Looking for a very good integrated solid state amp


My system consists of:
Castle Stirling IIs,made by the original Castle firm in England, 91 db,
Rega Brio R integrated, Rega Dac, Musical Fidelity V Link 192, Atlas cable, Macbook Pro.
I love the Castles but I feel the amp should be of higher quality to get the fullest out of them.
My budget is $3,000 or so.
Anyone have any experience with:
Perreaux Audiant, Musical Fidelity M6I, Ayre AX7e, Linn Majk I, Sim Audio, etc.
Thank you very much---
nystereo
For me, it would be Ayre, no question. 2nd choice would be Sim. I would also consider a used BAT 300 and a Creek Dynasty. All of the ones I list are very good sounding but they also sound very different from each other.
I replaced my Classe 151 integrated a few months ago with the Ayre and I am loving the change - very noticeable positive difference in overall musicality, bass, clarity of vocals.
Of those that you have listed, I would also choose the Ayre. Though if shopping for myself, I would be looking for a used Jeff Rowland Concentra II.
Musical Fidelity M6i
I owned a loaner AX7e briefly. My LFD sounded better with my Harbeth's. With different speakers the AX7e may have been purchased as it was more versatile, although the extra stuff in the signal path circuit of the Ayre can degrade sound quality. Audiophiles love to say what matters most is sound quality, but I've met few who'd give up their remote or other extras crammed in the box.
"With different speakers the AX7e may have been purchased as it was more versatile, although the extra stuff in the signal path circuit of the Ayre can degrade sound quality. Audiophiles love to say what matters most is sound quality, but I've met few who'd give up their remote or other extras crammed in the box."

Can you define some of the extra stuff? The Ayre has a passive line stage. Not only that, Its a fully balanced, 0 feedback design. No offence, but I highly doubt that you have any experience with this amp.
Sugden A21SE used should be considered. 30 wpc Class A. Not found a speaker it would not drive well (I'm sure they exist) and it is REALLY REALLY quick. Makes most other amps seem lethargic.

Closes in on the tube sound...........but not as smooth as my Manley stuff so let's not get stupid here. Vocals, acoustic instruments all very well represented. Quick, but not rumbling full warm bass. Tight distinct bass. Good luck in your search.
It's all about synergy with your speakers. I have a creek destiny and a sim audio i5.3 and they are both great with the right speakers. The sim really works great with dynaudio but was a real bore with a set of Von schweikert monitors. The destiny sounds great with those same vs speakers but not as good as the sim on the dynaudios. I would ask the manufacturer of your speakers. Chances are they know what sounds good with them.
I am very satisfied with a BAT VK300xSE with the tubed front end. As mentioned by others synergy is most important. I have Acoustic Zen Adagios and first had a Wyred 4 Sound STI500 integrated and then an NAD M3. Both had terrific qualities and may have worked fine for another listener or speakers. You might have to try a few highly recommended and well reviewed amps before you find satisfaction. Good luck.
Thanks to everyone, I really appreciate the great feedback
Hegel H200!
Finest, low noise, excellent dynamics closest to class A I had experience on A/B amp.
I highly recommend you check out the Harman Kardon HK990
integrated. Fantastic!
I love the Rega you are using but, if it's not good enough for you, try
Naim or Exposure.
01-07-13: Zd542
Can you define some of the extra stuff? The Ayre has a passive line stage. Not only that, Its a fully balanced, 0 feedback design. No offence, but I highly doubt that you have any experience with this amp.

Not exactly in relation to the Ayre, though Airegin's experience mirrored some of mine's as well. Features such as Home Theater bypass, preouts for subwoofer or power amp connections etc. In other words, all the fancy bells and whistles. All these additional features may bring more detrimental effects when compared to an amp that has more simple circuitry, more purity in the signal path. Not always the case but usually true.
Edited around your stated budget from my response to your other thread..

I could think of a few different compact sized integrateds to recommend within your budget -

- Musical Fidelity M6i, $2999
- Unison Unico Secondo hybrid integrated, $3150
- Bladelius Tyr Mk2, $3699
- Hegel H200, $4400

Of the above, the most musical sounding would be the Unison, whilst the Hegel is the pick of the bunch overall & would be the better option if you think you may need more power in future. It's also worth talking to your local Hegel dealer as they may be able to get you a killer deal on the top range H300 which has been getting great reviews. Here is a review by Goodsound magazine fyi which btw compares the MF M6 500i - http://www.goodsound.com/index.php/equipment-reviews/409-hegel-music-systems-h300-integrated-amplifier
Dah, how could I have forgotten the Modwright KWI-200?? That is a superb integrated amp, and knowing how lovely the KWA-150 sounds and how well engineered and built that amp is, I would expect the KWI-200 to sound wonderful. Price is $5k. And that that pricepoint, i'd expect it to give the Hegel H200 stiff competition indeed. Between those two options, i'd stretch and buy the Modwright. But the H300 is a different story.
Ryder,

I understand what you are saying but my comment/question was meant only for the Ayre 7. Airegin states specifically that theres "extra stuff" in the signal path. I just called him on it because its simply not true and he either doesn't know what he's talking about or is just making it up.

The way I look at it, someone is asking for advice on something that will likely be a major purchase. The least we can do is give honest opinions and accurate info. I also know that you, in no way, are trying to get in the middle of all this. Your post is 100% correct. With many other products you would definitely want to consider other, non essential features in the circuit path.
I do have the modwright and the extra wattage is very nice to have on reserve...so many choices..but i did go for a powerful amp this time.
Congratulations Digsmithd on buying a terrific & musical sounding integrated! I'd take that any day over any Accuphase under $10k.
For your budget, give the Marantz PM11S2,S3 if you can get a great deal.
I own Castle Conway IIIs, ProAc 1 sc, Daedalus, & retro Pioneer. An
absolutely great amp on all of these speakers is the Yamaha A-S2000.
Run those Castles biwired to the A/B terminals, & you will be in for a treat.
Plus, you'll get a nice MM/MC for a phono. I run VPIs Traveler. Open,
spacious & detailed soundstage, flavor to taste via your dac/frontend. You
can even put a nice tubed pre into the loop via the pre ins. I run a Modwright Transporter balanced into the Yamaha & single ended into a
custom tubed pre w/Duelands Cast capacitors & AudioMagic cables.
If you don't have two identical pr. of speaker cables, make sure to put
your best on the tweeters, the lesser on the mid/bass. Good luck...
I second Regismc's suggestion of the Yamaha. I just received mine new last Thursday so it's still burning in, but my what a great amp for the money. It resolves tone even better than my tube amp. When I read the reviews I thought it was all too good to be true, but it's not. If you buy from Crutchfield, they give you a full 60 days to try it out, and only $7 return shipping if you don't like it. Spinning Led Zep Physical Graffiti 200 gram Classic Records right now and it sounds great.
Melbguy. Have you heard the H300? I've heard the H200 and was truly impressed. I don't like the looks of it but I guess that doesn't matter and my wife is Scandinavian and can handle the looks. I'd be curious to find out if someone thinks the H300 is worth the extra $1100. I don't need the extra power but if its that much better then $1100 is not a big deal. There's two H200's for sale on Agon right now and both sellers are trading up to the H300. That's very telling.
Rogue has a new integrated amp callled "The Sphinx" It includes a MM phono stage which will accomodate high output MC's; headphone jack, balance control and.... 100RMS. All for $1295 retail.

One drawback is the remote control is extra $100 and only controls the volume. That to me sucks, and should be included in the price. I believe this amp is a hybrid. Check out their website.
Redgum Audio RGi120 Integrated Amplifier
Couple of good options: Moon is an excellent product, Ayre, one of the big Marantz integrated at your price point is a great amp, you may be able to purchase on of the new Luxman models on sale at your price, Musical Fidelity a great choice-have owned a few and always seem to be a top performer at their price,could also consider something from PrimaLuna if you want a taste of tubes. Arcam, NAD
A used Krell solid state kav 300I,300IL,400IX,all of these amps are not bright,and fits into your budget,really good sound for the used market value!,with power to boot!,small footprint,easy to put in rack,you can also use the pre-amp inside these intergrated amps to drive a seperate amplifier!,theatre thruput,that allows the inter grated amp to be used with a processor,150 watts per channel,the 400xi is 200 watts a channel,these amps range in the used market for $1800.00 to $900.00 you cannot go wrong for the money!cheers!