Integrated amp recommendation

I recently bought a used pair of Swiss-made Piega p4L MKII floor-standing speakers. I am looking for a two-channel integrated amp to pair with them. Budget: $1,000.

Among the stated speaker specs: applied power rating 20-200 watts, sensitivity 89 db, 4 ohms impedance and frequency response 38 Hz-50 kHz. To me, the speakers’ sound can be described as natural, detailed and transparent, not aggressive and maybe slightly lacking in bass. The room is 12 x 20, carpeted but relatively bare. I listen primarily to classic rock, classic jazz and classical. I use a Bluesound Node 2i music streamer and CDs. Bluetooth would be nice but not essential.

Thank you for any assistance.


The adjectives I used above included natural, detailed and transparent. I probably would want to add a little more warmth to the extent possible given the room characteristics.


try to get to 1500 budget (used)... the performance steps up a notch over $1000 units ime

Parasound Halo Series Hint 6 on the used market. I don't have one for sale so no skin in the game. It's a Swiss Army knife of an integrated. Look up all the details on it. I think you'll be happy.

So what do you suggest at $1500?

around 1500 used i would consider a hegel h95, a sony ta-1es, a primare i-30 or an ayre ax7e - all are currently listed on the ’other’ popular used equipment site 

these all offer top class purity of sound (and ample power) that is not found in most units in the lesser price class

I'm using a Rega Brio, which is on the warmer side. I have it with a Node 2i and a Bluesound Vault in the mix (so, FLAC CD files), with Totem Sttaf floor-standers not are likely not as detailed as your speakers. The room sounds about the same size and I listen to similar music. Very pleased with the set up. The Brio is just 50 watts into 8 Ohms, but it's a very confident little amp. A new Brio is ~$1100 USD, though I got it used for about half that. They come up used and move quickly, so it could be something to try, knowing that you can move it along easily if it's not 'the one'. That was my plan, but it's a keeper. As far as Bluetooth goes, you've got that with the Node 2i. 

Brio is great. I actually like the IO more-it’s slightly more even handed than the Brio. 

Another amp I picked up was the Cambridge axa35. This one is also excellent and a steal at the price. 

A few years ago I have listened to a pair of Piega (very) slim floorstanders, the cheapest model I think, sporting a pair of 4 inch midbass drivers per speaker. Driven by a Jadis Orchestra tube integrated, they produced a spectacular (for the price) sound: very detailed and extended, silky smooth highs, mids of similar quality and a surprising amount of bass coming from those tiny drivers. Very musical, if not the last word in neutrality. Now I know that Jadis is way above your budget but in Europe you can find it used for 1500 Euro or less; also, maybe it would be worth investigating other tubed options.

A bit over budget, but $ is strong in Canada now, cad 1500 is $1100. usd. And, you can always make an offer.

Free shipping in Canada,You would need to get seller to ship to you ____ for $____? Or, you pay UPS and seller simply drops it off ’loose’ at nearby UPS pack and ship.

This model includes a MM phono stage AND a 32bit | 384kHz DAC,

(nice ’get started’ options, perhaps you have separates or will try separates later)

as well as switchable for KT88 (my preference) or EL34




cayin description

I have early Cayin AT88, love it!!!

seems best price new is $2K

Your speakers are 4 ohm. Likely they drop below this at lower frequencies. Maybe that accounts for the comment you made regarding the bass being somewhat lacking. I would look for an amplifier that delivers 100wpc at 8ohms and close to 200 at 4ohms. I agree that the $500 budget  increase will provide a greater return on your investment.

If interested in the Rouge Sphinx I would look into the V3. It sells for ~$1600-$1800 . Audio Advisor sometimes have an open box unit for sale just under $1500. 

Buying use opens up possibilities, as per the several suggestions aforementioned.

Good luck in your quest and keep us posted.

Belles Aria are under $1500 used....if you want to keep costs down, Musical Fidelity M2si...I have owned both...

From what I have read, the Hegel, Ayre (also this one), and Belles recommendations stand out for quality. Rogue, too, but perhaps not at the same level. Black Ice also gets some good reviews. As does Schiit.

Highly suggest the $1500 price point - either the Rogue Sphinx v3 or the Schiit Ragnarok. Both have phono pre amp but Sphinx probably a better choice overall - it's the highest rated entry level integrated in history (probably). I bought one for my son and was completely impressed. I run the Schiit Freya+ into monoblocks - wish the Ragnarok had tubes and MC phono but the DAC option makes it standout a bit too as Schiit has amazing DACs for the $$$ 

Shopping used with a $1K budget, my short list would include Rogue Sphinx V1 or V2, Schiit Ragnarok V1 or a basic V2, and Peachtree Nova 150.

The Ragnarok is the one I know the best, so that is my favorite candidate. 😊 Solid build, decent resale, and excellent sound for the spend.

If you are willing to shop with a lot of patience and persistence, a Parasound HINT 6 is a nice secondhand buying opportunity at $1500.

Good luck!

Sent back the Rega Brio and upgraded to the Belles Aria....Much...Much more musical. Great integrated at around 12-15 hundred used.

Also might consider Schiit Vidar amp and one of the Schiit Saga or Freya preamps

Generally speaking, speakers with specs like that are going to thirst for an amplifier with a really robust power source. This doesn't mean lots of watts but, rather, an outstanding ability to deliver current when needed. If you go SS, I personally would not consider anything under a power rating of, at least, 100 watts both channels driven into 8 Ohms (rms) that cannot double that into 4 Ohms. Will your speakers sound good with less? Sure, but they won't be giving you everything they were designed to deliver. It would be like putting regular in a Ferrari Testarossa. On the tube side, there are many good choices. However, look for something with robust power supply. Good luck!

Not familiar with your speakers, but I'd add to the recommendations of the Belles Aria.  It's a fantastic integrated for the price (~$1 to $1.5k used).  Based on so many positive online reviews of the Rogue Sphinx V2, I also tested it in my system and the Belles was much more natural and musical to my ears.  Hope you find a good fit with your system! 

+1 for a Parasound Halo Integrated

I've owned one and thought it was fabulous.

Very versatile integrated with a good DAC and a basic phono section.

Also- Their customer service is top notch.

These are great suggestions, thank you! I am researching and looking primarily on the second-hand market, with mixed results in terms of availability. Am a little nervous about that, just had an unhappy experience on

I have had a few god amps in my 6 decades of pursuing this hobby. Would suggest you consider spending about $1500 and evaluate Rotel Ai4 Integrated amp. Good DAC and phono stage with a large number of other features. Sounds Good. 

I personally use a Peachtree Nova 300-Bluesound Node 2i - I use the Nova's DAC-; Pro ject CD transport and Harbeth 30.1 monitors in a very small square room. Night mare(!) but after much stress it sounds pretty good for such a modest system. They are giving these Peachtrees away but they are a good value. Lots of power for the money (class D but think of the environment). I play this thing all day. If I was to change and spend more money I would just change out another integrated with DAC. MacIntosh or Luxman or Hi Fi Rose (no DAC tho). Good luck, perhaps spend more now on Integrated unit.


OP, I just listed a Cambridge CXA81 on USAudiomart for $850.  Would be ideal for you.  Use coax out from you Node2i to use the Cambridge DAC.  You won't be disappointed.

If I was looking for a used integrated amplifier in the $1500 price range the Belles Aria would be on my short list. It delivers 75wpc into 8ohms. My spearers are easy to drive however. 

I  haven't looked extensively but have not found  the Aria spec for 4ohms. Also not familiar with your speakers. Question is how much the speaker impedance drops below 4ohms. 

Not to over push the Rogue Sphinx V3, but there is a Stereophile review which includes a measurement section providing detailed account of this amplifier. 

Both Belles and Rogue are good companies to deal with.





Is it a fair statement that vintage integrateds are not considered a worthy option here?

i have owned the belles aria (twice), along with numerous hegels, ayres, some upper older musical fidelities

david belles’ aria is a nice integrated, powerful, very stoutly built, nice phono stage in it too (the remote control is downright cheap though)

sonically, i found the belles to have a little more of a brash personality - more treble energy, some sizzle, a little grain, compared to the more refined hegel and ayre sound... so it depends if you want that or your speakers benefit from a little more sizzle up top...

the ayre, hegel and top flight retro musical fidelity amps (a308, muvista etc) provide a degree of treble sophistication of even higher tier solid state amplification (ample detail and soundstaging free of attendant electronic harshness)

Thank you, jjss49, for that. They all look really good. To my ears, my Piega speakers are clean and clear, but not brash. Also given a bigger, relatively bare room, it seems to me that a little more warmth plus plenty of power for those 4 ohm speakers is the ticket.Does that seem right?

If you are looking for a little warmth and lots of current to drive your speakers with aplomb, from what I have read — Parasound and Plinius would be good choices. I have heard Belles Aria and now have the Aria Signature. They are both fine integrated amps — but as mentioned by mesch above, there is no published data on what it delivers into 4 ohms. You want something that doubles the wattage from 8 to 4 ohms ideally.

Not much to suggest beyond what has been mentioned here already. I would just reiterate to pick something up on the pre-owned market as there is a ton of savings/value to be had.  

If you hurry, you might be able to snag the AYRE ax-7e used for $1400 listed currently on Audiogon. While I have not heard it, Ayre is in the upper echelon of American electronics and you could easily resell it if it doesn’t offer the sound you’re looking for. I bet it will be great, and I seriously doubt you can do better for the money.

Concerning Belles speaker power ratings questioned above:

Aria: 75W (Rms) per channel into 8 ohms, 125W (Rms) per channel into 4 ohms.

Aria Signature: 125W per channel into 8 ohms, 225W watts into 4 ohms.


Of the most frequently recommended integrateds in this thread, several are above the $1,500 price point (up from $1,000), such as Plinius, Parasound, Belles Aria and Musical Fidelity. Of the others that meet the robust power requirement, Rogue Sphinx and Ayre AX7e are doable. This is my entry into higher-quality equipment, so I would prefer to start the so-called journey at a relatively reasonable price level.