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!


@fourmiutesong For streaming I am upgrading this week from a Sonore microRendu for my ROON playback to the Sonore opticalRendu. I will actually be using both rendu's because I have 2 DACs. I have the opticalRendu already in the house but the Sonore Linear Power Supply and DC5 cable are being built. So likely in about 10 days before I turn on the opticalRendu.

I also bought 2 SPF fibre optical cages from Sonore and also 1 length of fibre optical cable. This is not Toslink cable I am talking about. The beauty of what I am doing is that the analog noise in the network from many sources cannot traverse the fibre optical cable. So in my opinion it does not matter what music server I use. I use a cheap DELL server that cost me about $600 to run ROON Core.

The Rendu's are ROON READY and all I need to do is hookup the fibre cable from the network switch to the opticalRendu and then from there take a USB cable to the DAC. For the microRendu I would use a RJ45 Ethernet cable from the same switch and then a USB cable to the other DAC.

The microRendu is using a switched more power supply and is supposed to be a bad way to do this. I will compare in 10 days the 2 rendu's and decide if I want to upgrade the microRendu also with a linear power supply or replace it with another opticalRendu.

I bought the following gorgeous network switch to make this possible. It has 2 fibre optical cages along with a few RJ45 slots, cost was $199.

Send me a PM if you want to discuss this approach further. I can point you to some links.
You can't go wrong with either the Luxman or the Mark Levinson. I've own-ed Luxman gear before and never regretted it. My personal choice here would be the ML 5805 if for no other reason than I've never owned a piece before.

My outlier pick would be a McIntosh MA-252 for several reasons:
1) It's got plenty of power for your speakers - 100W/Ch 8 Ohms, 160 W/Ch 4 Ohms
2) It's got tubes in front, transistors in back
3) It reminds me of my dearly departed MC-240, a piece of gear I wish I'd never sold.
4) It's got a phono preamp. Full disclosure: I wouldn't own an 'integrated amp' that was linestage only. I like low box count systems, and not having to buy megabuck cables. I make an exception for streamers, because the technology is moving so fast - keep that outboard, because you'll be swapping it out every couple years. These three integrated amps will be classics for decades.
5) It makes me smile every time I look at one.
6) It's a bargain in this group - $3495 is half the cost of the ML 5805 and a third the cost of the Luxman. Put the difference into stepping up in the Monitor Audio world.
Hi Everyone, I wanted to say thanks for all the great advice here. After a lot of research, reviews and talking to several gear shops, I wound up going with the Hegel H390 after all as well as the Bluesound Node 2i. Just installed everything last night and am really enjoying it. I feel like music has opened up in surprising new ways. As a newbie to this kind of HiFi, I am now starting to understand some of the lingo through listening with noticing a different kind of sound stage and music coming from sort’ve a black space (not sure if I’m saying that right). 

One thing I found surprising and delightful about the amp is how clean and focused the music signal is (as best I can describe it). I had gotten used to so much dissonance and hiss behind my music that it was shocking to here no hiss in the signal at all even while increasing the volume. And yes noticing so many characteristics and nuances that I hadn’t before. I have to say listening to the Master recording of The Beatles Rubber Soul album on Tidal was amazing. Then to some Massive Attack. Then to Johnny Hartman and everything in between. 

It’s only day 2 but I find the amp has plenty of presence, punch and warmth. I’m curious to see how it opens up while it breaks in. I’ve heard that can be an exciting process. 

So, just wanted to say thanks again. As a buddy of mine said, the journey of finding the right equipment for you is half the fun. It will take you to new and exciting places and open your mind to a myriad of possibilities.