Experience with today's hi-end integrated amplifiers?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by jh901, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Do any of you own or have experience with integrated amplifiers such as these?

    Pass Labs INT-250
    Gryphon Diablo 300
    Boulder 865
    T+A PA 3000 HV
    Dartzeel CTH-8550

    Or in the "uber" integrated category such as these?

    D'Agostino Momentum
    Soulution 530
    Vitus MP-i201

    It appears that the integrated market has had a makeover of sorts over the past 5 or 10 years. The lists above are far from comprehensive in the $10,000+ range. Much competition. Presumably, many audiophiles who'd typically have separates are buying these. Most (or all?) of the above are solid state as well. Interesting.

    Anyone here on the forum!?
    displayname likes this.
  2. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident Thread Starter


    Ok, I'm going to assume that everyone is passing on the ultra hi-end integrated!

    In the event that anyone has spent time with one of these in the OP, then please post. I suppose I'm most curious about the T+A and its use of "high voltage".
  3. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    San Diego, CA, USA
    I've heard the Dartzeel and the Momentum, gobsmacking sonic goodness, but WAY above my budget.

    I like what you get with an integrated vs separates at a given price point and specific models in question. I run an integrated in my setup - it's a 'best fit' solution for my setup.

    Always have my eyes open for a potential 'scroe' - like a Pass Int-60 :p
    SandAndGlass, jh901 and Johnny Vinyl like this.
  4. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Give it a few days, there are so many amps out there that for your chance to find an owner of those you need to give it a bit of time. You might also be right about your thoughts. I don't have anything that expensive in the amp section but if I am going to be that serious money wise I much rather buy a power and pre.

    EDIT: There you are, it was a timing thing and he beat me to answer.
    jh901 likes this.
  5. With an aging population, and many of them downsizing from homes into condos, it stands to reason there would be an increased interest for the audiophiles among them to look at more compact systems. High quality and uber quality IAs fit well into that trend, so it's no surprise manufacturers are designing and bringing these units to market. Personally I've been a huge fan of IAs most of my life as it's tough to beat their value for money proposition.

    I can't afford to even consider one of the units mentioned above and will likely never audition one, but there are a few more reasonably-priced IA's out there I could be very satisfied with.
    McLover, SandAndGlass, Clay B and 2 others like this.
  6. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The T+A PA 3100 HV (the 3000 is about to be discontinued) inspired the D'Agostino to some degree, from what I gather. Not sure if true. Presumably, the 3100 HV is competitive with it, if not better. I'd like to here one of these in my system. The 3100 HV lists in the US for $23,500. That would be a destination amp for me. End of the line. I'm not sure how I could ever afford it, but at the same time I wonder if I'm going to settle for nickel and diming my way by trading up for the next 20 years. My hearing won't get any better!

    As you suggest, it would have to be sincere "gobsmacking sonic goodness" and well beyond any leap in sound quality I've ever experienced in my system. Talking revelatory.

    Or the 250!

  7. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    Twin Peaks, WA
    I went integrated and haven't looked back. This year I hope to upgrade my entry level high end Yamaha (A-S2100) with the new Vitus RI-101. I've heard the SIA-025 but it's class A and I fear it might run hot in my enclosed rack system. The RI-101 is A/B and presumably runs cooler. My other choices were/are the Gryphon Diablo 120 (love the Danish stuff) and Ayre AX-5 Twenty.
    Blank Frank and Steve0 like this.
  8. JBLCarousel

    JBLCarousel Well-Known Member

    I’m using a brand-new $10,500 McIntosh MA9000 and it works flawlessly. :cool:
    Aardvark23, pscreed, beowulf and 6 others like this.
  9. bruce2

    bruce2 Forum Resident

    Connecticut, USA
    Nice! A beautiful looking beast.
    JBLCarousel likes this.
  10. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Vitus. That's what I'm talking about! Thanks for posting and definitely report back.

    Cool. I'd still take my current separates in this case though. By a long shot.
  11. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    What is it about your Yamaha's performance that makes you want to upgrade to the ultra high end category of amps?
    Schwinnparamount likes this.
  12. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    It is quite a remarkable leap in price and, at least for me, expectation. That's not to slight what Yamaha has been doing lately. At all. There are few names at the top of the recent ultra hi end integrated market that rival Vitus. Very serious engineering and not the added "bling" of the super crazy priced.

    Let me ask your thoughts on my separates versus the Vitus or T+A. Educated guess. Astonishing leap?
  13. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    Twin Peaks, WA
    I got new speakers last year as a first step towards upgrading my entire system. The Yamaha integrated has performed exceptionally, but I’m guessing having a bit more power (300 wpc vs. 90) will result in a noticeable improvement.
    jh901 likes this.
  14. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    You can get more power for far less. My current separates would be, in my conservative estimate, an epic leap in sound quality from your very highly regarded Yamaha.

    The Vitus, honestly, should be on a completely different level. Another lame car analogy. GTI to Audi S4 to Porsche 911 GT2. All respected. All fun. No real comparison from one to the next.

    I can't wait to get your impression! I'm afraid to borrow the T+A until I can figure how to finance it.
  15. cdgenarian

    cdgenarian Forum Resident

    North Carolina
    Hifi for the Top One Percent...:)
  16. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    Twin Peaks, WA
    An epic leap? I doubt it. Have you heard the modern Yamaha integrateds? My A-S2100 walks all over the (highly regarded) Conrad Johnson separates it replaced.
    But I’m confident the Vitus will be a whole new level, as you say.
  17. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    Twin Peaks, WA
    Not anymore. The $15k Vitus amp I mentioned is their entry level model! Crazy times...
  18. Luxmancl38

    Luxmancl38 Forum Resident

    Manchester NH
    Wow! No mention of Accuphase. Is it being sold at Walmart???
  19. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    CJ is highly regarded. Which models did you own?

    My original post was not intended to be comprehensive. I failed to mention Luxman as well. It might be the golden age of the integrated amp. Much competition.

    Some audiophiles pass on a pricey luxury sedan, upgraded every few years to the latest model, and maybe skimp on vacations, etc. I'd rather emphasize the engineering and results.
    Blank Frank likes this.
  20. John Mee

    John Mee Forum Resident

    I have had an Audio valve Assistent 50 and an audio note Ongaku. I would only consider the Ongaku to be in the "uber" category. I loved it and only sold it because I moved up to the power amp version (the Kensei).

    These days integrateds do not necessarily mean lower quality however much depends on how the integration is carried out-the materials used, compromise decisions, etc.

    One of the compromises with separates is extra casing, power supplies, interconnects, etc. and even more so with monoblocks.

    You are left with evaluating all these factors in your priorities so I don't feel there is a hard and fast answer. (Fyi, my second system is also a stereo power amp & pre-amp.)
    Blank Frank and jh901 like this.
  21. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    Twin Peaks, WA
    The amp was the MF 2100, pre-amp was a CJ Sonographe unit.
    jh901 likes this.
  22. McGuy

    McGuy Forum Resident

    I’m curious as to why intergrated only? Is it for space saving? Admittedly I’m a Mcintosh devotee, I just picked up a c47 and mc402 (used obviously) for about $6800 out the door. The sound is spectacular. Beats my last integrated by far but admittedly that unit was nowhere near the $10k mark. Like I said, just curious.
  23. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'll take bets that my upgraded SLP-05 + 200.2 will easily best the A-S3000 in every aspect of sound quality. Do a little digging and swing back around if you stand firm. I'll have to track one down to borrow if you persist!

    Fun thread.

    I would have sworn that Audio Note would show up in here on the first page! I sure would like to find some folks who've compared Ongaku with offerings from Vitus, T+A, and Gryphon.
  24. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Good question.

    I've been thinking about how I might reach a "destination" for my stereo amplification. My SLP-05 pre-amp is very, very good and the SA 200.2 (the mono 500.1 might get a Stereophile review soon) is ok, I figure, at it's price. So, my opinion is that's some nice amplification for the $10,000 price point. Do I upgrade power amp when I can? And then hit pre-amp a few years later? Hm. Wait. What about all these integrated amps I keep reading about!? For example, read a few write ups on the T+A PA 3100 HV. The price is crazy, but separates in that league is beyond crazy. What if I went for it on the PA 3100 HV? That could be the end of the line for me on amplification. So, I'm just wondering how ridiculous the sound quality is. More or less.

    It is sort of a golden age for integrated amps now. Timely, informative thread, I hope.
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  25. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident

    Bexley, Ohio
    Am I corrrect that ulttra Hi end integrateds have inputs so one can use an outboard pre-am if one ever desires? I'm pretty sure the yamahas have pre outs, main in connections for such

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