Some aspects that might be helpful in choosing an Amp or other equipment for that matter.
YOU matter as much as the Equipment. They way to narrow down the field is to focus on your budget, your preferences, your priorities, and the circumstances you are in.
For example, if you need a system for a 10ft x 10ft bedroom, then monstrous PA speakers are probably not the right choice.
What features do you specifically want? If you want or need an Amp with a DAC (digital to analog converter), that narrows the field.
If you want an Amp with Network Streaming capability, that narrows the field even further.
If you want an Amp with DAC and Streaming, and a reasonable amount of power, that narrows the field to just a few amps. From that limited field, you make your choice.
Given how the discussion has gone, I can only think of two Amps that meet the implied needs.
Yamaha RN602 Network Receiver, 80w/ch, DAC, Network Streaming, .... - $599 -
Pioneer Elite SX-N30 Network Receiver, 80w/ch, DAC, Network Streaming ... $600 -
We can only direct our suggestions at the stated or implied requirements. If you require something different, if the amps in question have features you don't need, or if there is a specific list of features you need, you need to make them clear.
Further it works best if we have the entire system in context -
What are the dimensions of the room?
What other equipment will you or do you have?
What Speakers do you or will you have?
If you want the opinions of those who actually have or have an interest in the Yamaha RN602, then read through this thread -
AVForums - NEW: Yamaha RN602 Network Receiver !!!
Like I said before, this is not a prefect system, but if you want something more perfect, then be ready to spend near +$1000 bare minimum.
As to whether this falls into the Audiophile Catagory
, it does if you only have $600 to spend and you want all those features. You can move higher into the Audiophile Catagory,
if you are willing to spend in the $2000 t0 $10,000 range to duplicate these features.
Equally, if you want to go down the scale, there are other options, not as good as the above, but other options none the less -
Yamaha RN401 Network Receiver - $399 -
Yamaha RN301 Network Receiver - $299 -
Focus on your circumstance, your requirements
, and the other equipment
you have, and of course your budget
If the RN602 or the SX-N30 tick all your boxes ...then... there you go.