Which amp/preamp/integrated for GoldenEar Triton 5's
I just purchased a pair of GoldenEar Triton 5's. I have an old Adcom amp GFA-545, but the Adcom preamp that went with it soudns muddy on one channel. Tried to get it fixed but it's still not right, so I either need a new preamp, or a new integrated. Found a great deal on Peachtree's 220SE, but am weighing that against buying something like the Parasound P5 preamp and keeping my Adcom going. Any advice much appreciated, and doesnt have to stay with those 2 choices, but my budget can't extend past $1500, and I'd prefer if it stayed closer to $1k. Thanks for your thoughts....
Find a Modwright SWL 9.0 sig ($1200-1500 used). This is a tubed linestage preamp and it will make your Adcom sound very sweet indeed. I used one on my Adcom GFA 555 and I was very impressed. The pre amp is a KEY component, keep your amp and do it a favor by adding a proper preamp. The Adcom preamps do not sound good.
There are many potential answers here, but try auditioning an NAD C 375BEE. It is surprisingly refined, powerful (150 wpc), stable, poised, transparent, dimensional, you name it. The preamp section is very musical and throws a big sound stage. Its amp section is quite a step up from an old 545. The C375 BEE is at the top of your budget ($1500) but solves your preamp problem while dramatically updating your power section with a great dose of integrated synergy to boot. If that’s too much, try the NAD C 356BEE. Same basic signal path, a little over half the power (80wpc) and price ($799).
Given the age of your amp and the fact you have indicated an interest in an integrated amp, I think at your budget an integrated would be a wise choice. There are many in your price range to choose from, and, as I am not familiar with the Triton 5s and power requirements depend on speaker impedance, room size, and loudness preference, I am hesitant to make suggestion. I agree with the NAD suggestion as one possible choice. Can you provide speaker specs, room size, and listening preference info?
Thanks for all your responses. I had considered the NAD's, but was a bit put off by their so-so reviews on whathifi and the number of choices they offer. And auditioning will likely mean either a long drive, or a buy and test with the possibility of return (which is where I am with the Peachtree). Would you get the NAD's with the DAC included, or use an external? Mesch, the Tritons are supposed to be relatively easy to drive, and are in a living room/dining/kitchen area that is 20x40. I listen to a wide range of music and find I do enjoy turning it up if it sounds good! Any ideas on what the general complaint is with Peachtree products? I know they're not at big as someone like NAD, but they get great reviews from what I've seen. And so far, it sounds pretty good to my ears (but with nothing to compare to...) Thanks again for your help.
Thanks for all your responses. I had considered the NAD's, but was a bit put off by their so-so reviews on whathifi and the number of choices they offer.
I don't know what WhatHiFi's deal is, but their reviews seem to be all over the map and have me scratching my head, esp. their NAD C 375BEE review. Sometimes they seem to enjoy the role of iconoclast, trashing highly regarded products (e.g., this NAD and also the GoldenEar Aon 3).
Their sonic criticisms sound to me like they take the time for warmup, let alone burn-in for electronics and break-in for speakers. Their descriptions of the NAD and GoldenEar products sound like the generic shortcomings of cold fresh product--hazy midrange, lack of frequency extension, and loose bass--criticisms they had for both the NAD amp and the GoldenEar speakers.
I certainly wouldn't take their uncoroborrated review on anything. There are lots of positive reviews of the NAD C 375BEE.
Notice both these reviews highlight the NAD's clear-yet-musical presentation and clean, tight bass, the very areas WhatHiFi considered weaknesses. I have heard the C 375BEE driving Magneplanar 1.7s (bought a pair) and GoldenEar Triton 7s.
First off, I have had a boatload of equipment over the past 5 years so I have tried quite a bit of different equipment (I find its part of the fun in the hobby). With that in mind, I recently purchased a B stock Nova 220se and love it! I find that I can't beat the sound of it (or a previous Nova Pre / 220 combo that I had) unless I spend at least $2500 and I'd have to give up a remote control for the volume. To put together a rig that outperforms the 220se I'd go Schiit Bifrost Multibit, Lightspeed Attenuator and any sweet sounding amp (Classe, Conrad Johnson, McCormack etc.).
I would strongly consider a B stock 220se. Peachtree has some reliability issues but they have awesome customer service and the unit would have a 2 year warranty. The Pre-amp is from the Grand Integrated, it has a great Dac and the Amp can power any speakers.
Not to dog Adcom, but they aren't on the same level. I've had a 545, 535, 5800, 5300. Also, the integrated amps look nicer, you have less cables by far, the pre amp, amp and dac were all selected to work together.
I also like the looks of that NuPrimie IDA 8 and may get that for a second system.
That new Parasound Integrated looks really nice also but its out of your price range I believe ($2500 ?)
Anyways, I am done with separates for awhile because these new Integrated amps outperform a hodgepodge of older equipment (amps. preamps) mixed with newer stuff (Dac) if you are at a $1200 ish budget.
Thanks again everyone for the recommendations. I ordered the Peachtree 220SE b-spec because it seemed to check all the boxes I was looking for at a very reasonable price (and a few of you also seemed to like it). It's been hooked up for a few days and sounds great. At 220 watts per channel, though, I cant wind the volume up past halfway, and I'm wondering about whether its more power than I actually need..... Also feeling like something is missing on the bottom end of the Triton 5's, which makes me curious about adding a sub. Or should I wait for them to "burn in"? Buying this has been a pretty difficult decision. I feel as lost as when I'm buying wine, since there are so many brands, so many different opinions, and hardly anywhere to go listen and compare. Thanks for your input though; much appreciated.
Glad you like the 220se. Mine has started sounding better now after burning in for a week or so now. I have some small Monitor GX50's that are a little inefficient and need alot of power to open up; the Peachtree 220se does a great job of adding a good amount of dynamics even at low listening levels. I usually listen with the volume knob between 8-9 on the dial. 10 o'clock is pretty loud, 12 o'clock might shoot voicecoils into my lap :)
I think you'd be happy with the reaultsof adding a subwoof to fill in the lower octaves. Thats going to be my next step as well. Something from Svs or Rel!