Looking to buy a quality integrated $10,000 budget.

I’m at the point now I’m happy with my speakers, Klipsch La Scala AL5 at 105db sensitivity or there about and 8ohm load. I really don’t need big power. Unfortunately many integrated, as you go up the companies lines, keep adding power and not much else I’m not really into paying for something I’ll never use.

I do not need a DAC built in, I do not need a phono stage built in but I would not count them out if they were good quality and I could reduce the box load. So if I replace them I would need something as good inside the integrated as the Gold Note PH10 phono stage and Schiit Gungnir multi bit DAC that I currently use.

Sources are; Garrard 301 table set up with Jelco 12"arm and Van Den Hull Cart (and a Soundsmith MI), PC based streamer, multi disc player and Apple TV 4K (all the digital goes into the DAC) and a tuner (I like the Seattle NPR radio, Jazz 24).

I’m so far considering in Tube or SS class A (preferably but wont rule others out):

- Luxman 590axii, class A 30wpc. this is a top choice for me right now. change my mind?
- Luxman Tube integrated like the LX 380
- Accuphase E 650 (used-older as USA prices are overpriced mind you I can get it cheaper in Canada so may not be an issue),
- McIntosh MAC 7200, more power then I’ll ever need but many features like a tuner, phono stage etc. so could go to one box but what’s the compromise with all that inside?
- BAT VK801 and others never heard a BAT (recommended from a friend) so not sure, I don’t have anywhere near me to listen so don’t say go listen.
- Sungden but I have to admit I find them homely and a little basic looking.
- Triode Labs and Finale Audio (great gear by the way) I’ve considered (again) but I really want a remote and need more then 3 inputs.
- Pass labs class A if I can find one used and in my budget.
- Decware and the other smaller tube amps are also in the back of my head.
- what am I forgetting or don’t know that’s the question?

Sound is paramount but it has to appeal to me looks-function wise as well, I just can not look at a homely integrated regardless of the sound. Also I really want a remote this time around! If I kept both DAC and Phono stages I could go (partially) balanced but my tuner is single ended so its not important to me. Also I would like to stay away from Chinese production for now. Recently used ( newer then 10 years) or New is what I’m thinking.

I’m kind of trending away from tubes just tired of replacing them, 300b’s no way ever again. I Live in an open concept Loft so my main system does everything TV-movies-music. I also tend to have my system on playing from 4pm to midnight through the week and all day and night weekends (when I’m home of course) so my system gets lots of use this is why I’m thinking tubes may be done in my audio life maybe we will see.

I do not like the looks of Mac’s sloped front integrated tube amps similar to AudioNotes new integrated I find that sloped face not to my tastes. AudioNote in general I find over priced for what you get. yes I’ve owned some.

I have listen to some Moon gear wasn’t for me. And Rega’s new stuff again not for me. Naim, Linn pass not for me, been there done that not my cup of tea. Vintage is for my bedroom so not here.

looking for;
Dynamics, good bass control but good separation of notes, sweet top end that’s not edgy or overly bright, midrange that’s involving, huge soundstage maybe the word musical comes to mind. I tend to a slightly warmer side of neutral but not too much. All types of music except classical. I don’t listen above 85db.

ok I think I’ve put enough in here for a reasonable response.

What amps should I consider in this price range new or used? one last thing I live in western Canada.


If you can wait some, there's this reference version of the Moonriver Audio Integrated that's going to be reviewed in the next few weeks:

All the best,
consider the linear tube audio integrated - output transformer less tube design but the tubes last a loooooonnnnnnnggggggg time...

no affiliation, just a very happy owner of their zotl 40 ref amp
Yes I'll be waiting until after Jan 1st before I buy to get into 2021 tax year.  I'll be spreading some money I have from Veterans Affairs around to save some on tax's. 

The last time I tried OTL's I found them too noisy for the 105db speakers. I agree some of the best tube gear I've listened to but the hum is too much, they were 3rd gen  Atma Sphere M60's. Not to mention too many tubes for heat. I'll have a look i think i may have read about them recently. 

thanks for the suggestion.

You already have one of the best integrated on your list, Accuphase E-650. I would only sell mine to jump on E-800 :-) 

your otl experience aside, don't look past the ZOTL by Linear Tube Audio... it is not at all the OTL you are thinking of - totally different technology... it is dead quiet...
The Luxman LX-380 would be a good match with your speakers. I have Luxman tube separates and they have a very low noise floor.

Hi Glen
I have listen to some Moon gear wasn’t for me. And Rega’s new stuff again not for me. Naim, Linn pass not for me, been there done that not my cup of tea. looking for;
Dynamics, good bass control but good separation of notes, sweet top end that’s not edgy or overly bright, midrange that’s involving, huge soundstage maybe the word musical comes to mind. I tend to a slightly warmer side of neutral but not too much.
Of the integrateds I’ve auditioned, the following fit your bill, your preferences, and your budget
  • Accuphase 600 series (you should be OK with the 30W model)
  • MF Nuvista 6000
  • Pass Int 60
  • ATC - SIA2-100 (well within yr budget)
  • Luxman 590
If you're itnerested in further research, there is also an impressingly good 120W "triode" SS integrated from a company called BFA I heard; unfortunately I don’t remember anything else about it.
Enjoy the quest!
I own several integrated amps and a variety of speakers. All the choices on your list look good to me, so you can't go wrong.
I do own Luxman 590 AXII and I believe you would be very happy with it. As far as tube integrated are concerned you should also consider Raven's Osprey MK3 and the various Allnic tube integrated amps.
Another vote for Raven.  I think it would be a great match for your speakers.  The ability to tweak the sound to your needs is another bonus.  Dave could easily guide you in that regard.  They are also very nice looking units.  
Done. Next question?

Which is the one that works well with horns? The quote below is from the link on the Raven website to the review of the Reflection amp

"I don’t think the Raven will mate very well with some horns. Horns tend to enhance dramatic tension, dynamics and detail, and need a partner that will “keep calm and carry on.” In other words, there’s a reason relatively weak single ended amps sound good with horn speakers, they are good partners. From my experience, the Raven is a better match for complicated speakers that need plenty of “oomph.” Though I didn’t have a pair on hand, I believe it would be a good match, in smaller rooms, for the inefficient Magnepan. Also, because the sound is rather “taught,” bass reflex designs will have less overhang. Raven also makes appropriate amps for high efficiency horns. "
In that price range, Art Audio (I am the importer) offers a few products that are spectacular.  With those speakers, I find 845s to be a hair too bright.  Good options would be:

An Opus 2 which is 15w Triode Coupled integrated. It has three RCA inputs and remote volume.  If you like the warmth and clarity of an EL34, this is a brilliant option. This will ship with Sophia EL34s.  

The PX25 is a 5W SET using the PX25 Tube which is a tube that is a sort of middle ground between the detail and crispness of a 2A3 and the Lushness of a 300B.  It is closer to a 300B than a PX4 which is closer to a 2A3.  Dick Olsher referred to the sound as "velvet in a bottle."  This will ship with KR PX25s.  

The Symphony II which is a 10W SET and is basically a 10w 300B version of the PX25.  300Bs are well know for delivering a lush, addictive midrange and are one of the best matches for your speakers.  This would be my first choice.  This ships with Emission Labs 300Bs.  

They can all be had for between $9,500 and $10,000.  You will see Art Audio was owned by a lot of folks out in Whats Best Forum and is a brilliant line of products.  

PM me if you are interested.  
We have probably more integrated amps on display the most dealers

We have the anazing coda csib which beat the luxman

We have the synthesis a100t
a 100watt kt 66power house also awesome and stunning looking

We have naim anthem,unison research, musical fidelity, micromega and many others

Dave and troy
Audio intellect Nj
Why would La Scala's need a powerhouse amp @audiotroy ?

I like the idea of a tube integrated like the Luxman 380 or Line Magnetic 845 or Leben 600 for synergy with those speakers.  
Thanks everyone for the input, I'm looking at LTA seriously now as well as my LUX- Accuphase options I've mentioned and totally forgot the Leman, Shido, Bolder etc stuff. 

Art Audio is interesting. note though I will not go to 300b's again. 

couple good suggestions but I need 4 inputs and a remote so a couple are out due to only 3 inputs and no remote.

 I've also had a Line Magnetic 845 tube integrated in my system for a few days and it was a not to my tastes I agree the 845 is a little too top heavy.

thanks everyone. 

The Luxmans are great choices.

The 590 has much more power than the 30 W would indicate, like a lot more. It seems to be underrated only due to the heat sinks, but otherwise would look closer to 100W. It really is an unfair 30W Class A amp. A great choice for less efficient speakers for sure, and a great sounding amp overall.

The LX 380 is more accurately rated, and probably all you need. I’d love for you to listen to and tell me how it sounds. :)
I like the leben 600. Also agree with Luxman or accuphase. Can’t go wrong with those products and klipsch speakers. Been lusting after an accuphase integrated for 10 yrs. . Too expensive in the us. 
A couple that are highly regarded but not mentioned yet are Vitus and Gryphon. Another interesting option may be Pathos amps that use tube input but SS (Class A?) output and have the added bonus of being some of the most beautiful integrateds on the market IMHO. Best of luck.
Maybe consider a Viva Solistino,  very well designed 18W, SET amp. With your speakers being so efficient this IA, will sound wonderful. I also agree with the other recommendations on the Luxmans.
agree re Gryphon. I have never owned nor heard one but based on what i have read it would be top of my list at that price. 
The Linear Tube Audio (LTA) ZOTL Ultralinear was designed for speakers like yours. Tubes last 10-20,000 hours so no issue there. And dead quiet black black background. And with basically a 30 day in-home trial there is zero risk which is what you want when spending that much money. Could be a match made in heaven and end game for you. A no downside value proposition.

I own their microzotl preamp and a pair of their z40 reference amps. Holographic is the best way to describe the combination.
“Surprised that Gryphon has only been mentioned once.”

OP prefers ‘I tend to a slightly warmer side of neutral’ and Gryphon sound is neutral. So is Burmester and Vitus.

While I like the suggested LTA ZOTL Ultralinear option, I would not ‘settle’ with LTA without first listening to Accuphase or Luxman Integrated. Like OP, i also prefer the slightly warmer sound and I end up keeping the Accuphase E-650 over Luxman L-509X. My speakers are Tannoy Canterbury’s.
Hello Glen,

     I just read the 6moons review on the David Berning designed LTA ZOTL and it sure seems to meet your requirements. It's a very positive review that'll give you a good idea of what to expect:


     I also went on their website and they're offering 10% off retail price right now and have several links to other professional reviews:


     I need to let you know, however, that I have no direct experience listening to this amp and no association with LTA. I actually use high powered ss amps with larger and inefficient Magnepans in my own system.
     But I've always loved the palpable, walk through soundstage imaging and natural timbres experienced through a well sorted tube system.  I can still appreciate the enticement of a reviewer stating: "The ZOTL Ultranier attempts to strike a balance between triode and pentode where ultralinear topology delivers a less forward presentation but maintains the speed and dynamics of a pentode,  then combines it with the rich tonality, organic timbres and three-dimensional meaty imaging of a triode design."  Wouldn't we all like to own, or at least experience, a system like that?

I just took delivery of a LTA Z10 integrated. My speakers are JBL 580 with a sensitivity of 90DB. The Z10's 12 w/c are more than enough to drive them at high volume settings, not just loud but a full sound all frequencies well displayed. Sound is quite different from SS or tubes. It is just music, the instruments sound very natural and the amp is so quiet.
Your speakers at 105db I doubt will need more than 5 w/c.

spend 3K, buy records and a down payment on a Dodge Viper. "

I have over 2k of records and a 2020 Ford Bullitt Mustang I'm good. 
I wonder if a used Merrill Int with the new transistor could be had
at $10k or under? If not I'd Pass. The INT25 would run your Scalas.
I've reached out to LTA for more information defiantly a top choice from what I've read. thanks for that suggestion. 

Diablo 300 way too much power but the diablo 120 is interesting. I've never had the experience to see let alone hear anything from Gryphon though and I doubt there will be anywhere close to listen. Maybe in Seattle or Vancouver those are the two largest places that are reasonable distance to me that I will travel for this perches if i don't buy used that is.

 I'm not apposed to buying unseen as they say if I know the reputation of the company and have many reviews to help judge. But listening touching is ideal of course. Many good suggestions I had not considered thank you all. 

Chorus, I did not see any Integrated amps on Merrill's site. coming soon though. 

I'll not be looking at Krell, levenson or moon not to my taste but thanks for the suggestion. 

Looks like i have a good start to do some thinking and research - listening if I can find a place. 

My Plan is to get off this merry-go-round of audio equipment and settle down and just enjoy into retirement.  

Thanks again everyone for the excellent feedback and suggestions. 


if u are sticking to your super efficient super easy to drive la scala’s and love their sound, and don’t have a huge room, there are so so many low wattage fine, fine amps you can choose from -- 10 grand can be very well spent on some great ones but you certainly don’t need to spend 10k to get some serious magic goin' on...

your list seems to weighed towards much higher wattage units, that will not sound as sweet nor as organic as the super pure se tube amps - i think that is entirely the wrong direction if you are committed to the la scala's

i for one still have some great low wattage amps from years ago, but i just could not live with the various high efficiency/horn/paper cone speakers i have tried over time that they could drive properly - but i haven’t given up, and still keep my cary 300b sei and my wavelength cardinals for that day the right super hi-eff speakers come along...

Take a look at a few years old T+A PA3000HV. 


With a bit of patience you should be able to land one for about $6k. Original MSRP was ~17K.  
If i go SS I'll most likely go Class A so all these big power amps I'll be passing on I have no use of hundreds of watts when 2wpc is enough 30wpc is perfect. So Pass labs if i go that way will be one of their class A amps not he INT250 for example. 

CJ I've not looked at them for years since I owned a per-power 16 years ago. mm interesting same as Cary Audio but I hear they have gone down in quality since Denice Hadd retired. Shame some of the most fun i had in audio was through a SLP 94 preamp and SLM 100 mono amps set up driving some Proac Response 2.5's back 15+ years ago now. Time marches forward and we get old haha. 

cheers all have a great week

Glen - here are my two cents - I just got my Krell K300i 8 months ago.  You really need to hear this integrated amp.  It has great control of the bass - a great soundstage and plenty of power to push my Magnapan 1.7is. Your speakers are much more efficient so you would never be pushing this unit even close to 'running it hard'. It is Class A with a patent on it's design - "sliding bias".  You can get it with a built in DAC if you wish - less boxes - I did not - I stream using LUMIN. The unit's build quality is great, and service is great - I have been a Krell user for over 20 years.

Just my two cents - Happy Listening