Originally Posted by _tk
Different speakers are coming later,
And *that's* one place I'd save most of that $4k for.
DAC and turntable I already have. Right now I want to focus on amplification. This is why I didn't put specifics, but I should have known that someone would attempt to read between the lines.
Just trying to be helpful. The amp mainly cares about what load you put on it (both ohms and phase angle), at what power level, at what frequency. That depends on the speakers, the source material, and how loud you like to listen. Nobody's going to be able to give you a valid recommendation unless they know those last three things, no matter what angle they're coming from.
What do you mainly listen to? Stravinsky? Kenny G? Skrillex? How loud - do you have any idea what dB level? Background, close your eyes while in the sweet spot, or loud enough for the party in the back yard?
Whether you approach it from an engineering standpoint or a trial-and-error standpoint, certain things work best together. There's also a price criteria, so you probably can't afford "the best ever made that works best with everything all the time", whatever that might be, if it even exists. That's the whole point of asking us here, right?
Likely those speakers won't be Klipsch or anything with a horn,
Not all Klipsch horns are the same, not all horns are Klipsch horns. Even the horn-o-philes will stress that not all horns are the same. But it's your choice, no problem. It does help set an upper limit on sensitivity and power handling for the high frequencies, so that info does help a little.
so I want to get an amp that can handle 4 ohm loads, if I go that route.
That helps a little more, but not much. Almost every amp is rated for 4R loads. A speaker load is a lot more complicated than a single number. Is it really 4, or did the manufacturer round up? Average? Over how wide a frequency range(s)? Is it capacitive at that point? Is it lowest at high frequencies? Or only below the frequencies in the music you like?
Going 2.1 with a sub makes a huge difference. It takes the load off the mains at the point where they're usually the most compromised. It also gives you the flexibility to locate it where it gives the best bass response, something impossible to do with your front two speakers if they're going to do their job well. Plus, if powered, it drastically reduces the power requirement for the amp for the main speakers.
And really you need two subs for best bass at the sweet spot. Three if you want somebody else to enjoy it with you. That's another place I'd spend the majority of that $4k.
And you cannot buy any amp that sounds what I'd call "great" for around $1K. That's just laughable. You can get "good" for that price, but I already have a lot of "good".
We can agree to strongly disagree, plenty of other places where this has been debated to death... To be helpful, you might want to consider how you would describe the difference between "good" and "great" in more concrete terms. This will also help others to help you, no matter what their viewpoint.
I think the main thing is to figure out if you really want to limit yourself to *integrated* amps with phono inputs(MM and/or MC?), or get a separate preamp for more flexibility. If you do go with a subwoofer or two, you'll really want to cross it over with your mains. If you can't (or don't want to) use the subwoofer to do this, you'll need that feature in the preamp. You're even less likely to find an active crossover in an integrated amp.
A receiver would be your best bet, even if you don't need extra channels or other features, and $4k can get you a lot of receiver! You can also get standalone processing and a separate serious 2-channel amp for under $1k, but I get the feeling you'd balk at my suggestions.
Please carefully consider how the rest of your system affects your options.