Integrated Amplifier for Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolution
I just purchased second hand SF Guarneri Evo's. They are the nicest looking stand mounted speakers I've seen.
I'm currently driving them with a NAD M33 and I think it is not the right match for them. There is no dynamics and they sound thin to me. I think these speaker have a lot more potential.The speakers are 4 ohms with a sensitivity of 86db. I listen to jazz, blues, instrumental and classical mostly.
My room is about 13 by 17 ft.. I have a Bluesound streamer and a Denafrips Ares II DAC.
I'm open to suggestions or recommendations for a nice Integrated Amp. I have a $10-12K budget. I rather buy it used, since I think I get a better value. I live in the Los Angeles area.
Are you running a sub? It is hard to believe the NAD does not have the ooomph. Crossing to a sub, and even better if you roll off the amp input bottom end can really open up some speakers.
Maybe because the amp is it is very clean and those SF's are , well drool drool, smooth and not over emphasized. Have you played with any eq? It could be you are accustomed to a little midrange boost so it sounds flat?
You are going to have to audition in your room as at your level, it is not a difference of quality, but of preference. It could also be you need to let your brain re-program" to the different eq of the Sonas Fabers and then you'll love the NAD again.
Always think eq first before you blame the electronics.
Take a look at this Vitus that’ll definitely cure your dynamics and thin sound. And with the $$$ left over you can upgrade your streamer to something from Aurender, Innuos, etc. and your DAC, both of which would then be holding your sound back.
- The Pass Labs Int-250 was in my short list together with the Hegel H590
- The Vitus RI-100 is an excellent suggestion at around $6000. I read the suggested review and a couple more. I think it is a winner.
- I like the idea of getting a new DAC since 100% of what I listen is streamed. I was thinking the Pontus II of even a Terminator II. I have to research the Aurender and the Innuos to see if there is considerable difference. I'll do that after I upgrade the Integrated amp.
- I'm using 2 REL subs T5/x at very low volumes. I also tried the Dirac with the NAD M33. It doesn't do too much of a difference in my room. I actually think it is better with Dirac off.
I just want to say thank you again to all the suggestions and comments.
The upper end stand mount Sonus Faber are very demanding and have very low sensitivity. A 200 watt Amp is not overkill. Most or many are 4 Ohm. My Dad is using a pair of Electa Amator III with a MA8950 and it is a great sounding combo.
Pass Amps are great, that Amp can deal with difficult loads.
I have had great success with Moon Simaudio amplifiers with SF speakers - I currently have a 700i driving SP Concertos and it is a completely effortless combination. I have heard the 700i driving more challenging loads like the SF Evos and it works like a dream.
For your money, this will likely be hard to beat and it's being sold from the music room so if you don't like it you can return it. This unit will have a beautiful balance of tube pre stage and solid state amplification. I have an LS100 pre and it bested everything else I've had in my system, including ARC, and not by a little.
For what it's worth, I think this is a much better match than a Macintosh. My experience is that Macs match really well with B&W or another somewhat bright speaker; the pairing works out as the smooth Mac cools off the slightly glary highs. Sonus Faber don't have those elevated highs, their much more balanced and the Mac might make them sound mushy.
I think the folks at McIntosh would beg to differ "McIntosh is made for Sonus faber" maybe Sonos. In the past I have had great results with Simuadio both with separates and integrated. I have had mediocre results with Sf speakers with McIntosh integrated and hybrid amplification. Moved from Sf to Sonner a few years ago, pairing with amplification has been much easier. FWIW, IMHO, EHAO, OALAH.
Subs are good, but are you taking the LF load off the amp and main speakers? That is where the real improvements come at anything above background levels.
You may not like the response Dirac tries for. You might be better off playing with the eq settings in your player if you have them. My new crossovers are flatter and a bit better phase than the previous ones. In my room, they were now way too bright which makes music lose the impact. Backed off the treble, and the dynamics came back.
Your question is also dependent on your preferences. I approached purchasing a system by first buying an integrated amplifier. At the time, I wanted the simplicity of an integrated. The McIntosh MA12000 had just been released to positive reviews, so that was my first purchase. I auditioned them with Sonus Farber and Klipsch. The S.F. Sounded great, but the Klipsch wasn’t to my liking. I then visited local McIntosh dealers to listen to speakers in the $10-20K range with this amplifier. I really liked what I heard with Sonus Farber and Wilson. I ended up going with the Sabrina X, but I loved the Sonus Farbers. I like the McIntosh house sound and through the S.F.s the results were very musical to my ears. Dealers that carry Sonus Farber and McIntosh are pretty easy to find and likely they can also provide alternatives to the McIntosh.
Forgot to mention the place that’s selling the Vitus I recommended above (TMR) allows for an in-home trial period. Not sure of the terms, but especially at these prices it’s very nice to have the opportunity to hear it in your system and have an out if for some reason it doesn’t work for you. Just FYI.
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