If you can find an integrated you love, it makes everything a lot simpler. No worry about synergy, impedance matching, looks of the gear in the rack together (that can be important, waf) and of corse power cords and interconnects. On the other hand, if you don't mind the above obstacles mixing and matching can be fun. If I had the money, I would go after a great integrated. I no longer believe you sacrifice sound quality with integrateds, there is a lot of them in the market now that sound absolutely outstanding. On top of that, we are going to see some hit the market with DACs built in to give people kind of a one box solution.
Nice post and well said Kclone.
I agree with Kclone but I would like to give you s suggestion that would improve the sound of your system immediately, whether it's an integrated or separates: stop playing the new age music. You're welcome and no charge. Sorry, couldn't resist.
Thank you to Kclone, Phaelon, & Noble100, I think maybe you're all right in what you've said, just that I have lusted after an ARC LS 10 and an ARC amp and call it quites changing (yeah sure!) but maybe I should hold out for maybe a used Sim Audio i7, MAC MA6900 or an ARC DSi200 when some more money appears since I run the CD 3 mk2 balanced. Noble100 just to reassure you I only listen to Enya or something else VERY INFREQUENTLY but the sound stage is entharlling! Thank you again I hope this will cool my jets for awhile.
ARC did not make their rep with SS, neither did Mac. I am not sure either would be an improvement.
While I don't disagree with the above posts, separates can typically have some advantages. Separate amplifiers allow one to isolate themsleves from the delicate signals within the pre section, usually have better current availability into lower impedance's (especially true w/ ss), have more power options, more options overall, possibly better channel separation, can be more conveniently placed for better heat dissipation, allow for more customization between pre and power, power amps can be plugged into separate power lines, allow for an easier upgrade path. Apogee's typically work better with typically gutsier separate power amps. There are some intergrateds that compare with separates, but there are far fewer to choose from.
That advice was free so you got your money's worth. Enjoy your music.
I was referring to my advise being worth very little in my prior post to Rsjm80, not your advise. Just wanted to make that clear.
Noble100, even if you were, you were right.:-)
If I were you I would first either add a power amp to your integrated or get better integrated; Rowland would most likely be my choice but not easy to find.
However, there is no substitute for really good separates.
Just don't compare Rowland integrated to AR separates, compare Rowland separates to Rowland integrated.
Inna Thanks for that suggestion, I had looked for Rowland before but pricing was a issue for me and no one in the area carrys his products to listen to. I like the reiews of Sim i7 becuse of the dynamics, bass and staging. I like ARC becuse it's always been my Mt. Everest. MAC is just plain great and I've heard them a number of times but they may just be a tad slow and dark for tastes but I'd have to listen to them in house. Classe is just plain smooth, great PRAT but I'd like just a bit more bottom end strength if I could but it is truely great with the CD 3 Mk 2! Another possibile might be NAD M3 and again I'd have to hear it. Kclone is probably right on the money, I'd like to keep things as simple as possible and have great sound and it surely would keep me out of spending trouble with extras and change lust. Just trying to put my finger on a great sound stage (wide and deep), some extra bottom end combined with what I already enjoy, patience is a virture and I guess something I need to excerise better, but help and suggestions from the community helps me find the path. Thank you all again for your input and I'm open to more ideas if it could help.
Time was when there wer'nt that many integrated amps about. Well now, most of the large manufactures provide the option, Pass, CJ, ARC and so on.
I went integrated about 6 years ago and am not going back. Under about $12000, I think integrated makes sense. Even above that Dartzeel and others have some options. Currently I use a Pathos Inpol2 and am very happy with it.
A point about the ARC DSi200, there is a review out today in the UK's HighFi World. A pretty good, reliable mag. The review was good but not overwhelmingly positive.
I don't think you can go wrong with the Sim Integrated. Others to look at are Luxman, and Modded LSA by Underwood Hi. Good luck.
I spoke with one company about separates vs. a receiver or all-in-one system. They said two problems, so they only sell separates:
1) Heat generated.
2) Cannot maintain their quality standards.
I would have thought limited power supply but I guess that is related to the "heat generation" issue.
Boy would I love to get rid of all these extra boxes, wires, and power cords though! Thinking about making a three-way wire with only one plug that goes into the wall. Power strip is full up right now. have to unplug one thing to power up something else.
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein
CDC, were they talking about home theater am/fm turner "receivers" or just simple integrateds. There is a difference. Just want to make sure we are talking about the same thing here. Anyone can give an explanation as to why one should sound better than the other, but you have to hear it to really know. In my experience, I have heard some integrated's sound so good there is no issues such as heat generation to even enter the equation. There is no guarantee that if you get separates they will sound better than an integrated or vice versa. All I'm saying if you want it simple, there should not be an issue as there is plenty of integrated's that sound amazing.
Kclone, I got a little off-topic here. They were talking receivers. Yes, integrated can be just fine but I thought the interesting point was the more functions you have, heat generation becomes a problem when everything is crammed into one box.
So for general practical stereo designs, you aren't going to get massive power out of an integrated like you can with separates.
BTW Kclone, those Tidal speakers look really nice. The Six-Moons review say they use Seas Excel magnesium midrange drivers. I got to hear the Snell Illusions. They also use the magnesium Seas Excel. Sound was so smooth I thought they were paper. I am using the Seas Nextel driver which has slightly higher distortion. But I "get" what they are capable of doing.
Yes, the Tidals are indeed really nice. The pictures don't do them justice.
Just for the record, I replaced conrad johnson mono-blocks with an integrated amplifier. The integrated is much better as it should be for its price. I understand the "second banana status that integrated amplifiers have traditionally held in the audiophile market. Thats because high-end manufactures designed and marketed them that way. Not because there are inherent limitations to the quality of sound that they are capable of.
Einstein was a dreamer and we are down to earth, and down to dollars.
I think the 'small' differences can be worthwhile. Like you I listen mainly to 'rock'. 60's 70's 80's and that means Motorhead to floyd,yes,elp, genesis,king crimson; then on to classical, patricia barber, et al. So my system has to cover many bases.
I have both a intergrated and seperates. Both tube systems (yes I'm a tube head). I think it comes down mainly to the fact the power supply has to only feed 1 amplifier. If you look at intergrated and monoblocks you will see frequently even with SS the power supply transformer and capacators are not 'double in size' when compared to a mono block for the same output per channel... just gives 'subtleties' on transients
good example of this although 'OLD' google a Leak TL12plus and a tereo 20.. the same amp in two different forms.. that power transformer aint double the size
The debate will never be settled, however my mind was changed when I purchased a Neodio NR600 Signature integrated. I went from Air Tight 300b/Joule Electra ME300 seperates to the Neodio and can't be happier. So yes an integrated amp can perform with some of the best seperates.
I have always been curious about Neodio. One other poster raved about the 150. I bet the NR 1200 is very good. Not much on the net though, do they even sell them in the States?
"Not much on the net though, do they even sell them in the States?
Kclone, Ive heard good things too. The US distributor for Neodio is tmh Audio.http://www.tmhaudio.com/
Thanks Phaelon. Okay, go ahead and buy one and let me know how it sounds :). I may be looking to simplify and go back to integrated for my main system in about a year or so. I certainly would want to look at the Neodio. Also maybe Luxman and Lindemann as well. I am currently using a modded Unison Unico SE in a second system. That is the best integrated I have heard so far.
Arte Forma Audio is coming out with a new Integated amp called the I-250 Big Susan at the end of this month...