Does Separates really sound better than Integrated


Do you believe that Integrated Amps can sound just as good as a Separate Amp and Preamp?
donplatt
The different types matter less than the quality of each build.
So easy for one or the other to be 'better' because of parts used and circuit design.
IMO no such answer to your question can be made due to these factors.
Plenty of great integrateds, plenty more great separates..
Plus the price range..
Clearly in the top tier 'price no object' the separates rule.
Yes, integrated set ups can sound just as good as separates. I have separates (monoblocs), and I bi-amp, mostly because I like the flexibility and the endless tweaking that separates allow for. What's more, the monoblocs, pre-amp, and cd-player are tubed, which allows for even more variation among components. I enjoy messing with stuff, and separates allow for that. I have an integrated that simplifies the whole thing, and it sounds great, but it leaves me with nothing to do. Boring, at least for me.
They really do.
I probably don't tweak like Stewie, but do feel like him in that I find it is easier to tune and balance your system just right with separates. I also think with separates it is easier to bring your system up a notch or two or three, if and when ever you decide to do that.
Yes, there are some really great integrated amps out there on the market, some can put many separates to shame.
Elizabeth covered it well with her reply. Many varibles to consider, I'd choose top tier separates over a top tier integrated amplifier if seeking maximum performance.
Charles,
"Plenty of great integrateds, plenty more great separates"..

And each have their advantages, more flexibility with separates but the integrateds are convenient for reduced spaces. You choose the right words Elizabeth.
I agree, Elizabeth summed it up nicely.
I've experienced both routes. First iteration was an Adcom amp and preamp. Then came a Bryston amp and preamp. After that was a Proceed amp and Pass Labs preamp. My last amp/preamp combo was all CJ premier gear. I liked the preamp very, very much, but sold it in favor of a Rogue integrated which I liked better.

In 2013 I picked up a Pass Int-150. That surpasses anything I've ever owned in all areas except flexibility.

And while I have no experience with ultra costly gear, in my price areas, I've learned that you need not give up any sound quality by going to an integrated.
I recently listened, at a non-audiophile friends house, to a new Yamaha AS-1000 integrated she bought from Crutchfield.
If that was all I had to use for the rest of my life I wouldn't feel bad.
Best Integrated I've heard.
Schubert, what was rest of that system?
She has a pair of Boston Acoustic A-25, which sounded good, and a Yamaha CD player, I don't know the model.
The 2 Yammy units together looked elegant.
DNM speaker wire and IC which I gave her.Herbie tenderfeet all around, also from me.
A top-shelf integrated amp can sound:

(a) equally as good as most top-shelf separates; and depending on other factors can also beat them;

(b) certainly better than most fair to middlin' tier separates; and

(c) completely smoke the lower tier separates.
I have an old pair of Boston Acoustic A10s of mine from the 80's in the basement awaiting some refoaming work. I always liked those and have to wonder how good they might sound these days with the right supporting cast.

I have been looking for a decent quality good value pre-amp for my second system. I need to look at what Yamaha might have these days. I've always had good luck with that line.
Map, a lot to be said for an old company with deep pockets that ain't going nowhere .
Having just upgraded from a Pass INT-150 integrated to Pass separates (xp-10 and x250.5) I can say that there was an improvement. While the INT-150 is a very fine integrated there is a noticeable improvement with the pass separates. I notice an improvement in separation, transparency and detail. The real allure for me was the additional flexibility. I can mix swap out different amp & pre's into my system and have greater customization over my sound. None of this to say that you couldn't thoroughly enjoy one of the many fine integrated's on the market today. Variety is the spice of life these days, there is something for everyone, just depends on what you're after.
Having just upgraded from a Pass INT-150 integrated to Pass separates (xp-10 and x250.5) I can say that there was an improvement. While the INT-150 is a very fine integrated there is a noticeable improvement with the pass separates. I notice an improvement in separation, transparency and detail. The real allure for me was the additional flexibility. I can mix swap out different amp & pre's into my system and have greater customization over my sound. None of this to say that you couldn't thoroughly enjoy one of the many fine integrated's on the market today. Variety is the spice of life these days, there is something for everyone, just depends on what you're after.