Integrated Amp Question for a Newbie to the Forum

Hello Audiogon Community!

First time posting to this forum. I’m somewhat of a novice when it comes to hifi audio gear. I’m looking to replace a busted McIntosh MX110 preamp and an outgoing MC225 amp and have been looking to consolidate and upgrade to an integrated amp. My current setup is:

• Jolida JD9 II phono preamp

• Pro-ject 2Xperience Classic Turntable 

• Monitor Audio Silver RX6 Floor speakers 

• CD player to buy soon

• Streaming player to buy soon

For the integrated amplifier, I’ve heard a lot of good things about -

Luxman L-509X and L-590AXII

Hegel H390 and H590

Mark Levinson 5805

McIntosh 7200

We play everything from rock to jazz to R&B, hip hop and everything in between. I’m looking to keep the integrated amp in the sub 10k range and will eventually add the streaming player (I hear good things about the Lumin T2 and the Lynn Selekt) and the CD player. 

Do you all have any recos on what you think would sound good with the setup I have? We like a dynamic and warm sound. Appreciate any advice!


those speakers do look very nice, I imagine sound terrific

I have three reservations

1. rear port. are you able to keep the speakers far enough away from rear wall, to avoid muddy reflected bass?

2. sensitivity 88 db/1w/1m. I always prefer higher efficiency, 90 or perhaps higher, to keep power needs low, keeps cost/weight/size/heat of amp lower, now and future upgrade and much less cost/heat if/when you try tube amp.

3. 8 ohms, minimum 3 ohms, combined with 88 sensitivity, I’d keep looking for options.

Bowers and Wilkins makes a wonderful speaker though I have never been a fan of the 600 series.  I find the highs a little grainy.  What is certain is that speaker is MUCH more forward than what you have.  I don't know the exact model mentioned, but JBLs are horns and also tend to be more forward.  That being said, matched with Luxman will leave you in about a neutral sound profile.  

If you are going to upgrade, new silvers are a big step forward.  Monitor Audio has redone all of those drivers and the resolution has take a radical step forward.  

The MA Gold 200 is a really great speaker.  The old ribbon I found a little dark but the new AMT they are using is amazing and that is an awesome speaker and one you would probably really like.  

If you are going to move away from MA, Dynaudio Evoke 30 would be the first speaker I would look at.  Dynaudio has a reputation for producing insanely neutral speakers.  Build quality is superb and the engineering is second to none. 

You could look at the Revel Performa 3 F206 which is a lovely speaker and is maybe a hair forward of what you have but will leave you with a lovely, warm sound with the integrated amps you are looking at.  

I traditionally would have suggested PSB but last I looked, they have not been available for a few months which is quite frustrating.  

Ah great advice. I do like the MA’s. Sounds like the new Silvers or Gold would be a worthwhile upgrade. 

As far as neutral goes, do you find that’s a desirable sound profile? I’m just getting into the differences between neutral, warm and bright. Coming from MAC tube amps, I imagine I’d lean more toward a warm sound but don’t know that I’ve really ever heard neutral. How would you describe the difference? And is there a speaker that tilts more warm with these kinds of amps?

So many things to consider. :-)
So...neutral vs forward/bright vs laid back/warm is really a matter of personal preference.  If you had a McIntosh tube amp paired with the MA Silvers, yes, the current sound profile would be a touch warm.  

Warm is going to be very easy to listen too.  Tends to be a hair forgiving and you will find things like piano will lack some sparkle but horns and strings will be easy on the ears.  This could be listened too for days and you will never have a moment where you feel fatigued listening.  

A forward sound will add some sparkle to piano, strings will be bolder and more details tend to come out.  I find there is a fine line between enhanced detail and fatiguing, unpleasantness.  My personal preference is a slightly forward sound profile.  I pair a forward speaker and DAC with a warm amp & preamp for a net result that is a hair forward of neutral.  I find this offers a wonderful level of detail and musicality without being fatiguing but it is a very fine line.  

A neutral sound will be remarkable in that it won't be remarkable.  Piano will be balanced and will sound natural.  Horns will be easy to listen too and airy.  Detail will be there but might also be a hair lacking in certain places.  There may be a fatiguing moment in a song but on the whole, it will not be a fatiguing sound.  

Luxman with new Monitor Audios or Dynaudio is going to give you what you had but with more detail as they are simply better made speakers. 

If you were to select a warm speaker like Wharfedale or Vandersteen and pair it with a warmer amp, you may find that the sound would drift into a dark territory.  

If you were to pair Luxman with a brighter speaker like B&W or Paradigm, your net result will be brighter than what you had but relatively neutral.  Your sources also factor in here along with your cables though most reasonably priced cables are not going to color the sound in a significant way.  
Scanning through your sound performance preferences it would all be so easy if you could just come and hear mine.  Oh well.