I have a Rotel reciever as amplification for my system, but would like to upgrade to an integrated amp. One reason for this is that I don't listen to my radio. But the other reason is that I've been lead to believe that an integrated amp will sound better than a receiver. Is this necessarily so? How might having a tuner in the same chassis affect the sound quality of the amp? For example, would a Rotel integrated amp sound better than a Rotel receiver?
Rosedanny - I've benefitted from some posts you had placed previously. Hope I can return the favor. I think Bob_reynolds response gets to the heart of the matter.
FWIW - I'd been running a Yamaha R1000 receiver (from the early '80s) for many years. New it cost me close to $1K US. Well-regarded in its day - though not megabucks high end, obviously. Went to an entry level integrated tube amp (JoLida 502B) a few years ago for similar money and couldn't be happier. Actually, I probably could be happier but that will take some additional money that isn't in the current budget. So, my long-winded point to you is that for an equal spend, an integrated can do you better than a receiver.
If you have a receiver and an integrated at the same price point, hopefully, the cost of the tuner is used for better parts in the integrated and it will sound better. However, design is as important as "parts". Therefore, an integrated may or may not be better than a receiver at the same price point. I think the reality is that the integrated will be better than the receiver, but it doesn't have to be this way.
If you're headed where I think you are... consider this as a better solution, though perhaps a longer path... buy an amp instead of an integrated, and use the Receiver as a preamp.
Unless of course you need 'now' more so than perhaps 'better' or at least more flexible, down the road. Or simply a second system. Naturally if concerns for some degree of immediacy, or budget are in play an integrated can serve very well. The above posts, and Bob's in particular point out the obvious differences between receivers and integrateds at the same price points, generally speaking of course.
Are you considering a tube int? Solid state? have you thought about your plans long term?
I've wanted a real nice integrated for some time, yet receivers always are attractive to me as they possess greater bang for the buck usually. that and the facct I've a fair 2 ch system too play a part for my decision making.
Again, a very good path for a very good 2 ch system can be had by attaining a nice int. I would caution against taking a sideways step in either direction though.
I've a penchant for trying to move up the food chain in audio when the mood or opportunity presents itself. having flexibility for future moves is also a big deal for me.
Hey thanks to you all! What you've all said makes sense to me and helps to clarify things. If I'm understanding you, an integrated amp would produce better sound, provided I move up rather than sideways as Blindjim says. I'm considering mostly solid state, but might be swayed to tubes. Here's the list so far: Creek, Rogue, Luxman, Bryston, Arcam, Rega . . . still narrowing down. I want one with a phono stage, around 100 watts per (SS), and two sets of speaker posts. Any suggestions of an integrated that would gell with my existing set up would be appreciated. What integrated do you have, Saki70?
All things being equal, an integrated will sound better than a receiver because there is less components in one box resulting in less interference between components. Not to mention a receiver's tuner, preamp & amp all share the same power supply. Along those lines of thinking than separates will sound the best.
I took my own advice last night just to see what sort of difference (s) sonically speaking could be determined by using a receiver as a preamp and replaced my tube preamp with my latest HT RECEIVER Onkyo's TX SR805.
I hooked everything I checked via RCA and did not use the processor functions. Hooked both mono blocks and the sub up and defeated the subs x over network using only the receivers default settings for it, and no other adjustments... defaults all around.
I didn't have many lengthy cables laying about so I used my Art Audio IC3 1.5m pair as main IC... $120 new. I was forced to use my current power cords as they would have been in play anyhow. I did also use the ICs I would have normally used off the xa 777es CDP, Synergistics Acoustic Ref active (Tesla series). that's it. Oh, and an indoor Rat Shaik $15 FM antenna.
Let things get hot and scanned some FM stations then threw in a disc... then another... and another... and another... and if I hadn't had to be up early today I might still be listening. I was simply amazed. Straight up, honestly anazed! The Sony CDP sure outran the tuner by some good bit. the sound was fascinating and involving.
Sure it was on a Sound Anchor rack, as were the rest of the conponents and some upscale cords were used but when I thought of employing the AA ICs (by necessity rather than choice), I thought back to this thread and my previous post.
Maybe these newer receivers are sounding better lately. Mine had never been attached to a component via SE cables before last night so I was completely taken aback by how well things went.
I'll still hold to saying I feel separates will prove out best if performance is the goal, BUT a likewise priced integrated (depending on ???) may be a really worthwhile endeavor given my first time audition/run of the SR805 as a preamp.
I also thought of Creek, and BAT, and Prima Luna too for myself. DK Desgin as well came to mind.
At present I am using a Primaluna Prologue 2 integrated . I started my search by listening to as many different systems as I could in my area and when I traveled . I found that I liked tubes much better than SS . They provided a body and presence to the music that I had been looking for and could not find with any of the SS based systems that I had auditioned .
I started with a Cayin A88T , it provided the warmth , body and presence that I enjoyed and was reasonably priced in the used market . But due its extreme , for me , difficult biasing procedure I moved on to the Primaluna .
The Primaluna is self/auto biasing and of the 'modern' tube sound . It gave me much more extension in the top end , a clearer sound and more detail at the exspense of the more traditional warmth of the Cayin . This was somewhat of a revelation to me as I didn't know what I was missing until I had it ! I have now changed the input tubes which have given me some of that traditional tube warmth of the Cayin without loosing the features that I had gained . The PL will take quite an array of output tubes to allow for even more experimanation .
The Primaluna , as good as it sounds , may not be the ultimate amp for me but it is definately a good tool . It will allow me to experiment , easily , to find what that ultimate tube sound might be . At @ $ 1300 , to me , it is a bargain and a great tool !
BTW , if you don't already , you may want to pull your speakers out into the room a few feet . I see in your pictures that they are against the wall and beside some furniture . Could make a difference !
The primaLuna is also on my list, and I'll be able to listen to one this weekend! Thanks for the detailed account of your experimenation Blindjim--sounds like you had fun last night! Your results further reinforce my feeling that an integrated is the way to go for my purposes. BTW, Saki70, thanks for the speaker placement suggestion--I did move my speakers further into the room, but had to compromise for the sake of domestic relations. I've reached a happy medium, now, which is slightly further out into the room than the picture shows. Bass is more defined and soundstage is wider and deeper. (When the little ladies are away, I move them out further for critical listening sessions). Thanks to you all--I'll keep you updated as I get closer, sonically and financially, to making a switch to a new amp.
In theory yes...but how old is your receiver? If its an older vintage rotel receiver...then yes a current rotel intergrated would sound better when listening to non-radio sources...older vintage tend to have very good tuners...so if you ever have the hankering to get back into free tunes...might want to keep it for a 2nd system...at any rate...the rotel 1062 is a very nice piece...
Sorry...you have your componets listed...and your receiver is a current Rotel model...that being said...i dont think moving to a rotel intergrated is going to be a quantum leap in performance...more of a lateral move...
Posting to a thread that has been idle for 8 years, I am obviously wacko. I have a Rotel RX-1052 receiver. I'd love to experiment with a pre-amp upgrade; but the 1052 does not have a mains-in or any way to bypass the pre-amp that I am aware of. It does have a pre-out, so I could experiment with different amps and use the 1052 as a pre only.
Does anyone think that would be a worthwhile step between where I am and moving to separates, or would it be better to chuck it and get an integrated? I was really looking for an integrated when I bought the 1052 used for $200 (well worth it!!!), but could not find one with the power I was looking for that was manufactured in the last 10 years.
I'd love to upgrade to a Prima Luna or Belles Aria, but I'm not at that budget level yet. Also, since I have Stax headphones, I really need A+B speaker connections to avoid running my speakers through the Stax power supply.
I'm reading these posts about all the buy/sell issues. I bet I've spend close to a million dollars on that same quest. If I had my youth again, I'd wait/save/then buy really good stuff. I know someone will say, but all that really good stuff will be bettered next year. I have found that nearly always, its the faceplates that get upgraded....not so much the sound.
"Really good stuff" is available without the premium cost of seriously hyped items that may not be better sounding at all. So to people who still have their youth I say, don’t wait! "Sorry Marge, no sound until I get a few years of bonus checks saved up and then it’s D’Agostino all the way!" Get something gently used or new and less precious…Primaluna spends a lot of money to get noticed, as does ARC and many others, and you pay for that. Bigly. I feel buying carefully by reading about what you hope will work generally does…my upgraded Jolida 502p amp (actually bought new for 1200 bucks or something, although I have rolled about $162,000 of tubes around in it) is a case in point as it’s friggin’ great sounding, even when compared (did this comparison in my listening room by the way) to WAY more expensive tube amps…my serious (!) cables bought mostly previously owned, etc…do that…I think it’s more fun.
It's been my experience that similar priced products within a brand (similar priced integrated vs receiver) will sound about the same. A new $500 Yamaha Receiver and a new $500 Yamaha integrated, even with different s/n ratios, etc, probably will not make one think one is superior sounding. If companies save $50 by not adding a tuner or processor, I would not expect $50 in better components in the integrated. If one does a major price increase step in one or the other, then you may start to hear a difference. Again, just my experience from many years. I am assuming 2 similar aged components (same era) from same brand. Comparing two brands does not work since each one has a general "house sound". If you prefer the house sound of Marantz, then you may like a $500 marantz receiver over a $2000 Yamaha integrated.
When I was young I did save, save, save and go to retailers to listen, listen, listen. There wasn't as much of a used market because there was no internet. I don't remember ever seeing any desirable equipment in the newspaper classifieds. When I could, I bought some demo units. Reached a point where I was satisfied and then the kids took over my attention.
Things are much more fun now. You can get reliable opinions on a lot of quality used gear and get some real value. Unfortunately, I can't listen to much at retailers anymore. There seems to be nothing between the big box stores and ultra high-end in my area. Three of the high end audio dealers are great places run by great people who will help you put together a nice system at a reasonable cost. It's just that they don't have any tower speakers or pre-amps below $2,000 each on the floor. They'll be happy to order it for you; but you don't get to compare. So I guess, as Joni Mitchell said, something's lost but something's gained.
Either way, I;m much more obsessed now then I was 30 years ago!