Can I use an 'Integrated Amp' as just an Amp?

This question comes up because my complex Speaker setup (Infinity RS-1B) seems to require me to go out and buy a separate preamp to feed into the crossover, and then separate 2-channel amps for treble and bass speaker towers. So, for those who haven't seen them, there are a total of four towers, and you supposedly need a minimum of two 2-channel amps to power the setup properly.

I have a decent 2-channel integrated amp and I think I can use that on one set of the towers. (For the other set I have a 2-channel SS amp that is getting some minor repair).

The Integrated is an Arcam with a "direct" button which I think knocks out most or all of the pre-amp functions. I've always loved this button, if only just for access to some attempt at simplifying my electronic path and sound.

Furthermore, if I do go out and buy a 2-channel amp, some of the ones I see that I want to consider are actually "integrated" amps that have many preamp functions. For example, I'd like to consider some of Jolida's Integrated Amps (which they seem confusingly to call just plain "amps" sometimes), and then if someday I want to use them in a simpler system I could.

But I don't want to buy a nice Integrated Amp for this project only to find that it's not appopriate to use for something like this. (This is all aside from the Infinity Phase-Inversion-concern wierdness that goes with these speakers).
If the integrated amp has L-R amp-in jacks to accommodate a preamp, then yes.
Back in the day, some integrateds used "U" shaped metal connectors to tie the amp and preamp together. These were rca jacks on the rear. That's a long shot, and you probably would have figured that out anyway, but just in case ...
The Integrated that I already own does not have amp-in jacks nor the sort of u-shaped connector you describe.

However, generally I will just pretend that one of the 'in' jacks (such as tape or CD or tuner) is from a pre-amp. Voila, I have my pre-amp in. One could do this with virtually any integrated, so the question arises... will this hurt anything (except the sound quality)?

Now, on other amps I am considering, they may have these amp-in jacks, so they may be more accomodating to this sort of abuse.


Which Arcam Integrated do you own? Many of the Arcams have an HT bypass/processor loop, which when engaged passes the signal through without being affected by the pre-amp circuit at all.

Also, some integrated amps have passive pre-amps and you could simply use one of the regular inputs and turn the volume all the way up. This would "practically" be a power amp as the passive pre-amp is simply the volume control potentiometer. BTW, if you are considering the Jolidas, look at the Cayin TA-30 (it is "killer" in its price range). I'm currently using one as a power-amp (I have the volume turned all the way up) as my CD player has analog domain volume control and it it controlled by the remote. This setup allows me remote volume control in a system that has an amp that doesn't have remote.


Thanks for the interesting answers. I have a Delta 90.2 Arcam 2-Channel Integrated Amp. I can't recall if it's late 80s or early 90s. It has no remote, and is 70 wpc. Overall, I've been quite pleased with it. It has a "direct" button which I think may sort of be what you're referring to.

In the past, I've often had that button engaged in an effort to keep my sound "simple" but have really enjoyed being able to disengage it to play with the sound and L-R balance a little when I want.

If I buy another integrated, rather than a regular amp, I guess I'll keep an eye out for the passive preamp angle on things.