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Looking for warm budget integrated amplifier

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone.

Earlier this year I bought a pair of Totem Dreamcatcher bookshelf speakers. I've been powering them with a Kenwood amp that's about 15 years old. I adore these speakers, but I do notice that my current setup tends to really emphasize any sibilance that may be present in vocals, to the point where it gets annoyingly harsh.

Currently, I'm looking into upgrading to a integrated 2-channel (or 2.1) amp. I've heard good things about the Marantz 6004, and have also taken a look into offerings by NAD and Yamaha (just online, not in person). Since the Dreamcatchers tend to be a bit bright on their own, and seemingly unnaturally so with my old, not great amp, I was wondering if you could steer me in the right direction to an amp that's warm, or at least not overly bright. My spending limit is $500-600.

By the way, Dreamcatchers are 4 ohm speakers, with a recommended power rating of 20-100 watts. Thanks for your help.
post #2 of 18
craigslist
post #3 of 18
yamaha S500
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_022AS500/Yamaha-A-S500.html

or look locally on craigslist for used Rotel, NAD, Cambridge Audio or other high end brands.
post #4 of 18
I agree with afrogt and norcal. watch out for the craigslist resellers that want audiogon prices for there stuff when they bought it dirt cheap to begin with. the stuff they have is old and should be able to negotiate on if they want to much. you can spot the dealers with the tags of all the brands in the ad and several listings in the same city and words like please leave your number or I delete your email. try to find a individual seller who will not overcharge you. I consider my yamaha receiver bright so I agree with afro that it would be a good match. I don't know if yamaha can handle 4ohms like a NAD though. Can it afro? I see he has 4 ohm speakers. goodluck on finding your amp. I hope that it works out.
post #5 of 18
thanks afro speaking of cambridge audio companies had discounts on some discontinued models. some might still be available. I think that one model used to be 500 bucks a few months ago, but was around 300 now I think.
post #6 of 18
Yamaha S500

85 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.019% THD
4-ohm capability allows use with a wide range of speakers
ToP-ART (Total Purity Audio Reproduction Technology) for high-quality sound
signal-to-noise ratio: 100 dB (CD/DVD Direct Amp mode), 88 dB (phono)
6 RCA audio inputs, including MM (moving magnet) phono input
port for YID-W10 and YDS-12 iPod® docks
subwoofer output
continuously variable loudness control
Pure Direct mode bypasses balance and tone control circuits for cleaner sound
headphone jack
front-panel switching for 2 pairs of speakers
binding-post speaker connectors
remote control
17-1/8"W x 5-15/16"H x 15-3/8"D
weight: 22.7 lbs.
warranty: 2 years

If you say your Yamaha receiver is bright sounding then that is what he is not looking for. He already contends his Totems are bright sounding. Maybe the integrated amp is different.

I still think he should look at high end use amps/receivers on craigslist. Just some of the listings in my area for instance.

Rotel RSX-1056 $400
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/ele/3456839043.html

Rotel 980BX Amp and Pre-amp
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/ele/3476567764.html

NAD 7155 (has a 4ohm setting)
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/3466842960.html

Rotel RX-1065 and DVD player, $350
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/3471751585.html
post #7 of 18
afro would the nad c326bee be better for him then? it has won awards.
post #8 of 18
I've read good things about that NAD also.

I don't think it is as powerful and robust as those huge Rotel receivers but his speakers don't require a lot of power anyway. My guess is that he'd be fine with the NAD too.

Crutchfield sells the NAD, he should give them a call as they have good customer support.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjl63 View Post

Hey everyone.

Earlier this year I bought a pair of Totem Dreamcatcher bookshelf speakers. I've been powering them with a Kenwood amp that's about 15 years old. I adore these speakers, but I do notice that my current setup tends to really emphasize any sibilance that may be present in vocals, to the point where it gets annoyingly harsh.

Currently, I'm looking into upgrading to a integrated 2-channel (or 2.1) amp. I've heard good things about the Marantz 6004, and have also taken a look into offerings by NAD and Yamaha (just online, not in person). Since the Dreamcatchers tend to be a bit bright on their own, and seemingly unnaturally so with my old, not great amp, I was wondering if you could steer me in the right direction to an amp that's warm, or at least not overly bright. My spending limit is $500-600.

By the way, Dreamcatchers are 4 ohm speakers, with a recommended power rating of 20-100 watts. Thanks for your help.

Get any good modern AVR, configure it as a 2-channel integrated amp, and enjoy!

Juat about any good modern AVR will have a built-in equalizer that you use to adjust your system to sound as warm or as cold as you like, and just about anything in-between.

For the sort of money that you are talking you can even get an AVR with automated system optimization software such as MCACC, YPAO or Audyssey, and it will make the necessary adjustments for you.
post #10 of 18
true equalizers let you do that Arny. I agree afro that some Rotel stuff has some huge looking power amps. I like Rotel, but not it's prices. the store that I bought the nad from afro said that they tried it on new 20,000 dollar speakers that they just got. I didn't ask to hear them, but kind of wish that I did now. Before buying the NAD I heard it on 15,000 dollar dali speakers a few months ago. Even though it was only 50 watts per channel it sounded much bigger. Between NAd and Rotel I hear that the watts that they say it is gets much louder.
post #11 of 18
the sad thing about a lot of rotel stuff that I see on ebay or craigslist afro is that they are selling it cuz the person died estate sale etc. it's a shame that the person isn't around to enjoy it anymore. kind of makes me feel bad buying it knowing that it might have taken them years to afford to buy it then die.
post #12 of 18
^Using Rotel leads to death? OMG! Is that what you're saying??!?! eek.gif
post #13 of 18
Not an integrated amp but a 2-channel receiver:
Harman Kardon HK 3490

http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-HK-3490-Receiver/dp/B00198F89A
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions so far. As far as craigslist goes, I'm in upstate NY, about 3 hours from any major metropolitan area, so the hifi pickin's on my local CL are pretty slim. I'm also pretty limited by what local shops carry when it comes to auditioning units.

I'd also rather stick with an integrated amp or audio receiver than go with a full AV receiver. This is for a 100% music system.

Sent from the TARDIS using my sonic screwdriver.
post #15 of 18
The Music Hall A15.2 is what I would recommend. IMO it is the best-sounding IA for under $800...it runs $499.

You can check out its specs and features at the Music Direct website.

IMO your old amplifier IS not the best-sounding one around. Yamaha amplifiers of that vintage definitely have a problem with speaker impedances lower than 8 ohms. I bought one that was rated for 125 watts per channel once and had to return it for that reason; it went into SEVERE distortion trying to drive my speakers.

If that is more than you want to spend, I could sell you my NAD C325BEE, which is almost as good, for $225 plus shipping. It is just like new in every way. It is essentially the same as the 326; very minor differences. It will definitely drive your speakers well. It is listed in the Classified section.

I do not think your speakers are bright-sounding; what you are probably hearing is distortion from the amplifier IMO. Robert Reina said "the Dreamcatchers never sounded bright" in his review in Stereophile.

Since the main driver is only 4 inches in those speakers, a good subwoofer would be advisable. My favorite, which I use, is the NHT B12D; it is very very clean and linear; the best I know of for under $1000.
Edited by commsysman - 12/22/12 at 8:20am
post #16 of 18
RE Post #12...

If that's true, maybe Rotel should advertise "BUY ROTEL AND DIE WITH A SMILE ON YOUR FACE" :...ROFL.
Edited by commsysman - 12/22/12 at 8:26am
post #17 of 18
Common it is just strange that so many ads were from former living Rotel owners. Commons Nad is very similar to the Nad that people suggested. The 326bee new is 550.00. Sometimes dealers and even crutchfield offer it cheaper if it's a demo or open box or if you have cash. Ask your local dealers if you pay with cash can they go a little lower. Sometimes they will and sometimes they won't. It never hurts to ask because you are saving them money that they have to pay to the credit card company for you using discover etc.
post #18 of 18
To bad that you are upstate my. A lot of the really nice stuff on Craigslist is in central nj north jersey and new York city craigslist.
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