Amp pairing advice for first passive setup

TL;DR: I’m having a lot of trouble nailing down a budget amplifier for a pair of Kef Q150s and a sub to be used in a living room. Any suggestions?

I got into audio a couple of years ago and started off with a pair of Vanatoo T0s paired with a sub for my desktop.

I moved a while back and now I actually have both space and a need for a full size living room setup. The room is 15’x22’ and 7.5’ tall. I don’t think the room is going to work for setting up along the long axis of the room so this is going to be a more mid-field setup.

I ended up getting a pair of Kef Q150s since they were on sale at $350. I really like the way the vanatoos sound. I’m trying to end up with something comparable or better but with a larger sound for the larger room. I’m hoping the Q150s with the right sub and electronics can get me there.

It seems while there are plenty of affordable bookshelf speakers to be had amplifiers are a little harder to nail down. I was hoping to keep the cost of both speakers and amplification down to $700 but I’d be willing to spend $700 or so on an amp alone if it future proofed me a bit.

I’m torn between class D or class AB and how much power I actually need. The 150s are rated to 100w. However having more power for possibly trying out other stuff like Elac UB5s or the Magnepan LRS would be nice too. I’m not sure if I should be looking for an integrated with a sub out or a dumb power amp. Power amp will be fine if I’m hooking up a sub with high level inputs which I’ve heard is better for integration. But if the q150s don’t get loud enough having a sub out to high pass the speakers to take some of the LF load off would be nice for getting a volume boost.

Not sure what DAC yet but probably an inexpensive AKM based DAC since I have yet to hear one I disliked. Probably something like the Topping E10 for the volume control and remote. I’d like to use a Garage 1217 hybrid tube headphone amp as a pre-amp since I have their Project Polaris and I really like it. But a Schiit Saga+ looks really tempting and better for adding inputs in the future. I’ve heard using a tube pre can really help with class D amps.

The amps I’m considering so far are…
Class D: -Crown XLS 1002
-DIY ICEpower 200ASC module dual mono block w/ Ghent Audio case
-Topping PA3
Class AB: -Emotiva A-100, TA-100, A-300, etc.
-Schiit Vidar
- Dayton Audio APA150 x2

Any ideas, comments, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

What I read in your post is a desire to be able to explore the world of speakers, and you’re willing to drop some cash up front so you can do that. A Crown amp will certainly give you the power but maybe not the warmth. Maybe consider an Outlaw Audio stereo receiver? 100+wpc class A/B amp, built in DAC, 2 subwoofer outputs, phono in, and out-in loop if ever you wanted to add a room correction processor. Potentially within your budget is the older model RR2150 Ebay:!58102!US!-1.

They have a newer model RR2160. A Google shows that model had listed for $799 brand new but Outlaw’s website says $999. Not sure what’s going on with that.

Food for thought.

You could look at a Denon PMA-600NE or 800NE as a a very solid integrated amp option, should provide the warmth you are looking for as well.

otherwise you could go the separates route with a power amp and pre amp with volume control. I’ve been looking into Parasound’s lineup personally for my own system. For the power amp you could go with the NewClassic 275 v.2 or 2125 v.2. and then pair whatever preamp with volume control you want with it.

You may need to compare them for yourself, but I personally have never been a fan of Class D amps. You can get tons of power from them and they stay cool, but they were never really musical, euphonic, or refined to me. Again, it will be a personal thing.