Best multi channel amp and processor good for 2 channel listening.

Hi All,

I am new to this forum and have a few questions in reference to HT processors.  I am starting from scratch and switching from a Krell S-1000 and S-1500.  I sold the processor a few months back and I going to list here the amp.

I am currently considering the new Bryston 9B3 and the SP4 and decision was based on upgrade ability and warranty. The speakers for HT will be Sonus Faber Grand Piano Home and for 2 channel Verity Otello’s.  My second choice was Classe but I was informed that they have all sales on hold, this is concerning.  I have not listened to either, my choice is based on reviews and the Bryston dealer.  My decision was also based they are both good for two channel, I am not set on this but it will help the budget and space.  I am looking for a warm and good over all sound; some might say 3 dimensional sound, clarity is also a factor.  Actually, all I’ve read in reference to Classe fits the bill.  I would like a couple of other choices to include in my short list and opinions are welcome. The budget for the processor and amp is approx. 22k.  

Thanks to all.....

So, unless your center, surrounds, and atmos (if you go that way) are hard to drive - the easiest solution is probably a really nice integrated amp, and a surround receiver to do your surround processing, and drive everything but your 2 channel.

An integrated with a built-in DAC could even simplify streaming.

I have a Marantz 8802 processor, but it does require outside amps to drive my center and rears. (I’m only running 5.1). I currently have a Mark Levinson 585 driving my 2 channel. (I also have pass labs separates I am selling as the 585 is really good). I’ll be using the built-in DAC to take my streamer signal and that makes things even easier.

That said, if I did it over today I would probably just do a higher end receiver and a nice integrated to simplify further. The nicer 2 channel integrated amps have really surprised me with how good they sound for 2 channel.

That said, if the budget is 22k... you have all sorts of options.  My biggest question is actually - how much space, shelves, etc do you have and want to use.

The larger companies have one huge advantage I've found and that is in the HDMI switching/pass through market, along with having the latest surround chips.  Their stuff works.  The higher end stuff DOES sound a bit better particularly for 2 channel (if your SSP is going to do 2 channel), but lord knows they almost all seem to have HDMI switching issues/lag/boards going out, or are a bit behind on the surround processing.  Surround formats and HDMI etc change so quickly it's hard to have a solution that is cost effective if you want to have the latest and greatest.

But... how many "boxes" do you want and how much space?  

wow, one of the best discussions I've read in a long time on any forum. Civil, very informative and lots of expertise/ experience.      

I'm using a "vintage" Marantz Sr6003 (soon to be replaced by a SR8012 or 8805 lol  thinking, thinking ) in my system as a preamp to the front three, and bi-amping off of a six channel Krell S1500. I've tried Bryston, Sunfire (rebuilt 5 x200), Carver and Parasound amps before settling on the Krell. The SR powers the sides and rear speakers in a 7.2 configuration. Using KEF Reference 5s (bought new/used for a great price )  and 4C for the fronts, Q900 sides (use to be the fronts) and Q800d for rear (which must be rewired to work correctly BTW) .System is used 40% for music. Truly sounds amazing IMHO and to all of those of all that have heard it. And much better than systems I've heard that have cost more. The S1500 never runs out of steam and suits my tastes for speed, articulation, and clarity just perfectly. That being said, the S1500 is very honest in that it presents everything upstream as they are... it doesn't hide weak links of which I still have a few lol But I'm working on it! I have a second surround system 7.1 in my mancave (75% music) powered by a Marantz 6007 and the Sunfire 5 x 200.The Marantz have been very dependable, are very musical,have great voicing for TV / movies, offer excellent switching, easy menus but are neither warm sounding nor clinical. 

I have a cabinet that has approx. 6” between boxes and opened in the back.
I don’t think a processor will get even close to the heat generated by an amp. but when you commented I worried a bit. Anyway, your clarification helped me with this matter.


My budget is between 35-38k for speakers and boxes. I believe I can get a good deal for all, since I probably will be buying from the same dealer. I am looking at at least 30% and for this kind of money I am confident I can work this out.  I have speaker cables and interconnects that would like to try before moving to something different and save that money. Anyway, this expense for cables, etc. will come from the amp I am selling at this time.

My biggest expense will be my 2 speakers for music and the intergrated amp.
I already have my HT speakers, one less expense, but also need the pre/pro and multi channel amp. I also have an Arcam CD player that I can live with for a while and the Oppo UDP 203 which is pretty good.  I have a cabinet that will fit all these boxes, this is not a problem. I am just looking for good synergy, since this is my last purchase, no room for error. I understand the pre/pro must be upgraded at some point but I am looking for pieces that will work long term.

I am actually looking into boxes that will work with my current speakers which are very good, Sonus Faber Grand Pianos Home. These can be a bit bright with certain boxes and I am looking for neutral to warm. I think the Mac, Mark Levinson, Luxman, Classe, Plinius, Parasound and the Pass Labs might be a good match. If this works out the Verity’s and Harbeth might be out, but these two do sound great, “temptation”....  I do love those Verity’s...  Your imput here will be appreciated.


I actually have the Krell S-1500/5 for sale now, it is a good amp and everything you write about it I agree with. In my opinion it’s a very neutral amp and will do better with warmer speakers, since it can lean towards the brighter side with some boxes. I am just looking for a different sound altogether.
not a hint of brightness out of mine, but it is revealing no doubt. Using it to bi amp really works remarkably well for both the amp and the Reference 5s. Just a great synergy. Good luck with the sale. Shouldn't take long at all.