Upgrade-itus: Classé DR-9 vs. MF A3.2?



Hello Audiogon and your infinite wisdom.
I have the option to buy a Classé DR-9 to replace my MF A3.2 integrated. The MF IS 185w @ 4 ohms the Classé 200w @ 4 ohms. I'm driving Dynaudio Contour S1.4 monitors.

Thoughts? I'm sure both are good, what will the sound differences be? Dynamics, hi, lo, sound stage, warmth?

For the short term the A3.2 will be pre-amp.
Thanks!
Andy
ucrazykid
The DR-9 is older, but considered a classic high current amp. I guess you would have to consider the condition of the innards. I haven't heard either, but I know the Classe was well loved in its day.
Just now I'm wiping a tear away recalling the one that got away. I'm thinking about that beautiful blond from my youth, more I'm reminiscing about selling my old DR-9. I have not heard the MF A3.2 integrated but I have never heard any integrated that had the tone, texture and transparency of DR-9 of course with the caveat of having a first class preamp in front of it. My only concern regarding a twenty plus year old solid state amp would be servicing and the aging parts inside that might not be available . If David Reich was still designing an amplifier today, I would be in line to buy one. Come to think about it, anyone know where he is today?
Can't speak re the A3.2, but have used the A3 in my "workout" basement system for a few years. IMO, it is a decent integrated, but nothing more. The DR-9 is a classic as Roxy says. It will be a significant step up in performance in every area that you mention. Be careful of aging parts. Personally, I don't think they are in the same league.
Just now I'm wiping a tear away recalling the one that got away. I'm thinking about that beautiful blond from my youth, more I'm reminiscing about selling my old DR-9. I have not heard the MF A3.2 integrated but I have never heard any integrated that had the tone, texture and transparency of DR-9 of course with the caveat of having a first class preamp in front of it. My only concern regarding a twenty plus year old solid state amp would be servicing and the aging parts inside that might not be available . If David Reich was still designing an amplifier today, I would be in line to buy one. Come to think about it, anyone know where he is today?
Have you guys ever heard the Classe?
Hey Z - the first rule of being an audiophile is never to let the fact that you've never heard something get in the way of your opinion. The sooner you learn that, the better off you'll be.
My bank account would say otherwise.
I said I had not heard either.
I have heard the DR-9 many times (for all you too-quick-to-judge doubting-
Thomas'). A close friend owned the DR-9 during the same time period of
about eight years that both he and I owned the DR-6 preamp (another
classic). During that time I owned, and used with the DR-6, Moscode 600,
Berning 2101, and Krell KSA50. It was part of our listening
"parties" to bring to each other's homes a component to trade
for a few days. The DR-9 lived in my system three times, each for at least
a week; I also heard it in his system numerous times. The Classe was in
an entirely different league (better) than the Moscode, I preferred it to the
Krell since it sounded less hi-fi (the Krell was very very good in a fun hi-fi
way), and comparisons to the Berning are kind of pointless since the
Berning, in spite of being the least "tubey" amp that I have ever
owned, still had all the great attributes of tubes. In my system these amps
drove heavily modified MGIIIA's and in my friend's it was Shahinians. So,
does that qualify my to "having heard the Classe?

The Classe was a great amp; for solid state. I love tube amps and the
Classe is one of two ss amps that I have heard in one of my systems that I
could live with; the other was the Levinson 23.5. Unless the MF A3.1 has
seen a miraculous transformation from the sound of the A3, if what you are
looking for is finesse, natural sense of aliveness, and natural timbre, IMO
the two are not close.
"07-26-14: Roxy54
I said I had not heard either."

I know. I didn't mean to include you in my comment. It was an oversight on my part.
I suppose I should practice what I preach and not make this comment, but I think it's important to point this out (speaking of "rules"):

Eight responses from four respondents; and only two respondents and three responses that actually address the OP's question and have anything substantive to offer.
Frogman,
It's not school here, just casual chat. Sometimes the thread really goes off the rail, but I have seen times when the little bit of nothing that I posted was the only response that the OP received.
The DR 9 is very old and will need servicing just to assure it is up to spec. I owned the amp and it is fine, but dark and not as good as other SS amps that are newer. CJ MF2300a is a better choice if you can find one. Electrocompaniet also makes better sounding amps.

I would not buy the DR9 unless you are handy with electronics or are willing to send to a tech first for a complete go through. Power supply caps will need to be replaced as well as other work.
The DR 9 in a heartbeat. Have used valves for many years now, but owned a pair of DR9s (with Apogee Mini Grands) for many years and I wish I still had them. They are great amps, even by today's standards , although a quick checkup would be wise as others have recommended.
07-26-14: 5560
If David Reich was still designing an amplifier today, I would be in line to buy one. Come to think about it, anyone know where he is today?
He is the chief engineer at Theta Digital, for which he has worked for the past 16 years.

Regards,
-- Al
The amp underwent a tune (new caps) and firmware upgrade (bais adjustment?) 5 years ago, according to current owner.
What is the price of the amp?
I would stay clear as you can do better with a much newer amp. That amp was good in its day, but you can do better now. I owned it years ago and so many amps are better now.
*****I would stay clear as you can do better with a much newer amp.****

Of course you can. You can also do better with an amp of similar vintage or even older. But, for how much is the question; no? Still, we digress. The OP asked specifically about the Classe vs the MF. Especially if it's been refurbished, it's a no-brained IMO.
$850 for the Classe
$850 for the Classe
As a point of interest, according to some older literature I have the DR-9 originally sold in 1988 for $3450. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor's online CPI inflation calculator, that equates to $6951 in today's dollars.

I have not heard the DR-9, but I have some familiarity with Dave Reich's designs and their reputation. Notwithstanding the very considerable respect I have for Bill/Grannyring's opinions and experience (and certainly as well for Frogman's), if I were in need of a power amp and didn't want to spend thousands I would pay $850 for a top condition DR-9 in a heartbeat.

Good luck!
-- Al
Well I purchased my DR9 back in 1989 used for $1300 if I recall from a dealer in Massachusetts. I used it to drive my KEF105.2 speakers. This was my first high end system! Fun stuff. I owned this rig for 14 years and really know this amp pretty well.

The amp could be as old as 27 to 28 years old. I have very fond memories of it. That is very, very old folks. The amp is a little dark on top with some grain in the upper mids. In all other areas the amp was very good........at the time. This grain was evident in all SS amps of that vintage.

For $1000 and under several Class D amps would even sound better today.
Monarchy SS and hybrid amps would be a better choice. A Belles Reference 150 can be had for $1200. A nice Blue Circle SS or Hybrid amp would sound better.

I will say it again. Better sound can be had today for the same or close money without the added risk of owning a near 30 year old product that will indeed be prone to repair and hassle.

Hope it is OK for me to share my opinion and experience here? The poster is asking about this amp and I am helping to give a FULL view of it. That is why this forum is good for all of us.