Upgrade receiver for B&W CDM7 NTs?

Hello, and thanks in advance for your advice.
About 3 years ago, I upgraded from mass market speakers to two new B&W CDM7 NT speakers. They are terrific, as far as I can tell. The improvement in sound quality from my former system (with Sony 3 way floorstanding speakers, circa 1985) was dramatic.

Now I'm considering further improving my system. Apart from the two B&W's, it consists of mass market stuff -- a Sony SCD CE 595 SACD/CD changer, and a Sony STR DE 185 2-ch 100w receiver.

My objectives are to spend under $1K, and to get the most bang for my buck in terms of sound quality. I lack audio technical expertise. I listen to mostly classical music. I'd prefer a 2-ch. stereo receiver -- surround sound is not an interest at this time, ditto for home theater. Space, spousal considerations, and a preference for simplicity militate in favor of a receiver rather than separates.

I auditioned in-store a Marantz SR 4320 and a Rotel RX-1052. The Rotel sounded significantly better. I'm leaning strongly toward the Rotel. But it is difficult -- actually, impossible -- to get a sense of how the Rotel will sound in my system by hearing it in a store with different CD player, different speakers, and different room acoustics.

In view of my current setup, am I correct in thinking that upgrading my receiver to the Rotel will give me the most bang for my buck, or would I be better off going some other route? If so, what route?


If you are interested in just a two channel receiver, I would try the Outlaw Audio RR2150 . It lists for $600 and is available by mail order only. Stereophile did a very positive review of the RR2150 a few months back. I have owned one for the past six months now and love it. The only negative is Outlaw's keeping the unit in stock.

Another approach and a way to upgrade both your amplifier and your CD player is to go for the Music Hall 25.2 integrated amp and CD player . The pair lists for $1200, but can be had at/around $1000. You don't get a tuner, but an absolute first rate amplifier and CD player.

Regards, Rich

The Rotel is a fine receiver at the price, I owned the RX-1050 and thought it was a very nicely built receiver that sounded great and had a lot of versatility.

I would second the recommendation of the Music Hall integrated if you really don't need FM, or a combination of a used Audio Refinement Complete integrated and the matching tuner. Those two together wouldn't take up much more room than the Rotel and would be a very nice combination with the B&W.
Why a reciever with such nice speakers? Your not doing them justice just robbing the sound. Try a nice integrated instead you appreciatte the end results more.

Maybe an Arcam, Roksan, YBA etc.... Stay away from Rotel the kill B&Ws sound......
Thank you for your responses.

I first bought the Rotel. Unfortunately, the FM reception with the Rotel was poor, even with a new antenna, and shockingly so compared to the mass-market Sony receiver it replaced. I am apparently located in an area where FM reception is difficult. I returned the Rotel after about 10 days of experimentation (the dealer gave me no problem), and got a Magnum Dynalab MD 208. (Much more expensive; the budget went out the window.)

So far, so good. The MD 208's FM reception is adequate (and, oddly, it makes no difference whether I use a $100 indoor antenna or a piece of wire). The sound quality is, so far, only about equal to that of the Rotel -- but it is, of course, a huge improvement over the Sony, and I have hopes that, with the long break-in period the MD 208 reportedly requires, the audio experience will significantly improve. And the spousal acceptance factor is high -- a very nice looking unit, somewhat reminiscent of McIntosh.

As to why a receiver and not separates, there are several reasons. I dislike cables, clutter, etc. My wife abhors cables. I don't want to worry about synergy between separate components if I don't have to. I like the look of the MD 208. Further, the MD 208's has been well-reviewed ("a no-compromise high-end design that I could easily live with over the long haul." Stereophile Magazine, http://stereophile.com/integratedamps/329/index2.html), so I may not be missing much by not getting separates.

All that having been said, I liked the sound of the Krell integrated amp, and would very likely have bought one together with a tuner of some sort, if not for the MD 208. And it's possible that I'll become an audio junkie (like you?) and make a change to separates anyway, in search of the audio Grail.