Dark/easy-sounding integrated amp opinion sought, circa £600-£700


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Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 3
Registered: Mar-12
My current core system consists of a cheap-as-chips Cambridge Audio A5, B&W 685s and a Wharfedale SW150 sub. My source is a Squeezebox Touch fed into a DACMagic (I also occasionally use a NAD T585 SACD player).

I play mainly hi def (24-bit) and audiophile-label classic jazz (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, etc), as well as classical music, and some classic rock (e.g. Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Dylan, Black Sabbath, Doors, Genesis, etc) and some more modern jazz (e.g. Patricia Barber). Obviously quite an eclectic mix, but all very organic (not too electronic).

I'm looking to upgrade my amp, as that is clearly the weakest link. I'm finding the sound at the moment to be a little on the bright side for my tastes. Ride cymbals tend to be a little to the front and I feel like everything needs taming in the top-end. I want a relaxing, easy sound, not an "exciting" one.

I made the mistake of buying a Rega Brio-R without auditioning it first (I know, I know!). It was waaay too bright with the 685s even after much running in, so I switched back to the Cambridge. The Rega is clearly a superior amp (much clearer and cleaner) but it doesn't match well with the 685s. I intend to do some auditioning now, but am not sure where to start - so many amps, so little time.

I am thinking Rotel RA-06SE, but I have read reports of them being a little bass-heavy - and the 685s need no help with bass (other than sub-bass). I have read of other Rotels being a little on the bright side - the last thing I need. Arcam is also a consideration - I could pick up an A38 second-hand within my budget, or an A18 or A28.

Tube amps are not an option - I don't want the weight, the heat and the on-going expense!

Any suggestions (especially from 685 owners) would be gratefully received!
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