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Drock82
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Joined: Nov 10 2012 - 9:20pm
Which amp should I choose? Maybe naim nait 5i or nad375

I inherited the following system:

Arcam alpha 7se CD player

harmon kardon AVR 

b&w 303 bookshelves 

monster power conditioner

It was an HUGE upgrade to what I was using before. Its been a joy listening to music again and exploring the new details and such. It's been 7 months and I've been thinking about where else I can take the sound. It's been fun to learn more about the hobby. 

After researching and visiting local audio shops it's become clear that the HK is the weak link. I really only want a 2 channel system. No radio. I'm looking for advice and thoughts on amps. I'm thinking an integrated amp. Although I've never heard tube. These are the two amps I'm looking at now:

NAD 375 (new, $1200 + 13% tax)

Naim Nait 5i (used $850)

I want to get more out of my b&w's but I'm sure I'll want to upgrade speakers in the next year or two. So I want to be prepared for that with my next amp purchase. 

A couple of other things that I've been thinking about is the whole tube option and whether I even want to go down that route. From what I've read it's a warmer sound , which sounds interesting to me. But more money and maybe more maintenance. 

Secondly, high res music. I don't currently own any but wow I heard it at one of the shops and I know I'll want to get into that. Should I be considering that in my amp purchase?

-----

My music tastes - from Zeppelin to Elvis, vocals, acoustic, soul, blues, classical , hip hop. 

Interested in live sound, 3d imaging sound stage, non fatiguing , joy of listening, soul moving. 

 

Thanks in advance!!

Drock82
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I should also mention that I

Correction: My current amp is the harmon kardon AVR 120.

I should also mention that I have an Apple TV, iMac and iPhone 5. I haven't imported my music from cd onto my hard drive nor have really used the Apple TV for music as of yet. Apple TV will only play 16/48 bit which is great for my current collection. But of course would need a DAC or I would just stick to my CDs. But boy, would it be nice to have the convenience and still get best source quality. But again maybe I shouldn't worry about all of that in the purchase of an amp. 

mrvco
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I don't have any experience

I don't have any experience with Naim, but NAD makes nice stuff... lots of good clean power for the money.  Once you upgrade your amplification, I expect that you'll be looking for new speakers in short order.  I'd probably stay away from tubes until you know you want tubes, there's a certain level of commitment involved that isn't necessary with solid state.

jackfish
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I'd also look into Cambridge Audio and Music Hall integrated

amplifiers. The Anthem 225 Integrated should also get serious consideration.

Your CD collection ripped to your iMac will be fine at 16-bit/44.1kHz. I'd rip them as ALAC (Apple lossless) and use error correction. iTunes is an adequate music organizer and player, and can be made bit perfect with the $10 BitPerfect from the Apple Store. You can also get the Remote app for your iPhone to control iTunes from your phone. I'd experiment with HiRez files with your equipment before you invest in too much of it, you may or may not hear a difference.

Drock82
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Thanks! I was just at a naim

Thanks! I was just at a naim dealer and one thing that I am realizing is that you really can't make any judgment call on any amp until you have it set up to your equipment.

How have you made your decisions on which amp try out? 

I'm thinking if I can get this naim for 750, which he has agreed to but is waiting on a pending sale, then I will try that and then buy an NAD to try it out and compare. That might be the only way to really know the difference.

Wouldn't you suggest a DAC when streaming from Apple TV? Any you would suggest that is more affordable considering I'm arty getting in him?

Drock82
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UPDATE:

I'm now conisdering the NAD 356 Dac integrated. After realizing that if I want to use my Apple TV I'll HAVE to get a DAC due to connections. 

What are your thoughts on getting the DAC included in an integrated? It won't allow me to "play around" with other DAC's. But then again I don't want to be fussing around too much anyway. 

The other way to go is get a streamer but that's not in my budget right now. I'd really like to enjoy streaming now. 

 

commsysman
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AMPLIFIER

In general, I think that putting a DAC in an amplifier is a poor design decision; too much noise from the DAC tends to compromise the amplifier quality. This problem can be solved, but why create a problem that requires extra cost to satisfactorily resolve?

I would always recommend a separate DAC.

The Music Hall A15.2 is only $499 at Music Direct, and I think it is the best integrated you can buy for under $1000. It is quite exceptional for its price; it would be a steal at $900.

If you wanted to go as high as $1500, the Musical Fidelity M3i amplifer is excellent for that price, and also the Music Hall A70.2

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