SS Budget "Tone" Integrated Amplifiers


In your experience, what are some good, inexpensive solid state integrated amps that give good tone / density? Is there such a thing? I'm done with tubes (for now) and spending $$$ chasing unicorns instead of listening to music. But I like instruments to sound like they should and not have poor recordings (which IMO are most) ruthlessly revealed. I can think of Sugden but it's all but Covid unobtainium right now. What else?
23a18cd7 f9e4 4e3d 93e6 457ef97c160agreg7
What's the budget? Sugden would be good, or maybe Exposure.
I love my Rega Elicit-R. I've owned many integrated amps, and this one got me off the merry-go-round. I still peruse AudiogoN classifieds occasionally, but not for amplifiers......
"What's the budget? Sugden would be good, or maybe Exposure."

Roxy: let's say $2000 but preferably $1000. 

I've demo'd the Exposure 2010s2, didn't care for it. I have a Rega Io now and I preferred the Io to it, ditto an Arcam A28. 
Have you looked at any Simaudio? Don't know what they offer nowadays.
How about used? A killer integrated amp is the JVC X - 1 from the 90's! The amp section uses JVC's "Super A" circuit with the same tonal qualities as a pure Class A design! Without the drawbacks of excessive heat and current draw! I have one in my collection. I'm surprised that other 'philes haven't picked up on these JVCs! They certainly rival anything from Pass for SQ!
In that range, I was going to suggest Rega.  If you need more power, look at a used Elicit R.  You might also look at Cyrus or Roksan.  I am just learning the Cyrus line so not sure it there is anything that is a truly good fit based on your budget.  
@greg7  - In your $1000 - $2000 price range, I really like the Rega Elicit-R. I've owned integrated amps from Musical Fidelity, Anthem, Arcam, Plinius, Bryston, Parasound, and several others, and I prefer the Rega sound. The Elicit-R has great bottom end and is non-fatiguing in my system. I consider it to be a very musical choice. I also use the built-in phono stage for my turntable and find it to be very good for the price. They seem to sell for about $1500 on the used market, maybe a little more today. That's what I paid for mine 2 years ago.
buy used

sugden or hegel, rega maybe (but less so)

a more unlikely one, but it is very very tonally pure and well built - sony ta1-1es
Belles Aria integrated used.
Belles Aria first..... If you can find an old Audio Refinement, its a bit darket than the Belles, but sounds great and inexpensive. 
Marantz PM8006 is a great integrated amp---Marantz tends to be on the warm side if that's what you're looking for. 
I would go with a good vintage integrated amp from accuphase or tandberg they are two integrateds that would give you a good musical sound.
   There are lots of amps new and used to chose from. I can't overstate what I've posted before....The amp and speakers must have synergy. Great amps and some great speakers may sound great or lousy together. I have experienced that more than once. BTW...you didn't mention which speakers you would be using with the amp.
   I once used a NAD integrated with  top of the line Klipsch speakers. Not impressed. But, that same amp with PSB speakers was a whole new world. Pairing the two is the whole game.

BTW, I currently own the well regarded, inexpensive, Audio Refinement Complete Integrated Amp, as well as the Rega Elicit-R. The Audio Refinement is a nice little amp for the price. But the Rega Elicit-R is in a different class. It has much more control, better bottom end and more refinement. It's still musical, just much more exciting than the Audio Refinement. And it should be. It's 3X more expensive.
I’ve demo’d the Exposure 2010s2, didn’t care for it. I have a Rega Io now and I preferred the Io to it, ditto an Arcam A28.
Hi Greg, I’m in the exact same situation as you... eyeing those lower end Rega amps (IO, Brio) for my small room, so I’m interested in opinions. Could you please share what leaves you dissatisfied with the IO, and what are the strengths of that amp? What speakers are you using with it? Any dealbreaker flaws you’ve detected, or is it just a general urge to upgrade to something better?
V-FET transistors amps, Sony ta-5650, pass first watt SIT really better than my sugden A21, rega elicit-r, hegel H120 or yamaha as-1000, the musicality and the pleasure is an another world!!!

Not certain that a budget for a new amp @ $1000 level gets you off the merry go-round for any appreciable length of time.

With that said ... amps that I own or have owned that I have liked and have worked for me.  I am a sucker for vocals and acoustic music and 60s/ 70s rock and pre 2000 country and opera.  

$1500 

Rogue Sphinv v3 @ 1600 - very good phono

$1000

Rega Brio @ 1100 - good phono - needs careful speaker matching
Outlaw RR2160 @ 1000 - good phono - copper wire interfaces & cables work best

$500

NAD 316EEE - surprising for the money

Rich 
@rar1
Which speaker would you suggest as a nice match for the Rega Brio?

Really interested in that amp, and the IO as well..  Looking for a non-fatiguing full sound free of unpleasant brightness or shrillness.

Creek is too often overlooked…

Evolution 50A or 100A. I’ve the 50A and love it. Very balanced, refined, with richness, warmth, but clear. Very speaker friendly. Those two are within that budget range used. Newer Creek amps are quite a bit pricier, different topology too (I think).
I really liked my Arcam FMJ-A19. Great phono section. Kinda warm sounding, paired well with Paradigm's which were a bit forward. Probably will work well with B&W's and KEF's which also sound forward, to me.
@mermaid_smiles -

So, all I know is that you have a small room.  Don't know your budget or what you like to listen to.  I had the Rega set up in a 15 x 10 x 8 1/2 room.  It played plenty loud without coaxing the volume control much.   

I have recommended speakers mostly in the $1K range because I am in my 60's and don't have too many claims on the few extra bucks I have.

Speakers that I thought matched well with the Rega Brio ...

Omega Super Monitor 7 MKII - 

https://omegaloudspeakers.com/collections/monitor-speakers/products/super-7-monitor-speaker?variant=...

Golden Ear Technologies BRX Monitors -

I would think that GET's AON2 or AON3 would work out well

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-U2GuYE7A0hR/p_317BRX/GoldenEar-BRX.html?XVINQ=GLX&awkw=12431007469...

Zu Audio Dirty Weekend - Crazy good and enjoyable.  2 buts - there is a wait for them (unless you find a pair used) and  they are floor standers and may be too big for your room.  

https://www.zuaudio.com/loudspeakers/omen-dirty-weekend-ii

There is also a pair of Opera Mezza listed here that would do very nicely with the Rega.

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lisaa812-opera-loudspeakers-mezza-with-mit-cable-package-monitors

Best, 

Rich 


I have a Rogue Sphinx v1 upgraded with Mullard cv4003 (12au7) tubes. It sounds awesome. Tons of power. It's a hybrid Integrated amp with two tubes for preamp and solid state for the amp. You may be able to get a used one for around $900 to $1000.
I have also heard good music come from the Rogue Sphinx. I believe I heard them with the Wharfedale Linton 85th Anniversary speakers. Nice pairing. 
Would highly recommend a look at the Denon PMA-1600-NE.  It's surprisingly pure sounding, especially in "analog mode."  The phono stage is exceptional, if you play vinyl and don't have an external phono stage that you like.  I can't speak for the quality of the internal DAC.