Look into the Cayin line, great sound, great value.
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I am not sure about what is available in Australia, that may be a big deciding factor. But maybe some of the tube gear from Japan or a reputable Chinese manufacturer? A lot of the Japanese gear that I am aware of seems to be fairly low powered, SET amps (Shindo & Yamamoto for example). For Chinese made gear, check out Line Magnetic (LM) and Primaluna.
The Icon Audio model i auditioned was the
"Stereo 40 MK III 6AS7"
Specifications and Features
Comprehensive manual supplied
Full instructions for valve change included and bias meter
All hand wired point to point
No printed circuit or tag board to colour sound
Blue ALPS volume pot (Japan)
Class A, all Triode front end
Output circuit all pure Triode
4x 6SA7 precisely matched for best performance
1x 6SL7 first stage valve, 2x 6SN7 phase inverter
274B valve rectifier for smooth sound
No global feedback used (integrated operation)
Standby switch to save valve life and power
35 Watts per channel, 33+33W both channels driven
Signal to noise level -95dB
Freq response (L) 20Hz 20kHz +/- 0dB 15W
Freq response (H) 20Hz 20kHz +/- 1dB 15W
Min bass frequency for full power 15Hz
THD 0.56% (L) 1.3% (H) both @ 15 W
Suitable for 3 to 16ohm speakers (8 & 4 Ω taps)
Damping Factor 5.00
Supplied with attractive safety guard.
Audiophile quality metal film resistors (Taiwan)
Rubicon/Nichichron power caps.
Purple LED mains indicator
Choke regulated power supply
Audiophile SCR/Solen Polypropylene audio caps.
Optional Jensen Copper foil paper in oil upgrade
Silver PTFE audio cable
99.9999% pure transformer copper
High grade long grain transformer iron (Japan)
Custom hand wound Tertiary output transformers
Ceramic valve holders for minimum noise/leakage
Gold plated Input & speaker terminals
Four line inputs CD, Tape, Tuner, Aux
Tape monitor circuit with Record Out
280mv input sensitivity (H) Integrated
680mv input sensitivity (l) power amplifier
230/240volts 180w Min, 250watts max signal.
2A AS rear fuse
CE, ROHSS and WEEE where applicable.
390mmW, 390D, 230H, 20kg
It was not expensive , i think comeing in at around $2500
Australian which i thought was reasonable for a quality valve amp.
Yes the Macintosh is very tempting as the backup seems second
to none and the reputation gives real confidence , at this stage i have a few pieces collected over the years in the hobby , at this time now i want just one nice system , i have moved on from experimenting and have found i have 3 of each component , The problem with living in Tasmania is that all the distributors are located in Melbourne or Sydney , any suggestions on Mac models up to say $7000 Australian. I also have a Wadia 302 cdp in storage but find the Rega Dac wonderful despite its budget price its "outstanding". I use Transparent Audio Reference speaker cable and Kimber Ks 1011 interconnect from dac to amp , i have come to realise a smoother sound i enjoy rather than high detail in your face which i find in most systems i have heard at retailers. I like Dire Straits , Neil Young , Gordon Lightfoot , Eric Clapton , not much into hard rock .
Thanks for the advise so far , i think i will investigate the McIntosh models and see what they will set me back , i want to get an amp to keep for a long time as i have had enough of chopping and changing , the reason i heard the Icon Audio amp
was that one of only two Hifi retailers in the state had one in store , it was hooked up to a Cambridge Audio cd player and Dynaudio small floor standing speakers , Icon appear to be very nicely made and i believe being a smaller company they can save the consumer a little due to small advertising budgets. Cheers.