Audio Note Kondo Ongaku !!
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Unison Rsearch SINFONIA, it is just out and has kicked out the Audiomat opera from my system. It has a level of refinement that is mind blowing, after all it is a single ended design with 27 watts of power.
I have had the Oera and Roland Concerto in my system and have heard the Musical Fidelity in a similar system.
The SINFONIA has bettered everything but even much pricier separates i have had in my system as well.
It has just been awarded the reference status from the French magazine HAUTE FIDELITE, that gives a warning to the OPERA in that review, and they are right.
I have only one source and it is vinyl. Michell ORbe, Graham 2.2, Benz Ruby 3, Aesthetix Rhea.
It IS unbelivable to think this integrated can bring out all the differences that source can bring and it only costs a little more than my cartridge and tonearm cable.
It's price does not represent the quality of the sound you get and in my case it has saved me some hard earned money by putting some back in my pocket.
Only one thing to keep in mind and that is to change the tubes when you will get it because i think Unison was really smart with putting some inexpensive tubes in it and let you change them for the ones you like, the reason is to save you money i believe by selling it cheaper. For example if they had spent more money on the tubes then the distributor and the retail store would have added a profit on top and for about 300$ 0r 400$ you could spend on tubes it could have cost you 1000$ to 1500$ for the same ones in the Sinfonia if it was delivered with them.
PS: i am not a dealer and i do not have one for sale, in fact i am waiting for mine and i have the demo from the store until mine gets here.
Ive just recieved my Qinpu A-8000 MkII.I thought my Jolida JD-300b sounded good with my Tyler PD-30s.Well the Qinpu not only took it to another level,it took it out of orbit! I dont believe you can touch this amp at its price!I thought I was happy with the PD-30s before....Im like a pig in sh-- Wow!
The "best" integrated amp ... the one I have now, as this is it ... no more after this one. I want to go out, er ... "get out," thinking that I couldn't have done any better, given desired and necessary limitations, of course!
Almarro A318B ... hooked up to a new (August 06) Lector 0.6T via Guerrilla silver ICs, and Cain SuperAbbys w/one Bailey via DHLabs double-runs of 14 ga. I'm totally pleased, more than at any time in recent memory ... for a lot less money.
I'm borrowing a friend's Densen DM-10 solid state integrated. 75 wpc into 8 ohms, 80,000mf of capacitance. Great unit with absolutely black background, laser imaging, and oustanding resolution. Sounds like tubes to me, although the amp is extremely revealing of components upstream and of wire. There have been excellent reviews of this integrated over the years, and it certainly impresses me.
I'd say it'd be a great match with speakers that are a bit laid back and have forgiving tweeters.
I can't say it's the best integrated of all time, but it nearly equals the performance of my separates costing 6 times as much.
From a brief listen, I suspect the ASR Emitter is the best and so it should be at the price. I think I am using 2 of the best at the moment Lavardin IT
Viva Solista 845SET
I am about to take delivery of another top pick, a Karan K180, which is going to replace the IT, I need a bit more output, the only drawback of the IT
The best two I've used (and still own) are: (below)
after owning all of these integrateds:
Creek 4___ series
vintage tubes like H.H. Scott 299, 222, Fisher
and listening to others:
Cary SLI, VAC Avatar, ARC integrated, CJ 55, Rowland Concentra
...an all-original 12-watt Sugden A21 and Cary CAD-300sei with original Cetron 300Bs. Nothing beats these two in what integrated amps are needed for (less complication. more music, less audiophilia) given sympathetic speakers.
Also one of the best that I've heard but could not own: Audio Note Ongaku
The Ars Sonum Filaharmonia is the most suprisingly good amplifier (integrated or separate) I have ever heard. With only 30 Watt (25 Class A)it is limited to 89db or higher speakers with benign impedance loads. With the Merlin VSMs it sounds very competitive with my Joule/CAT separates (with the Merlins).
Sansui c-2301 http://www.thevintageknob.org/THEVAULT/C2301/C2301.html
One look inside this 85 pound beast says it all.
Check this out.http://www.review33.com/avforum/forum_message.php?topic=21060118192923&page=24
Scroll down the page for beautiful pictures,
Sansui Japan was not half stepp'in when they made these.
If not #1, these have to be in top 5 best ever IMHO.
I heard one and any true music lover will be be blown away by its power and the sound,You will hear the difference from the first note.
Plinius, Krell and Classe all make sweet integrated amps. This Sansui is in a league by itself.
The parts used at this time in this Sansui piece are said to be the finest available at the time.
Find one ever? I doubt it,people never part with these.You never see one on Audiogon or e-bay ever.
That in itself speaks volumes on the quality of this Vintage piece.The above listed are available all the time.So either they don't satisfy or the just can't cut it.The Best of the Best you never see for sale, when You own the best Your search is over.Accuphase made some greats as did Luxman Japan, there is a difference.Don't believe me,check Luxman Japan you will see the dope amplifiers that the U.S. will never see.The Japanese keep the Best, and send us the cheap stuff. Compare Japan made to Taiwan made again it is obvious one is made to last, the other is disposable.Sony E.S. Japan
same thing, they keep the best in Japan the versions we get are cheap imitations of the Japan version with only the best parts used.
I'll nominate my trusty Luxman L-5 which was purchased in the 70s. I am still using it 30 years later to drive my surround sound speakers on SACD. Sounds amazingly good and seems to be missing that 70s SS sound (which is why I bought it in the first place).
The woofer surrounds are good. I had them redone at some point. The only problem is there's a three way switch on the back for the tweeter. Extended - Normal - Reduced. With one of the speakers only extended works. Is this a crossover problem or a switch problem? Any suggestion on how to repair this? I think the only way to get inside is by removing the woofer. With a digital source extended is not good as you might imagine.