View Full Version : Modern "warm" sounding integrated amplifier?


nickrobotron
12-01-2011, 01:33 PM
I'm thinking of selling off some stuff to purchase a modern solid-state integrated amp. It's going to be powering some Forte II's.

Are the newer NAD amplifiers still known for being "warm"? What other brands should I look out for? Let's say my budget is less than $600 and I'm alright with used gear. Tubes would be cool too, but I know it would be really hard to keep it under $600.

Or is this a big mistake? Maybe my Marantz 2250B would sound much better than anything offered nowadays at this price range. Opinions wanted.

Thanks!

butch4695
12-01-2011, 01:48 PM
http://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/907onk/ .I had one of these for about a year until I came across my M-504 and really enjoyed it. It had a nice full warm sound to it. I just needed a little more power . I think it would be a nice match with your Forte`s .

JohnVF
12-01-2011, 01:52 PM
I'm not sure of the model number of the Denon integrated that they made into the 100th Anniversary PMA-a100 (maybe PMA-2000?), but they're supposedly very similar with some detail and chassis changes. If that integrated sounds as nice as the PMA-a100, it could be a really good option if found used.

komoyuki
12-01-2011, 02:03 PM
Well if you looking for an integrated tube ampcheck at this one from Grant Fidelity. I have hear many good things about this little one. Depend also if you need lot of power.

http://shop.grantfidelity.com/Shuguang-I-12-Integrated-Mini-Tube-Amp-w-headphone.html

GL

nickrobotron
12-01-2011, 02:51 PM
Really great recommendations so far! Thanks guys.

stereocuuple
12-01-2011, 03:02 PM
nick i would look at the newer marantz int,s try audiogon. also its a bit over $600 but a mcintosh ma 6200 would sound very nice with fortes.

stereocuuple
12-01-2011, 03:07 PM
there are 2 pm 8004s which are very nice. the pm 5004 is no slouch. i have a friend in leavenworth who is driving focals with a 5004 and ive really enjoyed listening there.

nickrobotron
12-01-2011, 05:22 PM
I moved the NAD C 740 to the system with my Fortes since starting this thread and am very impressed. I think I've found a weakness with this Marantz 2250B. It has very muddy bottom end compared to the NAD. Worse imaging too. I'm sure it does other things better, like clarity in the upper end, but I'm digging that NAD more right now. This NAD must really be a dark receiver if it's making the Marantz seem bright!

nickrobotron
12-01-2011, 06:54 PM
Does the NAD C 326BEE have a darker sound signature like the C 740?

JohnVF
12-01-2011, 06:58 PM
I've not found the C-326bee to be particular dark or bright. It seemed quite neutral, but certainly not bright. I've only listened to it a bit, though, and it was awhile ago. I like the new Marantz 2-channel gear as well, though most of my experience is with the reference series. A lot of people like the Creek integrateds used in that price range.

petehall347
12-01-2011, 07:03 PM
if the modern nad amps are simple like the early ones they should sound good ..look out for the metal can outputs ..

nickrobotron
12-01-2011, 07:11 PM
I've not found the C-326bee to be particular dark or bright. It seemed quite neutral, but certainly not bright. I've only listened to it a bit, though, and it was awhile ago. I like the new Marantz 2-channel gear as well, though most of my experience is with the reference series. A lot of people like the Creek integrateds used in that price range.

You've heard lots of gear. I know you like the modern Marantz gear, but how would you describe its sound? You also mentioned that the Denon (which doesn't turn me on aesthetically) sounds good, but does it have a warmer sound? The only Denon gear I own is a DVD player with a Burr-Brown DAC that I use with my ADS speakers. It shatters glass when hooked up to my Fortes. I'm skeptical to look into Denon until it is confirmed that not all of their gear is as bright.

nickrobotron
12-01-2011, 07:13 PM
I guess I just want to be annoying and make sure that these recommendations are based on sound signature/price and not just price. Sorry if I'm being a pain in this ass.

The only choice I have at this point is to take your word for it! And believe me, I'm taking it to heart. I have my credit card out at the moment. :)

JohnVF
12-01-2011, 08:15 PM
You've heard lots of gear. I know you like the modern Marantz gear, but how would you describe its sound? You also mentioned that the Denon (which doesn't turn me on aesthetically) sounds good, but does it have a warmer sound? The only Denon gear I own is a DVD player with a Burr-Brown DAC that I use with my ADS speakers. It shatters glass when hooked up to my Fortes. I'm skeptical to look into Denon until it is confirmed that not all of their gear is as bright.

I come from the Sansui school of solid state, its what I like in vintage. So maybe not as 'warm' as Marantz but not as bright as say, Pioneer. But most modern gear sounds less warm than vintage Marantz. I would describe the Denon Anniversary amp (and assuming the amp its derived from) as not-bright. But that doesn't mean you would. It was very clean and neutral, and not fatiguing, with a great open soundstage. In a head to head, it obliterated the vintage PMA-1500 amp that was on hand. I think the Marantz gear may be more of an easier adjustment from vintage. A few members have some of their newer integrateds, I can't remember who but they'd have a more accurate take on it than me, as my memory of it is based on short in-store auditions. I've also had Denon gear that I've hated (my old HT receiver from 1999 ) but the new amp was nothing like that.

secretguy
12-01-2011, 08:15 PM
I've got a NAD C372 which I really like. The 375 which replaced it is supposed to be a good bit better. Not sure if I'd call it warm...just sounds real balanced. Nice juicy bottom end.

mjennens
12-01-2011, 09:11 PM
I have a Marantz PM-8003 I got on sale for $600 at Musicdirect.com. I like the sound of, and have run, vintage gear such as the Pioneer SX950, SX780, Marantz 2235, and 70's Sony gear. I've also run a Jolida tube amp, but I prefer my newer Marantz over all of them. I run a pair of JBL L40 speakers or Dynaco A25s with it. Different people have different ideas of what warm sound is, but if I understand it, that's what I prefer. I'd buy the Marantz again, if I had to do it over. Very happy with its sound.
Mike

juz10efx
12-01-2011, 11:51 PM
My best friend has the NAD 375bee..and I have the Marantz PM 5004..I find the NAD to be on the bright side (he has older Polk Rt8Ts) and the Marantz to be a little warmer (i have epos els8 but have tried several other speakers)..we both have newer NAD CDPs ..he does not listen to vinyl, however I do..and the little Marantz has an awesome (to me) phono stage..the speed and accuracy are amazing..as far as digital goes..the 375BEE to me is just louder, it sounds good, just not as musical as the Marantz to me..we both have Yamaha systems also, which I find both to be dry sounding..just my opinions...that being said I also have a Allied 435/Pioneer SX-440 in my vintage room, and it is much warmer than the marantz.

nickrobotron
12-02-2011, 02:52 AM
I have a lot of research to do. I really appreciate the advice so far. The Marantz integrated amps are getting lots of votes.

Does anyone recommend Cambridge?

Are there any NAD C-xxxBEE integrated amplifiers that still have a phono section other than the 375, which is way out of my budget? I really, really wish the 326 had a phono section.

Mr. Lin
12-02-2011, 02:54 AM
I've not found the C-326bee to be particular dark or bright. It seemed quite neutral, but certainly not bright. I've only listened to it a bit, though, and it was awhile ago. I like the new Marantz 2-channel gear as well, though most of my experience is with the reference series. A lot of people like the Creek integrateds used in that price range.

I own one of these, and I absolutely agree with John here. However, he's the first person on AK besides me who feels the 326BEE has a more neutral presentation; other owners think it's warm-sounding. I just don't hear that.

cubdog
12-02-2011, 11:25 AM
Don't forget Bel Canto. I for one know they work well with Klipsch.

cubdog

mikeybc
12-02-2011, 02:16 PM
A used Creek 5350-SE would fit the bill, warm and smooth and sounds more powerful than 90 watts per channel implies...great bass too. A step above NAD in my opinion

nickrobotron
12-02-2011, 05:22 PM
Those look awesome.

A great phono stage is a must.

1tumbleweed
12-02-2011, 05:35 PM
A used Creek 5350-SE would fit the bill, warm and smooth and sounds more powerful than 90 watts per channel implies...great bass too. A step above NAD in my opinion

+1. Easily better.:thmbsp:

prisoners
12-02-2011, 05:57 PM
I've heard the Cambridge line in that price range and I think it's very good. In fact the dealer also sells the classic Klipsch line and I played around for hours with all of them, except the K horns. That would be my choice if I was a Klipsch owner looking for what you stated.

Art K.
12-02-2011, 09:53 PM
I own one of these, and I absolutely agree with John here. However, he's the first person on AK besides me who feels the 326BEE has a more neutral presentation; other owners think it's warm-sounding. I just don't hear that.

I think folks tend to mistake full for warm. The C326BEE becomes cleaner and more neutral with the jumpers changed out. It's a hell of an amp for the money. Add an NAD phono stage and you're off and running. I'm a bit influenced by the Harbeth's on the business end of my NAD.

nickrobotron
12-03-2011, 06:44 PM
What's the benefit of having the 326 over the 316?

I'd still like to hear the benefits of the Cambridge line.

Art K.
12-03-2011, 09:39 PM
The video is from Audio Advisor explaining the difference between the C316BEE and the C326BEE. I buy NAD from Spearit Sound and have received exceptional service.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doY-gYzF9L0

nickrobotron
12-04-2011, 01:10 AM
I watched all of his videos on all the NAD components. I can't justify spending more for a 326. I'm sure there are some sonic benefits in there somewhere, but it mostly seems like more options.

I'm going tomorrow to listen to some Cambridge gear from a local dealer. If I'm not blown away by the gear, I'll probably buy a NAD C 316BEE.

Any suggestions on where to purchase one from?

Art K.
12-04-2011, 03:37 PM
I watched all of his videos on all the NAD components. I can't justify spending more for a 326. I'm sure there are some sonic benefits in there somewhere, but it mostly seems like more options.

I'm going tomorrow to listen to some Cambridge gear from a local dealer. If I'm not blown away by the gear, I'll probably buy a NAD C 316BEE.

Any suggestions on where to purchase one from?

I believe my last post had a suggestion, Spearit Sound. Outstanding service keeps me going back. They also offer refurbs for quite a good deal. That's a great way to get an amp. For the C316BEE that's a savings of $81.

etocynned
12-04-2011, 10:39 PM
Well if you looking for an integrated tube ampcheck at this one from Grant Fidelity. I have hear many good things about this little one. Depend also if you need lot of power.

http://shop.grantfidelity.com/Shuguang-I-12-Integrated-Mini-Tube-Amp-w-headphone.html

GL

If its important to you, the i12 i own has reignited my love of audio after a long time.

I wanted something simple, not a home theater, and if i could squeeze tubes in i wanted to.

The amp drives my 302's to volumes i wouldn't listen to for more than a few seconds but not because of distortion. i just don't like it that loud anymore.

I've listened to all of my music through it, from Gwar to Tchaikovsky and back.

Its reawakened my passion for audio and music.:tresbon:

For me thats the most important thing.

Don Clement
12-08-2011, 08:51 PM
I come from the Sansui school of solid state, its what I like in vintage.

I agree with the vintage Sansui statement. Just bought a vintage Sansui QR-6500 that approaches the warm tube like sound of my homebrew Siliconix design VFET amp that had wide closed loop BW (800KHz) using minimal negative feedback. BTW I also like the sound of Quad ESLs.

Don
_____________________________
homebrew 12Ax7 preamp
homebrew Siliconix VFET amp
Sansui QR-6500

jdrum1
12-18-2011, 12:37 PM
There is no phono stage, but I really like my Jolida 102b (used would be in your price). Since you don’t need much juice, how about a Miniwatt?

datafone
12-20-2011, 12:26 PM
Maybe a REDGUM SonofaGUM SG5500 http://www.redgumaudio.com/store/123.html

Review http://www.digitalaudioreview.net.au/index.php/audio-reviews/amplifier-reviews/item/182-redgum-sonofagum-5500-integrated-amplifier

(No affiliation... ect)

Celt
12-20-2011, 12:29 PM
The latest version of the Rega Brio has been well received and as I understand, has a great phono stage with a bit of sonic warmth.

jblnut
12-20-2011, 02:32 PM
My friend just replaced his beloved ST70 with a Threshold SS amp and it is the warmest and most beautiful sound I've heard out of his Forte's - ever. It may stretch your budget but it will hold value forever and sound absolutely tremendous.

jblnut

nickrobotron
12-20-2011, 04:56 PM
Interesting... Remember the model number, jblnut?

dtb300
12-21-2011, 07:24 AM
My friend just replaced his beloved ST70 with a Threshold SS amp and it is the warmest and most beautiful sound I've heard out of his Forte's - ever. It may stretch your budget but it will hold value forever and sound absolutely tremendous.
The older Threshold Amps are still very good, and great sounding - as you and your friend found out.

I think Tone Audio did a piece on older products and how they stack up today - Threshold, Levinson, etc.

jblnut
12-21-2011, 09:25 AM
Yes but I'm sorry I didn't notice the thread title until now - you're looking for an integrated and he's got separates.

Pre - Threshold T2
Amp - Threshold T100

He went from an Audio Research 11/Dynaco ST70 combination to this over the last few years. He lost nothing in terms of "warmth" and actually gained quite a bit of resolution we both think. The hassles of keeping vintage tube gear going finally got the better of him.

The 90's did produce some future classics, and both these Threshold pieces are sure to join the ranks (if not lead them)....

Best of luck in your search !

jblnut

TheAnt
12-24-2011, 04:51 AM
The latest version of the Rega Brio has been well received and as I understand, has a great phono stage with a bit of sonic warmth.

Yes I can comfim that Rega sound tubey and warm, its a quite different product than the Vincent I bought in the end. But the Brio were in until the last round. So yes I do think its one excellent amp.