Does sound quality matter, or do you want to buy a tube integrated just to say you have one? Because if that's the case, you don't need to spend that much money.
25 responses Add your response
I agree on wanting tube or SS. Things have changed. I was a tube guy for most of my life and once I heard the Ayre integrated's, I realized that it doesn't matter as long as it sounds the way I want it to. Honestly, wanting your phono to be part of the ingrated will really cut down on your choices. You get separate power supply's by separating them and you don't have the electronic interactions inside the case. You can get a nice phono for not too much money.
Does your room sound best with a monitor? What type of music? Listening levels? Do you listen only to LP's or do you need digital? A server based or streaming or CD based? As a thread like this usually does is gets most of s to list what we personally own or want to own, however great products don't always work well together as a system. Do you have a dealer near you? What state are you in?
Thanks for your responses.
I believe Tube equipment was developed to basically facilitate turntable listening. Back in the 70's I used an old McIntosh 230 integrated amp, and really always loved the concept and overall sound of integrates. I've owned MA6200> MA6900, PrimaLuna prolog 2 tube int and for the last 5 years a MA6500. I loved them all, especially since my sources are a Pioneer Elite DV-09 CDP and Ipod>wadia transport>music fidelity dac.
Last month I purchased my first TT in 35 yrs. Pro-ject RPM1 with an Ortofon 2M Blue cart. Hence my desire to go back to a tube system. The memory of my prolog was more air less robust sound of the Mac's. So I'm thinking a better tube int with a pair high sensitivity (90-92 dB)monitor speakers.
What will the 10k go towards? Integrated, phono and speakers (and also cables)?
I love the Ayre AX7e for that price range. It's got the best of both tube and SS worlds. Inky black, ultra low noise floor for best detail retrieval. It's got pace and rhythem and it's bass is outstanding. They are meant to be run balanced and not single ended to sound it's best. I ran my Basis TT though that and a pair of Vandersteen Treo's and it was awesome. I just upgraded to an Ayre AX5/Twenty (best amps I've heard other than the ref Twenty mono blocks from Ayre. I had my AX7e as well as my new AX5 Twenty in a wilson dealer who sells Mac too. The Ayre's both just blew away the MAC (their tip of the line separates. Have also heard it one on on vs AR gear and Aesthetix gear and it was awesome. I did love the AR gear, but it's very expensive. I don't love the AR integrated amps as much as their ref gear. Rogue and Quicksilver are awesome tube gear that are very reliable and affordable if you have to have tube gear.
Speakers are all over the place IRT monitors. Wouldn't you want a full range speaker? As long as you have a small footprint it will take up the same amount of space as a stand mounted monitor. I was going to go the monitor route last year, but ended up with Vandersteen Treo's and have never regretted a second. I get emerged into the sound even when listening/watching TV. They disappear as well as most monitors and are full range (well down to mid 30's quality wise).
I too listen to vocals, jazz and rock. Now that I have a fuller range speaker, I listen to Orchestral too. Never did before. If you are open, I'd think about a floor stander, but that's just me. If your room is smaller go with the Vandersteen 3a sigs as you can dial in the powered integral subs.
"I'm in Sarasota, FL with a few dealers to choose from."
If you're willing to take a ride, check out these stores: Audio Center in Deerfield Beach, Hollywood Sound in Hollywood and Wellington Audio in Wellington. They're not to far from each other, so you should have no problem getting to all 3 in one day.
I've done business with all of them, and only had good experiences. These stores are definitely worth your time.
I live in NYC. As far as the west coast of FL goes, I don't know of any good places. AV South is kind of like a Magnolia type store. Most of the places focus on multi room, home automation type of products. They may have some expensive equipment, but they don't know what to do with it. I guess Epic Audio and House of High Fidelity would be the best of the bunch on the west coast. They're in the Naples/Ft. Myers area. (Keep in mind that there may be stores I just don't know about.)
The 3 stores I mentioned in my last post are different. They're well run, legitimate, 2 channel B&M audiophile shops. The equipment is matched well, and set up properly, so that you can get a good demo. In most cases, you'll be dealing with the owner.
Larry from Hollywood Sound, is considered by many to be one of the best vinyl people in the country. He's particularly good at getting the best sound for your money. And since he focuses mostly on vinyl, he has a lot of inventory in stock.
John from Wellington is mostly into the British brands. Naim, Audio Note, Spendor, Rega, Harbeth, etc...
Audio Center is more mainstream. Ayre, Vandersteen, Magnepan, B&W, Rotel, Rowland and some others.
In a time where good B&M stores are very hard to come by, these guys stand out. If you're brave enough to drive on I-75 its worth a trip.