven't heard it but own the PM-15S2b which is the next one up. My Tonians have no real bass to speak of since they cut off around 40Hz but with the Marantz, it's like I have an extra driver down there, some where. The bass I'm getting is unbelievable. The sound is clean, clear, quick and very resolving. I have no reason to believe the PM-8004 would be any different, just on a different scale, if at that.

As Johnnyb53 says, try to get a demo at Music Direct and it will be at discount and still have the 30-day return policy.

All the best,
Nonoise
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08-11-13: Bob_reynolds
Hi Johhny,

I don't consider preamp outs or speaker level connections sufficient for properly connecting a subwoofer to the majority of speakers and definitely not ones as bass deficient as the Dreamcatchers.

The Marantz PM8004 has both pre-outs and main-ins, so it should qualify by your criteria. The Peachtree just has pre-outs. A tape loop should be able to accomplish the same thing. I've seen such setups, allowing the tape monitor to put the sub into the loop.

Again, the abilities and limitations are partially defined by the subwoofer's I/Os. Some subs have high level speaker level inputs and outputs. Some of these run the signal through a high pass filter between the sub's speaker-level inputs and outputs. You connect the speaker cables from the amp to the sub's speaker-level inputs and connect the speaker-level outputs to the main speakers. This signal has been run through a high pass filter.

So if you want a high pass signal run to the Totems, how you can do it depends on the connectibility and crossover access of both the integrated amp and the subwoofer. It is true, however, that the trend in subs seems to be toward line-level I/Os; it seems like the speaker level inputs are getting phased out.

Also, the need to high pass to the DCs may be overrated. Even when small mains are run full-range, the addition of the sub changes the tonal balance, reducing the urge to turn things up. The increased bass energy also fills out the room better, taking the burden off the minimonitors to fill the room. Still, your point is well taken; the high pass filter would enable mini-monitors to play louder without bottoming out while the sub does the heavy lifting in the bottom octave or two.
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Bob: you're right about the tape loop. I've seen it in demo setups in audio stores, but in actual use you'd have to fiddle with the subwoofer's volume control every time you changed the master volume at the preanmp.

As for your second comment, ultimately it *can* be true, but that depends on the lower reach and dynamic capability of the L-R speakers AND the user's demands for volume and dynamic range. Why spend the extra money for external crossover and high pass filter if the user's listening needs don't demand it?

When Carl Marchisotto was making Alon speakers (before he moved on to Nola), he had a monitor speaker for which he created a subwoofer. He designed it so the monitors continued to run full range even when adding the subwoofer. It *can* be done, but it also depends on room size, the dynamics and frequency range of the mains, and the demands of the listener.

For example, if the L-R speakers have a sensitivity of 89 dB and make real music down to 50 Hz, the need for a high pass filter isn't the same as for a mini with 4" woofers, 84 dB sensitivity, and a 70 Hz cutoff point. The first example could get by without a high pass in most situations; the second one pretty much needs one except for small rooms playing small ensemble acoustic music.
Thanks for all the responses, lots to think about here. I've got to digest some of this info.
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