I've heard the D'Agostino amp, but not the integrated. Very good sounding. Another great choice is the Luxman series. Not sure if you'd prefer the Class A or A/B.
I also like Ayre a great deal, but distinctly different than those two.
If you want to stay with the McIntosh house sound, you can pick up their best integrated (300wpc) for under 10K.
If you can get a great deal and like the sound why no go for it.
Pass would be another brand to consider put if you can't compare go with the sound you like.
dan d was krell’s main man before his current outfit bearing his name
i have not heard his current super duper expensive stuff at any length but if it still has the same sonic signature as krell then it would be classic clean sharp bass slammy solid state... can be lean and sizzly if matched poorly to source and transducer
ayre’s house sound is somewhat different, a little warmer, sweeter, a little less bass slam a little more air and subtlety
also suggest hegel and belles - excellent sounding units, very good spatial capabilities
The Ayre integrated—AX5-Twenty—is the best I’ve heard with many different speakers. I ended up with the VX-5 Twenty and kept my tube preamp but that integrated sounded so special with my Audio Physic speakers.
In that price range I'd also look at the Vinni Rossi L2ise integrated, give you a 300B tube based preamp and excellent ss amp section. Just got mine and loving it. The Agostino stuff is excellent when I have heard it at shows, but the Rossi has heart and soul, slam, and detail without any edginess
you are on the right track.
D'Agostino progression.good performance and has a brand cache as well compared to all other brands/models mentioned
I Would listen to Audionet Humboldt
Vitus are a Danish high-end company who make three fabulous integrated amps. I have demoed all three and own two of them and all sound wonderful. Their latest, the SIA-030, has received numerous awards in Asia and Europe recently. Class A to 30W and AB to 200W, it is an extraordinary amp. The Vitus ’sound’ is neutral although with a slightly warm, analogue sound. Not the velvety smoothness of a Luxman, and more precise than a McIntosh, but not the dry Hi-Fi sound of a D’Agostino. Think a more valve sound In the mids and top end but with rigid tight and deep bass.
I demoed Sonas Faber speakers with the Vitus SIA-025 and the combination was wonderful, especially with Classical music where the instruments were precisely located in 3 dimensional space and the sound was almost ’live’.
How do the Luxman and Ayre house sounds differ from each other? I am interested in both brands but have not had the opportunity to listen to either. How does a brand like Simaudio compare to both?
Ayre has a certain darkness, like it pulls noise out of the room. It's kind of a funny effect. Very smooth, touch warm in the sense of Parasound.
Luxman is closer to D'Agostino. Extended on both ends, liquid midrange.
Have never heard Simaudio so I can't help you.
The Luxman/D'Agostino/Ayre triad represent amps I'd be happy with for the rest of my life.
There's a great selection of integrated amps these days.
McIntosh has both solid state and tube - if you are willing to consider them. Not sure about your CD transport but most likely one remote could operate them both if that's important to you.
My experience with Simaudio is related to their DAC - I have the 280D. I'd consider their other components and my McIntosh C2600 and MC 301 are relatively new and I'm extremely happy with them at this time.
If you like tubes, I've been impressed with a Rogue demo. The store I frequent decided not to renew the AR contract because of the performance and customer reaction to Rogue.
Good luck and happy listening.
I have owned a Simaudio Neo Ace 240i for well over a year, and I like it it a lot, playing into Dali 5's and a Dynaudio subwoofer. It has a built in DAC that sounds pretty good to me as well, a tiny bit better than the DAC within my Innuos Zen Mini, in case you change your mind and downsize all those CDs and rip them, as I did. The Simaudio was a demo model, and my local dealer sold it to me for a fair price. At 50W/ch, I do not know how well it will drive your big Sonus Faber Novas, but if you have a chance to find one to audition, it is worth a try. My same same local dealer has a Vinnie Rossi L2i integrated amp, playing into Dynaudio Confidence 20s and 50s. I think it is some of the best sound I have ever heard, but the Vinnie Rossi, even without the DAC or phono stage cards that are add-ons, still costs over $12,000. I don't know what your budget looks like. If the price of the Vinnie does not scare you off, I would highly recommend an audition if you can arrange it. There is a Vinnie Rossi L2i-SE, the fully loaded big brother, for sale on Audiogon right now for 21K (no disclaimers: I do not know the owner of said amplifier at all or have any interest in its sale, other than I like to look at it on Audiogon and will be saddened to see it dropped as a listing). Good luck in the hunt. I wish you well. Keep us updated!
I would look at The Krell K-300i Nice match for your speakers. The Audio Research VSI 75 would be another match. Based on your current configuration you owe it to yourself to give the MC 300 watt Integrated. The MC sound is unique and it is a matter of preference.
Making the move to an integrated took me a little while to get used to.
The good news is you have the most significant part of your system . The speakers are phenomenal!! On your speakers you will be able to evaluate the amp that suits your preference.
The Dag Progression integrated is the antithesis of cold, lean, bright or any other non musical term that one might use. Mesmerizing on vocals.
"Ayre has a certain darkness, like it pulls noise out of the room. It’s kind of a funny effect. Very smooth, touch warm in the sense of Parasound."
very apt description of what ayre does... so true... i wouldn't call it a drak sound, but there is a blackness to the background that is quite unique
i wouldn't call it a drak sound, but there is a blackness to the background that is quite unique
Exactly!! It is not tonally dark or warm.
I just got a Prima Luna Prologue Premium (floor model). I love it. The new Prima Luna line - EVO, I think, is supposed to great.
primaluna redid their product naming - used to be prologue was entry level, dialogue higher line
now all evo, but 100-200-300-400
more or less 100-200 is renaming for prologue, 300-400 dialogue, then higher number in each is the old 'premium' sub-designation
pretty much same stuff underneath though (not that the stuff is bad... it's good)
Another vote for the Ayre AX-5/20. I have owned one for two years now and totally love it. It is dead quiet and very natural sounding.
I have also her the Vinnie Rossi and it is also fantastic. I would try to audition both.
I bought the Aesthetix Mimas and have been very pleased with the way they match my Vandersteen Treo CTs. Two tubes in the pre section, rated at 150 8 ohms, 300 4 ohms. I also got the optional DAC and phono modules. I like fewer wires!
Gryphon Diablo 300 is pretty stellar and worth a listen if you have the opportunity. I was going to “upgrade” my Pass separates to the Diablo until I decided to splurge on Gryphon separates.
The descriptions of Ayre sound above are interesting and a little different from my experience - I find Ayre (at least their integrateds) very incisive and fast, but a bit lean and light in the bass, with a bit of highlighting to leading edges and the upper midrange that makes some things a bit pronounced. I suspect this might be due to the topologies they use that tend to have more 3rd harmonics in the THD. They are definitely quiet though and pull out a lot of detail without sounding bright - really good with warmer speakers like Sonus Faber and Vandersteen, not so much for, say, Magico or Focal IMO.
regarding ayre gear, i would agree that the sound signature is
- deep dark dark black background, from which detail emerges very naturally without a sense of brightness or emphasis
- not the last word in deep bass slam/extension, although it is very rhythmic and tuneful
- natural, nuanced, even a little warm midrange... not a fat midrange, but to my ears it is not lean (like alot of other solid state), exceptional smooth, but without loss of tonality
- very good speed and flow to the music, well timed and once again, just natural sounding, easeful without seeming at all lazy
- outstanding spatial capabilities - deep wide layered... i think this is one ayre’s great strengths
agree that matching with speakers and ancillaries key (as is always the case) - but it is special, outstanding gear
Hegel H590: I don't think I've heard a best sounding integrated at this price point -- and perhaps way beyond it.
I would like to add yet another recommendation for the Ayre AX-5 Twenty, especially paired with the Sonus Faber Olympcia Nova V speakers. I auditioned this very combination last month, and it was stunningly good. That setup also included a dCS Bartok streamer/DAC. We also tried a Luxman L550 integrated in the setup, but some of the magic was clearly lost. I have also recently auditioned the McIntosh MA7200 integrated with a Linn streaner/DAC ($10K), and Olympicia Nova III speakers. I did not like this combination nearly as much as the Ayre with the Nova III, and the Ayre with the Nova V was in a completely different class. I liked the Ayre AX-5 Twenty so much I purchased one. Now to add the Nova V's!
I am inclined to add the Cary Audio SI-300.2d to this list for consideration. Class A/B 300W RMS into 8 ohms, and 450W RMS into 4ohms, this unit is a beast. Modern/digital features galore, including wifi and Bluetooth, and an excellent remote. It does get hot, so needs room to breathe, but it will drive any speakers you throw at it. It is meant to be played loud, but I guess with highly-efficient speakers it would still sound okay at lower volumes.
My only gripe is no headphone jack :)
Another +vote for AYRE AX-5 Twenty integrated amp.
which cables/power cords are you using in your system?
Gotta put in a vote for Hegel as well. For the $$ worth an audition.
+1 for Gryphon Diablo 300 and the Vinni Rossi L2ise integrated. I own the Diablo and was most impressed hearing the L2ise at RMAF 2019.