What is your budget?
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I'm sorry to hear that your Sugden A21 died an untimely death. I've been in the hobby for nearly 40 years and I've only had one component die on my watch. It was a USA made tube pre-amp that had just returned from the manufacturer for an upgrade. Other than that one experience that was attributed to a "manufacturing" defect, no issues with solid state or tubes while in use in my home.
That said, your "today" budget is pretty low. There are only about 3-4 integrated amps on A-goN right now that fit your budget. Of the ones available today, I would probably lean toward the Arcam A70. I've owned a couple of Arcam units and I enjoyed them. The A70 has a MM phono input which might be usable to you, or a valuable feature if you choose to re-sell it. It also has remote, which to me is an absolute must-have.
If you don't need phono and you only need one or two inputs, you could get a cheap Chinese class D amp, like the Lepai or others. Parts Express has the Lepai LP-2020A+ on closeout for less than $25. It could get you by until you can save for a more robust amplifier. PE also has a few other choices in inexpensive class D/class T amplifiers that could get you by for a while. eBay also has hundreds of similar choices.
If you can wait, maybe look for a Rega Mira/Mira 3 or Arcam Alpha 10. They sometimes come up for around $300 and both are pretty good. The Arcam Alpha 10 is a really good integrated amp. If you can keep your eyes open for one to come along in your price range, you will be rewarded with very good sound for the money.
If you're ok with used, and at your budget you should be, this looks like a good deal and Marantz is typically voiced on the warm side:
Obviously used will save you money, but even new there are some nice units under your $1500 splurge budget:
Rogue Sphinx V2
Creek EVO 50A
Rega Brio (new one just came out)
Used I would look at some of the British integrateds that would likely pair very well with your speakers: Naim 5i-2, Croft Phono Integrated (my personal favorite), Exposure 2010s2d, Rega Elex-R.
Read up on the reviews and see which ones have the sound signature and power ratings that you're looking for. You also might read some reviews of your speakers to see which amps reviewers liked with them.
Good luck and enjoy the search,
Thanks for the remainder about the little class D/T amps. I played with the original tripath amps from PE when that rage started. Anyway, I have two little monitors in the garage that I once had a car amp hooked to with a battery and charger but eventually the battery gave up. One of these will be perfect to hook my phone up to and use there. I workout in the garage so that will be nice to have back.
"budget (defined as as cheap as possible)” The cheaper I can get one the sooner I can get one :) If I were to wait and splurge it would be about $1500. If I buy now it would be that onkyo price around $300.If your coming from a Sugden, then $300 isn't really going to get you what your use to.
I would wait and splurge on the real deal.
If you need music now, just pick up a used amp or borrow one. Hell, even a used AVR for under a hundo will make some noise in the interim. The way these things depreciate, you can pick up fairly new models really cheap on Craigslist.
If you can find an Audio Refinement Complete for $500 or less, buy it and stop there. Likewise, if you can find an Arcam Alpha 10 for $300 or less, same thing. Next step up might be a Plinius 8100, 8150 or 8200. Great integrated amps and great used prices. I've owned all of these at one time and like them all. BTW, my current amp is a Rega Elicit-R. Really nice integrated, but about $1750 +/- $250 used today.
Use your Yamaha, save some money. Watch for a Audio Refinement, Arcam A19, NAD 356BEE, or Marantz 8004 or 5 series, or maybe Rouge audio Sphinx. Any could be had for $5-700 depending on model. I had a Audio Refinement in my system ~6 years age and can testify as to how good it is, however those units are now ~15 or more years in age. I would prefer to buy a used amplifier ~5 years old if I intend on keeping it a few years.
My thinking is that amplifiers of recent vintage ~5 years old can be had for ~50% of original cost, ~10 year old ones ~33% of cost. Of course this is not true for the Classic tube amps of the 60s. Many of these are now valued at many times their original retail price, once refurbished.
I have one of these that I am very happy with. Not warm. Neutral, yet sweet. It takes the edge off a pair of Cantons I’ve heard described as bright. I can listen all day.
I wouldn’t consider Marantz, Arcam, or Parasound moving up. However, If I found $1500 to $2000 under a rock I’d be down at my dealer’s store comparing a Rogue to Belles Aria so fast it would make your head spin. Then one town over for the Prima Luna. I've never heard a Jolida.
Non fancy, audio only, used integrateds are a great option. The older models have excellent sound and built to last. Try Classe CAP-101, CAP-151, etc; Bryston B-60, Krell KAV-300i, various NAD, Hegel, LFD. Tubes, you could try Primaluna (sorry, don't know tube stuff very well).
If you need a DAC, try Peachtree Nova series, NAD, Rotel?
Hey Stephen been abou 12 years now since we last spoke.
I still have your rosewood Rogers LS3/5a's and AB-1 subs.
I sold my Sugden A21aL and A21P a few months ago.
Made for each other "a match made in heaven"
I have taken a slight move in another direction and now use a pair of Tannoy Golds driven with ASL 845 mono's
I have put the Rogers up for sale but no firm offer yet.
I agree with the Peachtree recommendations. Here is a review on the new 150
They also have a 30 guarantee. Dont like it within 30 days send it back. But I have never tried this. I do have one of there iDacs from days of yore and liked it. And when I called about and issue they answered the phone and offered a solution. I may have to try their new Sona Amp some day. There older integrateds can be found on ebay for around $600
Rogue Sphinx is a great option. A used v1 should set you back $750 or thereabouts and worth every dollar. the phone pre isn't great but is sufficient . Buy the new v2 and the phono is better. If you need a good clean low cost Arcam I have an AVR250 available for $275. Clean amp with plenty of power and will get you though.
I have had a Rogue Cronus Mag.II (100 W per side integrated tube amp with a decent phono stage) for the past several months, running my Maggie 1.7s. Have auditioned it against the Primaluna Dialogue HP and other much more pricy tube and ss amps. Dollar for dollar I wouldn't trade it for anything else I've listened to. It can be found used for around $1,800.00 - $2,000.00. Maybe a bit more than considering, but well worth the investment and made in the USA.
Also - I have never compared the Jolida 1501 RC mentioned by fortheloveofgod, but I've heard some good things.
Just my 2 cents - Good Luck Jim
I've owned an NAD356BEE for 3 yrs without problems. -Bullet proof, nice remote, lots of SE inputs, powers my old Vandy 2CE's without strain in my L/R system and cheap. -Doubt you want MC phono inputs, but available as an add on. Earned a product of the year award from one of the rags. What's more to want? Spend the extra $ on decent wire.
Audionuttz, so good to hear from you! It’s been a long while. For me more about 2 kids ago :)
Those rosewood speakers sold me on the sound and each time I get an opportunity to listed to mine it puts a smile on my face. I am sure your new setup is fantastic. I still have a Sudden CD player that I was sure would die before my Sugden integrated.
I am returning to this audio none sense and look forward to getting my gear this year.