Pity if you will not consider tube hybrid integrateds. For a long time I gave tube power no consideration. But now, I have found it to be the Holy Grail of power in my system; and incredibly splendid combination of warmth, detail and power. One of the best moves I've made in over two decades of component purchasing. I mention this since I have them (Pathos integrateds bridged to mono) mated to a quality floorstander in the same league as the VR4Jr's - the Chapman Audio Systems T-77's. If possible, you do owe it to yourself to consider/demo a tube hybrid integrated. The cost, maintenance, heat, etc. issues associated with tube amps simply are not part of the equasion in my experience with tube hybrid integrated.
I would never dream of going back to a solid state integrated now. Even my tube pre/solid state amp combos never sounded this good.
Yes, I know you didn't want this recommendation, but here it is! Maybe you have limitations, such as small children who may linger around the equipment, etc. If so, time will fix that, and you could search again someday... ; enjoy the search!
Before sugestions, What do you Think of the sound on your present componants. Whats your price limit, why not seprates.
UPS Just dropped of my New Tube MONO Blocks as I type this YEEHAA
Those speakers Will LOVE Rogue 120 monos. Will drive the heck out of them or in triode snap your neck with imaging while having speed and control without hash in the highs.
I was a solid state guy my whole life. Never thought of tubes, particulary because my speakers were not efficient enough, and even if they were, I was concerned more about what tubes couldn't do as well as SS, rather than what they do better. My speakers are 101db? That made not only tubes possible, but SET a reality. There's no going home. An intimate, holographic sound that, to this day, kills me. In this audiophoolish hobby, as in life, keeping an open mind, and having the willingness to try something new is a good thing. Just a little FWIW on the tube idea. BTW, I don't have experience with the YBA Passion Integre with the VR4jrs, but IMHO the Passion as well as its' baby brother (Integre DT) IMHO, are superior to your choices. I owned them both and loved them. In fact the YBA Passion was the amp I let go of, for SET. Beautiful ss integrated amps. Very hard to beat at their price level and at considerably more. Check the 'gon archives and google.
I, too, was like you ! I went from all SS seperates to a hybrid integrated because "something" was missing . I loved it . Now I have gone to a fully
tubed integrated . I found what was missing ! I will probably never go back to SS for music !
Any bells going off ?
Yes all this bunk that tubes are weak in power/bass vs ss, tubes can be just as fatiguing as ss, tubes wear out and so are costly to replace. All bunk. I have the smallest of the Jadis line, 20 watts and it drives one of the most demanding speakers a MTM design. Perfectly, more volume than I need.
Those choices would be a sideways move. All good amps. I went from ss to integrated tube and will not go back. Check out my system. Phil Brady.
You did not want tube recommendations, but so far, out of the preceding 7 responses, six have said tubes. Now make that 7 out of 8.
There are some people who absolutely will not mess with tubes due to the hassle/heat/replacement, etc. I was one of them until I heard what they do. After hearing, some decide it is still not worth it, but you must decide that from your own observations and feelings, not from what you read.
Do some research and check out Blue Circle's products.
Kck, you are correct, I DO NOT want the hassle of tubes. In fact I want to simplify even futher by going to an intergrated, that is why I posted my question and I want to keep the cost down to a few $Ks.
I current own two 400xi for my two small rooms. I love the fast and tight sounds of the Krell for instruments and percussions. I love the sweet and soft midrange of the MF. I have gone tubes with Rogue monoblocks and its magnum pre but tubby sounds excitment last for abt only a few months. AR is still a better choice if you go tubes. CJ, Rogue are good products for the price but not quite "tube" sounds as AR. My next intergrated will be AR. Again, some listener loves colour added some doesn't.
The Jungson JA88D is worth considering. No tubes, but heavily biased into Class A (does run a bit hot). I generally prefer tubed components, and the Jungson is the only solid state amp I've owned that captures much of the dynamic, rich and spatious tube sound (also owned Plinius, Creek, Jolida hybrids, Bel Canto, LFD Mistral, Quad). At a used/demo price of around $1000, the Jungson is also a lot cheaper than most of the amps mentioned above.
The Jeff Rowland Concentra (original version) can be had for less than $2,500. It's better than the Krell of MF you mention. A Krell 300 goes for slightly over $1,000 and some people have commented that its betters the 400 series in long term listening. Also, any of the various YBA integrated are excellent products.
Both the Krell and the Musical Fidelity would be great choices. They are getting great reviews and word of mouth. Sorry, but I have not heard the KAV400i but did listen at length to the KAV300. It was enjoyable and from posts of users the 400 seems to have taken everything good about the 300 and kicked it up a notch.
The Musical Fidelity gear is great IMHO. I demoed the Tri-Vista integrated and SACD player and it was fantastic. The A5 is said to have captured most of the performance of the Tri-Vista.
Another integrated you might want to check out is the NAD Master Series M3
And keeping with the simple theme the Krell, MF and NAD have great source components that would work well with each of them.
Tube gear sounds great but there is plenty of ss gear that sounds great also. I went from an all tube SET set up to ss and I don't feel I'm missing anything. Depending on the gear tube and ss just sound a little different fom each other and a lot of tube and ss gear sound the same. It least it does within my budget constraints, IMHO.
Good luck with your search.
Excuse my tubeness, but if I may ...
I did not have your speakers but did have the VR-2's hooked up to my Opera Audio Consonance a120 Hybrid Integrated (tube pre/ solid-state power) and they sounded fantastic. I, like you, did not want to mess with tubes. However, many hybrids these days, ones properly designed, offer quite long tube life expectancies - some in the 10,000 hrs!
I auditioned the Krell KAV400xi and Musical Fidelity A5 (with my current speakers: EgglestonWorks Fontaines) and I did not like the sound of either one compared to my a120 integrated. My a120 had a much better balanced overall sound for all music. It was far more pleasant to listen to, without giving up detail. And that is what you get with a good hybrid integrated. (By the way, these sell used for around $650.) I have yet to fuss with the tube at all.
The VR-4jr's do sound better with tubes. Pick up an Audio Refinement Complete. It will give you a little of the tube sound without tubes, its cheap, its more powerful than it claims.
Cford, I can understand where you're coming from. In my case, I'm not sure if it's driven by age(50-something)or other factors, but I'm looking to simplify my life by simplifying several of my hobies.
I went from a Stratos bassboat with a high H.P. outboard, 24 volt trolling motor, 3 batteries, and enough electronics to cause a 'brownout' in most small cities to a no-fuss, no-muss 18' aluminum fishing boat with one depth finder, and a simple 12 volt trolling motor. I enjoy fishing more now than I had in years because I get to actually DO MORE FISHING because I'm spending 90% less time on maintenance and "getting ready" to go fishing.
I'm in the process of doing the same with updating my audio system. I've made my decisions on everything but the integrated. I've auditioned Cambridge, Classe, Krell 400xi, Primare, and Lavardin (IS and IT). To my ears, the Primare and Lavardin gave me more of what I was looking for. Unfortunately, the Lavardins do not offer a remote control. A real pain in the butt having to get up and walk across the room everytime you want to adjust the volume. I intend to also audition the YBA and the Plinius. From what I've already heard, I know I can find the sound I'm looking for without the inconvenience of tubes. No knock to those who like tubes ....been there done that.
Kind of like the Ferrari vs. Corvette analogy. At this point in my life I would be happy with 95% of the performance (and only 20% of the maintenance, and 30% of the cost) that the Corvette would offer.