Seeking to have a conversation with other audiophiles in MPU or somewhere else

Hello everyone. My inquiry is about audio matters outside our our MPU ecosystem. I thought our Uncategorized category may be an OK place to have a conversation about our audio gear.

I am in search for a new pre-amplifier/amplifier combo (or just a single amplifier unit) and thought to ask for recommendations here. If not appropriate, I can search for another forum. If you are aware of another like-minded forum (or have product ideas), please point me to them.

Budget up to $500

Thank you!

For this budget I would check the Shiit offerings or Topping.

What do you want to plug into your preamp/amplifier? Will you use your Mac or Apple Devices with it? Streamer, AV, turntable, CD player, etc.

For $500, you can check Schiit Audio or Denon.

Thanks all! I appreciate your contributions.

@wiredfractal a cd player, an iPad and a cassette deck are currently plugged in to our integrated Sony receiver. I am thinking the cassette player might disappear by mid year.

A pair of Rogers LS3/5A loudspeakers will get connected to this new hardware be it a preamp/power amp combo or a single integrated amp.

What other integrated amps or manufacturers come to mind?

Since most manufacturers add streaming and Bluetooth, prices have skyrocketed. There are very few amplifiers in that price range. The lowest I can think of is the Marantz PM6007 integrated amp for $450. That’s their lowest priced/end. Another integrated amp in that price range is the Denon PMA-600NE. I’m in the market for a new amp to replace one of my aging 30-year-old amplifier that is connected to a CD player and a turntable primarily for headphone listening, so I’m also looking for the same price range. It’s possible you can find other models under this budget, as the amp I mentioned has a built-in phono. But if you need airplay or Bluetooth for an amp, expect to pay at least $800-$1000.

There’s a place for that: Audio Science Review.

Check out Cheapaudioman on Youtube

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I’m using a Onkyo TX8050 and my old Speakerlab 6 speakers. The Onkyo “UI” is kinda clunky but it sounds good. The 8050 is pretty old these days but there are successors.

Others have mentioned integrated amps, and I’ve gone that route with a Denon AVR model in the past. However it’s bricked now! I use my Mac Mini M1 for an Airplay node and I bought a vintage Marantz 2220 integrated amp and matching speakers during the pandemic. Not everyone’s choice but I’m loving it. Vintage audio is quite a rabbit hole though!

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Thank you @wiredfractal.

Getting back to your message, I have been reading about Schiit Audio or Denon gear! Nice. Can you tell me more about what a streamer is and how I can connect it up to my receiver? I have wifi and a possible internet socket nearby. And if you have suggested economical products to recommend, I will do some research.

Integrated amps with built-in streamers have Spotify Connect, Tidal, Amazon Music, etc. installed. You don’t need to pair your iOS device as they can connect to different music streaming apps natively. Unfortunately, if you’re using Apple Music, it will only connect through Airplay 2. There are standalone streamers that can connect with your current setup using Coaxial, SPDIF, or line out.

You can check out WiiM products as they are budget-friendly with great features.
Here’s a quality review by Darko Audio

Careful with his channel, most of the stuff he uses/review are high end and expensive.

2nd the recommendation for Cheap Audio Man on Youtube.

Lots of Class D amps now available for under $200.

Wiim amp WiiM Amp | Versatile Streaming Amplifier: Stream Elegance, Amplify Brilliance is something you should consider.