I've posted this at other forums previously, without much response, so am trying here. Please forgive me if you've seen this before.
I've decided to replace my Creek 5350SE, which includes the SE version of the MM phono card. While I think it a very musical integrated in many respects, and it has mated well with my Infinity Intermezzo monitors and sub in a difficult listening room, it sometimes seems "slow' with music with lots of rhythmic drive. I'd love to find an amp with the Creek's virtues, but a better approach to PRAT, a cost not more than two grand, and a built-in MM phono stage.
I was looking at the 5350SE's upgrade path, to the Creek Dynasty, as I understand from reviews that it is "speedier" than the 5350SE. I had a line on a used unit for about $1800, but realized that its add-on phono card will cost about $500, busting the budget. (I was surprised to learn of the Dynasty card's cost because the phono card for the 5350SE was less than $150. While I expected the Dynasty version to be somewhat more expensive, that is a pretty significant delta.)
I do not want to use an outboard phono preamp or linestage. My cabinet already is overflowing, with my DAC, wifi antennas, a power supply, and Airport Express connection all sitting exposed on top of it, which interferes mightily with the Spousal Acceptance Factor. My power conditioner also is full-up, so I don't have a spare outlet for a linestage. (And, yes, I know about battery-powered units, but no thanks.) The phono input does not have to rival state of the art, but should be adequate, and not a huge downgrade from the 5350 card's quality.
So, can anyone point me towards a decent solid state integrated with a usable phono in for MM, four other line level inputs, and a tape loop, that sells for less than two grand or so? (At this point, speaker compatibility considerations are not primary, as I've had to move the Infinity speakers to another system. I therefore can purchase speakers that complement the amp after I decide on the electronics.) Thanks for any help you can offer.