High End Integrated Choices

I had posted earlier but haven't seen it so here goes again.

Need to make a shortlist of hi-end integrateds to match the following system:

Sony SCD777ES SACD Player, Acoustic Zen Matrix Ref II Interconnects and Satori Speaker cable connected to B&W 805S monitors.

Searching for feedback specifically on BAT V300X SE Integrated withe 6H30 super tube and McIntosh MC2275 Tube Integrated.


I have heard the Mac and until recently owned the Bat VK300XSE with 6h30 supertubes, remote and phono. I loved the Bat, the thing has power to burn, especially for your 805s speakers. The personality of the BAT tended toward the ever so slightly dark side...not a negative at all as the B&W's need it in my opinion. The BAT only has 1 single ended input (2 if no phono board I think). It has been awhile so I won't offend the intelligence of this group by doing a comparison from memory over a 3 year time period. I liked the Bat alot but I went all tube Cary. If I were going to buy the BAT again, I promise I would buy the version with the 6922 input stage so I could have some fun rolling tubes. You can't roll 6h30 tubes as they all sound so similar....not "tubey" enough for me over the long haul. Good luck.

If you want more of a euphonic tube sound go with Mac.Well made classic design.BAT if you have need for more current as it's 150 versus 150 wpc) and more of a neutral sound.I sold the Mac and it's a great [piece with tubes that are not cheapest to replace (more than 6650 or mid range champ EL34) tha gives a biut more dynamic slam than other tubes.have read recently from knowlegeable source that in his mind the greater bass with 6550's buit i was always under impression that KT88 delivered more in bass region.Other than super tube forgeting tube compliment in the more expensive BAT (buy used and i equals out a bit) and BAT has relacement super tubes (not just one pair) as does Muisc Fidelity with their esoteric tubes.I'd base it on speaker,room size,and music preferences (more power for larger ensemble and Mac for small group classical and jazz.You also have other option like Muisc Fideltity,VAC and other because this is in higher range of Integrated prices
Hope these few tid bits but by no means complete coparrison helps a bit.
I like your speakers(owned the N805). I would suggest adding the new line of Classe integrateds in your list. Having that said, the older CAP-151 might just cut it at a cheaper price.
There is the Blue Circle FtTh tube/hybrid integrated. Lists for $4695. BC also has a high end solid state model.
What type of sound are you after?

Why specifically have you narrowed your list to these two integrated amps, and why the 6H30 version of the BAT versus the 6922 version?

Your answers will bring better guidance.
There are a huge number of high end integrateds. You seem to only be interested in tubes but I listed solid state too. This list is not a "short" list to investigate; you can read up in the forums and Google to go to the websites: VAC, Musical Fidelity kw500 or Trivista, ASR Emitter, Plinius 9200, Einstein, Cary, Bryton B100 (may not be enough power), Mark Levinson, Jeff Rowland , Rogue, Manley, YBA, Classe, Audiomat, Zanden, Jadis, Accuphase, Lecteur, Dussun (new from China), MBL 7008. I have experience with the Plinius 9200 (tube like, very smooth,and refined 200 watts per channel) Dussun V8i (again another tubelike integrated 250 watts per channel of brute force and a great value) I've read that B&W's like current and power.
Krell .... they mate great with B&W. And yes, you have GREAT speakers.

The only thing I would worry about with the BAT supertube is being beholden to BAT and not having any swapping choices. But great integrated. Have considered the move myself. I would listen to the complete opposite end of that spectrum, something like the Cary 300-SEI (or SLI-80 for tube swapping possibilties) just to make sure it's really what you want.
I've owned many integrateds and high-end seperates. Presently I'm using a Cayin A-88T and must say the amp is amazing. The stock tubes aren't bad, the thing is built like a tank, renders bass wonderfully, and is very transparent without excessive tube bloom. I'm feeding it with my Exemplar 2900 player, and it's driving my Gallo 3.1's.

VERY Impressive Amp. You may want to give it a listen sometime.

If you decide to buy one, feel free to email me and I'll share some hard-learned tips on wringing the best from the unit :)

I own the Cayin A-88T. Can you share your tips with me?

Sorry for hijacking your thread Papi chulo
Wow! Great feedback, keep it coming guys!

To elaborate on some of the queries posed above:

I am currently listening to solid state amplification, a Musical Fidelity A300 Integrated and A3CR Power amp passively bi-amped (Integrated drives the lows/mids and power amp drives the highs). For the power hungry 805S speakers, it offers rock steady control, coherence and imaging. The flow of music is effortless. Voices sound great, bass is pretty deep and well defined and the highs crystalline in nature. But I feel myself slipping away from the music more and more often. Just can't get into it.

I felt the Sony SCD777ES was a bit bright when I used a silver interconnect previously, so I changed it to Matrix Ref II and that certainly introduced warmth, definition and a bigger, better defined soundstage. Really good stuff, this interconnect.

But I suspect tubes will help me achieve a quantum leap, sound-wise. Ive always been wary of the hassles of tube gear but I finally decided to take the plunge. Got to have tubes somewhere in the equation.

I chose the BAT because it had extension, dynamism, detail and bass control like Ive never heard before. For the first time I found myself listening to music rather than an amp. I also heard the solid state MC6500 and it sounded quite...well... solid state to my ears.

Next I will hear the MC6900 and MC 2275.

Ive heard that the MC2275 is more liquid and offers more inner detail than the BAT VK300X SE but the BAT is fast and open and has great bass control, but isn't as smooth.

The BATs dynamism could be well tamed by my B&W 805S since the speaker is a bit polite and refined in nature. But the concern is that the energy of the amp might prove to be less and less beguiling over time. The dealer demoed the unit for me using a silver interconnect but Im going to listen again this time with my copper Matrix Ref IIs and see if they can warm up the sound, Im betting they will.

On the other hand, Im also excited by the prospect of the MC2275 all tube unit but worry about whether 75 tube watts are enough to drive a power hungry speaker like the 805S to decent room filling levels. My listening space is about 15 feet wide and 20 feet long and I sit about 6 feet from the set-up. There is no damping material around, no carpet or heavy curtains, just floor tiles. I listen mainly to traditional and contemporary jazz, vocals, blues and of late, a bit of lounge/chill-out music. No complex classical pieces, in fact no classical, period.

I am not in a position to carry out a home audition so if anyone has any thoughts on the above compatability issues, please do share.

My end goal is to achieve sound character that is close to the following: warm and liquid, fills the room with its presence. It should have a pleasing bloom and fullness to it with clarity, detail, definition and extension. Am I asking too much? More importantly, am I on the right track with my choices so far?


If you are excited by the MC2275, by all means try it. The BAT may be too much in an undamped room and I think you will be surprised at the power the Mc has - I was.
also check out Unison Research and Pathos both from Italy . . .

I'll private email you later today...

Check out the Accustic Arts power 1 if you have a chance , btw at my parents house we have te Mcintosh 6500 but the Accustic arts is way on diffrent league.

I chose the BAT because it had extension, dynamism, detail and bass control like Ive never heard before. For the first time I found myself listening to music rather than an amp.
You didn't mention why you chose the SE version, which uses the 6H30 supertube over the non-SE version that uses the 6922 tube. As has been mentioned by others in this thread, the 6922 version of the BAT will give you many more tube rolling possibilities, and you will therefore have a greater opportunity to shape the sound of the amp to your taste. Having heard components that use both types of tubes, I believe a good Siemens E188CC (6922 drop in replacement) will provide a sound very similar to a Russian 6H30. On the other hand, a Mullard E88CC will make the BAT sound quite different than the SE with the 6H30, and to me that's a big advantage.
The Krell 400xi works very well with Sony Source Components as well as B&W Speakers. It's a nice sounding Integrated with great build quality and looks at a very reasonable price. If your budget permits, the new Krell FBI is even better.
Hi Tvad,

I didnt audition the 6922 version of the BAT because the dealer didn't have one on hand. Perhaps I'll get him to arrange for one to listen to. I could get to like this tube rolling thing, if it is not a hassle to do.

On another note: I am concerned about synergy between the MAC 2275 and the B&W 805S. Is anyone running this combo and is 75watts enough power?

from what i have personally heard

1. Jadis JA30 + B&W Signature 805: emotional, refined, heavenly (i believe any Jadis integrated would produce a similar sound with B&W 805S)

2. Jeff Rowland Concerto + B&W 804S: powerful, clear, detailed, refined, exciting

3. McIntosh MA6500 + B&W Signature 805: easy to listen to, relaxed, enjoyable

hope this helps and best of luck!
I used N805 with Gryphon Tabu AT amps with great results.


On another note: I am concerned about synergy between the MAC 2275 and the B&W 805S. Is anyone running this combo and is 75watts enough power?
Although it's not an apples to apples comparison, you might consider emailing member "Brianmgrarcom" who was using the MC2275 with B&W 802D loudspeakers, but now has the McIntosh for sale.

Your 805S won't have the same demands on bass of the 802D, of course.
You must go tubes with B&W. Best I've heard with my Sig 805s so far has been Audiomat's Opera.

But I'd love to try Einstein's Absolute Tune...
You will have zero problem driving 805's with the Mac. If you ever have any doubts about amp to speaker, look at the tranformer. If it's heavy, it will work. If it's not, it won't. Usually it's multiply by 3 to compare tube watts and solid state, but I have never heard of any probs with the 2275 driving anything. Ever.
How about Manley Stingray, Biomimetic? You think that will drive the 805S easily,. Have the chance to pick one up used (as a second amp) at a good price so just thought I'd check.
I have heard them with a pair of Revel's M20s which a lot of people think are more difficult to drive than the 805's. But again, you know, you'd have to see if it suits you. But I would bet yes.
Personally I would go for the Gamut Di150.It is a knockout amplifier.HiFiChoice did a review a few months back,and used a B&W 802D while reviewing.The amp got 95% for sound quality.96% is the highest any product has gotten in HiFiChoice.Hope this input helps.
07-26-06: Sphere
Personally I would go for the Gamut Di150.It is a knockout amplifier.
I heard the DI150 at the LA HES, and I thought the sound in the Gamut room was excellent. It's an integrated worth consideration. Kinda spendy, though.
True.it has a smaller version coming in called the Di100.
Worth a cheskout.
Well, after much deliberation I got myself a bootiful Cary SLI 80 F1 integrated used from my brother in law. He bought it around 3 months ago and hasn't played it much. I found it to be a lot tighter sounding (maybe thats the direct coupled preamp section talking) than the signature version and it mates beautifully with my B&W 805S speakers.

It sounds much better in triode mode especially with voices and Im amazed how 50 watts can drive my 805S to very realistic levels easily. I tried the 4 ohm setting and iot didn't sound as good as the 8 ohms which kinda makes sense as my speakers are 8 ohms sensitive.

The tubes in place are mainly electro harmonix but Im itching to roll some tubes.

SED KT88s come to mind. But when it comes to the 6922s and 6sn7s, Im not sure which ones will do the job.

Can someone help? Ghasley, I remember you saying you had this amp, mind letting me in on what you are using?

Love the new JJ Tesla's, and Groove Tubes makes the Mullard EL34 reissues, as well as the early rock n' roll/country r&b GE 6V6 that everyone is so in love with. I like the SLI-80 for it's versatility most, so I'd be tempted to get a few different types.

KT66's have less power than the 88 or 90, and 6V6 and EL34's are different again, but all should have enough to power the speakers. The transformer is your real issue, not the power tubes, and the transformer is top notch. Slope and type of power is more important with the input tubes and inverters, it won't affect wattage as much.
The 805s nautilus sounds very good with the Unico 80watter hybrid integrated amplifier much to my suprise.

Tried and proven combo.
the 805s comes alive on tubes without a shadow of a doubt. Nice choice.
I finally received a KR Audio Kronzilla SXI and have to add it as a high end integrated to consider. It is still breaking in, but I'm enjoying it very much. Bass control is amazing. Very high resolution with crystal clear highs and long decay. lots of presence to instruments and voices. Apparently, the KR VA350i and the VA340,which are less expensive than the Kronzilla have many of it's attributes, including the wonderful bass control albeit lower power output (still nothing to sneeze at at 30 and 20 watts, respectively). I haven't heard those yet, but I'm told by others who have heard them that they are very nice.
Gamut DI150 - A truly excellent integrated!

Just wanted to add my comments based on recent experience. I have been on a long search for a great high end integrated amp, and finally narrowed it down to the 2 Danish amps that have been mentioned earlier - Gryphon Diablo and Gamut DI150.

They are both excellent, but after extensive comaprisons, the Gamut sounded superior to my ears. The Gryphon was slightly richer, and had a marginally fuller base sound, and may be a great choice for particular speakers. I found the Gamut was far more airy and open sounding, extremely transparent, crystal clear, and thrilling to listen to, without being fatiguing. Instruments remain separated even in complex passages. Base is quite deep and defined, cleaning up some of my CDs. There is something truly magical in the way the amp opens up the higher frequencies.

To my ears, instruments also sound incredibly real and acoustic, and the sound seems to separate from the speakers better than anything I have heard - a 3D experience. It also retains its characteristics at low volume better than other amps I have heard.
From my experience, it needs a decent run in and changes substantially. Fresh out the box it sounded a little edgey and quite thin.
I also Have B&W 805s's and a room approximately 24'x27' with log walls and a carpeted floor. Currently I use a Cayin A70t re-tubed (although the stock tubes were not bad at all)with re-issue Genelex KT88's,NOS Telefunken 12AU7's and re-issue Mullard 12AX7's. I also use a TAD Aural Ecstacy 150watt powered Sub in this system. I have no problem at all driving the 805s's to very high levels and I am very pleased with the sound. In truth most of the time (at normal listening levels) I use the amp in it's triode mode where the output power is substantially reduced and have no problems.
Now to make things more interesting I am currently awaiting delivery of a MA2275 from Audio Classics. Why, if I am so pleased? To tell the truth I just always wanted one and some bonus money came my way.... well I suppose it could have been better spent....nah. I should have the amp installed in the next week or so and I will post a follow-up if all goes well.

Regards, Jerry