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She likes them but says something is sometimes lacking in certain songs -- she isn't necessarily moved as much as she is even when listening through cheap earbuds.
Welcome Any tube amp?
Welcome to AC.Although I haven't heard the Wharfedale Lintons, they seem like nice speakers: 3 way with Kevlar woofer, 44 lbs each. I would be hard pressed to recommend a replacement for $1500.I hate to say it but the "sometimes lacking" is probably the fault of your NAD C 390DD. The early digital amps I have heard have always been lacking, they have a kind of a clean soulless sound.I would suggest an Anthem MRX 520 because the included ARC Genisis (microphone, stand, cables) room correction is one of the best and would increase dialog clarity and intelligibly. I use an Anthem AVM 60 and the sound is flawless. Plus you finally get a remote control!
Welcome! And thanks for sharing your "real world" issues with us.First off, what are your listening patterns? Do you primarily enjoy music solo and movies with others (a typical scenario)? What genres of music/videos make up your normal listening? What is your priority, music or movies? How far away are you listening from? Do you know the range of how loud you listen? (There are free smart phone apps to measure sound pressure levels.) What's your budget? You mentioned looking at subwoofer swarms, how open are you to multiple speakers (I only see/read of two)? Are you thinking of adding one or more subwoofers?
An AVR would allow the addition of a future center channel, a sub and wireless sourounds. 99% of the dialog comes from the center channel so it should be very high quality.
B&W speakers are known for their tilted up treble, almost any speaker will sound mellow next to a B&W, except maybe a Klipsch, Paradigm, and all the other speakers at Best Buy competing for highest excitement factor.
Anthem has a house sound that can best be described as relaxed, that is actually a good thing when watching movies because soundtracks are usually mixed hot. The sound is always super clear, much better than my previous Outlaw surround processor that at the time I thought was pretty good.The ARC Genesis room correction can be adjusted for each input, if the movie sound is perfect and the stereo is too laid back the response curves for that input can be easily modified.
At first I was going to recommend the Van Alstine SET Control Amp ($1199) but you need HDMI and all that other stuff so I went with Anthem. But if you want to take your stereo sound to the next universe at an affordable price then the AVA is the way to go. Too bad the NAD doesn't have preamp outputs.
The NAD C390DD does have preamp outputs, though turning them on sacrifices the sub output (they share the output). I wonder if using the Van Alstein SET 120 Power Amplifier would change the sound in a significant way. Using a separate amp could also be a stepping stone toward using separates.
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