After further research , proly forgo the Rost and move right to the H90
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“Consolidated” might have been clearer and more accurate description than “collapse”. Integrated amplifiers are simpler, generally less expensive, uses less often costly cabling, takes up less space than separates. I’m still trying to figure out how/where to put my 2 audio racks while minimizing the ire of my not-so-understanding-of-high-end-audio-costs spouse.
Hegel has a reputation of good/great satisfying sonics at it’s price point so it’s a good choice. YMMV.
By all means audition the Hegel. I purchased a H360 integrated about a month ago. In my experience it has a neutral to slightly 'dark' leaning sound, if you will. Very smooth, nothing really stands out. Not exactly rolled off but certainly not bright. No fatigue at all so far. Plenty of power, enough to push my Maggie LRS into 90 dB without any strain. Also tried it with my old Snell type D and Gallo 3.1. Sounds nice with the Snells but not great with the Gallo for some reason. Might be a good match for the Focal which tend to be a little bright from what I've read (never had a pair in house). Let us know!
Agree with dave_b. Krell K300i . If you can demo side by side you will hear the difference. I went from separates too integrated. Sold my Hegal H190. Moved over to Krell Vanguard digital. The K300i sounds a little better than the Vanguard. None the less decided to keep the Vanguard and went with Krell Separates. The bottom line is that this is very subjective. IMO Hegal DAC is good but not great.
curlyhifi, would you kindly expand on your comment that "The K300i sounds a little better than the Vanguard"? I have the digital Vanguard now and am considering "upgrading" to the K300i. I wonder if it's enough "better" to justify the cost. For the record, I have not been especially happy with the Vanguard, especially factoring in its cost.
I just finally gave up the Vanguard Digital for the K 300i Digital. The K 300i is superior in several aspects. It has far more engaging tone, detail and dimensionality along with a bit more warmth that just makes everything sound that much more authentic and organic sounding. Instrument voicing is extremely realistic and bass pitch and definition are superb. The substantially lower noise floor is also evident on demanding source material...cleaner and purer. The DAC is world class and musical. Value is SOTA for $8k...that’s a bargain!
I tried Focal (1028be) with Hegel 190, but didn't like the sound at all. Be careful with Aria, if its top is similar like Electra (I know Aria doesn't have Be tweeter, but still...), not sure if it will be a good synergy.
Hegel has great amps, but with Focal sound was boring, flat, not musical at all, and I tried bunch of amps with that speaker.
Almost finished with the Demo on the Rost. Very impressive little 50W amp. I played music through it for 24 hours before I started listening. Very pleasing high quality sound from an entry level integrated. I used my Wadia 321 streaming (Qobuz, Roon on SGC ST , Bryston BDP Pi endpoint) and compared it directly with my Rogue Tube->Class D combo. Only knock on it was the bass on some recordings sounded a bit muddy but it could have just been my perception. I did compare the internal DAC with the Wadia and thought the Wadia produced a better sound stage and depth (As it should). Rost Didnt produce a bunch of heat either. Loved the solidly built remote, much better than the cheese plastic of the Rogue. Proly stay with my current setup but will be taking a hard look at the new H95. This Rost is on sale at ListenUp for ~$1.8K and would be worth consideration for anyone looking for an integrated priced <$2k.