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Need integrated Amp recommendations for Monitor Audio RX-6's


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I'm currently running Monitor Audio RX-6's through a vintage Yamaha amp (bought in 1980). I want to upgrade to an integrated. What I want is a 3D soundstage that's deep and wide. I listen to lots of choirs, eg Robert Shaw Chorale, Mormon Tabernacle, Brooklyn Tabernacle, MI Mass, etc., and a fair amount of classical and jazz. Right now I don't always get a full accurate centerstage. I also listen to lots of groups and duets (BeBe & CeCe Winans, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Take 6, etc.) and I want an accurate soundstage with individual voices in their own space instead of sounding like they're all sharing one microphone. I enjoy most types of music except rap and hard rock. There's a poll going on about if all DAC's sound the same. Seems like lots of people think they do so I'll keep my DAC (Asus Xonar Essence One) and concentrate on the integrated amp. My budget is $1500 and I'd prefer one with an MM phonostage included. Full, rich detail (but not analytical) and an accurate 3D soundstage. I had my heart set on Creek's Destiny 2 but it's almost double my budget. Anybody heard the Creek Evolution 50A? Any other recommendations? Thanks!

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I'm currently running Monitor Audio RX-6's through a vintage Yamaha amp (bought in 1980). I want to upgrade to an integrated. What I want is a 3D soundstage that's deep and wide. I listen to lots of choirs, eg Robert Shaw Chorale, Mormon Tabernacle, Brooklyn Tabernacle, MI Mass, etc., and a fair amount of classical and jazz. Right now I don't always get a full accurate centerstage. I also listen to lots of groups and duets (BeBe & CeCe Winans, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Take 6, etc.) and I want an accurate soundstage with individual voices in their own space instead of sounding like they're all sharing one microphone. I enjoy most types of music except rap and hard rock. There's a poll going on about if all DAC's sound the same. Seems like lots of people think they do so I'll keep my DAC (Asus Xonar Essence One) and concentrate on the integrated amp. My budget is $1500 and I'd prefer one with an MM phonostage included. Full, rich detail (but not analytical) and an accurate 3D soundstage. I had my heart set on Creek's Destiny 2 but it's almost double my budget. Anybody heard the Creek Evolution 50A? Any other recommendations? Thanks!

 

 

Try the Harmon Kardon HK990. It is dual mono (for best stereo), 150 WPC, has a built-in 24/192 DAC, room EQ DSP software, MM/MC phono inputs, lots of digital and analog inputs (but no USB) Has been on Stereophile's recommended equipment list for three years running as a category "B" component and is reasonably priced. It sounds great!

 

HK 990 | Powerful 2-channel Amplifier with Subwoofer Output | Harman Kardon US

George

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I just got a used Destiny 1 for under $1000 and it does pretty much what you're looking for -- although mine didn't come with the phono stage. It's a lovely amp, especially at what I paid for it. It is quite untrue that all DACs sound essentially the same, as anyone who has used more than one in the same system (as I have) could tell you. But sometimes the differences can be subtle. Sometimes.

 

The notion propounded above that soundstage and image are wholly dependent on speaker and room made me laugh so hard I almost regurgitated dinner.

Mac Mini (+Tidal +Roon) -> WiFi -> Lyngdorf TDAI1120 ->JM Reynaud Lucia (Tellurium Q Black v2)

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Speaker placement and room acoustics make a much much much much bigger difference to soundstage than any differences between modern amplifiers and integrated(s?), so I would spend the money to buy a measurement mike and a bunch of acoustic treatments and then spend whatever is left on a middling integrated that has all the features you want. You might also want to think about how you are going to add a sub if you have an integrated.

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I was on audiogon a short time ago. Their were two Exposure 2010s2 amps listed [rated class A by stereophile],also a Hegel h-70 and a couple of Creek 5350se amps all well under your budget

+1 on Exposure. Great amps.

 

Get the 2010S2 or a even better a second hand 3010S2 (they show up quite regularly). I have the latter and am extremely happy with it. One of the best amps in it's price range. Has beaten competition in two recent comparative tests, even against the Destiny 2.

 

http://studio-hifi.com/images/Hi-Fi_Choice_2013-07_%20int_amp.pdf

 

http://www.exposurehifi.com/pdf/3010s2_hifi_news_April2014.pdf

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My speakers have been the same width apart with no toe-in since I got them about 5 years ago. I have moved them backwards and forwards from the wall in about a 6 inch range depending on the amplifiers' bass response. In that time I have used 1) a Peachtree iDecco, which had good imaging, a decent lateral soundstage, but not much back to front layering, 2) the same pre'd into an Aragon 8002 which gave an even bigger lateral soundstage, an amount of front to back, but slightly fuzzier imaging, 3) The Peachtree's DAC into a Musical Fidelity xT100: similar soundstage to the Aragon, slightly smaller, better but still slightly fuzzy imaging. 4) Peachtree pre and DAC into a Quad 909: better imaging, smaller, but accurate soundstage. 5) Benchmark DAC2D into Quad909: still better imaging, same soundstage. 6) CDP and/or Peachtree DAC into Creek Destiny: pinpoint imaging, huge lateral soundstage, good, but not as deep as I've heard, back-to-front layering.

 

Just sayin'.

Mac Mini (+Tidal +Roon) -> WiFi -> Lyngdorf TDAI1120 ->JM Reynaud Lucia (Tellurium Q Black v2)

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Ok........so when we hear something, we hear the direct radiation of the speaker elements and the reflected radiation at different points in physical distance and of course, time. We also hear resonances created by physical items in the room in what is known as the modal region. So what finally arrives at our ears is a three dimensional recreation of the original signal created by the speakers and the room.....yes?

 

So if an amplifier should be designed to be uncolored or neutral to the original signal, how does an amplifier impact imaging or soundstage? It's frustrating to have to work backwards through these discussions but hopefully I've made this a bit more clear for some. One could of course make the arguement for crosstalk through channel seperation but that's really easy to check for. Of course if the amplifier is broke, replace it or have it repaired.

 

This is NOT to say all amplifiers sound the same. In regards to dynamic capacity, distortion products and noise floor all of which can impart a difference that may be audible under certain circumstances but NONE of the above will change the radiation patterns of a speaker OR the reverberant field of a three dimensional space as both are mechanical parameters given a fixed signal path.

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Ah well, now that's a much more nuanced version of what you originally said ;-)

 

To be fair, I would agree insofar as I don't believe my previous speakers would, even with the best amplification, have been able to produce the kind of imaging and soundstage that my current speakers can. But even you have got to admit that the quality of the amplifier makes some difference in maximizing what the speakers are capable of doing. How an amp achieves that is far beyond my humble knowledge, but the differences are there and they are substantial. Presumably the quality of the source (CD/DAC / TT) has some bearing upon this too.

Mac Mini (+Tidal +Roon) -> WiFi -> Lyngdorf TDAI1120 ->JM Reynaud Lucia (Tellurium Q Black v2)

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You may wish to add the new Rotel RA 1520 to your list .... minimum 120 watts RMS per channel with MM input and will comfortably fit into your budget.

 

I have owned Rotel amps over many years and can vouch for their reliability, build quality and understated power output. The latest Australian HiFi magazine raves about the RA1520's sound and grunt. Good luck.

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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This gives me a lot of options. I hope I can find dealers in my area who carry some of these and do some in store listening. When I hear what I like (love) the next step will be a home demo. Thanks for all the recommendations. Now I'll know what to ask about. One other question, are any of these amps more compatible with my Monitor Audio speakers than others?

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So much depends on how you hear and evaluate your speakers, especially in relationship to amps you have heard them with. How would you describe the sound of your speakers and how are you looking to complement that? personally, I would probably look for a good affordable tube amp to compliment how I have heard your speakers. But I am far from typical.

 

However if I were to hazard a guess, Creek and Exposure will provide you with what you want. Bona fortuna.

 

p.s. : some great chorales, and Allson, who could argue! Blessings!

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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I have those speakers with a Line Magnentic LM216IA tubeamp. The sound is glorious. Also had excellent results with a Creek Destiny, but that comes in much higher.

 

When you say, "but that comes in much higher," do you mean a higher price or higher sound quality? Please explain, thanks.

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Where does one find Line Magnetic equipment in Ontario?

 

I think you'll have to go to the States.

 

Line Magnetic Audio

 

Eugene Hi-Fi carries some of the line, but given that they're on the other side of a massive continent I'm not sure how helpful that is - I also assume that the exchange rate and Canadian Customs charges don't help the VFM equation.

 

Eugene Hi-Fi: Line Magnetic Dealer in Eugene, Oregon

 

I briefly considered looking for their gear in Hong Kong - cheap flight from Bangkok - but that is some heavy-duty kit to drag back on an Air Asia flight.

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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I think you'll have to go to the States. [...] Eugene Hi-Fi carries some of the line, but given that they're on the other side of a massive continent I'm not sure how helpful that is - I also assume that the exchange rate and Canadian Customs charges don't help the VFM equation.

 

That's true. Thus the hope of finding a Canadian dealer. It also doesn't help that the piece I'm actually interested in is the VO-2 Transformer Volume Control. It isn't even listed on the Tone Import website at the moment...

 

[...] I briefly considered looking for their gear in Hong Kong - cheap flight from Bangkok - but that is some heavy-duty kit to drag back on an Air Asia flight.

 

I'll probably look around next time I'm in Guangzhou. Line Magnetic is located in the greater Guangzhou area anyway, so should be quite easy to find a dealer in the city. Fortunately the VO-2 is quite small so transporting it afterwards shouldn't be a problem.

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That's true. Thus the hope of finding a Canadian dealer. It also doesn't help that the piece I'm actually interested in is the VO-2 Transformer Volume Control. It isn't even listed on the Tone Import website at the moment...

 

 

 

I'll probably look around next time I'm in Guangzhou. Line Magnetic is located in the greater Guangzhou area anyway, so should be quite easy to find a dealer in the city. Fortunately the VO-2 is quite small so transporting it afterwards shouldn't be a problem.

 

If you buy direct from LM in China be aware they will be 220 volt models. Watch out for this on Ebay too....

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