Which amp ? ...

Hi folks.

I am searching for a used amp to go with my ARC SP14 and my Snell CV. I have narrowed the selection down to three.

My choices (so far) are the Aragon 8008, Threshold T200, Bryston 4bst.

I listen insanely loud and like a smooth top and tight, yet deep bottom.

Which of these three would you recommend? Or, if you think I am way off base, what do you like that I can pick up for under $1500.

Aragon 8008 of those choices, but be sure and get the BB model.
One other that I'd recommend, that's not on your list, but at your budget, is the BAT VK200.
I'd put that one above all three mentioned. It sounds better and build quality is better too.
Only thing though, it only takes XLR inputs. So if you aren't using xlr cables, you'd need rca/xlr adapters, which are only about $35 here used.
Hope that helps!
Good Listening!
The Aragon I have not heard, but it's reputation precedes it.

The Theshold is a very decent amplifier, but I remember it as being a bit weak-kneed in the bottom most octaves. Threshold does offer the option to upgrade the T200 to the latest STASIS version with full warranty, but the cost would double your investment.

The smooth top you are looking for may elude you with the Bryston, depending upon your interpretation of 'smooth.' It's a tank with lots of headroom, but I feel it a tad glassy up top.

I'll have to second Myraj in suggesting you add the BAT to your short list. In your price range, you'll be hard pressed to find a better built, sweeter sounding amp with tons of headroom. You'll be able to bang your head for hours on end with this one.
Thanks guys !

I did a little research on the VK200 and it indeed looks as if it should be at the top of my list. Thanks!

I hope you guys are right... I bought one!

8008 MK2 sounds warm with rich mid/bass. I did A/B comparison with my friend and he eventually sold the T200.

I used Theta Data II -> Theta Pro Basic II DAC -> ARC LS 15 -> 8008 Mk2 -> NHT 3.3.
Reelsmith: have you gotten the beast home and hooked up yet? I'm curious to know if our recommendations have met with your approval...
Not yet.

Here is a little background:

I have been out of hi-fi for almost 10 years. At that time I had an SP-9II, an HCA-2200II, an ARC CD-2, a VPI Jr with an FT3 and an OC9 and a pair of Snell CV. I sold it all to pursue another hobby.

The SP-14 I purchased recently had an issue, so I sent it back. I now have a BAT VK-3i and a Lehman Black Cube. The BAT VK200 has not arrived yet and I also have the Alpha Version of the Audio Refinement CD Complete on the way as well. I have an old JVC table with an SME IIIs and an OC9 that I will use for a bit until I can afford to upgrade and I don't have any speakers yet! I really want the Snell CV but haven't found a pair yet. I may get a pair of Maggies (MG1.6QR) with a sub instead. If I do, I am sure a pair of Snells will turn up the next day.

I must say, I am blown away by the build quality of the VK3i!

Thanks for asking, Loonytunz.

I'm sorry it took me so long to respond... but finding the speakers took longer than I imagined.

So, I've got the Snell CV, an Audio Refinement CD Complete (Alpha Version) and was using the VK3i and the VK200. Let me start about by saying that I am seriously jaded and what I have to say should be taken with a grain... no... lets make that a pound of salt.

The BAT stuff just didn't float my boat... which is to say they didn't pair well with the Snell's. The bottom end was too big, ill defined and too slow, the midrange was a bit grungier than what I was used too and the top too laid back.

So, long story short, I sold the BAT stuff and now have an ARC SP9II and a Parasound HCA2200II again... and it is absolute bliss. It's just one of those magical combinations that you dream about finding... the perfect set-up for your room, for your budget and your taste.

Years ago, when I built this system the first time, I went through dozens and dozens of components. This time around I should have known better than to mess with success.

I have no doubt that the BAT stuff is awesome gear, it just wasn't right for me and my set of circumstances.

The system is simply wonderful... it plays very loud without ever sounding strained. The top is incredibly revealing with lots of detail and air but with no edginess. The mids are too die for, imaging is spot on and the bass is deep, tight and fast.

I'm in heaven... and I have Audiogon to thank for it! The amp, pre-amp, speakers and the CD all came from Audiogoners and the total price tag was a hair under $3K! I've made some new friends along the way too. Life is good.

Wow. I'm sorry our recommendations didn't work out so well.

I too have sampled a number of different combinations of gear over the years, and oddly arrived at quite a collection of BAT components that satisfy my needs (however different they are from yours) very well. I've not owned a 3i in my travels, but still own a 5i that I can't part with, a 50se, along with a D5, VK60 and the aforementioned VK200. Of course, now I'm in the market for a 75se ;)

The performance you describe may have been related to the 3i, but there is a 'house' sound to BAT gear that leads me to believe that it should have at least had similar sonic characteristics to other BAT products. I've never heard the Snells in tandem with any BAT product either, so the combination may have just lacked synergy.

All that being said, it is nice to hear that you made your way back to components that can put a smile on your face.

Still got those Snell CV's ??? I am looking for a good amp combination to go with my pair Let's talk.