Ideas for Pre/Power $9000?

Currently need to replace a receiver. I don't have many local options for auditioning. My system consists of the following; Elac Debut F6, Pro-Ject Debut Pro, Pro-Ject S2 stage, NAS and streaming. I listen in a regular ol' family room with no treatments. Mostly like metal genre. Budget is $9k ish.


Is this a real post? If so my apologies. 9k for power to a $500 Elac monitor does not make much sense. Also Elac monitor and a metal head does not make a lot of sense either. 

Ouch. I'm working with what I could get at the time. I hope to upgrade my speakers in the future. Unfortunately my biggest concern is regarding the pre/power or an integrated amplifier for now.

Head up to Portland and visit Echo Audio and Stereotypes, I am sure you can find what you want there.

+++++ for Kurt and team at Echo… they have a sledgehammer Pass amp right now at a very attractive $$$$$ pair that w ARC preamp, some decent cables and you can run most any speaker WELL..on the planet

Do you have speakers in mind you want to upgrade to? For example a Klipsch and a Dynaudio likely would want very different amplification to sound their best. If going to spend up to 9k I would think you would want something that would work well with your eventual speaker upgrade IMO. 

I'd go with a new MA5300 for about $6K, and save the rest for a new set of speakers.  An amp of this caliber would deserve speakers at least in the $2-3K range.  

I'm absolutely open to used. As far as future speaker upgrades, I've only heard a couple B&W and they didn't really blow me away. 

As far as the MA5300, I don't really want to go with an integrated, but I'm not opposed to Mcintosh. 



You may be happier with an integrated.

Two directions you should investigate are McIntosh and Parasound, with polar opposite mid/treble sounds but robust power.

All the other brand combinations I can think of would be better for jazz, instrumental, folk, classical.

Another direction might be a top-end NAD integrated.


A McIntosh MA 8950 will suit you fine. You should be able to buy new for $8K. Do not be afraid of an integrated. This unit has a killer DA2 DAC module and MM/MC phono stages. Although this is total overkill for your system, you can build upon this MAC well into the future. You would just need a streamer in addition, for which you would have an extra $1K if you were able to buy the McIntosh right. 

What are your reasons for not wanting an integrated? The time has come where integrateds are coming really close to separates performance and offer far more value than the expense of two chassis. 


Integrated/receivers are all I've ever had. I figured going separates would offer better upgrade options for the digital side🤷‍♂️. 

Regarding my music preference, it seems like most folks write off modern metal as super compressed and low quality. I don't believe that is the case across the board. One of my favorite bands, Between the Buried and Me, are extremely dynamic and the recordings are quite good.

I'm a metal guy as well. I currently have a Lyngdorf TDIA 3400 and had the smaller 2170 a few years ago. Amazing sound quality IMO and the Room correction is a must have for me. Music especially metal sounds much better after room correction. There's a lot going on and its fast. Sounds like a blur comparatively with room perfect off. It's like it just times everything out perfectly when it hits your ears. Something to consider. Can pick up a loaded used one for around 4k. 8kish new. 


It would do wonders in your non treated regular ole family room! :-)

just start looking at Echo website..lots of great deals on many many brands of used gear…..

I'd split your budget in half.

Half for amplification and half for new speakers.

When in Portland stop by Pearl Audio as well. Look at the Pass INT-75 a fantastic integrated with exceptional rhythm and pace as well as great fidelity and slam. You might consider stretching to the INT - 250… which has much more power. But which you choose would be speaker dependent.

Dang. I realize that the Elacs are not high-end, but I didn't guess I'd have to toss them out before upgrading the amps.

@lfromsalem   Might I suggest you look for a used Hegel H390.  Should be able to find at half you budget?  Beautiful integrated amp with very good DAC.  IMHO 

I’m sure the Elacs are descent speakers and a better amp should make them sound their best. Just be careful what you choose so that it doesn’t limit your speaker choice down the road. Not knowing what speakers you would consider I would stick with something fairly powerful so don’t limit your choices down the road. 

On the other hand if you buy used and buy right then no worries. You can always get back what you have in it and move on to something else. Krell K300i would be another on my shortlist. 


I was in the process of looking at speakers when my current amp went down. So I had to switch gears. Unfortunately I don't have many options local to me. B&W, Paradigm are pretty much it. I'll have reevaluate my game plan.

Much appreciated to all who replied! 

I'd split your budget in half.  Half for amplification and half for new speakers.

Big +1 @ozzy62 

Dang. I realize that the Elacs are not high-end, but I didn't guess I'd have to toss them out before upgrading the amps.

If you’re spending that much on amps and are also looking to upgrade your speakers you’re better off doing it all at once so the amps synergize with the speakers.  Pairing $9k of amplification with sub-$500 speakers is not a good idea IMHO.


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@soix Well I was only looking at speakers before my amp went down. As far as the replacement item i was budgeting for buy one more time, cry one more time. Hahaha

The rule of thumb is to find speakers that you like and then pick an amp/electronics that synergize well with them.

As you are sans an amp pick up a contemporary/decent "used" integrated amp (here @ A'Gon would be a good choice) for $1K or less and run it with the current setup.

Separates are not necessarily better than integrated's.

Hopefully you will find a way to audition a variety speakers whether it be by travel of having them shipped/returned or perhaps you will purchase something on the faith of a review and hit a personal jackpot.

By purchasing something decent used you can then resell it for little loss if you decide to step up to the next level.

It could even be that the new amp will sound quite a bit better than your previous receiver when mated to your current speakers.

This said, I also find the "room correction" amps (mentioned) interesting for your particular situation, but wouldn't spend a bundle on such until you find your fave long term speaker.




@dekay Great advice. I guess it's back on the speaker hunt. As I'm not really interested in buying, then selling an integrated. Just don't believe i have the time & energy for all that.

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Buying something inexpensive and well reviewed (to make the system operative) should not take much time and as it's inexpensive there is no rush/pressure to resell the unit.




With your budget you can get a really nice system. If you prefer to spend it on departs and do speakers later that's certainly an option. For the money, you could do speakers and an integrated and be in a really good place 

for example, you could pair the Anthem STR integrated with paradigm persona 3 speakers- they go very well together- and have an excellent system. The room correction that comes with the anthem is superb and it would be pretty close to your price range. There are almost endless combinations, of course, but this is one that would give you a great sound, and really good bang for the buck.

 Is buying used out of the question?  Slightly used will definitely get you more miles per dollar.   Just a suggestion.  Enjoy the journey.

You don't need to spend $9K for really excellent sound. Consider:

Technics integrated amp


speakers (since you are a metal head) something like GR Research The Bully




@dekay the thought of trying to sell off more used equipment (since it sounds like i gotta off load my current speakers) isn't very appealing. 

@kerrybh my local store sells Anthem & Paradigm. I can go check those out. Although those Persona 3s are looking too rich for me $10k for a pair.

@rocray Always open to used. 

@tweak1 I struggle with the idea of staying with an integrated. And unfortunately I have no way of auditioning either of your suggestions. 

Even if you could audition, their room, equipment, power, etc would not sound like your room, and more likely radically different

You might check out the Founders series to better match budget. At any rate, I think the Anthem is exceptional for the money and pairs well with Paradigm speakers. Good luck finding the right fit!

I will get Parasound JC5 AMP ($4K)AND JC2 PREAMP ($2K) the rest for speakers focal 1038 or depends your budget for speakers 

If you like your speakers why sell/off load them?

Because a poster here dissed them?

Pick up a reasonably priced amp (hopefully better sounding to you than your previous receiver) and move on.

To spend $9K on gear (based upon chatroom feedback) that you cannot audition makes little sense to me.

I'm nuts/have gobs of cash/money, because I'm frugal, and even I would not do that.

Eventually plan a longer trip/drive to audition gear as it's not like you live in a wasteland state (or even next to one).



If you are willing to explore used - I'd consider Moon 390 and 330A.... It's a preamp with streaming DAC and phono stage and an amp. 


9K is a lot of money for an amp. Especially used. You can buy a great amp (or pre and power) and a pair of speakers for that.

I could go down a long list of recommendations for each but the easiest will be to use the 30-60 days return policies of Amazon, Crutchfield, safeandsoundhq, AudioAdvice, etc. and try a few things. 

there are many excellent Power Pre and Integrated amps at your price point. Your current speakers were excellent for the price...the new 6.2 version of them are on sale for about $600 pair including shipping, so not much value in selling yours...

I agree that there are many choices for either a pre/power combination or an integrated. That said, I believe if you are willing to spend 9K on amplification you aught to be thinking on spending about the same on each of speaker and source improvements down the road. If not I would advise rethinking allocation of funds across the board. 

I agree on system balance...I was merely stating the Elacs sale will be little help in getting better speakers to match the $9K electronics...and might be good in secondary system...and remain unsure why OP will not consider an integrated amp

I'm definitely reconsidering my allocation. Also keeping integrated amps on the table.


OK, I’ve got a suggestin for you that’ll address quite a few of the issues that’ve already been brought up by other members. I’m not saying my answer is better, it’s just one of the ways you can skin the cat.

First of all, I’m glad to her that you’re open to buying used because you can maximize your bang for your buck that way, for sure. As you prob already know, generally speaking people who pay insane prices for this gear, especially! when they’re buying new, tend to take really good care of it. Almost all of the gear I’ve ever bought used has been in near new condition.

I’m hoping you can get over your fear of going the Integrated route because, as someone else has already mentioned, we’re now living in the 21st century and apparently the technology has improved to the point that that tends to be a bit of a misnomer now, that separates will perform better. Not always I guess.

Of course, some of the oldtimers who’ve invested a shitload of money in separates wil tell you that’s the way to go. Of course. But I’m gonna disagree. I’m taking this approach because I’m about 3 months into my ownership of a Lyngdorf integrated.

The other brand of integrated I heard mentiined is Anthem. And indeed there are some great offerings from them ... but ... theirs, or anyone else’s room control software that’s native to any other integrated isn’t going to perform as well. That’s not my opinion, it’s what all the reviewers say.

I can only imagine that some folks are gonna disagree with that statement, but I’m gonna encourage you to seek out some reviews and see what they have to say.

Whenever Ipersonally drop big bucks on a piece of equipment I read a s much as I can get my hands on, because it’s part of hat I enjoy so much about this hobby. And consistently, everyone! was talking about not only how easy the software is to implement, but almost all of them said it took things to a new level and outperformed other versions of room control.

I realize I may start a revolution by saying this around here, lol, but from the research I’ve done I learned that Lyndorf’s approach to digital amplification is uniquely different from anything anyone else is doing when it comes to class D design. Surely there are others around here who understand the electronic design and engineering stuff way better than I do.

My undertsanding is that even the digital amps that are getting rave reviews by Technics are not truly, or should I say completely digital. What’s unique about the Lyngdorf approch is that no feedack is required like in a traditional class D design.

Apparently their ICC software plays a role in the performnce also, but tbh I don’t really have an interest in the technical aspect outside of how it translates to performance.

Speaking of performance ... dude, are you ready to rock your socks completely off?

I’m not into metal, but 70’s rock and hard rock are among my favorite genres and I’m here to tell ya: you will have a big smile on your face if you go this route.

There are 3 versions of the TDAI. I’ve got the middle brother, the 2170. It was the first generation. They did away with that model and now there’s essentially a little brother and a big brothe to itr. And which one you can afford will most likely be determined by your pocketbook.

And power? The 3400 has 200 watts into 4 ohms. The good news about your Elac speakers is that the Lyngdorf will actually make them sound "the way that the speaker designer intended them to sound". And I’m thinking they’ll work just fine until you decide which speakers you want to upgrade to. And I recommend that it would be best to wait and score your speakers until after you’ve gotten to know your Lyngdorf, so to speak, so you can get the perfect match for you!

Oh, by the way, if you take this route and, let’s say you score the big brother model for four grand ... according to the budget you laid out you’ll have another six thousand dollars leftover to work with. !!! : ) Do I need to keep going on about this one box thang? Be sure and read what the reviews say about the necessity of a DAC with the Lyngdorf approach. And the wire with gain concept. It’s cool stuff.

I don’t want to try and explain the electronic design to a bunch of hard core audiophiles, because I don’t understand it nearly as wel as mostl. But surely there are some folks on this thread that can!

If you sit around and wait for a good deal to pop up and do a good job spinning a deal I wouldn’t be surprised if you could get one for four grand. Where in the world can you get this kind of performance for a price that’s anywhere close?

I read that you say you’re not covinced about the one box solution ... but I’m gonna suggest that you take another look at the option because I think it’s the way to go to get the sound you’re after!

Sorry about the epistle.

In regards to an earlier comment by the OP, many Integrated Amps are available without any DAC or digital features…digital would be completely separate and upgrades up to you…

@tunefuldude I will definitely take your advise and look into the brand. Sounds interesting for sure.

@jl35 I'm thinking analog integrated maybe the ticket for me.

@lfromsalem Sorry, man, my math was off ...

if you can score a TDAI 3400 for four grand you’ll only have $5000 leftover of your nine thousand dollar budget to upgrade your speakers, but I’d say that should be plenty!

And you'll be the coolest kid on the block.

But seriously, you'll definitely have the best sound!

@tunefuldude +1,

my upstairs system would be considered overkill by most normies opinions. Probably 13k if bought new at the time it was new which it is VERY far from. Anyway it’s very descent stuff and I paid probably 15% of that. At 100db it’s loud, cause 100db is loud! IMO. 

100db in the basement with Lyngdorf does not seem loud. It’s dynamic as hell and bass is absolutely killer but 0 fatigue. Need to keep in check to not hurt your ears. Kind of a strange sensation.