To Doug Schneider,
I’m living in the Netherlands and I read your test of the KEF R500. I bought this speaker last summer and now I’m looking at a good amp for this speaker. Can you advise me? I like a warmer, darker sound with my rock CDs. I’ve heard the Exposure 3010S2. For me it's too bright. What do you think of: Musical Fidelity M3si, Marantz PM-14S1, Arcam A39, and Lyngdorf TDAI-2170?
Outstanding loudspeakers you bought! Unfortunately, though, I don’t have any direct experience with those integrated amplifiers outside of seeing them at shows. But what I can say is that since the R500s are of only average sensitivity and have an impedance that dips to about 4 ohms at about 120Hz, you’ll want to ensure you get something powerful enough so that it doesn’t run out of steam and clip. The integrated amplifiers you’ve picked are reasonably powerful, although how much power you ultimately need will also depend on room size and how loud you like your music. The one thing I don't think you'll want to go with is a tube amp. A tube amp will likely give you the warm sound you want, but probably not enough power or current capability. So stick with solid-state designs (which I assume you're doing based on your current list). The only other thing I can tell you is that you should also look at these brands, which I do have experience with, since they make excellent integrated amplifiers that I think could also work well: Bryston, Hegel Music Systems, NAD, Luxman, and Simaudio. I hope this information helps. . . . Doug Schneider