Have Pre/Power amps had there day?
Deleberately provocative and of course, nonsense, but has the old upgrade path of integrated, pre/power, then pre monoblocks, become old fashioned. I don't want to rehearse all the old arguments, clearly pre/power combinations give flexibility and keep noisy output power supplies and output transformers separate from the low voltage pre inputs. My question revolves around the plethora of quality integrated amps becoming available. They have always been around and some companies like Mcintosh have ploughed a lonely furrow for years.
Most companies still produce statement pre amp/ monoblocks at the top of the range, but integrated amps seem to be appearing at higher points in the range of many manufacturers and also with high outputs in some cases(Music Fidelity have a 500Watt unit now). I am not sure why, is it demand, or improvements in power supplies etc, which allow for high quality integrated amps with low noise levels.
Whatever the reason, over the last few years, the likes of Bryston, Krell, Jolida, Cary, Jadis, Music Fidelity, Art Audio, have bought out integrated amps which appear to garner warm recommendation. So I pose the question again, should we be moving back to the integrated. In the real world, spending our own hard earned cash, most of us will not be buying the top of the range reference products anyway and there are clear cost advantages to an integrated; single chassis, one less interconnect etc, plus theoretical gains if the noise problem can be solved. For example shorter signal paths.
I have taken the step back to an integrated, Viva Solista and am delighted. Clearly there are no universal answers, but have others followed a similar path?