Originally Posted by EricPu
I'm looking to buy a pair for Hayden Grand's for stereo listening. What integrated or pre/amp would you choose in the $1500 price range? I was looking at Cambridge audio integrated Azur 840A, which is rated at 200wpc 4ohms, or perhaps the Parasound P3/A23 pre/amp combo. Would either of these options (or both) be up to the task of driving the Haydns?
I have never heard either of these specific units so it is really hard for me to comment directly on them. However, both are solid brands and should be up to the task I would imagine!
I personally purchased the Primare i20 a few years back after comparing against many items including 3-4 units I did not sell and couldn't get a discount on. The top contenders for me at the time were:
B&K ref5 preamp with 2 ref200 mono blocks (about 3500$)
Krell kav400 (can't remember the exact model, it was $3500)
Adding a pair of mono blocks to my then yamaha receiver (top of the line model from 2002, can't remember the number, sold it long ago)
A few various tube amplifiers between 1500-2500
The primare was kind of the shocker because of the pricing (1250$ at the time) and I had never heard of the brand before. It showed up one day, I plugged it in and was shocked at how much better it was to my ears. I won't talk about features because it doesn't have any
except great sound and simplicity (even the girlfriend can run it....) The replacement is the i21 at ~$1500. Seems like a very solid replacement to me. I know they come in a bit "low" on wattage on paper but the sound is fantastic and they have no issues with a 4ohm speaker IMO.
That being said, I would imagine that most of the dealers would let you at least try a few integrated type amplifiers or pre-amp/power amp combos on your system for a few days to see what you prefer. Don't go crazy, pick two or three and test them, pick the one that sounds the best to you that you can afford and are willing to live with (style, remote control etc is very important even though many 'audiophiles' won't admit it)