OK, I have not vetted this list… from Bard.
Here is a list of some of the best class A integrated amplifiers on the market:
This is just a small sampling of the many great class A integrated amplifiers on the market. When choosing an amplifier, it is important to consider your budget, your needs, and your listening preferences.
While I understand your question. I would suggest you audiotion some tube amps. Since you are joining us old farts, lots of us moved to tubes in our old age because of the musicality and nuance of tubes. I would check out the Audio Research 1/50… if that floats your boat, there are a number of great tubed integrated amps around.. some not as romantic.
akg_ca I'm actually looking at a used Sugden Masterclass IA-4 on another site.
but also used Pass int-25 or int-60.
hdprentice great list for researching options, although features are not as much of a concern as I don't stream.
I've thought about trying tubes but many years ago I had a terrible experience at a dealer demo'ing B&W805s (Silver Anniversary Edition if memory serves) with Cary mono-blocks. What I recall was feeling that I didn't deserve to be punished like that! In fact, that demo convinced me to purchase the JAs unheard rather than the B&Ws which actually sounded quite nice at another dealer driven by Classe separates (circa mid 2000s equipment).
But I agree that musicality and nuance is what I'm looking for, and that I already have that to a degree. But because I have no basis for comparison I don't know if my system has already gotten me most of the way there without spending uber-bucks.
That said I have looked at the Triode Corp TRV-A300 and the Fezz Audio Ceti because I'm curious about the famous 300b experience. Unfortunately not only these but most others I can't audition due to the lack of dealers near me.
soix I lust for the the new JA Perspectives even though I've never heard them, but even used they are beyond my reach. Because of lack of experience with other products/systems, I don't know what I'm missing as far as 'improvements and sound characteristics'. I suppose maybe just 'better' or more of the sound that I already have is what I'm looking for.
I should also add that my listening space is long and narrow, with low ceiling approximately 10'x30' with listening position about 12' from speakers. Most sessions are at 65 to 70 dBs with peaks to 80 dBs as measured by free app on my phone. I know, hardly an audiophile or instrument quality setup but it does serve as a reference point.
I hear ya on the Perspectives, but used Pulsars can be had for around $3500 that’d surely be a very nice upgrade, and you’ve already got the stands. Anyway, you did yourself a big favor picking JAs over B&Ws IMHO, and I’m very familiar with both. Here’s a very nice hybrid integrated with tubed preamp stage and MOSFET solid state output stage with plenty of power, is in your price range, and could yield a best of both worlds situation with your wonderful speakers. I’d be shocked if this amp didn’t offer just more of everything, and you can also play with tubes to custom tailor the sound to your liking if you desire. Just another option to chew on FWIW, and best of luck.
I would jump on used pulsars at that price but the lowest price I've seen is $5k. Were that the case I'd wait on a new amp having spent this allocation on the speaker upgrade!
I thought about hybrids and the best of both worlds scenario, even considered a heaven 11 billie just to see if like the sound but that is a class D output stage. Not that I have anything against class D its just that I've never heard one. I'm just trying to take things one step at a time by changing only one variable at a time.
I have the impression that my I5 mates well with the JAs because of the relatively high peak current the BJTs can deliver for such a modestly rated amp: per the manual 16A peak (which is ridiculous for an amp rated @70 Watt RMS into 8 ohms). I believe that is the 'secret sauce' where dynamic drivers are concerned.
you have quite a good system already, joseph rm7 sigs are an excellent standmount monitor
my suggestions to improve your sonics would be
a) add one or a pair of rel subs t7i/x or t9i/x -- the sonic benefit will be substantial, even using your current i-5 amp
b) amp wise, i suggest a pass int60 (int25 may not be enough juice) or a hegel h390 or 590 (not class a, but sounds as good/better)
have fun, enjoy!
Your speakers are tube friendly
You might consider a Jadis integrated amp, Orchestra, I 35 or I 50, they are all within your budget, used, if you decide on bigger model. The tubes for them (El 34, KT 88 or 6550) are not expensive and are still available from european or chinese producers. Point to point wiring, made to last lifetime and nothing but praise from people who have them. With music that you listen, that might be a winner. Try to hear it somewhere
I’’m guessing those are Pulsar 2s at $5k, and my impression is the upgrade from the initial version of the Pulsars isn’t as significant as it is with the Perspectives. You already have a very good integrated, and if I’m you I’d absolutely wait for an original pair of Pulsars to come available — and they do occasionally show up for $3k-$3.5k — as I think that’d make for a MUCH bigger upgrade in absolute terms than upgrading the amp for your RM7s. This one’s a no brainer to me. Again, FWIW.
+1 for the Krell, I owned a Coda CSiB, Prima Luna Evo 400 integrated and was able to audition the Krell 300i. The Coda and Krell were outstanding. There was something really special about the Krell. I ended up getting the stand alone amps Krell 300xd Duo because of how blown away I was by the 300i. If you are looking for true class A amplification Krell is really hard to beat, the CSiB also does Class A but then shifts to A/B. Coda is an awesome piece as well, if you find one used, tremendous value, build quality is fantastic. Luxman gets high marks and makes some true class A amplification along with Pass, both seem to be a bit more polarizing, people either love their house sound or some don’t. Honestly haven’t heard anyone that doesn’t like the Krell.
I don’t believe Hegel makes a class A integrated amp. My H390 is class A/B as I believe are all the H models.
Having Said that, I am very happy with the neutral/slightly warm sound I get from the H390.😀
When it came time to replace my 25 year old CJ PV 5 & Solid state amp combo a few years back, I lusted after an Ayre EX-8. As my wife let me know that was out of the question, I settled on a Luxman L-550AXII.
ive continue to be quite happy with the choice. It has a bit of the richness and depth I associate with tubes, without the loss of resolution. It’s a polar opposite of the plastic 2d sound of class d. the build is superb. Every day, after listening to much more expensive gear at work. I go home and enjoy the Luxman. At the time, I considered the 590ax II, but the president of Luxman America convinced me the power of the 550 was more than adequate for my 91db speakers. As I’ve heard it driving much more difficult loads, I do not doubt it would be good enough for the Joseph’s. It has far more current capability than the Pass, for example. While it doesn’t match the Ayre for detail, at 60% of the price, it is always enjoyable. The phono section is quite good, as a bonus!
i am a pass owner and big fan
but i think there would be many who would argue with the feelings expressed above, both on the question of value for $ as well as sonic differences vs luxman
Thanks all for sharing your thoughts. The suggestions to move up the JA line have always been on my mind and is something that I aspire to. Used JAs are fairly rare and I'm patient.
I should note that I'm not looking to replace the I5 but to try new amps in order to explore how the JAs sound with other amps. The I5/RM7 sig combo has been with me 20+ yrs, it's not going anywhere and is my point of reference (sure there are much better systems but also much worse).
Suggestions have been made to add a subs but I think they might overpower my space and I don't really have good placement options for them anyway. More powerful amps have been suggested, but for my listening levels I don't feel that I really need more raw power. If that were the case, I'd probably move up the Sim Audio line because I do like that house sound.
The rational is that I rarely exceed 32 on the volume setting which is .1 dB steps from 0-37 and .5 dB steps from 38-51. And most of the time volume is set from 24 to 30. Given that the I5 is rated for 70W with Class A operation for the first 5W, I'm guessing that for those levels, the I5 is delivering somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 40 watts. Of Class A/B power. So what would 30W of pure Class A sound like? I'm dying to find out...
Lastly JA owners, are you out there?
I respectfully disagree with this. I think adding two small subs could be revelatory to your listening experience. An example would be a pair of SVS SB1000 Pro subs that measure only about 13” square yet still get down to an honest 20Hz (-3dB) and include DSP integration software that makes them relatively easy to seamlessly blend them with your speakers and room, and a pair will only set you back $1150. Plus, and very importantly, subs are not only about bass — not by a long shot. Properly integrated subs will greatly enhance both 3D imaging and greatly expand the soundstage in addition to providing more dynamics and better bass overall. SVS offers a 45-day, risk-free trial period (including shipping both ways) and I’d highly recommend checking them out. Even if you upgrade to something like Pulsars in the future you’ll wanna keep the subs. Just something else to chew on FWIW.
as @soix commented, properly integrated and implemented, adding subs will be the impactful change to your system (i suggest smaller rel's)... they will not overpower your room but they will make the sound truly wonderful, full range, with a vastly expanded sense of space and dimensionality
int30a is based on the older gen xa30.5 power amp whereas int25 is based on the newer xa25 power amp... both integrateds have slightly less headroom than the power amps on which they are based (but still plenty for higher efficiency speakers used in medium/smaller rooms) -- the 30 will sound slightly sweeter more rounded, whereas 25 will sound a little sharper more direct more matter-of-fact
After replacing the 40 year old Quad amp in my system two years ago with an Audio Note pure Class A integrated, I have never gone back. I listen to exactly the same music you do, but on Quad ESL-57s, also over 40 years old. After two years, I am still enjoying finding new and wonderful things in my records and CDs I have been listening to for ages. Can't imagine better clarity, openness, or the feeling of being right there in front of live musicians. Highly recommended!
They all can work, but given your space/placement constraints I’d lean toward sealed subs that tend to be smaller (and potentially quicker) and that include DSP to help with integration. I’ll reiterate my prior suggestion for the SVS SB1000 Pro subs with a completely risk-free trial period. Why not??? At the very least you’ll come away with valuable experience and maybe even a new perspective. That said, I’d still strongly consider waiting for a nice pair of original Pulsars to come up for sale although that doesn’t preclude you from trying subs in the meantime.
+1 "Plus, and very importantly, subs are not only about bass — not by a long shot. Properly integrated subs will greatly enhance both 3D imaging and greatly expand the soundstage in addition to providing more dynamics and better bass overall."
Seems to be a very common misconception that adding subs is about power, whereas it is actually about finesse.
EAR 834 and 8L6 are push pull class A tube amps that a very musical sounding an new, are affordably priced around $6750. Both are 50 watts and play well into most speakers (not those with multiple really big woofers with low impedances based on my experience with Legscy Focus but great with Legacy Signature IIIs). Even sweeter is the EAR 899 (discontinued) with 70 watts using a kinkless tetrode K90 tube configuration (or KT88 if one prefers, which I do and own a pair of 890s).