Integrated advice

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all doing well. I am considering moving some of my rig to my office system, so I may have an opening at home for an integrated. I'm happy with my current speakers - Golden Ear Triton 7 - that have an 89db sensitivity and a minimum of 3.7ohms. The front end is digital - Oppo 105 (may move to the Sony HAP Z1es, but nonetheless it will be digital). I've been using a Hegel H80, which I find to be a very nice sounding amp. However, more headroom/power would be a nice thing to have, especially because the Triton 7 has a nicely controlled deep bass.

I'm looking at a budget around $2,000-$3000 and want balanced inputs. I don't need a DAC or phono input. At this price point, I've seen a few possibilities that look interesting:

a. Wyred 4 Sound STI-500 (or the 1000)
b. Krell s300i
c. Musical Fidelity M6i (if I can find it used)

Wondering if you might give me your thoughts on any of the above. There are no dealers around here, so I won't have a chance to listen to it. However, I'll be sure to buy from a site with a return policy.

I appreciate your input and wish you all a good evening,
I like Wyred4sound. Endless power for small price.
Add used Bryston 4b-SST, Krell KAV400i.

I have a better idea, the Nuprime IDA 16 which is a massive 200 watt integrated with very nigh headroom.

The Ice amps do not have the midrange liquidity of the Nuforce and the Nuprime product is Nuforce's re-emergence back into the high end market.

The older Nuforce Ref series of amps and preamp which cost about $9,000.00 and were very highly rated and the Nuprime integrated brings a lot of the same sound quality and design down to a much lower price point and the amp has a fantastic dac built in which will also do DSD as well as 24/192 sampling all for $2,300.00 so you could radically improve the sound of the Oppo and you could save money over the Sony player and but a nice Mac Mini instead and just direct connect to to the Amp via USB.

I am ordering one and I can let you know after I have it how good it is. The older Nuforce stuff was incredible sounding and to this date I still remember how effortless and dynamic those amplifiers were.
Check out the Musical Fidelity M6500i. There are 2 on AUDIOGON forsale. I own one and wouldn't change. Plenty of power,finesse,low heat. Check their website and review their specs. You won't be disappointed.

Of the amps you list, I would pick the Wyred 4 Sound by default. Its the only one of the 3 I haven't heard. If you would consider something else, I would consider an Ayre AX-7. Unless you have a really big room, it should have plenty of power for you. But the main reason I would pick it is for sound quality.
My "go to" integrated is a BAT VK-300SE.
300 watts/ch @ 4 ohms, XLR in/outs, 6H30 driver tubes (used
by Audio Research, et al), pre-outs (for you subwoofer(s)),
and, oh yes, it sounds like music!
These have been selling for fire-sale prices lately (?).
$1800 - $2500
For low miles, make sure the serial number ends "4XX" or higher.
I hear the new BAT int will sell around $9000.
The Ayre is a big step up from Wyred for Sound
Well, it's a poor frog that won't praise its own pond, but I'm very happy with my Luxman 505ux integrated. It replaced an Ayre AX-7E and it was a noticeable improvement with my Harbeth SHL5 speakers. It has one set of balanced inputs that I use with my DAC. The onboard phono preamp is surprisingly good although I use an outboard PS Audico GCPH. Wonderful build quality, flexible, great remote. I even like the loudness control for low-volume listening, although you can go "line straight" and bypass all tonal correction features. You can also easily integrate into a A/V system if you decide to go that route. List is $4000, I bought mine for $3400, used you should be able to find well under $3000.
Love my MF M6i and have Ayre QB9 DSD as digital source. For an office I would go with Ayre A-7. Less power however perfect for smaller spaces and can program for home theater bypass like MF M6i. I heard the Ayre A-7 with Ayre QB9 DSD and Sonus Faber Toy towers in a small 10'x10' and was blown away. If I was in condo over house I would trade the MF M6i for the Ayre A-7.
I had both the Wyred STI-500 and the Hegel H70 integrateds on my speakers, which are less efficient than yours. I ditched both of them for a 25 watt Clones 25i integrated and HAVE NEVER been more happy. The Clones makes EVERY other amp I've had sound like HiFi. Neither balanced inputs or hundreds of watts are needed for good sound, IMO.
Thanks for the input so far. The Nuprime has the features I want, but it's probably too new for me to feel comfortable buying it. I'd need to have more reviews/experiences from other members regarding its DAC and its sonic signature.

Ayre is quite intriguing as is the Luxman. I'll have to find a place that sells them with a trial period.

Keep the recommendations coming…

Thanks so much,
Have you considered a Rogue Pharaoh?

-Rogue dealer disclaimer
Gold print, ah, you almost slipped one past the goalie.
The Rogue Pharaoh has the features I'm looking for. However, I had a negative experience (shared by others, apparently) with the Sphinx, so I'm leery to take another (expensive) chance.

It sounds like Ayre is the leader right now, judging by the responses and the reviews I've seen. My listening room is about 15x13ft., so I'm sure that it would be enough power.

Another option that I just came across is the Red Wine Audio Signature 16. My power is terrible, so a battery powered amp (with a tube stage) sounds like a great idea. It's only 32wpc into 4 ohms, but I'm intrigued.

As an experiment, I hooked up my old NAD 316BEE to my system last night (40WPC), and it's much more dynamic and has better bass control that my Hegel does, although it lets through much more digital grit (that damn a/c current again). I wasn't expecting that at all, so I'm reconsidering the power needs anyway.

Thanks again for your thoughts, and feel free to keep 'em coming!

Geoffkait-- Not sure what you are saying?

OP -- Sorry to hear about your Sphinx. Pretty much everyone I've demoed one to has loved them (not sure what you happened on yours??)

The Krell would be a great option. At your price point, you also may be able to find a 550i (or very close to that price). The 550 is a VERY good integrated amp.

-Krell and Rogue dealer disclaimer

Doesn't the Krell 550i need a 20 amp circuit? I had ruled it out because of that, but perhaps I'm wrong?

I did like the sound of the Sphinx, so I wouldn't completely rule out the Pharaoh. How do you compare it sound-wise to the Sphinx?

No, you can run the 550 on a 15amp. It has a 20 amp connector on the back, but power cord is 15 outlet side to 20 amp side. Runs perfectly on 15 (it's what I have been doing with my demo units).

Pharaoh takes everything the Sphinx does well and steps it up several notches. Bigger soundstage, better bottom end, more detailed sound, a little smoother top end, higher end phono stage (mm/mc). Really a nice unit.
I in-store demoed the Simaudio Moon Neo 340i and then the Hegel H80 back to back. Speakers were the same-Golden Ear 7's. Source was the same CD player. I had not heard the speakers before and was very impressed with the imaging and bass output for the size. The ribbon tweeter was commanding and only sounded harsh when we turned up to high volume. I was rooting for the Hegel, but the Moon was superior. Really made the speakers sing and sound holographic. Both seem like fine products, but my final impression and opinion: my money would go for the Moon.

The Hegel H80 seemed to have a limited usable range on the volume control- or in other terms a lack of upward adjustment in the lower range of control. Had to considerably increase the volume setting on the Hegel to match the Sim sound output. Possibly this is what you are experiencing as well as you report a lack of headroom? Sim gave the impression of more gas in the tank. Possibly the Hegel 200, 300 would be a better match. My 2 cents on adding the Moon to your audition list. I had not heard any of the 3 options you mention.
Mattoy - you have described the Hegel perfectly. It just seemed like I could never find a comfortable volume - either I was straining to hear the details in the music, or I was overwhelmed in my somewhat small listening room. Using balanced ICs helped a bit.

I really like the Triton 7s, too. Very impressive for their size and price. They are exactly what I was looking for, so now I'm just trying to find the right amp. Thanks for the Simaudio recommendation. It's not a brand I know a lot about, but people seem to have wonderful things to say about their products.

Happy listening!
I have Sonus Faber Toy Towers with Ayre AX-7e and Rel T-2 sub.
Wonderful combination. Warm, easy listening with surprising detail.
Great imaging and extremely musical.
The Rel smoothed out the lower bass bumps in the room and all together is +/- 3db from 1KHZ - 25HZ.
My desktop system is the NU PRIME IDA 16 integrated running thru an

IMAC with Amarra SQ running to Gallo Reference Strada 2 speaker's plus

a Gallo TRD 2 sub woofer under my desk.

Now I think it sounds pretty good but I am still fairly novice.

I've not heard anyone else's systems.

I built mine through personal investigation and reading on the internet.

Do you have any suggestions for me? I am open.


Marc Fogel
West Hollywood Ca
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