integrated amp question

I just upgraded to the maggie 12s. I want to upgrade to an integrated amp. Was thinking of Arcam A85. Any suggestions for under 1500? Can someone explain to me what are the pros/cons of seperates vs integrated amp? And what is better solid state or tube? Is there a big difference?

There are a lot of suggestions in the range you are asking about. Maggies like power, so I would start with the Plinius 8200. I would think that would be the best for your system. There is always Creek 5350 SE, but I don't think that would be quite enough power.

As far as advantages with integrateds: Value, you don't have two boxes, saves on materials, the unit shares a power supply, again saving on materials. You get a pre amp section that was specifically designed to be mated with the amplifier section. It's simple, and for the most part, they are easy to use. You don't have to buy an extra interconnect to go between the amp and pre amp.

There are very large differences in tubed and solid state integrateds. It all depends on what type of sound you are looking for.
Maggies love power, the more the better. Heard repeatedly being said on these forums. The Arcam might not be the best choice to use w/those spks., especially if you like to listen to your music loud or intend to use them in a large room. (Owned the Alpha 10 a few yrs. back and it felt very weak in relation to its stated power.)So, you may want to consider buying something with more ompppppp/zoomzoomzoom.
the smaller Maggies can be a touch bass mating them with a solid state amp known for deep bass emphasis...such as a bryston b-60 a nice combo...also...avoid the remote control option...this adds an extra $300 or so to the amp...good luck....for the el cheapo route...the Nad c370 is a nice entry level intergrated that has legendary NAD power and soundstaging....
First, a disclaimer: I'm the President of Portal Audio.

Suggest you check out the Portal Panache intergrated amp. Please read Sam Tellig's review in the February 2003 Stereophile and/or go to

Maggies not only like solid state power; they like lotsa current and a hefty power supply. End-users tell me that the Panache out-performs even $3000-$4000 integrateds on Maggies. From time-to-time, I get demo units which we sell @$1295. These have the 60-day try-it-at-home program and the 3-yr factory warranty. Happy listening!
Joe Abrams
I have my Maggie 1.6QR's paired with a Classe CAP-151 and am very pleased with the results. There is usually one or two listed here on Audiogon and the prices tend to be in the $1200 range.
I demoed the Arcam A85 and found it underpowered for my speakers, which I believe are less demanding than yours. Too bad, because it's a really nice unit in terms of features. I would look to something with more current/power.

In general, I believe that in your price range, separates sound better and are a better value. I listened to every integrated in the $1000-$1500 price range before coming to this conclusion. It's hard to put a lot of good clean power in an integrated, and the units that do are expensive. I suggest you search here for threads on the integrated vs. separate issue -- there have been quite a few.

When I was in your situation, I bought a Classe CP-35 preamp and a Rotel 135WPC power amp, new for about $1300 (the preamp was a demo). Used, you could buy this pair for under $1000 (though local new/demo allows you to try in your home, which is important). This is not audio nirvana (I since upgraded to a Classe amp which gets closer) but sounded significantly better to me (imaging, clarity, bass) than the A85 -- and I demoed them head-to-head (with other equipment also) in my home. If you want to entertain separates, others will offer lots of good ideas as well. Listen to Maggie owners especially (seach on Maggie).

Search for tube vs. ss discussions -- there are quite a few out there already. I am not a tube guy. They do sound different, your preference will hinge in part on your choice in music. If you do go tubes conventional wisdom would say to use a tube preamp combined with an SS amp -- the latter to provide the power your speakers require.
I've never owned maggies or an integraged amp; but it seem to me that flexability is another issue. Looks like you've already changed your mind about your new components--What happens if you're happy with your amplification but decide to change the preamp? your sunk!!!
Several Maggie owners have posted here before that McIntoshes sound excellent with them. Check the archives - there are many threads like this for Maggies. The McIntosh MA6450 may just be your ticket. It has way more power than the spec sheet implies and the sound is silky and tubey with a midrange to die for (clearly better than CAP 150). Not to mention it looks great. Arthur