I own the YBA, Passion. I liked it much better than the Mcintosh. From sound to build quality it took out the Mc. Never heard the Brinkman, so I can't say, but I would take book in a tete a tete the Passion would hold its own, rather easily. Infact, I liked the Passion more than the ML MF and the JRDG, as well. It's a beautiful piece of electronics. Read my review in the archives.
I haven't heard the YBA, but I own the Audio Refinement, made by YBA. Others in your price range (used) would include the Mark Levinson 383, and the Jeff Rowland Concentra II. Both of which are excellent pieces. I've heard great things about the Mac also. If you really aren't sure, try to pick the one that you think would have the highest resale. Someone here at audiogon is also looking for something like that, so you wouldn't have trouble getting rid of it.
You will get all different answers. I, for instance, disagree with Warrenh completely. I find the YBA integre (even the passion) too thin for my tastes. The sound is very delicate with not enough energy. The McIntosh has a quite different sound in that it has lots of presence and coherence, soul that makes me smile, and emotion that the YBA, I find, lacks. The MA6900 feels like it takes charge and makes the speaker do what it should, all in a super-silky-smooth manner that leaves me with goose bumps. Soundstage is deeper too than the integre DT when both are playing Triangle Celius speakers and the Mc has a good bit more bass definition (admittedly a lot more power) as well.
It will boil down to your tastes really because the YBA and the Mc are 2 very different approaches. What kind of music do you like? YOu may have to buy used and then resell with little loss if you don't like it. This is what I have done for years. I ABed ML 383 with MA6900 as well and still would opt for the Mc thanks to its smooth power although the Levinson was very nice too. Don't know Brinkman. Good luck! Arthur
Where do you live? You may be able to find someone on here who lives in your area that has either the YBA or the Brinkman that would let you come demo. From my personal experiences I prefer the YBA. Of the many different brands of high-end electronics I've heard, the YBA stuff has always been one of if not my favorite. This includes Krell, Boulder, Halcro, Moon, Conrad-Johnson, Sunfire, Proceed, Mark Levenson, and McIntosh just to name a few and not to say that each of these aren't VERY good manufactures. Its just a personal favorite.
Good Luck to you!
Scootster: WHICH Tannoy speakers?
The McIntosh is meatier sounding (see Aball above) than the Passion. The Brinkman is s/where in the middle, with the Passion giving the best detail.
"Too thin for my tastes?" I used to own the DT and didn't find that at all, and the Passion is a whole other story. It's what makes this a great hobby. I'm a jazz man and the Passion does it for me in spades. The Passion is toasty, airy, sweet on top, detailed and enough current for my system. Everything, of course is very system dependent and I didn't have the same experience, listening through the same stuff as Arthur. Remember there's a cdp, cables,speakers and a whole bunch of other things that affect the sound as well. My A/Bing wasn't, truly, a fair one, but never the less, I believed the Passion was the deal for me. You're comparing some killer stuff. It's going to be a judgement/preference call. All I know is my Audio Aero Prima and Passion are a match made in heaven. Very sweet for SS. Good hunting. warren
Add Gryphon to your list of integrated amps. I can't recall the model names,but they have 100 and 200 watt models. Not cheap but built and sound great for SS.
Get a higher power integrated if your speakers are hard to drive and you listen to music at high level specially for some classical orchestra with some loud passage you can drive the Passion to clipping.
I had the exact same question & problem too. I bought and owned the YBA Integre' DT. It was a very fine piece. However it didn't give me all the sound & flexibility I wanted. I sold my YBA here on A-Gon last year and bought the new McIntosh Integrated from a Mac dealer who arranged for a demo in my home.
The McIntosh gave me better sound, way more power, much better flexibility. And you know, even though it's not considered audiophillic, I found the tone and loudness controls most useful and enjoyable on certain old records and CD's.
I bought the Mac CD player after that and they work very well together. I can give you the highest possible recommendation for the McIntosh. And I can say the YBA is also a very, very nice piece too.
I use Magnepan 1.6qr's and I have a pair of Joseph Audio RM-7 Sigs. The Mac sounded better on both in my Average sized living room.
Hope this helps, Happy Listening,
You're comparing apples and oranges there. The YBA, Integre, DT is not the fair comparison. The Passion is the one. Two very different animals. While the DT is certainly a killer integrated for the $$, and then some, it's still not in the league with the big boys like the JRDG, Passion, ML, Mac, etc...warren