My dealer has an RA 1070 demo unit for about $1000. Nice chap online selling a used A22. The Arcam was certainly the more expensive unit initially, but would you choose it as a stereo integrated? (I'm really not interested in home theater.) So far have been demoing Rotel with B&W speakers and like the very neutral sound, non-boomy bass. Missing a bit of openness in vocals (a bit of that nasalness that produces a clearer tone), but then you can't have everything for $1000. Any thoughts?
I just acquired an Arcam A23 (successor to A22) and am quite pleased. I too looked at RA1070 among several other alternatives. My vote, as you'd expect, would be the A22. Its quite a neutral amplifier and has bass that isn't boomy either-on the contrary-its quite detailed and has very tight. I listened to several of the Rotel alternatives as they were a bit lower priced. In the end, however, I went for the Arcam as I felt the Rotel didn't offer much more than I already had and didn't want to spend money for only a minor gain.
You mean the Arcam A32, yes? I don't know if the A22 wasn't out for long, but I've found very little information about it on the web. I'm a bit confused by your last sentence, as I'd guess the Arcam has more features.
I'm also considering the Creek 5350SE, which can go for that general price, used. Great reviews on that piece. Not that I've been researching forever, but it'd be nice to have one component in hand to build out from. Reservations about the Creek?
As far as my last sentence, i meant that the sound quality of the Rotel-although it WAS better - was not significantly better than my Harman-Kardon. I really liked the Rotel RX-1050 - -thought it was a sleeper bargain in the Rotel line - almost bought it. In most rooms with fairly efficient speakers the Rotel RX-1050 would likely be very satisfying unless you like to play at very loud listening levels.
The Arcam - in my opinion - has much better overall balance and is particularly good at getting the timbre of acoustic instuments and human voice correct. For-electronic instruments [most rock], its probably not worth the extra cost of the A32 over Rotel. If you can find a used A22, that'd be a good deal. There aren't too many differences between A22 and A32.
Regarding the Creek 5350SE - I would listen to it if your can. It can be bought new for about half the price of Arcam A32 and is quite good too. It has a passive frontend which might cause a problem for some inputs as it doesn't provide any signal enhancement - - just feeds the CD signal or other input directly to the amplifier stage. Many believe this is a good way to go as it eliminates components in the signal path. It will be ok for most CD sources.
I just didn't care for its basic sound - - seemed a bit sterile to my ears - - but you have to listen. Creek generally has great re-sale in case you end up not liking it in the future.
Are there audio meccas in the US? Cincinnati isn't one of them. Finding anything to listen to is too much of a challenge. I'd sure like to listen to the Creek first, but I don't have much hope of tracking it down first. I've heard a couple Arcam integrateds, and I liked them fine. Haven't heard a set of speakers that matched it well, though. So do I keep hunting for a full setup that I like, or do I buy, say, an amp that gets a lot of solid reviews and hunt to find speakers (and a CDP) that's a good match? I dig reading up and stuff, but I'd also like to have a system to listen on. Which, as I understand it, is at least partially the point.