OK, I finally got my dream speakers; a pair of Thiel 3.6s. Of course, the Jolida tube-hybrid integrated that I have now sounds like mush in the bass. I need an amp that can control the difficult 4 (or less) ohm load of the Thiels while still maintaining a listenable mid & treble.
My budget is about $1,500. I'm torn between buying something like the NAD C375BEE integrated, and angling for a pre/power combo on the used market. There are NO opportunities to listen before I buy, so I'm relying on the experience and ears of you ladies & gentlemen to assist.
Background info: I have a 20 x 16 living room. I don't listen loudly. I value articulation, but without grain, hiss, stridency, or boom. I want spectacular imaging with both width and depth plus the versimilitude that I know the Thiels are capable of. My source is an iTunes streaming music computer system to an Airport Express. I'm currently using the DAC in the Airport Express, but plan to upgrade somewhere down the road. All source material is uncompressed CD rips from my library.
Amps that I have loved in the past included a 350 wpc McIntosh MC-352. Amps that I have on hand are a (broken) Audio Research D-100 and a Crown D150. Options that I'm considering that seem within my price range are:
1. A pair of Emotiva UPA-1s with a used Rotel AV preamp (gives me a dac & a preamp)
2. An Emotiva XPA-2 with a used Carver stereo preamp/tuner
3. An Audio Research tube line stage with a pro-audio 700 wpc Crown amp
4. An Audio Research tube line stage with two Audio Research D-100s each running in bridged mono mode
5. A McIntosh C41 preamp with two Crown D150a amps each running in bridged mono mode
Again - I'm severly handicapped by not being able to audition before I buy. I'm basing my considerations here on either print reviews and/pr suggestions of friends who have personal experience with some of this gear. Opinions appreciated (other than "you're an idiot," which I already know, thanks...).