Look at a used Pass 250.8 great sounding from a top company.
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Benchmark AHB2. If you want more power you can buy another down the line and strap them. I do not own this amp but I have had them in my system and I do use Benchmark’s ADC. Benchmark is a commercial electronics manufacturer and their pricing is less abusive than Pure Audio companies. So, you get much more for the money. Their stuff is beautifully made, 1st class and surprisingly small but don’t let that fool you. The AHB2 handled my speakers, full range ESLs without any difficulty. VERY quiet, neutral, dynamic little powerhouse. The only other amp I am familiar with of the same value is the Parasound JC-1 which is no longer available new. The little amp runs circles around amps weighing and costing a lot more.
Oh, and with the money you save you can get another sub😎
At one time I was thinking of getting the STR preamp. I changed my mind when I decided to forego room correction. However, at that time I was thinking to pair the STR preamp with the CODA #8. The web site is not updated yet with the listing for this amp. I recommend searching on Audiogon for Teajay's review and feedback from users.
Whatever, you get should be complimentary to the needs of your Focal speaker.
I owned a Benchmark AHB2 amp at one time and was considering buying it back to use with a STR preamp but the speakers I am now likely going to get did not match well with the amp.
I'm not the best at describing what I'm hearing or not hearing. There is a lot more detail since I changed preamps. I had a Rotel 1572. My youngest boy said right away how much clearer it sounded with the STR. We can hear a lot more detail. I bought the Focal 948's because I listen to a lot of rock. Around here (Toledo) there isn't much variety to choose from. The B&W's in my price range were auditioned with a Macintosh amp and just sounded dead. So I feel the midrange has gotten better after playing with the sub settings in the preamp but just aren't where I would like them. This isn't as noticeable with the master quality (Tidal) or hi-res Qobuz but is still lacking a little.
Sounds like you may be looking for a little more heft or meat on the bones in the midrange? McCormack amps are known for having expressive mids for a solid state amp, and as an owner of a DNA 0.5 Rev A amp I’d agree with that. Here’s a nice DNA 1 with recent Gold Special revisions that would be a big step up over your Rotel and is priced at half your $5k budget.
There’s also a very clean Pass Labs XA30.8 available under your price cap that would give you rich and expressive mids and that Class-A smoothness and liquidity. As it’s a pure Class-A amp it will run on the hot side, which might be a concern if you like to leave your amp on all the time or don’t want the heat.
Both are excellent amps that will yield significant improvements in the mids and many other areas as well, and your speakers will definitely benefit from and reward you for the additional refinement and capabilities of either of these fine amps. Hope this helps, and best of luck.
I had those exact speakers for two months. I used a Primaluna HP Dialogue premium. That was plenty of power; the 948 are surprisingly easy to drive. The sound was effortless. I currently have Dynaudio contour 60's which really benefit from the power of pass x250.8 (or similar). I did have an xa30.5 for some time and it was a stunning amp with incredible power margin...far stronger than 30 wpc (actually its a 100 watt into 8 and 200 into 4 in class ab)
I strongly suggest you try the Pass XA30.8 or xa30.5...you will be in for a treat.
Here’s another excellent option that’s cheaper than the others I mentioned but will make your 948s sing. Like the Pass amp it’s also pure Class A. I’d just check to see how old it is just to see when/if it might need to be recapped.
If it were me, I'd buy a Valvet amp. Read the reviews. The E2 is probably a little too flea powered even for your speakers, but the A1.2 should work just fine and is well within your budget new.