Your opinions about the best integrated amp?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by terzinator, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit Thread Starter

    If you were gonna splurge on an integrated (to reduce system complexity and number of interconnects, and you like that clean look) what would you get? Let's say you had $10K to spend. Don't need to spend it all, but let's say that's your approximate budget.

    You can decide whether a DAC or phono stage is part of it. I don't care. I want to soak up your opinions.

    A few that I assume would be in the mix:
    • Hegel H390 $6K (I think the H590 is $11K, so still kinda in the ballpark)
    • Luxman L509X
    • Marantz PM-10
    • Esoteric F-05
    • Rega Osiris
    • Peachtree Nova500 (much lower priced at around $3k, but has its merits)

    Just curious what YOU would pick, and why...

    Me, I'm really tempted by the Hegel H390. Phono stage would be separate, but I understand the DAC is a really nice one. Could easily drive Maggies, I think. Mostly jazz, acoustic music and well-recorded rock, like steely dan or dire straits or assembly of dust, etc... Some classical.
    ls35a likes this.
  2. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Buffalo, NY
    I really like what I have, but it is kind of minimal. At your price point, I'd be interested in a VAC Sigma 170i.
    macster and samurai like this.
  3. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Westfield, IN USA
    Right now I'm using a Simaudio Moon i7 integrated with Magnepan 1.7s. The amp doesn't break a sweat at all with them. Although they don't have on-board dacs, or a phono stage, you couldn't go wrong with the 600i or 700i.
    bluemooze, conjotter, Tim 2 and 2 others like this.
  4. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Victoria, B.C.
    Add Leben CS-600x to your list if you like tubes.

  5. hman

    hman Forum Resident

    Northport, NY
    The Luxman on your list has gotten some seriously enthusiastic reviews.
    SirMarc and Acapella48 like this.
  6. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Pass Labs INT-150
  7. PhotoMax

    PhotoMax Forum Resident

    Orcas Island
    I would look hard at a new/used Pass Labs...
    caracallac, progrocker and IanL like this.
  8. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    Twin Peaks, WA
    I’m not sure I’d consider any of the ones the OP mentioned. For sub $10k you’ll do no better than the Yamaha A-S3000, imo (and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees with this). Bumping your budget up to $15k and more opens up many interesting possibilities: Ayre, Vitus, T+A, Gryphon, et al.
  9. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    Put your hands up, bud! I doubt you'd find anyone who'd agree with such a statement... including me.
  10. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    ...what the heck else you are running? (Since your profile is empty). What sources are you playing? Do you stream at all and if so from what (i.e. Apple Music, Spotify, local rips?). If you have that kind of budget, I'd sure want Tidal via Roon like I've seen at all my local dealers.

    Also, if you EVER will run a sub, get something with bass management, which many stereo units STUPIDLY omit. (Even many of those "subwoofer" outputs have no highpass filtering, which is idiotic).
    All Down The Line and macster like this.
  11. Khorn

    Khorn Forum Resident

    Agreed, if I were looking integrated for my main I’d give the Pass Int-250 serious consideration. But, if I were going there I’d probably be checking out their Class A amps and preamps.
    I was also considering the new Cambridge Audio Edge A for my second system before deciding on powered speakers.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  12. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    Twin Peaks, WA
    What have you got? Name an integrated for less than $10k that betters the Yammie.
  13. zonto

    zonto Forum Resident

    Boston, MA
    Only heard the Luxman but it was nice. I’d check out the current version of the Coda CSIb.

    Definitely not the Marantz or Peachtree.
    Lebowski likes this.
  14. BayouTiger

    BayouTiger Forum Resident

    New Orleans
    Well, since you mentioned complexity - I don’t consider anything to do with audio complex - but for the sake of simplicity, I just pulled the following components out of my rack.
    ARC Ref75Se
    ARC LS27
    Schiit Gumby
    Rogue Ares Magnum

    Thats basically $22k worth of gear all bought new and now replaced with the Nova500. Honestly, I love each of those components and can include my Rogue RP5 and ARC D240 as well, but I just got tired of dealing with a cabinet full of gear and always thinking about what I wanted to listen to as much of the tube gear needs a bit of warm up, yet I didn’t want to leave it on more than necessary with tubes.

    I guess as I get older I just am losing the desire to chase the “ultimate” sound, and though I really love nice gear and always have, the hobby has in some ways become a bit tedious. I am active here and some FB groups dedicated to vinyl, and to be honest, so many posts from folks agonizing over every little detail of vinyl, or chasing the perfect master or pressing, or folks raving about the crazy obscure LP they “scored” (but no one has ever really wanted in the first place) has really made me question my own habits, and choices. Actually considering ditching “most” of my vinyl, as it’s just not as good as most of my digital selections.

    So moving forward, My entire rack has just the Nova500, uRendu, and Oppo 203 (though not used for audio) along with my 1200GR.

    Of course, I may get the bug again, but for now I am thrilled (and the wife even more so) with the Nova. Of course I knew what I was getting into after owning a Nova 150 for several years as it changed my habits with my office system.
    Fish17, Kyhl, dcurtis71 and 4 others like this.
  15. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    High-quality SET tube amps, easily. The list would go into dozens. Stating a Yamaha can't be bettered unless more than 10K is spent is a plain silly thing to write, period.
  16. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    Twin Peaks, WA
    Examples? Seriously, I’m open to opinions. Remember, we’re talking about integrateds.
  17. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Portland, Oregon
    Devialet Expert 220 Pro. Every review I've seen has raved about the sound; and the Speaker Active Matching seems like it's a real technical step forward.
  18. Acapella48

    Acapella48 Forum Resident

    Elk Grove, CA.
    I owned a Luxman receiver back in the '80's before they left the U.S. market. Serious contender for sure.
    All Down The Line likes this.
  19. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    Take your pick. McIntosh, Line Magnetic, PrimaLuna, the list goes and on forever.

    Glad you're thrilled with your amp. Just don't start a thread here or elsewhere (like Audiogon) stating something like that or you'll have loads of extremely experienced owners/listeners who will be merciless.
    Coramdeo, WapatoWolf and displayname like this.
  20. Khorn

    Khorn Forum Resident

    What are Yamaha statement audio products. I don’t know. How do Yamaha grands match up to Steinway or Bosendorfer in construction and sound. Are there any pianists here who would have an opinion? It would speak to Yamaha’s cross corporate values.
  21. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    Completely different sound. Yamaha is a more naturally compressed piano sound. The C7 Is used extensively in pop recordings due to this. They're also used regularly in jazz, like Steinway. But Steinway is a more romantic and refined sound. Bosendorfer is its own animal with its immediately identifiable growl.

    Honestly, none of this really matters when comparing integrated amps.
    FillmoreGuy and gregorya like this.
  22. Khorn

    Khorn Forum Resident

    I was brought up subject to daily doses of both the Steinway and Boosey over my early years but no Yamaha. Was curious about the differences and how if at all it might corporately apply to Yamaha.
  23. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Tyler, TX
    You might be able to find a used Mark Levinson 585 for around $5,500 to $6K. I've heard the 585 sounding fantastic multiple times at audio shows. Usually paired with Revel speakers.
  24. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit Thread Starter

    OK, this is all an exercise in speculation.

    I currently have a couple of very modest systems in my house.

    An office system with an Audiolab 8000A integrated running through Focal Aria 906 speakers. Thorens TD-150 MKI Turntable. Teac UD-501 DAC.

    The other system is kind of the main-floor whole-house deal. A Cambridge CXA80 integrated running through Harbeth P3ESR 40th Anniv's (as well as a few other pairs using a Niles SSVC-4 when I want whole-house sound). Thorens TD-126 MKII Turntable.

    Both of them are fed by a Mac Mini running Roon (Tidal/Qobuz/local files).

    But I'm moving in the not-to0-distant future and I'll have the opportunity to start from scratch. (For the most part.) I'd like to upgrade to a reaaaaally nice system, but I don't want separates, i don't think.

    Speakers? Ahdunno. Might go Magnepan, might go with bigger Harbeths. Might do something else.

    For subs, yes, I'll probably run a pair of RELs. (I'm sure a separate discussion about low- vs high-level inputs will ensue later.)
  25. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    detroit, mi
    I think a Sansui AU-9500 professionally recapped would be a winner.

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