For those who've moved from "vintage" to newer units


This is my first post on Audiogon, and I'm looking for additional thoughts to consider as I think about possible changes to my stereo system, the heart of which is a (fairly recently) recapped Kenwood L-0Cii and a Dynaco ST-70 (recapped, low gain VTA, and upgraded power supply). They feed a pair of EV Interface D series 2. It's a nice match and I have no real complaints about the sound at all. The Kenwood has a superb phono stage. 

I'm considering a change for the sake of simplicity. I'd like to consolidate space and perhaps move to a newer integrated amp (hybrid or tube) so I don't have to worry about have old gear serviced. What I don't won't to sacrifice is good sound on a tight budget. I'm not in a position to audition new pieces, so it's a gamble. 

If any of you have moved to newer gear after owning/using units similar to mine, I'd love to hear about your experiences. Any regrets? Are you happy with the change? Advice for this audio layman? 


isagoge
Yeah, service and consolidation matter. What is your budget?
1)  Financial : what is your budget ?
2)  Sound     :  what do you like  ?
3)  Matching : the integrated amplifier must be a good match with
                         your EV Interface D2 speakers.
4)  any  Internet streaming ?
5)  a tube integrated  : tubes have to be replaced once in a while.
6)  buying from a trustful  dealer closed to you is  important.

It is like , elderly people buying a new car,  full of electronics . They do not know how to drive it.

These are my 1 $  thoughts

Well I had a Kenwood integrated with a Technics table, used the Kenwood for many years as a pre-amp with a Dynaco amp, before migrating gradually to way more high-end. Like you I was real happy with what I had, only it was very old, some of it starting to fail. When it comes to audio I've always been a value shopper. 

I'm real happy with the way things turned out, in fact was happy pretty much every step of the way, so you might be interested in what and how I did that. 

Well first and foremost I went and listened. Unless you are stranded in Pitcairn Island there's always a way to go and listen. You just have to make that a priority, which you will once you understand there is nothing more important that you could possibly do. Read, sure. Talk and ask, of course. But go and audition. Whatever it takes. I went everywhere, sometimes toting along my own CDP or interconnect, or even one time my own amp (!) to compare in the store system what I couldn't bring home to compare in mine. 

Huge amount of effort. Totally worth it. Invaluable. The few times I let myself be convinced and bought something I thought would be great at what seemed like a steal, but without auditioning, it turned out to be a dud. The few times it wasn't immediately apparent it wasn't long before I found something by auditioning that was not only better but hugely better and at a better price as well. 

Also what you will learn by listening a lot, you will come to find patterns. Like most manufacturers have a "house sound", there are similarities between amps built around the same tubes (6550 or KT88, etc) and a lot of these products have fairly long production runs. So if you hear say a new integrated tube amp in a store and they've been making it 10 years with few or no changes that counts as an audition and you can be pretty safe buying used. If you get to that point don't be shy about asking the store to let you audition the new one before you go and buy the used one! I did that and so knew for certain the McCormack DNA-1 was gonna make me happy. Then I found one used for a lot less. 

Sweet as the McCormack was it is still a separate amp which needs a pre-amp, which means additional interconnect, power cord, cones, etc. By luck I was able to audition an Aronov LS-960I integrated which while only very slightly better sounding than the McCormack cost less even before counting what it saved me in interconnect, power cord, etc. So you are on the right track looking to simplify with an integrated. Smart move.

The Aronov started blowing fuses and they are unfortunately out of business (unbelievable deep wide imaging and with bass every bit as good as the best solid state, so a shame they are gone) and it was replaced with a very similar Melody I880 http://stereotimes.com/amp110807.shtml which would almost certainly fit your requirements- if you can find one used and figure out a way to hear one. If not there are plenty of affordable tube integrateds to choose from. Just whatever you do be sure to listen first.
Thanks all around. Very helpful.

A few asked about my budget. I’d likely look for something lightly-moderately used from 800-1200. I’m OK with line level only on the lower end; I’d like to have a phono stage on the upper end of that $ range. I am listening to flac files more often, but phono would still be a priority.

I’d like more wattage but don’t need anything extravagant with the EVs. 50-80W would be fine.

I do like the way the Dynaco pushes the speakers, so having an integrated tube amp seems ideal; but a hybrid--something like a Rogue Sphinx 2--would be also be in contention. I don’t know much about the RS's phono stage.

By biggest fear, really, is not loss of sound quality but a *variance* of sound that would result in disappointment. So yeah, I really need to find a way to audition the options.

I forgot to mention: if I decide to keep what I’ve have, I’ll double down and buy some GL kt 66 or kt77 tubes to replace the Tung Sol el34bs. I’ll enjoy for a few more years and then reconsider consolidation later.
NAD has a couple of different ranges in your budget new.
Best,
E
I'd try NAD and Rogue Audio.  Both have integrateds in your price range.  Solid state for NAD and tubes for Rogue.
I have had the Kenwood, Dyna and EV speakers. Your exact system. Your amp and preamp were just overhauled, so they should be good for another while. You might want to consider updating the crossovers ( more modern components ) of the EVs. If you are happy, I would stay with what you have, for now. If inclined to go more up to date with your amp / preamp, save up. It has been over a year that I eliminated my preamps, as I went passive ( both preamps were quite beyond the LO7C ), and my amp collection ( each and every one of them ) sound better than I can ever remember them sounding. I could not be happier. Granted, my passive is above your price range, but there are excellent units for much, much less. This is my own experience, but if you want to hear your source ( s ) like never before, I believe your ST70 and EVs would accommodate. Need more info, plenty of talk around here on the subject, and any questions, just shout them out. Enjoy ! MrD.
Thanks. I’ll likely wait for now.. 
Like Alex when he decided today was not the day, good call.