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pjoneal
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Music Hall vs. NAD vs. Cambridge Audio vs ?

Need some suggestions...
I have a pair of Linn Katan speakers on stands, currently driven by an older Acurus LS11 preamp and an A150 power amp. I would like to switch to an integrated amp and am looking at the Music Hall 15.3, the NAD 326BEE, the Cambridge Audio 651, and possibly the Creek 50A although that's getting up there in price. I also need to upgrade my source from an old AMC CD6, but first I'd like to get the amplification squared away. I would also consider selling the Linns and going for a different speaker like the Dali Zensor 1.

This system is in my study so I don't need tons of power. I'm more concerned about quality sound (my Acurus gear seems bright to me) and reliability. Any thoughts/suggestions on what would pair nicely? Auditioning is difficult due to geography.

I realize that I am being vague, but am hoping someone with experience with the above mentioned amps can provide some insight.

As a final thought, would replacing either of the Acurus pieces with a tube piece get me that warmer less fatiguing sound?

Thanks...

Paul

commsysman
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AMPLIFIER
pjoneal wrote:

Need some suggestions...
I have a pair of Linn Katan speakers on stands, currently driven by an older Acurus LS11 preamp and an A150 power amp. I would like to switch to an integrated amp and am looking at the Music Hall 15.3, the NAD 326BEE, the Cambridge Audio 651, and possibly the Creek 50A although that's getting up there in price. I also need to upgrade my source from an old AMC CD6, but first I'd like to get the amplification squared away. I would also consider selling the Linns and going for a different speaker like the Dali Zensor 1.

This system is in my study so I don't need tons of power. I'm more concerned about quality sound (my Acurus gear seems bright to me) and reliability. Any thoughts/suggestions on what would pair nicely? Auditioning is difficult due to geography.

I realize that I am being vague, but am hoping someone with experience with the above mentioned amps can provide some insight.

As a final thought, would replacing either of the Acurus pieces with a tube piece get me that warmer less fatiguing sound?

Thanks...

Paul

The Music Hall 15.3 is what I would recommend. It has good power and a phono preamp, and sounds nice. Decent tube amps are a lot more expensive; at least twice as much (and reliability is iffy). The NAD is also not bad.

I think you would make a BIG improvement in sound quality by changing to a modern CD player with much more accurate DAC chips in it. The improvement in conversion accuracy has been huge over the past few years. Ten years ago you had to spend $5000 and up to get a really good-sounding player, and now there are some at $500 that are VERY good-sounding. It is quite an amazing development IMO.

I think it is rather amazing that when Sony/Phillips invented the CD 30 years ago, the crude players were miserably inadequate to the proper playback of the discs, and only very recently are we getting to where really good accurate playback is starting to become available in a lot of players at reasonable prices.

I'll bet they thought the playback would catch up to the CD format's technology in a few years, but it has taken 30 years to create high-accuracy DAC chips at reasonable prices.

I sold my $6000 Ayre player (a very good one) because the $1000 OPPO BDP-95 I have now sounds even better!

I recommend either the OPPO BDP-103 or the Marantz CD6005.

I suggest that you get the new player first, and then decide about the amp. You might even decide you don't need a new one when you have better sound at the source.

pjoneal
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Thanks for your help! I've

Thanks for your help! I've heard lots of good things about the Oppo, so I'll start there.

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