How to shop for an integrated?

I live in the NY metro area, and I’m looking for an integrated. I’ve been researching and reading about audio equipment for years, and now I’m ready to buy.

The problem is, most stores don’t seem to have much inventory or carry about 2 manufacturers (leaving one in my budget). They say things like “we only carry this manufacturer because they’re the best”, or “we stopped carrying that other manufacturer because of...”. Even if it’s an amp I like, I’ll hear “but the next one up is so much better, unfortunately I don’t have it to demo” or “I only have the higher end model, but the one you want pretty much sounds the same “.

And of course you’ll find similar with the speakers, making it nearly impossible to get an idea of how different amps sound with different speakers. Some don’t even have a turntable to use to demo.

It seems like I’ll need to heavily rely on reviews because it’s very difficult to sit down and really compare in person.

Conversely, I used to live in Singapore, and that was so much better. There’s basically a multi level shipping mall filled with high end audio stores who each carry a significant amount of inventory.

I’m hoping for some good suggestions.


   765 posts  08-14-2020  5:29pm

I think more information is needed. Your proposed budget, the speakers involved, the room size, type of music being played, and any sound characteristics you prefer.

Your problem is that you live in NY - lol.  Join an audio group in your area and ask people around you.  You might get to experience their systems and learn
Thanks for all the replies, I didn’t expect so many by morning.

For those who wanted more details, the budget is roughly $1500-2500. I currently have Dali Ikon 2s, but need to replace them with something more aesthetically pleasing for my wife (i.e. Sonus Fabre Sonetto 1 or 2). I understand why it would be better to pair the amp and speakers now, but don’t want to pay for both now. I’m coming from the NAD T785 (now back in the box as my stereo is getting relocated in the house) and want stereo only. My priority is analog, but I’m adding Sonos (have the Port), so I do want decent digital sound and I’m highly skeptical of the DAC in the Port. I’m therefore open to either built in or separate DAC. I don’t want to compromise on the analog just to get a built in DAC.

 I have a space constraint (mainly depth of 16”-17”). Here’s my shortlist:

Rogue Sphinx v3 (would need to pull out cabinet and let a bit hang off the back)
Rega Elex-R
Hegel H-90
Moon 240i
Peachtree 150 or 300
Creek 50a or 100a

This will be located in my living room, that opens up to the dining room. Relatively small area (not a big house). I think the optimal listening position for stereo is about 8’ from the center point of the 2 speakers, and the new speakers will be book shelves on stands.

@audiotroy I think I spoke to either you or Dave briefly after you called me shortly after I filled out your contact form. So far I’ve only been to Manhattan, but would be open to going to JC if you can prepare a few options. Happy to make an appointment and bring some vinyl.

 Thanks again.

I was originally going to suggest that you move to Des Moines (the West side in nice), but it now looks as if you are making progress.

A few amps to add to the list...

-Belles Aria -w- phono
-Croft Phono Integrated

Check Parasound their integrated is quality built and comes with everything. A decent used one is certainly available in your price range. Class A rated by Stereophile.