A little assistance please on a SS Integrated Amp

I am helping a friend put together her system and I have talked her into not only upgrading her speakers but upgrading her receiver to an Integrated amp. I am a tube guy but have owned an Electrocompaniet ECI-3 integrated which I had great results with but it is a little out of her price range.

She has a budget of about $700-$800 and will buy used on my recomendation here on Audiogon. She purchased a pair of JM Labs Chorus 707s today which are really a nice sounding speaker for their price point. They are 92dB so anything will drive them. I was maybe thinking of steering her to a hybrid? I would appreciate any suggestions.. Thanks in advance for your replies!

At that price point you may be able to find a used Unico Unison, which is actually a tube hybrid (uses a single tube). I've listened to one through Soliloquy 5.3's which are 90db and the combination was very satisfying. I'd bet they'd go nicely with the JM Labs. The challenge will be finding one at the high end of her budget.

Good luck.

Consider the Blue Circle CS integrated used. Makes a tube guy like me happy.
I would consider pairing the JM Labs with a NAD C320BEE (new, list price of $400). Nice sounding integrated amp; not terribly fussy with cables and interconnects; and with the left over cash (and about a $100 more) she could actually consider purchasing a new CD player, like the Music Hall MMF CD 25, which pairs wonderfully with the NAD. I have been using the set-up for about 2 years now and I am still surprised at how good the combination sounds. I posted a review of the NAD C320 BEE here, if you would like to refer to it.

Regards, Rich

My first thought would be an Opera Consance tube integrated but tubes aren't for everyone. I presume that solid state is preferable i.e. the lady may not want to replace tubes or tube-roll? I've played around with many "budget" integrateds, my favourite is the Primare stuff from Sweden followed by the Audio Refinement Complete. Both integrateds are somewhat soft sounding; slightly rolled off tube-like character to them that would match nicely with the 707's. These amps come up on the used market and fall within her budget.

Best, Jeff
-Audio Refinement Complete Integrated is a good choice. There is a silver unit currently available for $525.
-However, there's always the Music Hall Mambo with 50WPC RMS of pure class A. It also has a built-in DAC so that she can have the option of using her surrent CD as transport. The Mambo receives very good review from Stereophile. I heard it at CES and thought it was a very nice integrated. There's one on sale currently at $800.
-For tube hybrid, there's a Xindak 6900SE on sale for $800 (retail $1,995) although I've never heard it.
-My final recommendation would have to be the Pathos Classic One Integrated amplifier with remote in Class A/AB, hybrid circuit with input tube stage, bridgeable Output Power: 2 x 50W @ 8 Ohm. Silky smooth sound with balance (XLR)inputs. There's on on sale at $850 (retail $2200).
Good luck.
I just received my Electrocompaniet ECI3 yesterday (bought ued so it is already broken in. It replaced a Bryston B-60 that I gave to my dad and although I have to admit that there are things that I like better about the ECI3 than the Bryston (warmth & body), there were things that the Bryston excelled at (overall clarity, treble extension and sense of "air") I still have the same speakers (B&W cdm1nt) so I am able to hear the different sound that the 2 amps provide. Yes, I am excited about the ECI3 and if she can stretch her budget a few hundred $ and likes the tubey sound, then I say go for it...it is a beautiful piece for the money. If not, my vote goes for the B-60 and if you dont like it, you can always resell it...plus the 20 year transferrable warranty is hard to beat and provides alot of peace of mind for a new audiophile.

just my 2c

I think a non-audiophile would be very well served by the Bryston B-60, particularly since she has reasonably efficient speakers. The Bryston won't break, it is small and compact, and is an excellent all-around performer (there is even a version with a remote, although it would really stretch her budget). I had a Bryston 4B-ST amplifier for five years and have a Bryston MM phono stage in my second system -- solid stuff.

Good luck.
Knowing I was going to spend a lot of money on my primary system in our dedicated room, I put together a rather low priced second system for use off of my kitchen. SImilar to your friend, I am using the JMlab Chorus 706S speaker (a little smaller than the 707S). I am using the Cambridge Audio Azur 640A integrated amp (around 4 or 500 USD) and and the Cambridge Audio 640C CD player (same price). Like the inexpensive bookshelf speaker, I feel these components are a great value for the money. I am sure the sound would be good enough for what your friend is looking for, plus can stay within the budget and buy new equipment. If she can afford it, there are a lot of other decent considerations for a little more money (e.g. Arcam, Creek, Roksan, and Simaudio).
Jolida 302B or 502B.
Great amps, right in your price range.

Definitely audition the hybrids before buying. Some are downright dry, and others are abrasive, IMO.

Good luck!
I would choose the Conconance M100 plus. The amp is really a great sounding unit but sounds a lot better if you remove the bottom cover and let it rest on the wood sides.