Upgrade integrated within the $600 - 1k Range


Hi everyone,

I’m looking to upgrade from an NAD C316BEE. It’s a really great amp that I got for a song...but would like something with a more balanced presentation, detail and nuance. I’m running from a Digi Allo One to Schiit Modi Uber to the NAD then to Tekton Lore’s. Running very decent cables, mostly ZU Audio. 

Im currently considering Rega Brio, Music Fidelity M2Si,  Audiolab 6000A.  Others in the mix as well,  but these thre seem to stand out as good features and strongly rated sonics based on reviews. 

Has anyone here heard these or could recommend one over another based on my equipment? 

Hoping to ger out to some shops to audition anything they might have. And hope I don’t offend anyone here with my relatively low/muffin request here :)

Thanks ahead!

riccitone
I’ve had both the Rega and the MF; they’re both wonderful, just slightly different sounds. The MF is more clear; the Rega more punchy. But they’re both excellent integrateds.

With your Tekton’s 98db sensitivity, you could also try the tube route as well. There’s a Rogue Audio Sphinx on Agon right now that’ll serve you nicely. Also, Sophia and Yaquin are also good places to start.

And never, ever, feel like you have to defend your price range. Audio's an enjoyment, not a status!

I've run the Rega model just before the newest one and it's great for the money.  Simao is correct in that a look at the Rogue is not a bad idea.  And then you can join the insanity of tube rolling the preamp.  Oh yeah!!  What fun!!
Not alot of these around and they are getting a bit old, but the Audio Refinement Complete is a very nice integrated.... 50 watts to 8 and 90 watts to 4. 
I think the Hegel H90 would be a nice upgrade and offer the characteristics you're looking for.  There's one available used a little above your price target, but I think you can get him down closer to $1100, and frankly it's worth the stretch if you can swing it. 

There's a Soundstage review of the H90 where the reviewer compares it to an NAD C356BEEE so thought it would be particularly useful for your frame of reference.  Here's the comparison section...
In comparisons with my NAD C 356BEE integrated amplifier ($900) with classical music, the H90 generally opened up the sound to something more like the enveloping acoustic of a concert hall. The soundstage was given greater dimensionality. When I switched to the H90 from the NAD while listening to Mahler’s Symphony No.7, with Claudio Abbado conducting the Berlin Philharmonic (CD, Deutsche Grammophon 289 471 623-2), I felt as if my seat had been upgraded. The brasses packed more punch; the bass and low midrange exhibited greater dynamic control. Where the NAD provided more raw power, the Hegel did it with finesse, pushing forward details in the first movement’s march for full orchestra. At the same time, isolated mallet strokes on timpani and bells decayed naturally, and were imaged distinctly. The Hegel’s key advantages were in dynamics and details.
I thought it interesting that the improvements were similar to what you're looking to improve in your system.  Anyway, here's the whole review FYI...
https://soundstageaccess.com/index.php/equipment-reviews/859-hegel-music-systems-h90-integrated-ampl...

Hope this helps, and best of luck. 

Check out the OUTLAW AUDIO RR2160!

no
Thank you all for these really generous and informative responses!...
@soix 
That’s a great comparison, and really answers to the difference in nuance I’m seeking. Thank you 🙏🏼 
i had looked at Hegel, but always thought it slightly above our cost justification. But should save more and reconsider!
@yogiboy
That Outlaw is bangin’, but huge! Don’t know if the wifey would like the immensity of it. 
@simao 
i saw that rogue audio...now thinking that would be very cool. Would LOVE a tube option! Was originally thinking maybe using pre-out of an integrated into a tube amp eventually. We’re in a bungalow, so stereo and entertainment area are one in the same (no man cave). 
@timlub 
im definitely going to look into those 🙏🏼

Rogue is also known for its excellent customer service.

And I was going to mention Hegel, but thought it would be out of the $1K ceiling. Hegel's are beautifully made and convincing amplifiers.
ThatvRogue really is nice! I’ve also been curious about the Creek Evolution a50. I see one here that looks very nice. Didn’t know if anyone here might have insight or direct experience with that one? As compared to some of the amps mentioned here...


Didn't know you were interested in tubes.  Rogue Cronus Magnum would be absolutely awesome with your Tektons if you can somehow swing it...

https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649517398-rogue-audio-cronus-magnum/images/2238231/
Vincent Audio makes a Tube Hybrid integrated, the SV500, which sells for just under $1000.  Sold by Audio Advisor. 4 analog inputs, Coax and optical digital inputs (said to be specifically for CD playback). You might wish to look into it.

I once owned the Vincent SV-226 that I wish I never sold. It was a very smooth sounding amp with great soundstage.




@mesch 

I’ve seen that one. Your impressions on it only validates my curiosity on it as well. I guess I’m torn between solid state or hybrid at this point. Am still leaning in the direction of consistent solid state, as my system also serves as the tv room. 
But a nice hybrid with only a couple of tubes might still be a decent compromise. Or a solid state pre-out into a tube amp to move cables over for dedicated listening days (whenever that might actually occur!).
+1 for Vincent also would look at the Denon pma 800ne and the new Integrated's from Iota. There is a newly listed Hegel H80 on here within your budget which is a solid performer if looking to buy used.