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Didn't know any VAC was available anywhere near 6k, sweet
I'd audition the class A Luxman and the solid state Luxman for full featured amps, the Audio Research or CJ if you like tubes. I know all those well and any would make a strong man weep if matched to your speakers.
People rave about the Diavalet, but I haven't heard those
As already pointed out it depends on what your speakers are. If you have relatively efficient speakers(and easy load characteristics) I'd strongly consider the Coincident 845 Turbo amplifier. For more information there's a current review on 6 Moons.com. A 845 SET amplifier is terrific for your musical taste. The sound is exceptionally natural and realistic. The direction is music reproduction more so than hifi emphasis.
No offense to anyone on this thread or any amp I mention, YMMV and speaker selection matters immensely. I've owned some great integrateds, they were all terrific in their own right but....the VAC Avatar was really nice...a really fine el34 integrated with a decent phono stage. The 160 was also nice and ditto the phono stage. The suggestion of the McIntosh 2275, again, no offense intended, but that amp is troubling. It looks cool but it is NOT a great amp....just merely good. I'd take an Avatar 10 times out of 10. I like the Audio Research VSI75 better than all lf the aforementioned, even the VAC 160i. If you can live without the phono stage, I find the VSI75 to have significantly more snap and quite a bit more texture without any grain. Probably just the difference between kt88's and kt120's. The best integrated Ive ever owned, and I regret selling it, was the Nagra 300b integrated.
Ghasley/Erasto-Unless someone is in financial distress a properly working ARC VSi 75 or VAC 160i cannot be found for <6k. I mentioned the MAC-MA2275 because this is the best tube int. I have heard at $4500 (retail when new). Mastersound(Italy) and Audio Space(China)make some highly acclaimed units that fit into the specified $$$ point, but I have not heard them. The ARC VSi 55 fits(price point) but IMO the MAC MA2275 is the more musical(tube like) of the two. I would sacrifice some detail/resolution of the ARC for the build quality and resale value of the MAC.
Dayglow, you are correct about the Audio Research VSI75 and VAC 160 being above the price point mentioned when new however I have seen both listed for sale here on Audiogon near $6,000 from time to time. The ARC VSI60 is probably the amp to consider as the VSI55 has been out of production for a while and was nowhere near the performance of the 60. Of course the VSI75 is extraordinary and frankly gets real close to the reference series performance. Now to the Mac....the retail was $6,500 when new if I recall but used is much lower....it would be a reasonable value at $2,500 used but it is sloppy and muddy in its presentation, no offense intended. The Mastersound amp are really cool and very tubey if you enjoy the euphonic presentation they so wonderfully reproduce.....love the Italians.
If you must buy the Mac 2275, do not expect the amp to perform like the 275 amp which is terrific. I have owned two 2275's because I totally loved the look, the sound just didnt live up to the look.
In re ARC...I once owned a new ARC vsi55 & it was disappointing as it wasn't refined or resolving. Can't imagine the vsi60 is much different. Gutsy yes but not quite 20/20 vision. Always wanted to try a VAC avatar. The best sounding integrated I owned was the Cary SLI-80 F-1 which was really nice in triode but occasionally had tube or reliability issues. Once demoed a MAC 6900 locally & couldn't get it back to the store fast enough. good luck
In re ARC...I once owned a new ARC vsi55 & it was disappointing as it wasn't refined or resolving."
I would agree with that. They tried to do too much for too little money. Its hard to build a good tube preamp for what that thing sold for, let alone an integrated.
Didn't know any VAC was available anywhere near 6k, sweet"
If you don't need an integrated, the PA series amps come up every so often, for far less than 6k. And they're powerful enough to drive a good range of speakers.
In my opinion the Korsun v8i with Emanation Audio power cord Pro 600 and an internal wire with Emanation audio gold the best I have ever heard from a cheap integrated amp! This amp built by Mark Levinson for $2850,but with these cables the sound are simply stunning! 2x250w AB mode more than enough for any speakers in the world.
Like as I said before this is my opinion for the best integrated amp under 6k! And yes this is the best integrated amp under 6k.
Answer your question before i had the Bedini 150 MkII, Bedini 25/25 1 Meg,1 with Bedini 800 preamp, 1 pair of Kora Cosmos with Eclipse preamp and now I have a pair of Odyssey Stratos extreme se glass ceiling amps.These are ss and tube amps not integrated,but they sounds so wonderful. yes I had a couple amps under my questions in my threads!
The Korsun v8 (Mark Levinson type not the late model)with Emanation audio power cable and internal wire the sound is simply better than those amps.It`s just better than anything that I heard before. The problem is the guy who want it to sell on internet he change he`s mind so I keep my amps before sell it:-(
I hope you got my answer..?