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twynns
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Best Integrated for $3k or below? Krell KAV-400i vs. Musical Fidelity A5

Any owners/users of either of the two listed integrated amps have any thoughts on their sound/musicality? Each generates what appears to be relatively high current power at 200+ watts/ch. Krell reviews very well in Stereophile and elsewhere. Musical Fidelity A5 appears to be an interesting candidate as well. I am still choosing speakers, but leaning towards Joseph Audio RM22si Mk.2's (see similar post in loudspeaker forum), which are spec'd at 8 ohm nominal (6 ohm min) w/ sensitivity of ~88db. I have a smallish room of approximately 12'6 x 11'6 x 9'. Jazz, female vocals, small ensemble/chamber, acoustical pop/rock is most common music types. Would like amp to have accurate and tightly controlled bass and don't want or need thundering, boomy lows...Much more concerned about soundstage, imaging, transparency in mids and highs to accentuate vocals, stringed inst's, piano, flute...

Any thoughts on the Krell and MF integrated amps, or suggestions for other integrated amps in the +/-$2500 range to consider would be most greatly appreciated!

Many thanks,

Twynns

Buddha
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Re: Best Integrated for $3k or below? Krell KAV-400i vs. Musical

Either one is terrific.

I have the first Krell KAV 300i and when I compared it with the new one, I didn't feel compelled to go with the new one.

If the price is right for you, consider Ebay or Audiogon for a used Krell.

Here is one on Ebay now.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Krell-High-End-Amplifier-300i_W0QQitemZ5838525851QQcategoryZ14973QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

It may even be worth emailing the seller and asking if he'd take a "buy it now" price so you could have it in your system in time for Christmas.

Here's one at Audiogon:
http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?intatran&1138845599

Another at Audiogon:
http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?intatran&1138763957

(Ridiculously cheap! A steal at those prices!)

I've honestly loved mine. My only complaint is that the volume control is done by buttons rather than a knob, but the remote is very responsive and handles small incremental changes with aplomb.

That unit has driven everything I've tossed at it from practically zero impedance home brews, Apogee ribbons, to vintage Klipsch La Scallas - all sounded pretty dang good.

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I saw you post about the speakers, as well. I've heard that model and found it be very sweet. A buddy owns a pair he drives with a Mesa Baron driven directly by his CD player. Nice, unfatiguing highs and good midrange. His room is very resonant, so I don't feel I can really vouch for the low bass, but when I've heard them at shows, they've sounded all around good.

The whole Joseph line is well done, I think their designer must have a good ear.

Cheers, let us know what you end up putting together.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Best Integrated for $3k or below? Krell KAV-400i vs. Musical

Unison Unico SE and the new Creek Dynasty.

RGibran
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Re: Best Integrated for $3k or below? Krell KAV-400i vs. Musical

For that kind of money I'd get my fanny out to see if all the buzz over the Plinius integrateds is true, or to my liking. Might be able to pick up a used 8150/150W for a song or the new 9100/120W in your budget. A new 9200/200W is more like 4,000.00 I believe.

RG

ohfourohnine
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Re: Best Integrated for $3k or below? Krell KAV-400i vs. Musical

I agree, either amp you've suggested is great, but do you need that much power? Given your musical tastes (which, incidentally, mirror mine), room size, and likely speaker choices I'd say you won't benefit from it. Jim Taveglia, I think, is going in the right direction with the Unison and Creek suggestions.

If I were in your shoes and could get someone to let me audition one I'd also be sorely tempted to try the Pathos Acoustics Classic One Mk 2 too.

twynns
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Re: Best Integrated for $3k or below? Krell KAV-400i vs. Musical

Thanks to each of you for the quick and helpful replies. I will try to look at each of the suggestions. A couple of follow-up thoughts and additional questions:

1. Most reviews I've read suggested that the JA speakers continued to open up as additional power was supplied. I agree that it's not essential. While the JA RM22's are likely to be my initial pair of speakers, I won't rule out the possibility of upgrading as time goes by, and therefore, the more power I have, the more flexibility I'll have later...of course, I could also upgrade the amp later too...

2. Have any of you listened to the Unico SE or the Unison hybrid separates? I was already aware of the Creek 5350SE, but not the Destiny products specifically. Also, didn't know that Plinius offered integrated amps. All great suggestions and ones that I'll definitely consider. Hard thing, for some of the more boutique/esoteric brands, is to find a decent local dealer where auditioning is possible, particularly since nobody carries the JA's locally.

3. Thanks too, for the used gear links and suggestions. I've been a bit skittish about putting >$2k out on eBay for a product that comes with no warranty of dealer backing of any kind...have you had good experiences with higher end gear over eBay?

Again, many thanks to all! I'll be sure to post the system once complete. I probably won't get everything figured out until February or so.

Twynns

k512
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Re: Best Integrated for $3k or below? Krell KAV-400i vs. Musical

Simaudio Moon offers several outstanding, reasonably priced, integrated amplifiers. (And FWIW, the new Evolution Series i-7 Balanced Integrated Amplifier is currently their reference/statement integrated amp, which is currently retailing for ~$4500.00.)

rodrigojr
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Re: Best Integrated for $3k or below? Krell KAV-400i vs. Musical

What about a Sugden A21a? Great integrated, very refined. It should match your musical tastes very well.

Buddha
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Re: Best Integrated for $3k or below? Krell KAV-400i vs. Musical

Hi, Twynns!

Rodrigojr's mention of the Sugden is another good possibility if you can fit it into your budget. It's a class unit all the way!

I've purchased several pieces of gear on Ebay and have never had anything go wrong.

That doesn't mean you should blindly throw caution to the wind, but I would not let my fears rule out Ebay as a source.

You can look at auctions that are only within a certain radius from where you live and that way you could inspect and listen to a unit before paying, if that gives extra comfort.

My hi-fi buddy / neighbor and I have purchased maybe two dozen pieces of gear over the last 5 years and never had a bad result.

He has purchased a CD player, DA converter, Apogee Mini Grands, a tuner, record cleaning machine, and I forget what else.

I've purchased several speakers, and electronics - all have been perfect.

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Yikes! I almost forgot a GREAT budget integrated. I got a Marantz PM 7200 integrated from Music Direct (www.amusicdirect.com) and use it to drive a pair of Infinity Intermezzo 2.6's from my computer drive and I LOVE it. It retails for only 499.00 and can be run as a pure class A amp to 25 WPC.

Really, worth checking out!

dcrowe
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Re: Best Integrated for $3k or below? Krell KAV-400i vs. Musical

I have seen the Mark Levinson 383 listed on Audigon for under $3K (although it is usually listed between $3K and $3.5K). This one gets my vote as the best in the $3K price class, if you don't need a new one.

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