Separates vs. Integrated (RR2160 or Used Parsound HINTO) - Budget Edition

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Fish17, May 16, 2020.

  1. Fish17

    Fish17 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    This world of audio is overwhelming! I've been reading a ton on this forum and elsewhere about integrated receivers but it got me thinking do I really need an integrated?

    I don't plan on using any onboard phono because I already have a phono preamp or any onboard DAC as I would use the Bluesound Node 2i for all digital audio.

    I like the idea of separates because it allows me to upgrade individual components rather than the entire receiver. I could add a headphone amp in the future, upgrade my phono pre amp etc.

    As far as a power amp I've read good things about the Emotiva BasX A-300 plus it's budget friendly at $399 (Guttenberg gave it high praise) - 150 Watts per channel class A/B.

    That would give me about $700 or less for the preamp. I want something that would allow me to hook up my subwoofer. I was looking at the Schiit Saga S & the Saga + but I don't see how I could hookup my sub with it.

    I am missing something? The RR2160 looks like a great package but considering I already have a phono preamp and a solid budget streamer/DAC wouldn't I be better of buying a power amp and preamp?

    If do got the separate route I do have a bunch of questions like how the hell you hook it up lol! But one step at a time.
     
  2. Dr. J.

    Dr. J. Audiophile wannabe

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Most integrated amps and separates (because you would need a preamp) will most likely have a phono input and/or onboard DAC. Of course there are many preamps with just line-level inputs but these tend to be boutique and outside my knowledge and experience. Maybe someone else could chime in. I would just get the best sounding integrated or preamp/power amp combo for your budget and not worry about whether they have a phono input and DAC.
     
    enfield likes this.
  3. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    Used Parasound HINT (original version) seems like it's in a different league than the RR2160. Not to bash the Outlaw, but this is $1000 new whereas even the original HINT used would be $1500 or more (MSRP >$2000 probably).

    Of course we always suggest spending more money! but the Parasound seems to be a pretty good bet for excellent sonics. It has a sub out, yes a phono stage which may be as good or better than what you have now ...? There was a thread somewhere about someone getting a used one for $1000 but this seems very rare. They don't seem to be in abundance used, maybe $1500-$1800 when available? but hey, it's considered an excellent performer which would most likely drive about any speaker, and the preamp is at least similar to their P 5 separate preamp. I love my P 7, can't imagine wanting to upgrade any decade soon, and do want to try an A21 sometime ...

    PS/Edit: The HINT (actually just 'Halo Integrated' as the original) does have digital inputs too. Seems like every preamp has them these days, maybe (as Dr. J. said) don't worry too much about that. Try it/compare to your separate digital and phono stages, if they're as good or better, sell the others.

    PPS: the Bluenode seems to be mainly a wireless streamer, use it for that and maybe the built-in DAC for whatever else (fixed digital input).

    PPPS: The Freya does look pretty sweet (you said $700 for the preamp!). The extra L/R outputs can be hooked up to your sub, assuming your sub has a built-in crossover (it likely does). If there's only one input on the sub ... probably can just Y-connect the Schitt output together and plug it into the sub input (maybe clear this with Schitt first). Otherwise use both L and R ... (the Saga has two outputs as well, same comment).
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
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  4. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Here is a budget friendly "purist" tube preamp from a venerable US builder Van Alstine. Has two outputs, so you can easily hook up your sub to it.

    Transcendence 10 RB Preamplifier
     
    ghostofzuul likes this.
  5. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    $1000 give or take is not a lot of cash for separates. You could find something used, or on sale, especially in the power amp dept., then buy the stereo preamp you need. Consider how much power you actually need and what is recommended for your speakers.

    There is a company called Akitika that makes separates, either available as a kit or fully assembled. You could probably shoehorn that stuff into your budget, but I have no idea if it is any good. I have often wondered about it.

    Akitika Store

    Re: the Outlaw, I nearly bought one a year ago when the price was lower and they had some b-stock deals going. I'm glad I didn't because there are recent reports of spontaneous shutdown which seems like a potential design or QC issue I'm not going to want to deal with. If I had to buy a new integrated today I would just get a Yamaha AS series, the best I could afford.
     
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  6. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    The Outlaw Audio RR2160 is a stereo receiver, not an integrated amp.

    Jeff
     
    arisinwind likes this.
  7. IRG

    IRG Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    What's your budget Fish17? And what phono preamp do you have? That might help direct the conversation a bit more.
     
  8. Fish17

    Fish17 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My total budget is about $1,400, I have a Creek Audio MM OBH-18 phono preamp. I can always upgrade this in the future.

    I'm currently looking into getting the Emotiva A-300 for the power amp ($399) and the Schitt Saga S ($299) for the pre-amp.

    For the money the A-300 seems like a great value, I get a class A/B amp with a ton of power, 150 amps per channel.

    I'm open to suggestions for alternative pre-amps or power amps.

    I don't have any balanced inputs so the Freya seems like overkill and I don't want to get tubes (Saga +) seems like a gimmick (especially when it's a buffer and only 1 tube) and something more to obsess over.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  9. Fish17

    Fish17 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Thanks for the suggestion but I don't think I want to go the tube route, more to obsess over. I'm still learning what kind of sound I like. I like the idea of the Freya + as I can try the different modes and color the sound, but I'm leaning towards the Saga S.
     
  10. Fish17

    Fish17 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    That Freya does look sick, but it seems like overkill for me, I don't have anything with balanced inputs. The Saga S is half the price and other than some better volume control what else does it offer the Saga S doesn't?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  11. IRG

    IRG Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    This seems like a good combo for sure. Everything you need, nothing you don't in your case. Under budget too!
     
  12. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    The Saga (+) is actually considered to be 'better' than the Freya if you don't need balanced. Even Jason s. prefers it (to run unbalanced).
     
  13. Fish17

    Fish17 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Considered better according to what source?

    Are you referring to Stoddard, Schiit’s co founder, the head fi blind testing?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  14. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    According to several online sources. Google 'saga vs freya' and you're bound to find some threads about it.
    Fwiw it also 'measures better' (not that I care about that). Yes, also referring to Stoddard.
     
  15. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    I remember Jason saying that about the old model Saga and Freya, specifically if one is running high efficiency speakers, because of the higher gain and noise level. I'm not sure if that applies to the new Freya which is said to display much less noise.
     
  16. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    Well, I have an 'old' saga. It's 1 or 2 year old I believe :D. But you are right, when I did my research about a year (or 2) ago that's when I saw this stuff coming up. Schiit appears to bring out new 'updated' stuff every other month, which doesn't float my boat.
     
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  17. Fish17

    Fish17 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    the old saga has a tube right? Do u use the tube at all? I’m looking at the saga vs the saga +
     
  18. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    I use it all the time !! The difference (stock nos 6n8s at the time) is subtle but last week I had to disable the tube because one channel started developing a rushing/blowing sound, probably because of the tube going bad. I have now ordered a new tube,but still waiting for delivery and man I miss that tube so badly !!!
     
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  19. Fish17

    Fish17 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I’m still learning what I like but I do like the ability to change the color of the sound, how much is a new tube?
     
  20. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    Depends on what tube you want to put in it (NOS or new), can be anything from $10 to $1000 I suppose. I just bought a new Tung Sol 6sn7 that Schiit also sells as an 'upgrade'. I got mine cheaper locally and paid €34 (+p&p).
    What the tube in the saga does in my system is add a little 'holographicness' to the sound and helps to seperate instruments a little better in the soundstage.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  21. Fish17

    Fish17 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Tempting but I don’t think I Should mess with tubes, it just adds more stuff to obsess about.
     
  22. Fish17

    Fish17 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    How long did the tube last? I also have 2 crazy boys so I’m worried it could get messed up by them.

    I’m curious what kind of power amp as u using?
     
  23. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    Of course, if you don't have any balanced sources or amp(s), seems like the Saga is the way to go, unless something else about the (new version, apparently lower noise) Freya appeals to you.

    Seems like the tube can be switched in or out of the circuit ... it's another $100 but seems like you're interested in what it may offer. Yeah, one can be obsessive too about such things! but having tubes has been fun (for me). It's usually a subtle change, altho I think can be pretty dramatic (if you want to explore various types). "What the tube in the saga does in my system is add a little 'holographicness' to the sound and helps to separate instruments a little better in the soundstage." if this is appealing to you (as it is very much for me) go for it!

    6SN7 is not as 'ubiquitous' as a 12AX7 or whatever ... but there seem to be many choices to play with. 6SN7GT / 6SN7GTA / 6SN7GTB / 6SN7WGT / 6SN7W / VT-231 / CV1988 / ECC32 / ECC33 / ECC34 Dual Triode (some of these may not fit? ask Schitt)

    I don't know if this will paste properly, but this is from the tubeworld 12AX7 page (at the bottom, there isn't one for the 6SN7 unfortunately):

    [​IMG]

    just to illustrate what's out there. I go for high res, clear, detailed sound so had tried a few of the ones listed in my McIntosh C220 hybrid preamp (which uses 12AX7s as buffers much like the Schitt). Indeed, the tube type did make a difference in sound. It wasn't switchable in/out of circuit like the Schitt though.

    I guess if all this makes you go 'meh' then go with the SS version.

    Came across this (FWIW): A Four-Way Schiit Shootout - Freya S/+ Vs. Saga S/+ | AudioHead
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
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  24. Fish17

    Fish17 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I think we have similar tastes in what I'm after. I want detail and a large soundstage which is why I'm going for a powerful amp.

    It's definitely appealing, that Saga + is just one tube though and smaller and it's only a buffer. I also worry about it getting beat up because my listening room is also the living room with 2 rambunctious boys. The tubes in the Freya + are microphonic too which I also worry about adding extra noise.
     
  25. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    I don't know if this link will 'work' for non-members ... Audio Asylum Thread Printer of course there are other considerations like you say. If the unit's in a rack and recessed a little would it still get 'beat up'? I can't decide that of course.

    I can't comment on the 'microphonic' comment, never experienced it but maybe I don't know or am not bothered by what it sounds like. I've had several tube components over the decades.

    PS: "that Saga + is just one tube though and it's only a buffer." The McIntosh C220 used the tube(s) as a buffer, it definitely made a difference in sound (depended on tube used). I think buffer just means the circuit gain =1. The 6SN7 is a dual tube, two tubes in a single enclosure, so the L and R channels go thru the different 'halves'. 6SN7 - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
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