I really like Peachtree's iNova (~$1800). It has 6 total digital inputs: 1 USB, 2 Coax, 2 Optical, 1 iPod dock. 80 wpc amp, and a 32 bit Sabre DAC. (The previous incarnation had the 24 bit Sabre chip). Above your budget, but probably eventually available used would be their Grand Pre Integrated.
Bel Canto has 2--
C5i (slightly less then your price points) and the newly introduced C7r.
***Bel Canto dealer disclaimer***
If you want to save up some more money there is the new ModWright Integrated. You can get it with a built in DAC. I have nor heard it but may be worth looking into.
I would strongly advise checking out Core Audio Technology. Your cup will be running over.
Goldprintaudio, do you know the wattage on the C7r? Shoot me an email with your store phone number, if you don't mind.
Core Audio had caught my attention with their all in one solutions. The people who have herd it seem enthusiastic, but it seems not too many have. Can you give some thoughts?
The C7R is 60W per channel into 8 ohms.
HK 990 - a really unique animal. This thing barks up a different tree and will definitely not be for every taste - but it should be investigated by anyone looking to take a digital signal directly into an integrated amp. Check out Kal's (Kr4) recent review in Stereophile.
I've seen comments that the relatively high peak amperage on the CR7 (30) makes it sound much more powerful that that 60W figure would let on. And that amperage # is considerably higher than the 300iu.
If you split your budget between an external DAC and an integrated, you'll have far more options. Is this a situation where only one box will work?
You may be able to find a used Naim Uniti or UnitiQute here within your budget. They don't come up often. I doubt a Naim SuperNait could be found within your range, but you never know.
Gopher - to date I have only tried Core Audio's power supplies - I've got one on my Mac Mini and one on my DAC, with outstanding results. A friend of mine, however, has auditioned the amp and says it is like nothing he's ever heard - he's going to replace his beloved 2A3 SET amp with it.
While he says the 2A3 is warmer and does holographic imaging a bit better, he added that his impression was that this is because the Core Audio amp was too quick and resolving to render a holographic image, and in fact that it made the whole idea of a holographic image seem a little artificial now that he's heard this amp.
He says the Core Audio amp delivers a presentation that is more real and life-like than anything he has heard before - incredible speed and what he calls "extreme harmonic richness and tonal density"... The sense of uncanny reality is especially strong with the human voice, apparently.
I'm going to have my amplifier by the end of this coming week, hopefully, and will post my impressions as soon as I can.
I'm looking *specifically* for one box (currently downsizing). Any and all suggestions are welcome. How about some of the offerings from Musical Fidelity? (shudder to think about the depreciation of their products, though).
The Naim gear seems interesting, if not not underpowered. I recall hearing one of their intergrateds vs. the ayre integrated and feeling like the ayre was superior; however, it may have been the 5i vs. the ayre, in which case, it's almost unfair to compare. The 5i was 70% of the sound of the ayre for 50% of the price.
The Unitiqute seems kinda interesting. Wonder how it stacks up against the Bel Canto?
The Uniti stuff is very versatile and great sounding IMO. They've got digital inputs, iPod input (Qute is digital, the Uniti might be), tuner, internet tuner, and streaming all built in. The only thing it doesn't have is a phono stage. The Uniti has a CDP and a bit more power. I like the Uniti's sound better, but some like the Qute better; it's a bit sweeter sounding than the Uniti. The Uniti sounds identical to the Nait 5i and CD5i to my (and my dealer's) ears.
If I were to go with a single box unit, the Uniti would definitely be it. For everything you get in one box, it's a great deal. And both sound great, not just for the money. They're as no-compromise as I've seen.
Just throwing that out there. They come up every now and again here. Main sells a ton of them, and not very many show up second hand, so that says something.
Another option may be the Rega Brio R and Rega DAC. Yes, it's 2 seperate components, but they're half width. Put side by side they probably wouldn't take up any more space than a full width integrated.
Naim's watts go a long way. The Uniti can drive any reasonable speaker in an average room to pretty loud levels. Don't expect rock concert levels while driving something like an ATC or Dynaudio Contour though. The Qute's 30 watts are more than they seem too.
Brings up a good point though...
How much power do you need? What speakers are you driving or plan to drive?
I have very little experience with them, but Wyred 4 Sound released or will soon release a small integrated with digital inputs. I briefly heard about it in a CES write up.
Not sure why, but my response to your question did not show up yesterday.
The C7r is 60watts (8ohm) and 120watts (4ohm). The amp section in this integrated is based off of the Ref150s amp.
Thanks guys. It's more a matter of cost-effectiveness than shelf space. Currently, I'm driving a pair of Piega c8's with a Pass x150.5. I recently sold the Pass and the Piega's may follow...Sold off an Ayre Pre....just going for one, coft effective box. Wedding coming up so need to get liquid..!
Anyone have experience with the Musical Fidelity A 1008 Integrated? Seems like it might be interesting (lots of watts, digital ins, tube buffer stage)
Anyone heard the Wyred for Sound Mint?
I'd add the new NAD C390DD amp to your list - a take on their M2
Haven't heard it - only read some positive reviews:
Grant Fidelity W-30 Integrated All-in-one Tube Amp w/ Phono - $2,100.00 - $2,500.00.
DAC section, tube based phono stage, headphone output, solid-state rectification
3 digital inputs, 3 analog inputs
192 kHz/24-bit DAC via coax/optical inputs, 48 kHz/16-bit DAC via USB input, tape record/line level outputs, pre-out jacks for biamping or a subwoofer, pre in/out jacks for external processing or amplifier.
My understanding is the DAC section is modular so it is possible that an upgraded DAC could be swapped in the future.
What about the Wadia 151? Under-powered?
Check out the Hegel h-100