Considering an integrated


 

I’ve been thinking about downsizing my system but am concerned about SQ. I would like to get an all in one integrated (or receiver). New or (slightly) used, tube or SS. It would need a built in phono section (LOMC) and a headphone amp/ jack. I have a budget of maybe up to $10k  but would consider going higher if need be. I want to part with everything but my speakers (Zu Def 4), TT and CD player. Obviously I don’t need much power. My concern is mainly the phono section. Sound now is glorious with virtually no ticks or pops. Do you think it’s possible to achieve the same (or better) SQ with a built in phono stage?  

Current setup;

Art Audio Carissa (16 wpc)

Art Audio dm- vps

Art Audio Vinyl One


markpao
Hegel 390 comes to mind.
I'd keep the phono stage and get an integrated without one.  You might find an integrated/receiver with with a "very good" phono stage, but it'll only be "very good" for a built in phono stage, probably won't be good compared with your standalone phono pre.
@markpao,

I'm not a TT or tube user, so unable to provide input on your question regarding phono stage issues.

My only input is to be careful if considering a move from tubes to SS, or vice versa. If you have developed a strong liking for one, then perhaps you should stay within that group. Develop your short list and compare.

Nice budget, by the way. Have lots of options. Happy hunting!
many many great integrateds out there

finding one with a really good lomc phono stage built in significantly narrows the field... maybe to zero...
We are gonna pretend "receiver" was a joke. As otherwise hard enough to take seriously wanting all that in one box and sound good, but throw in receiver, clearly you cannot be serious.  

vinylzone is on the right track. Once you have gotten used to the quality of a standalone phono stage it is all but impossible to find anything on a card inside an amp to do anything but disappoint. 

Only real advice I can give, you are right to be concerned about sound quality. Your best bet in your situation will be to keep the phono stage, sell the pre and power amps and buy a Raven Osprey. I would say Reflection but I haven't got mine yet there is a wait list and I am not about to encourage the competition.
Luxman 590AX II. This is an end-game product!
@millercarbon -- Sure I'm comparing my just-declared-obsolete Mytek Brooklyn Bridge's moving coil input with a so-old-they've-discovered-them-in-cave-dwellings Moon LP3 dedicated phono stage, but the Mytek makes the Moon come off as tubby, dead and two-dimensional.
@jeffreyw +1 on Luxman 590 AXII. I have one, it drives anything without breaking a sweat and never getting unruly.

Pass Labs INT-60 is another great contender - tube-like but with dynamics and slam like there's no tomorrow.

Both options take the speaker specs out of the picture. Low sensitivity, medium sensitivity, high sensitivity, any impedance, whatever -- these two amps will drive anything with aplomb and finesse. 

Raven Blackhawk or Osprey are also great choices as long as you stick with high sensitivity speakers. If you're going down this path, consider Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III and Quicksilver integrated amps as well.
Grab a Sugden Signature a21se pure class A. No headphone amp or phono stage, however you can order one with phono. You can add in a headphone amp of your choice, connected to the tape out/fixed out. A bargain at $3250. Then you can save your money and buy more records....as far as a headphone amp goes, I'd highly recommend a Graham slee novo. It's one of the only amps with a daisy chained output. Useful as it allows you to connect something in between the headphone amp and preamp/integrated, such as a tape deck. 
@millercarbon -- Sure I'm comparing my just-declared-obsolete Mytek Brooklyn Bridge's moving coil input with a so-old-they've-discovered-them-in-cave-dwellings Moon LP3 dedicated phono stage, but the Mytek makes the Moon come off as tubby, dead and two-dimensional.

Excellent example. Or would be if the OP was using stone knives and bear skins.
https://youtu.be/5u-gLR3etLY?t=80
The answer to your dreams OutLaw RR2160. Made in USA , HD FM , $800 and Stereophile magazine raves about it. you can thank me later. Regards
https://www.atelier13-usa.com/audio-hungary-qualiton

Qualiton X200 by Audio Hungary will have mine here on Thursday. 
+1 @arafiq on the Quicksilver Integrated have one in my office pushing Klipsch RP600M and it sounds awesome Qualitron X200 is going in the Reference System on Thursday. 
If I was you I'd keep the phono pre that is proven and get a ANV-50.
But you have to do whatever YOU want.
I doubt you will find a built in phono stage that good but some are quite good an accuphase integrated would be a good choice and they have built in discrete phono cards that are quite good by any standard.
I think you should put the Luxman LX-380 (link below) on your audition list. I have had a number of phono preamps in the past including the Art Audio Vinyl One. Currently using a Luxman CL-38uC with built in phono stage, and no issue in that it is as good as the Art Audio maybe better (I didn't have them both at the same time) with some vintage Luxman tube amps.

My system is posted of you want to see it.

http://www.luxman.com/product/detail.php?id=16
I have an Octave V80 SE integrated with a Super Black Box with built-in MC phono stage and it is one fantastic amp! It takes time for break-in, but the sound is incredible! I’m using it to power Dynaudio Heritage Special speakers. My source is a Rega P10 with the Apheta3 cartridge. I have higher-end Audioquest cabling and a Niagara 5k. Soundstage is unbelievable and the background is super quiet. I couldn’t recommend this integrated more! 
NAD M33 has both types of phono outputs and headphone amp.  Amazing sound, but since I’m all streaming I can’t speak to the phono quality.  Headphone is decent but my phones are easy to drive.  Pretty sure separate phono drive is in your future.  For just streaming sound don’t think you can do much better, love mine, so do the reviewers.
Look at the Hegel H190 as well. Keep your phono front end, the 190 has a DAC, phones jack and plenty of smooth power for your setup. 4K new. Keep in mind, as you go up the food chain most integrateds loss the extras, or it’s crazy expensive to add the dac and phono stages. Another one to look at is the Gryphon Diablo 120. Has a phono option, as well as DAC option. You can find them used around 7-9k depending on options installed. No phone jack though. (I don’t think)
@earlflynn -- I had been considering a Qualiton to replace my Blackhawk for a few months. Almost pulled the trigger on the a50i, until Uncle Sam hit me with an unexpected tax bill :(

I was not even aware of the X200 model. Sounds like it will actually be a better fit for my home office. Please share your impressions once you get it. I hope to get one in a couple of months.
PASS LABS. Worth the extra $$$. It would most likely be the last amp you'd ever buy or need. I agree also; - - -  keep your TT setup, and save some bucks and consider one of the SCHIIT head phone preamps. Well recommended by GRADO. 
Lots of good recommendations. I’ll add to the Luxman choice. I have the 590AXII and the MC phono section blew me away. Although a great separate pre is going to sound better, I’d say you’d have to spend quite a bit to really surpass the built-in Luxman. 
I'm running a Linn Selekt DSM (2-channel, Catalyst DAC version) in my living room and am very happy with that. Good MC and MM phono amp, 8K€ price range. I'd suggest adding it to you longlist.
Norma has two amps that get a lot of good press.
Line Magnetic 845 Premium
Just to add a more rare alternative,  Moonriver 404 ref. Should work well with Zu but lacks headphone amp. You need to buy a separate.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/moonriver-404-reference-integrated-amplifier
Well this is just my experience. I have had some integrated amps valve and SS and not been very impressed, they all had problems of some kind. That is until I bought a Frank pram stereo 30 from 1961, it’s an EL84 push pull ultra-linear design . It is only 15 Watts per channel and the cost was less than £1000 though I have seen one since advertised at $2400. I was truly surprised at the sound quality and it’s ability to fill the room at quite modest volume levels. I have used it through my B&O speakers and through a pair of home made speakers and although different they both sounded very good. The B&O sounded best to my taste. So there are good integrated amps out there, how you find which ones is the real problem. https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/frank-pram-30-watts-ultra-linear-stereo-tube-amplifier?highlight=Frank%2Bpram
jutish you are brave for mentioning McIntosh. I agree the MA5300 is a great amp and I had one. Most folks around here do not care for Mc but I do and own a great setup with separates. 
Parasound Halo. I've got 2 of them. Two phono inputs MM & MC with 100 Ω or 47k Ω loadGreat bang for the bucks


Preamp and DAC Features
  • Latest generation ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC (ES9018K2M)
  • Asynchronous USB 2.0 supports PCM up to 384kHz/32-bit
  • USB input decodes Native DSD64, DSD128, DSD256 and DoP DSD
  • Windows USB drivers for ASIO & WASAPI - Download here
  • Mac OS does not require any drivers
  • Coax and optical accept PCM up to 192kHz/24-bit
  • Analog bass management with high & low pass crossovers
  • Home theater bypass input for surround sound integration
  • Front panel subwoofer level control
  • Dedicated high current headphone amplifier (TI TPA6120)
  • Phono for MM & MC with 100 Ω or 47k Ω load
  • Front panel Aux input with automatic +12 dB gain stage
  • 5 pairs RCA line level Analog inputs
  • 1 pair XLR balanced Analog input
  • Balanced XLR and RCA left and right preamp outputs
  • 1 balanced XLR and 2 RCA subwoofer outputs
  • Bass & treble controls with relay bypass from remote or front panel
  • Rear panel IR input and IR loop output jacks
  • 12 Volt input and output to triggers
  • Back-lit remote control with discrete buttons
  • 0.5w standby power consumption meets Energy Star & EU specs
Power Amp Features
  • 160 Watts x 2 @ 8 Ohms (RMS, both channels driven)
  • 240 Watts x 2 @ 4 Ohms (RMS, both channels driven)
  • Power amp circuit topology designed by legendary John Curl
  • Direct amplifier input to bypass preamp section
  • High bias class A/AB operation
  • Oversized shielded toroid power transformer
  • Dual-mono power supply and power amplifier
  • 40,000uF power supply filter capacitance
  • Matched JFET input stages and MOSFET driver stages
  • 12 high voltage/high current bipolar output transistors
  • Heavy-duty 24k gold-plated 5-way speaker binding posts
  • Over temp and short circuit relay protection


You are getting as many opinions as posts. I won't recommend anything specific, but I do subscribe to the separate phono stage option. There are some good full function preamps out there with built in phono stages, but very few integrateds that I can think of with a phono section as good as yours. I have the K&K Maxxed Out which is the same thing as the Art Audio Vinyl Reference, so I have some idea how good your Vinyl 1 is. If spinning records are important to you, don't settle on a one box solution. Get a good tube integrated amp and keep your phono stage.

The Music Room has an Art Audio integrated amp right now, although it's a little more than you wanted to spend. It might be just the ticket.

Oz


Do some research on a Lejonklou Boazu integrated.  No inbuilt phono, but a very simple design of solid state.  I have replaced my Leben tube integrated with this, and am very happy.
Good luck.
So many good integrateds around up to $10,000. I will suggest the one which I own. It was mentioned several times here. Luxman L-590AXII. It's an endgame amp to me.

The Pass Labs INT-60 or 250 or 25 are said to be excellent as well.


Lejonklou, I have their phono pre and love it.

a lot of info in this thread. Audition, audition, audition.

opinions are rampant here, remember what they are like.

Haven't read this entire thread but here's my two cents:

I agree with millercarbon on this: unless you listen to a lot of FM or AM radio, forget the receiver idea!  Actually, just forget about the receiver idea.

I tend to recommend only components I've had personal experience with and have impressed.  I'm not familiar with Art Audio stuff but you seem to be a devotee.  Perhaps you should see and hear what they might have to offer?

JJSS49 is right, of course.  There are many choices in the 10K range.  Here are several considerably less expensive choices that I've done hours of serious seat-time with and have thoroughly enjoyed:  Simaudio Moon Neo 340 IX; McIntosh MA5300; Luxman (forgot model number); Musical Fidelity M6si.  The Simaudio is kind of a modular approach that increases in price as you build into it what you want.  This one might interest you more than the others.  It has a great power supply; easily more than enough to make your speakers sing!  Haven't heard the Moon 600i V2 or the Moon 700i V2.  However, judging from my experience with the Neo 340 IX, I wouldn't hesitate to put those on the list of contenders.  Haven't heard the McIntosh MA7200, either.  However, this is another one I wouldn't hesitate to put on my list of contenders, perhaps with the upgraded DA2 DAC.  Depending upon what part of the planet you live on, you might want to go out & have a serious listen to the Gryphon Diablo 300 or Diablo 120 if you can find these anywhere close. I haven't heard either one but have done a fair amount of reading about these two.  I'd sure love to have a serious listen!

Generally speaking, dedicated (MC or MM; not both) outboard phono stages tend to outperform circuitry like that built into integrated amps.  However, you might want to explore what the Simaudio and Gryphon Diablos have to offer along these lines.

"Virtually no ticks or pops" in your vinyl?  Interesting!  How have you managed that?  Ultrasonic LP cleaning machine?
A lot of good information here. 
"Virtually no ticks or pops"- yes ultrasonic cleaner. I'm sure my phono amp has a lot to do with it too. 
I want to be clear that I wont make this move without a built in phonostage & headphone amp. And I won't settle for lesser SQ. 
The Luxman L590AXII looks interesting. 

Accuphase 280.  You can add both a phono and and a DAC card.  Also, at the lower end of your budget, Yamaha A-S1200 or 2200.
You have gotten some great recommendations  but I would get the LAT Microzolt integrated at around $10k with their deluxe phono section.  Choose their Ultralinear or z40.  They are exceptional. 
Forgot that the LTA's have a fantastic headphone amp.
Did not realize that the bigger LTA amps included headphone capability as well as an optional step up TF based MC phono section.

I just tried to read the latest 6Moons review, but gave up after a couple of pages (wanted to know if he tried it with his ZU's).

Never made it all the way through Atlas Shrugged either (been trying for 50+ years), so the blame is on me.

DeKay
It depends if you want to use with TV as well as 2 channel stereo.  I like my ARCAM.

There are some great integrated amps out there. I can’t here a difference between integrated and separates.  Integrated amps have gotten a lot better,
I own an Aesthetix Mimas integrated and have both the DAC module and Phono module. I pair it with Vandersteen Treo CTs. The phono module is excellent, much better than the Sutherland 20/20 it replaced. I spoke with the designer, Jim Austin, and he told me if it were a standalone phono stage they would charge around $4,000. Since it was $1,200 that represents a bargain! I am using a VPI Classic and Soundsmith MIMC Star cartridge.

The Mimas is plenty powerful, rated at 150 watts a channel. Reviews have shown it closer to 180. It has two tubes in the pre stage, so you can roll to your hearts delight. The DAC is great too, so overall I'm very pleased. I think the integrated is $7,000 and the modules are $1200 each. So it meets your under $10K mark.
The previously mentioned Luxman and Accuphase products are outstanding and highly recommended.  Another product of the same caliber is from Balanced Audio Technology (BAT).  BAT is an ultra high quality product line for the discerning audiophile.  I have owned Luxman products, an entire stack of Accuphase components, and presently own BAT components.  These brands are all wonderful, top-flight products.  I have attached the link to the recently released model integrated amp from BAT.  I hope this helps.  Best to you on your quest.

VK-80i Integrated Amplifier — Balanced Audio Technology
another vote for Aesthetix and Jim White.....both the DAC and phono module are stellar
I just listened to the Synthesis A40 Virtus at Deja Vu Audio today it sounded phenomenal driving a pair of Audio Note AN-J's. 40 pushpull watts from a pair of KT66 tubes per channel. Plus a great sounding built in Dac, no phono stage however price was $6800.
Had I decided differently I would definitely put out a vote for Luxman.  In fact, they have just released a 95th anniversary integrated that would be to die for....only 300 though.....act fast.  And Class A.  Makes me wish for the alternate setup that this brings up.......