I’m using the NAD C658 preamp / streamer, it’s got the XLR balanced outputs to take advantage of those connections on the amp. But before that I was using the front end of a Sony AVR using RCA connections, it worked fine.
I looked at Anthem and Emotiva and the value you are getting in unbeatable. But I decided that my new 15a speakers deserve something a bit higher end. So I have a Rotel Michi X5. One thing I will looking at was the weight of the amplifier, which indicates the size of magnetics and heat sink. This weighs about 100 lbs and puts out 600W per channel. So not as high end as the Bryston or others that you have noted. I can't wait until the speakers come in.Hi
Just a couple of quick comments/observations.
I've been working with & collecting bits of Hi-Fi for a long time... amps are generally an item that if you can test (or if you are protected by policy), it is a fairly safe bet buying on the second-hand market. My go-to for amping my ESLs has been Bryston. A year ago, I needed a center channel amp, and came across a deal for the Anthem MCA 30 (225W X 3) for less than $1,000. No regrets at all! I still window shop on ebay and audiogon, tho' I don't need (/can't afford!) anything right now!
As for your preamp question, me personally, I prefer the flexibility of a good preamp (tho' for myself I have gone down the Pre/Pro route). For example, if you're experimenting with any of the plethora of new devices out there (streamers, house-wide, vinyl, etc.), it's so much easier being able to switch between a couple of sources for comparing, etc. NOTE: You mentioned SONOS - at risk of stating the obvious, go with the uncompressed/lossless options... otherwise you're using some great speakers to project the "best that XYZ compression offers"... a bit like the 80's and folks swearing by "Dolby compression" - but when you looked at it on an oscilloscope it was like "eeeuuuwwww"!
I "stumbled" upon Anthem equipment about 22 years ago, when I bought a bundle of an AVM-2 and a Bryston 9Bst to drive my Aerius/Cinema-based HT system. I ended up using the system MOSTLY for music listening... I found the AVM delivered amazingly unaltered stereo, and from then I was sold on their Pre/Pros (and also why I felt safe trying out the MC 30). I've never gone with a single-brand system, but Anthem is the closest I've come!
Paradigm is the parent company of both ML AND Anthem. The ARC system is from Anthem, and when I saw it was incorporated into the newer generation of ML speakers, I have it on my bucket-list to upgrade to that as soon as I can (anyone out there wanna invest in a Med-Tech startup, using AI to process microscopy images??!!!)... the concept of the amazing ML sound with a "suite" of electronics built using a common philosophy is probably the most compelling thing I've seen in the industry in a long, long time!
Anyway, just my (very long-winded) $0.02!
Enjoy your system!
You should see Steve Guttenberg's review on his You Tube channel "The Audiopheliac" of a Bel Canto amp that, he says, changed his mind about class D amps. Weight comparisons do not apply here. I don't remember the price, but definitely not "mid fi".I looked at Anthem and Emotiva and the value you are getting in unbeatable. But I decided that my new 15a speakers deserve something a bit higher end. So I have a Rotel Michi X5. One thing I will looking at was the weight of the amplifier, which indicates the size of magnetics and heat sink. This weighs about 100 lbs and puts out 600W per channel. So not as high end as the Bryston or others that you have noted. I can't wait until the speakers come in.
It's worth noting that the Neolith is a completely passive speaker, you're powering the panels and 4 woofers. The 15A uses powered woofers so you're only driving the ESL panel so they should be way more efficient.Paradigm JC5 power amp would be a great option if you like a cooler, neutral sound. Martin Logan often pairs their $90k Flagship Neoliths with the JC1+ monoblocks at audio shows. Another amp to consider would be the McIntosh MC462 power amp if you like a bit warmer sound. Both amps will have plenty of current and wattage to drive that speaker well and provide the type of performance that the 15A is capable of.
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