To this date my favorite is the Rowland Concentra. I had the first version, not sure if the 2nd Concentra II sounded different, other than it did have more power.
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I recently got to hear the Viva Solista tube integrated in a friend's system. That is a terrific, albeit expensive, integrated amp. It is a single ended triode using 845 output tubes. It is quite funky in that it uses two 211 tubes as rectifiers!
The sound is warm and relaxed without being sluggish or murky. It is also dead quiet as far as noise (my friend's system is about 105 db efficient, so quiet IS a big deal).
I use the Viva solista and have to say it is the best amp I have had. Fast , transparent and neutral with real drive. Having said that, I am about to get rid of it, my wife hates it, to big, to black, runs to hot.
I had a Karan K180, which was'nt nearly as good, neutral, but lacked drive and dynamics.
I heard the LSA room at RMAF and was very impressed indeed, with the standard amp, the Signature and statement must be very good indeed.
I've heard all of the Pathos hybrid tube/SS integrated amps in my system and they are all quite enjoyable and musical. The TT and INPOL have a very special magic, but I prefer the extra power and bass control offered by the Logos. I've read good things about McIntosh, though a few people have told me that this brand is a bit more musical as separates (preamp+amp) than as a single integrated (I can't confirm this personally).
A lot of good ones on this list. I wish I had more time to spend with the Jadis 30 & 60s. I found the Ars Sonum Filoharmonia to be exception with my Merlin speakers. It is tubed and only 30 watts, but with an easy, tube friendly impedance load and 87db or higher sensitivity, this was an exceptional little integrated. Would like to compared A/B with the Jadis gear, but I have not had that chance. Would love to try out the Leben gear to, but, not so easy to do. If I need more power I would look at SS from Rowland and Pass.
I know,nobody knows what this name represents but it is the best kept secret in audio industry for few years now.SROLL LYRIC IS THE NAME OF THIS INCREDIBLE MACHINE!And it comes from Czech rep believe or not.It may be the best amp in the world.http://www.sroll.com/
I sold all my Naim gear, and I was fanatic about that company,after I heard this gear.Includes super DAC.Just amazing,I have no words for this.It won over many amps even Halcro DM38 in direct comparasion.
I like the laid back and easy-on-the-ears midrange presentation, the quickness of the dynamic response and the silkyness and extension of the highs; all in all very close to a tube sounding amp as any solid state design I have heard, but with the quickness and solidity in the bass of the best solid state designs. It just sounds better and better the more you turn it up, never getting gritty or beamy.
What a seriously nice amp!
I am owner of Sroll Lyric for last few month.I have heard Dartzeel integrated in hifi show in Prague this year and I was disappointed as well,sounded little to bright and mechanical,maybee the speakers Wilson Benesh Chimera were the reason,I don't know but for the same money you can get the best inetgrated in the world Sroll Lyric.Please,it is not an advertising from the company,I am just an admirer of this product and I am very sad that the wide public is not aware of this treasure in hifi world.
These words you can find on his website and let me tell you there are absolutely correct,never heard anything like this in one box nor in 2,3,4 or more boxes!!!
Music is like Poetry. It is very abstract and everybody can feel something quite else when hearing it. Emotions from Music express themselves in us like invisible poetic lines. By means of our amplifier you can fully devote yourself to music Poetry, experience non-specifiable feelings. This amplifier has such extraordinary abilities that it literally excels in this poetical performance. That´s why we called it LYRIC.
During years of successful experiments with new technologies concerning analog signal processing we discovered what topology and physical properties of circuits are important for clean, natural and true sound reproduction. The output is the SIL technology in which these pieces of knowledge touch the very end of physical borders of capabilities of today´s component parts and production technologies. The LYRIC is a unique product of the highest possible category not only from the point of view of utility and technical characteristics but also as to high reliability and durability.
This amplifier reproduces a really clean and natural sound, perfectly controlled with a real dynamics and an excellent resolution of even the finest details. Its distinct characteristics is the precise depth of focus of all the dynamic peaks which don´t mask even the most silent instruments in the background of the record.
The reproduction is always full of emotions and pleasure and it is not tiring even during a long-term listening. On the contrary, when choosing a suitable genre, it works positively on the listener´s psyche and so it supports maximally healing effects of music. Thanks to the SIL technology the sound is not changed at all and it keeps all the described characteristics for very low, middle and high loudnesss.
These characteristics wouldn´t be fully used with a standard quality signal source. That´s why the amplifier contains an equally perfect D/A convertor which corrects jitter signals on the top level and in that way it needs above all data read in an errorless manner, which is only done well by the newest CD transports.
The experience with such a high amp and D/A technology shows that it is possible to get really top performance even from CD format which is comparable with high resolution formats. Even output sound from digital radios surprises the listeners.
The advantage of the SIL revolutionary technology comes to light above all during long-time hearing, best on precise loudspeakers capable of high resolution. They are commented upon too large drawing of records disadvantages, though, but after some experience with our technology you find out that huge majority of those disadvantages surprisingly disappears in full.