What tier do you consider Anthem integrated?

Anthem has an STR integrated amp with the ARC room correction. The integrated teams loaded with a lot of features such as built in room correction, stable into low ohms, big toroidal transformer, etc. Would a 15 year old Pass labs amp walk all over a 3 year old anthem? The Anthem is newer and has more features, Anthem is rated class A by Stereophile review, but Stereophile seems to only give amps with phono stages class A ratings, and the Pass labs doesn't have that. So what would you grab? An older Pass labs that may have age issues, or a newer amp with good reviews and room correction? Looking for best sound, not to impress people with brand names. Thanks.


Also, nothing against Mac owners.. Saying it was mushy and veiled as an over -exaggeration but that particular system that I was referring to was old and not properly maintained.

I hear you on the pre-owned market, it is dog eat dog. I think I would roll with the Anthem and or a good used Simaudio like a 340i or even the 250i as they have all the characteristics you are looking for. I would say Norma also but rare to find those second hand. 

Good luck on your quest. 

I’ll throw my .02 in here. Someone else described the passlabs as being warm, lush, etc. Anthem products to me have always sounded very “sterile.” Neither is bad. It’s a preference. And I think in most cases, you’d be happy either way.  I prefer a more sterile sound than having a component add something that isn’t there. The downfall of this is that music can sometimes be harsher. I have the anthem separates, and, I love them. But be prepared to hear things you haven’t heard before. Imperfections that weren’t discernible before become more detailed. With Anthem, IMO, you just get what’s there. No color, no warmth or additional smoothness, no lush, unless that’s the way it was recorded. 

I guess instead of saying it’s sterile, a better description might be it’s just neutral. It just presents fact based sound. Anthem is very dynamic, tons of power in reserve, and You’re going to hear exactly what the artist recorded without any additional tone change. 

@labguy  I suggest sticking to your budget. The Yamaha A-S501 is a $550 amplifier possessing DAC and Phonostage. I own the A-S701 which I use in an outside system.  $1500 - $2000 spent on a new line level integrated amplifier will prove to be a major upgrade.

There are many speakers around the $2500 range that will make for an improvement over you AE speakers and could be driven by the A-S501 in your environment. 

The right DAC in the $1000 range would improve on the one in the Node.

I support @soix  advice to find the right speaker first then the amplifier. 




@tennisdoc56 ? amps have the internals and build quality that you recommend? I'm all in favor of learning from others experience. Trying to go it alone is overwhelming. I recently watched a YouTube video by "TheAlphaAudio" channel that had me impressed with the Hypex Nilai amp. I just have so many choices that it's overwhelming. I'll shop for speakers first as @mesch ​​​​@soix suggested. Tips and ones to consider are welcome. When it comes to the amps next. Should I only consider csss a/b stuff, or should class d be considered too? Help steer me to some choices that no matter what I pick, it will be solid quality parts and sound. Thanks!