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Surprise. In the market for Integrated Amplifier

Discussion in 'New Gear - Values' started by Mac_n_cheese, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. Mac_n_cheese

    Mac_n_cheese AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    My NAD 304 has started to give me issues, and this was the original base of my system. After graduating college, my dad felt it was safe enough to give it to me. I have gotten quotes from two different shops, and it is looking like it will cost around $200 to fix it. I am feeling like it might be worth investing that two hundred into a new (used) integrated amplifier. My goal is to find a few very solid models, and keep my eyes open for used or sales. My issue: I don't really know what models I should be looking for. Was wondering if you friendly folk might be able to help focus my search. Thanks a ton!!!

    1.What is your budget?
    - Looking to spend $500, can spend $800. Willing to wait and look out for a deal.

    2.What are you looking for?
    - 2 channel integrated amplifier that will be replacing my NAD 304. I am also planning on keeping the unit for the next many years.

    3.How will you typically be using the gear?
    - Main music listening stereo in living room (14x16). Secondly, will also be used with TV for shows and movies but I have zero interest in surround system.

    4.What gear do you own?

    Source: Project Debut Carbon DC and Raspberry Pi with RuneAudio running through Schiit Modi 2 Uber

    Speakers: early 90s Advent Legacy floor standing speakers. Will eventually be replaced by medium/large stand mounted bookshelf speakers whenever Advent fail or I save up more money. I am looking to buy the integrated for my next pair of speakers, not my current Advents.

    6.What material will you be using your gear for?
    - Priority is music. Mostly in the greater rock bucket with a bit of jazz, classical, and hip hop.

    7.Are you willing to buy used?

    - Totally. I am Located in Raleigh NC.
     
  2. Snoober

    Snoober Dysthymic

    Messages:
    570
    If it were me I'd choose either the Yamaha A-S501, or A-S801. Both sound amazing. I had NAD as well (C356) a long time ago. Good luck with the hunt!
     
    winters860, zebra03 and boza like this.
  3. If you liked your current NAD, you might want to look at something like the NAD c356BEE.

    It is well within your price range, fully functual with a/b amplifier and probably sounds very nice.
     
  4. Mac_n_cheese

    Mac_n_cheese AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Thanks for the recommendations! Does it seem right for me to shoot for 50-100 wpc?

    I guess ideally the unit would have phono input and dac, but not really a requirement. Having either separate would not have to be part of my budget since I could break up the purchase. Like buy the integrated, and then a month or two later buy a phono preamp.

    nad c 338 and nad c 368 looked interesting. Along with the ELAC Element.
     
  5. 59volvo

    59volvo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    919
    get a tpa3116 based amp - some pre made ones are integrated with volume control and then get a separate phono preamp if you need that. I run mine with a kenwood basic c-2 which are easy to pick up for cheap used. check this thread:

    http://audiokarma.org/forums/index....vs-the-tripaths.574806/page-288#post-10332180

    another option would be a crown xls-1000 or 1500 pro amp which are not that expensive and have good reviews

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/co...ap=y&m=Y&c3api=1876,92051677442,&A=details&Q=
     
  6. RGA

    RGA Super Member

    Messages:
    1,021
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Keep your eyes out for a second hand Sugden A48B which can be had for $400. The A21 is better but few resell them and they would be at least double.

    If you are willing to go tubes then you should find something good at the top of your budget like the Line Magnetic 211ia or.something from Melody Audio.
     
  7. ictwoody

    ictwoody I like vintage gear — my preamp is from 2007. Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,906
    Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
    The A-S801 is a great suggestion. Sounds fantastic. Killer feature set. The DAC in the 801 is better than the Modi Uber, I've had a Modi uber and currently own both a Bifrost Uber and Bifrost Multibit. So you could sell your Modi to offset the cost.

    I purchased my basically open box A-S801 used for $600 off audiogon and it was a bargain for the price. Lots of future speaker options will work nicely with it as well.

    - Woody
     
    Snoober likes this.
  8. Roboturner91

    Roboturner91 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    740
    Given the option of buying a new one, I'd also go with the Yamahas, but why not get the NAD fixed? For the $200 investment you'll have a great amp that more than holds its own against anything in that $800 budget.
     
  9. Mac_n_cheese

    Mac_n_cheese AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    I was thinking it seemed like a lot of money to spend on repair when I likely would not be able to sell it for much more than $200. I also have no idea how the NAD 304 compares to modern units because I have only ever had the NAD.

    An open box situation would be ideal, so I plan on keep checking ebay, CL, and audiogon. Would there be any other sites worth following?
     
  10. davidb1

    davidb1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,155
    Location:
    Sandy Springs GA
    asilker likes this.
  11. Mac_n_cheese

    Mac_n_cheese AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    asilker and davidb1 like this.
  12. Mac_n_cheese

    Mac_n_cheese AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    I posted a WTB over in bartertown and making progress!

    The more time I spend the less confident I get in any decision haha.

    But I have had these additional thoughts.
    - I don't care about brands or prestige. Vintage or modern does not matter. I don't need to spend a ton of money just for a name.
    - sound quality, value, and looks/design are most important
    - size does matter. I will likely move a number of times over the next 10 years and that is why I am looking at integrateds
     
  13. sonci

    sonci Active Member

    Messages:
    451
    Nice post, it made me want to jump in and say hi,
    If those Advent are not power hungry you could try a Rega Brio, there's a dedicated thread around here,
    even though it's a bit overkill since you don't need a phono stage..
     
  14. fredgarvin

    fredgarvin Active Member

    Messages:
    381
    tomlinmgt likes this.
  15. Mac_n_cheese

    Mac_n_cheese AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Thanks for stopping by! I noticed the rega brio. I am looking for a unit with phono stage.

    Well I decided that I would want a integrated with either a good DAC or a good phone stage. I can stand having one separate.
     
  16. Mac_n_cheese

    Mac_n_cheese AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Thinking has continued, and I guess I am using this post to publically flush thoughts out.

    My available budget has increased to around $1000. And I have also considered the idea that people regularly spend $600-$800 on a smartphone that they only plan to use for 2-3 years. So that makes spending around that much on something I can use for at least 10 years make a little more sense.

    I have also decided that I would like to buy a integrated with a good phono stage, and I do not care about it having a DAC. I feel like digital sources will likely change a bunch over the next 10 years, but my phono source will not. So I rather keep digital separate.

    Would spending around $1000, instead of spending ~$650, be worth it in terms of quality improvement? Like does that get me into a different quality range? I would look to buy an integrated for $800-$1000 with msrp +$1000 instead of buying an integrated for say $600 with msrp of $850.
     
  17. Rach3maninoff

    Rach3maninoff Speaker Magnate

    Messages:
    401
    Location:
    Mayberry, NC
    Another shout-out for the Yammies. My son-in-law bought an S-501 open box some time back and loves it. He currently runs it with a ProJect Debut Carbon through a set of Polk Monitor 10's - very rich sounding. It would definitely suffice for the space that you have. If you find one open box - jump on it! With your budget, you should have enough left over to upgrade your speakers to something that will do that amp justice.
     
  18. Mac_n_cheese

    Mac_n_cheese AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Where I have landed.
    - 2 Channel integrated amplifier
    - good phono stage
    - headphone amp
    - At least a solid 50 watts
    - MSRP around 1000

    Currently leaning towards Rega Brio 2017. I like the size. I like the lack of features. Doesn't seem ideal if I want to add a subwoofer later. Anything better?
     
  19. Samac

    Samac Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    N.E. Ohio
    The new Brio sounds like a winner. I would also suggest that you check out the Arcam A19. A fantastic amp. Excellent sound, great build. I've enjoyed mine for the past three years.

    Cheers,

    Scott
     
  20. Mac_n_cheese

    Mac_n_cheese AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Thanks for everyone's help. I ended up going with the Brio 2017. I should be getting on its way. I am excited to get it set up and listen to it. I have two sets up speakers, so I will try it with both and let yall know what I think!
     

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