I'm in the same boat and I have downsized to an integrated amp. I only did this after a severe hearing loss.
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I’ve been in this crazy hobby for 50:years, so I can sympathize with your position.
I suggest you visit your local high-end bricks and mortar dealer for a series of auditions within your undefined - to -day budget….I think you will be quite pleasantly surprised at what his tailored options will provide.
There is a well-travelled paradigm in blindly upgrading that needs to be reinforced .
At an ill-defined price-point strata of say starting around $3000+, an ethereal “80 - 20 Rule” presents itself. What it means is that when moving up to pricier gear, comparing added price to added audio performance quotient is not a linear matrix. Rather, you may.have 80% of the performance of the upgraded / much pricier units, but you have it now at 20% of the upgraded cost outlay.
Choose if it’s an AVR or 2-channel that suits your needs. BUT …AVRs south of about $8000+ do not .,,and cannot .,,, compete with a quality build 2-channel modest system performance at a modest peer budget.
Arrange auditions at a quality high-end dealer for a hands-on demos . If you have been out of the explosion of quality option choices for an extended time, your past experiences ( and faves) are very much supplanted by significantly better performance options of today, and you don’t have to blow the wad.
I have three 2-channel audio systems ranging from $1,500 to $50,000, and a $20,000 7.1 HT / movie system. These are all discrete systems in the house.
(2) 2-channel audio system enjoyment is never a direct $$$ pricepoint comparison , Frankly I spend 80% of my time in my “B” 2.1 system at $5000. Is my $50K “A” system better performance wise? For sure, but it’s in a different room and enjoyed usually differently…when I’m in a different chill-out demeanour with about two fingers glass volume of a 32 year old premium scotch.
What are you using now, what improvements are you looking for, and what sound characteristics are most important to you? What’s the rest of the equipment in your system? Is your priority 2-channel or HT? What is your ballpark price range? You really haven’t given us much to go on here, hence all the questions. The more info you give, the better recommendations you’ll get here.
It’s not mid fi ,..it’s hi fi ….here’s my choice for am integrated amp at a best of breed performance vs price matrix comparison
Yeah my hearing F’d up as well. Gonna be 65 in a few months. I have 3 systems and may be downsizing to one small system sooner than later. But as jacked up as I am I can still discern my AV integrated pales in comparison to my dedicated A/B amp and tube pre on my main system.
I do remember how sweet the little Hegal Rost sounded when I demo’d that. Don’t know how Hegal units would sound for AV units.
OP, I recommend a Marantz AV60 or AV50 receiver. Start with a pair of speakers and a sub and add more channels if you like. I think a 5.1 setup is a minimum for enjoying movies. The marantz is great for music too.
I have a state of the art 9.2.8 system using a Marantz processor for movies and atmos music. I have a sony signature DAC that I use connected to the marantz for 2 channel. I have tried 3 separate dedicated two channel preamps in this system thinking it would be better than the marantz processor for stereo. Did not add anything, the Marantz is very, very good as a 2 channel preamp as well as multi-channel.
I'm thinking either a Marantz AV60 or SR6015 will be the answer to my dilemma.
I'm looking for a compromise between HT and 2-channel music with my Rotel CD and Blu-ray. I will have only the HT setup and music in one room. I think my B&W 602s2 on homemade sand filled solid oak stands with the SVS sub will cover most of my perquisites.