Integrated amp -- Pass Labs vs Luxman vs McIntosh


I posted a similar query earlier but did not get a lot of responses unfortunately. As mentioned before, my speakers are Sonus Faber Olympica II, currently driven by Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II, in a 20x15 dedicated media room. As an aside, I’m already working with GIK acoustics to treat the room. As much as I love the Cronus Magnum II, it’s clearly struggling with the speakers and room dimensions. I have been doing some research and narrowed my choices to the following (Note: mostly looking for used since my budget is $5 - 6k max)

Pass Labs INT-60 -- love the fact that the first 30 watts are all Class A; these don’t come up for sale often though. I’ve heard that these are as close to the tube sound one can get without compromising what makes SS great. I listened to INT-150 a couple of years ago and was really impressed. From what I’ve read, the 60s are clearly a step up in every way. Besides, I’ve always been fascinated by Pass Labs.

Luxman 590AXII -- I have yet to read anything negative about these. I like the fact that they are a class A design. Unfortunately, the only Luxmans I’ve listened to were 20+ years old and did not leave much of an impression (polite to a fault).

McIntosh MA352 -- A friend has the smaller brother, MA252, which I really like but not sure if they have enough juice to drive my speakers. None of the dealers near me carry the MA352 so I have to rely on feedback alone. I like the fact that this is a hybrid.

Another suggestion from a dealer is Naim SuperNait 3, but honestly I don’t know if it competes in the same playground as the aforementioned amps.

My goal is to find a nice balance between the strengths of tubes and SS -- retain good 3D soundstage, instrument separation, midrange magic, but not at the expense of bass and dynamics. I do understand that I cannot expect an SS, regardless of class A or not, to have the same lush, holographic presentation of tube amps, but want something that gets as close as possible.

I would love to listen from owners or people who have heard the amps before. Since I’m buying used, I will not have the opportunity to return them so due diligence is necessary.




arafiq
A less expensive option, especially given the strong Hegel support here, and triggered by your mention of the Cambridge Audio just now.

You could go with a Cambridge Audio Edge A integrated amp at $6k US. The mag HiFi news reviewed both the top-of-line $11k Hegel H590 and the Edge A, and concluded that sonically there is very little difference between the two, despite the Edge A costing just over half as much.

Here’s the full article, much more detailed than my synopsis:
https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/sites/default/files/revies/pdf/HiFi%20News%20Edge%20A%20Review_2018.p...

I own the Edge W stereo power amp and it is very good, fwiw.
If I am not mistaken, the CODA integrated does use the developments from the 8 and 16 amplifier, but uses the older 6 for its preamp section, not the newer and lauded 7.
Before I purchased my Luxman 590AXII, I was thinking similar to your approach. Some DAC are good enough pre-amp, but unless you have very good DAC/player (worthy of Luxman, pass or Hegel), you will eventually end up buying a separate pre-amp. I suggest you make that decision now (amp and preamp or int amp). As I mentioned earlier, the 590AXII sounds so good, I am thinking of upgrading to separates (it is just evolution in this journey). So, if you are thinking of separates, go for it, but it can get expensive and usually lasts long. 
@romney80 -- I agree about getting a good preamp, and that's what I intend to do down the line. The Cambridge Audio will be a temporary fix until I get a proper preamp. Anyways, I will most likely end up getting an integrated after all.
Good luck. Let us know, which one you choose and your listening experience.