Only the company can tell you that. Usually the more you stuff into one box, the more compromises have to be made...
Price can tell you a lot.
Price can tell you a lot.
I just naturally assume that all other things being equal, stuffing a tuner or a HT processor in the same box will be a compromising attribute.
You'll need a bigger power supply to service the additional load, or you'll keep the same power supply but shared system wide. The circuit will become more complex to accommodate more functions, etc.
But you know, your mileage I expect may vary.
obviously, merely being made by the same maufacturer won't cause the integrated and receiver to sound identical (any more than a lexus will perform like a scion). assuming the integrated and amp have identical power supplies, transformers and other guts, they should sound very close. i've owned both the nad 3020 integrated and its receiver version, the 7020 and couldn't hear any difference; likewise a yamaha rx-1000u receiver and supposedly identically-built cx integrated. however, as stated above, in the usual case receiver manufacturers are forced to make cost or design compromises to jam extra stuff into the box; likewise the extra circuitry and functions can compromise sound quality. none of which means that an integrated will always outperform a well-designed receiver.
That one could not tell the difference between a NAD receiver and a NAD integrated doesn't say a lot to me. Yes, I think NAD is seriously overrated. Slow, dark and veiled. Can't imagine how you could tell the difference between components unless we're distinguishing the difference between muddy and slightly less muddy.
Receiver can mean 2 channels with a tuner, or a multi channel SSP? Regardless, an integrated amp at the same price should outperform it, although it may not be obvious with all speakers. You'd expect a lot of the difference to show up in drive capability and that would be more apparent with difficult to drive speakers. A pretty common disagreement around these parts is whether a high end integrated can outperform separates - so they can certainly be made to very high performance levels.
In my experience, I know of only a handful of receivers over a 40-year period that were designed and built to audiophile standards. The only ones that come to mind are Tandberg (who shielded and isolated each section from the others), ADS, and McIntosh. But I can name a lot of integrateds that make serious sound and rival separates. Not only are there pricey ones from Krell, Pass, Pathos, Bryston, and the like, there are excellent affordable ones from Onkyo, Denon, Yamaha, Cambridge, Creek, Rega, Music Hall, Musical Fidelity, Rogue, Primaluna, all of which will trounce any receiver i can think of,
I've heard a couple of receivers sound identical to the company's integrateds. Every time, the receiver cost a good bit more than the integrated...
NAD 720BEE and 320BEE sounded identical in a demo. The 720BEE cost about twice as much (or more). It had a few extra features in addition to the tuner, but nothing major.
The Naim Uniti sounds identical to the Naim Nait 5i/CD5i combo to my ears. The Uniti has the Nait and CD5i innards stuffed into one box, plus several other features. It's not a great cost comparison between the two, as the Uniti has a ton of features like DAC, streaming, iPod input, internet tuner, and so on. For the money, the Uniti is a better bargain than the Nait 5i/CD5i combo, as you get a bunch more very usable features for not a whole lot more money. But in a strictly amplification sense, the Uniti costs significantly more than the Nait.
Sorry if I side tracked there.
All that being said, the only receivers I've heard that I'd consider higher end would be the Naim Uniti and the Magnum Dynalab MD 208. I haven't heard the MD 308. If I were to buy a stereo receiver, I'd get a Harmon Kardon. Doesn't compete with good integrateds, but it doesn't try to either. Pretty good prices on refurbs through Harmon's website.
If you want great sound for the dollar, integrateds are the way to go IMO. Add an inexpensive tuner, and you're far better off sonically. Just my experience.
01-13-12: Kbarkamian+1. There are so many good integrateds out there at every price point, both new and used, SS and tube.
For a tuner, find something used from the '80s, the last time FM was a source of quality sound. I have two tuners, an ADS T2 and a Denon TU-530, each of which I picked up used for $80. The T2 was legendary in its time for pulling in stations and noise rejection, the Denon has a luxurious, silky feel (and pulls in stations very well too), and both have fundamentally excellent sound quality.