Nope. But, I have gone from an integrated to separates.
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I had seperates of various makes and models for about 15 years. Pretty good stuff, EAD, Sonic Frontiers, VAC, MUSE, etc. etc. My latest stereo is built around the McIntsoh MA 6900 integrated amplifier. I love it. I feel like I get a ton of performace for the money, and feel it is as musical and amplification device as I have owned. I bought it here on Audiogon for 3K used, which is in your price range. The MA 6500 is good too but different sounding than the 6900.
For the record, I also used to have a seperate transport and DAC. Now I have two different integrated CD players. Seperates are great, but I think you can integrate without compromising sound quality.
Geoff, I upgraded from seperates to an integrated. Pretty much for exactly the reasons you explained. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). I owned a Luxman pre and 2 Luxman power amps (circa 1978) that I ran bridged. I am presently using a YBA Passion Integre.
I will NEVER look back.
I will admit that going from 300 wpc to 100 wpc is noticable. But, let my use a different analogy.....
A well tuned 454 big block Chevelle will run a quarter mile in the 13 second bracket. So will a Mazda RX-7.
It's just a different ride.
Yes, I have; and back to separates.
The Air Tight ATM-1 is a stereo amp that has 2 inputs and a switch between them, but no active preamp stage...It was fairly low-powered at 35w, but beat head-to-head a combo of Krell monoblocks/Krell preamp when driving a fairly efficient speaker(Genesis APM-1). At the time, I was carrying my ATM-1 around to dealers trying to mate speakers with it. You should have seen the faces on the salestaff after the little tube amp crushed the Krell. They were almost speechless.
Short signal paths can be a benefit, but it's tough to generalize that one approach is best. Think it will vary piece-by-piece. If you're into vinyl, I'd argue that most separate phono stages will trounce the ones in most preamps...
Yes I have and I will never go back to the stereo amps, mono-blocks amps and pre-amps. At my time in my life over 60 I decided that my stereo was to large and complex so it was down-sized .Less power cords ,less interconnects, less electricity ,less to look at. I bought a Gryphon 2100 Callisto and was finally exposed to how my music should sound. The Gryphon is not inexpensive but it delivers the music as it was recorded in my opinion. The dynamics and the low level detail is unbelievable . The remote is also a convince.
I went from separates (Audiolab 2000C plus (2) Hafler 9500's) which I still use in another system, to a Jadis Orchestra Reference. Absolutely a killer integrated amplifier! My wife, as well as some of my audiophile friends have given very high marks on the exchange, and, I agree. Even though I went markedly down in power, I don't miss the loss of power at all. In fact, the Jadis sounds even more in control! (No hard rock, though.) Hihgly recommend the audition. Happy listening.
There are some integrated that perform better than alot of seperates. I owned the BAT 300x integrated $6,000 new and it was great. Still I knew that BAT and all other brands that made both seperates and integrated the seperates. I sold the BAT and now have all tube seperates. I will say that I did enjoy the integrated.
I went from CJ Premier 12's and LS17 to integrated. Tried several solid state integrated, now the Cary SLI-80. I think I'm settling in on this, or perhaps an SET integrated, but it's definitely missing something compared to my separates system. You can get WONDERFUL sound from integrateds, no question, but it might never be the equal of a good separates system.
Just did 3 months ago. I went from tube separates (Melos Maestro linestage and Melos MAT-180 amp) to a Karan Acoustic KA-i180 integrated. The Melos amp is triode class A to 50wpc and triode class A/B to 170wpc. The KA-i180 is a solid state integrated weighing 40 lbs (half of the Melos amp) and putting out 170wpc class A. It only has a remote volume and a manual input selector. The Melos equipment together retailed for $7300.00 new and about $2600.00 used. The Karan retails for $6000.00 new and I paid $2200.00 used. The Melos stuff sounds very good, but I must admit that the Karan stuff sounds much better. I have more space on my rack, I use less electricity, I gave up nothing in power and the sound is better in every way. I actually think the Karan is more tube sounding then the Melos. I have been through a few differant separates, tube and solid state mixed and matched to all tube same manufacturer (Melos), and I am blown away by the Karan integrated. I can't understand how anyone could say that quality separates could sound better then a well designed quality integrated or visa versa. There are differant quality sounding systems on each side and you just need to find the sound you like in an integrated if you are considering one. IMHO
First of all, sound preference is very subjective.
Maybe your Karan is as good as it gets for an integrated. However, there are a lot more upside on Seperated. Sorry to hear that you didn't find the right match to your taste. Class A and price means nothing to me if they don't sound good together. Even with the same brand, it is not neccessary a perfect match either. The sound could have been colored by the cable and the electromagnetic field in between. i.e. If you throw in a super bright cable in a super bright system then it will never sound good. A right amp to match your speaker is also just as important too.
Just like you said "There are differant quality sounding systems on each side" but it is much easier to tweak seperated then get stuck with one integrated. There is a lot more matching requirement for seperated. If simple is better than why do professional/amature photographers choose SLR over point and shoot camera?
Just my 2 cents
Logic appears to be triumphing over reality here.
All that matters is whether or not you like what you're hearing. The number of boxes in play is not relevant. My experience with Pass, Goldmund, Krell, Levinson, Atmasphere,BEL,Rowland, Spectral and CAT separates mixed and matched over several years was entirely eclipsed by the introduction of a Rowland Concentra II integrated.
That said, I'm headed back to separates as we speak because of having purchased the 201 monos from Rowland. I guess the biggest issue in this whole argument is the length of my speaker cables. With the integrated I needed 15 feet each way......now I use just a foot on each.
I think non analogue audiophiles should be using a digital transport directly into powered speakers. Doesn't that sound like an elegant arrangement. One cable from transport to speaker and another from speaker to speaker. With the new digital amp craze this could become commonplace. Meanwhile check out the Bang & Olufsen Beolab 5. That's what I'd like to have. Then you've maxed out the integrated concept.
Spent late 2002 and most of 2003 upgrading after 8 years with the same set up. Many purchases (all used so loss on the resale was not really a factor) racking up a 99 rating on Audiogon (33 transactions). Final separate system consisted of Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Monitors, a Bryston 4Bsst, ARC Ls16MkII, Levenson No. 360 DAC, Theta Jade Transport, Interconnects and digital cables out the wazoo. Wife would not use the set up due to "too many buttons and switches to navigate" and when I looked at the system in the rack it just was not pleasing.
In October I decided to downsize and wound up with a CJ CAV-50 Integrated, Shanling modified CD-T100, Nordost I/C's and speaker cable and kept the Linnbrooks. Could not be happier with the sound quality, equipment placement, financial investment and my wife will actually use the system.
Not knocking separates and would actually agree that in general a separate system has more benefits, tweeking flexability, power potential to use a wide range of speakers and all other arguments. Just for me the benefits of a integrated system and single CDP out-weighed the other factors without any real loss in sound quality (again my ears).
Those above and in various posts who advise to audition as much equipment as possible and develope a system that fits your needs and most importantly your ears are right on the mark.
Just my opinion.
Have recently upgraded from a Krell KRC3-Theta Dreadnaught pre-power combination to the YBA Passion Integre, that costs significantly less.
Was that an upgrade or what? Absolutely. The YBA has more detail, bigger and better soundstage, superior timing, neutrality and to sum it up much more musicality. The YBA Passion Integre is a remarkable amp. Result: I've never enjoyed music like this before and the YBA can play from classical to rock.
Now my wife likes listening to music and my two young kids (5 and 3) ask for music rather than TV, and I can tell you, that is something.