Just recently, I decided to upgrade my current Integrated amplifier which is a Vincent SV-236MK Tube Hybrid Integrated Amplifier purchased in 2009 for $1995.00 with a Luxman L-550AX which was $4990.00. Surprisingly, the Vincent SV-236MK sounded much better than the Luxman. I even purchased the top of the line Marantz integrated amplifier PM-11S3
and the Vincent SV-236MK sounded much better than the Marantz. The Vincent SV-236MK sounds warm,detailed and musical and has plenty of bass. The Luxman had no bass. I would like to purchase an integrated amplifier which sounds better than my Vincent SV-236MK but I haven't found one. Any suggestions? I have Bowers & Wilkins PM1s, Vincent SV-236MK, Marantz Reference Series NA-11S1 Network Audio Player and an OPPO BDP-105 Blu-ray Disc Player.
That's some very stiff competition that your Vincent beating - amps costing 2 to 2 1/2 times as much. But they are solid state amps, so maybe its the tubes in the Vincent that your are finding more pleasing to your ears. So I would suggest rather than trying another more expensive solid state amp, go with a true tube amp. But it would have to a pretty high powered one like the Hybrid Vincent, as the your B&W's aren't exactly efficient at only 84db.
Or keep what you have brother and enjoy the music. Sounds like you found great synergy with the Vincent and your speakers.
That Vincent is nice…a close friend has one and I've spent hours listening to the damn thing. I use a Kavent S-33 preamp (mysteriously rebadged Vincent for the domestic market or something, very well made thing) with a Jolida tube amp and it's a killer combination.
Great post! I've had similar experiences with my Vincent SV-236MK - I just keep going back to it. I went to the McIntosh MAC6700 ($6500) and while it was beautiful and packed full of features, I still preferred the SOUND of the Vincent. I have to be careful that that doesn't sound like I didn't think the McIntosh was good - it was great. I simply liked the sound of the Vincent better.
Of that bunch, the BMC C1 and Cayin H80A stood out to me. But something about the Vincent keeps me coming back time and time again. I now have the Vincent SV-237 anchoring my system.
I'm not going to say the Vincent can't be beat, but I've personally found it to be one that I'm finally happy enough knowing that I tried to beat it. For me, that is half the battle mentally - what if "that integrated" sounds better. I've tried that enough to be content with the Vincent.
If I do end up going for a change again, it'll be with Vincent separates since they've decided not to import the SV-700 here in the US. So I'd do the SA-T7 preamp and SP331MK amp (or a pair of SP T700's). But for now, I'm going to stick with the SV-237 :D
No surprise the Vincents beating out much higher priced competition. I have the the SA-T8 among my many Pre-Amps. It easily bests some highly regarded Pre's many times it's costs. The biggest "giantkiller" Pre i've ever heard. Just two days ago I had my music mate over, we A/B'd against the "revered" Doge8, which many claim the best pre under 5K. My music mate's jaw dropped. His word's " The Vincent makes the Doge sound pale and anaemic" "If the Doge is the best Pre under 5k, the Vincent must be the best Pre up to 20k." Yes it is that superior.
I also have the big Vincent SP-998 Mono Blocks, you would have to spend at least 2 to 3 times to come close. Absolutely sublime.
While their mid range equipment is good bang for buck, their top of the range equipment is the most outstanding value for money equipment I've ever heard.
Wolf_garcia. There was a debate on Audiokarma about Vincent a few months back. Some one was trashing Vincent because they read an article from 10 years ago about the engineer of Lampizator doing a reverse engineering job of one of Vincent CD players that was based on a BAT CD player. The engineer said the Vincent CD players had some fake caps in them. Well I read that same article 10 years ago. Then a few years later I heard a Vincent amp and fell in love with its warmth. I purchased the preamp...popped the hood...and nothing but top quality parts. I then sent Vincent an email asking about that CD player with fake parts. Vincent replied. They said they did infact use some fake caps but didn't know it. They said once they realized their error they threw out that batch and purchased the correct caps. Keep in mind...these where made in China. All products since then have had strict Vincent supervision from that point. Well back to the conversation on Audiokarma. I defended Vincent and told the guy Vincent is now making their new amps in Germand.....while the other guy kept dissing Vincent for something that happened 10 years ago. So finally...a day later, a Vincent engineer...the guy who designed the new amps chimed in on Audiokarma...and entered the argument. He showed from pictures of a Sheng-ya amp which was a clone of Vincent on the outside with cheaper parts and a totally different amp design in side. He also said he is the Vincent amp designer and the designs are patents because they are totally his designs. And that they are totally made in Germany. I was surprised he chimed in. I'm still wondering how he found that conversation from Germany. I might add...the owner of Upscale audio was part of the conversation and the designer and owner of Ravin Audio was part of the conversation. Because the owner of Upscale Audio sells Vincent, I asked him if he contacted Vincent about the conversation. He said it wasn't him. Some how...I don't believe him. How would a German engineer know we where arguing over his amp. I might add...the engineer of the Vincent amp is not a slouch of an engineer...he is a big dog.
Wilhoover....last year I borrowed the SV-237 from my dealer. I played with it for a month. It was a beast of an amp.....had lots of inner detail. I have Vincent separates and I could hear the difference in mine and the SV 237. It had better inner resolution and attack. Seeing that the SV-237 has pre-outs I was able to hook it up too my Vincent SP-331 MK Powe amp...and I loved what I heard. As soon as I am able...I will be adding the new Vincent Pre amp.
Congrats on your new purchase! Be sure once she runs in...change out the stock tubes...We used some NOS Millard's.
I had the SV 237 but sold it after a year thinking I would find something better, huge mistake. I’ve been chasing the dragon for many years and have owned various combos of amps, preamps and integrated amps, most of which were very well regarded. Out of all the gear I’ve bought and sold through the years I regret selling the 237 the most.
When I re-assemble a system this winter I will definitely go with either Vincent sepsrates, or as livestrong said get an sv700 and hop if the merry-go-round.
And for the naysayers the talk about Vincent being made in China by Shengya so be it. Shengya is a small operation not some gray market fly by night operation. There is an article somewhere I think it was done by the late Ian Grant of Grant Fidelity where they toured the Shengya factory. If you find it take not of the top of the line Shengya monoblocks. The build quality is up there with the best.
My Kavent S-33 actually has Vincent SA-93 printed on its circuit boards. It’s a dual mono balanced monster with 2 torroidal transformers housed in a shielded compartment on the left side of the thing, and the whole shebang (except the bottom plate) is cladded in thick aluminum…I was contacted here by a Kelsie Audio (the USA Kavent source) dude after I had posted my desire to obtain a balanced preamp, and since Kavent was disappearing it was available as new and inexpensive. A SCORE! Ha…an amazing sounding preamp, balanced ins and outs, a remote exactly like the one for the SV236/7 (buttons are different of course, but an aluminum thing built like a tank) and maybe the finest piece of gear I own.
Hi everyone, I have been raving about Vincent since 2012!, only to be slammed here on audiogon!, I had Cary audio, Ayon, krell, many others, I had the Vincent cd-s7 player before all of the mentioned digital player's here, needless to say, I re-bought the Vincent cd-s7 player new again, it was the last one my dealer at audio advisor saved for me, it is a discontinued unit now, tube/solid state hybrid digital player, has a volume control running straight to my modified krell 700cx amplifier, very musical, incredible match useing Taralab's balanced Zero gold interconnect, 😀😀😀cheers gentleman, Vincent is one of the best!
Since it was mentioned about replacing the stock tubes, at least in the SV 236 MK I wanted to let anyone interested a possible option. I tried a number of combinations in mine, replacing the original Chinese military 12AX7B with some GE 5 star triple black plates ( 1950's ) in all three positions, then some 1980's RFTs I believe, finally one NEC up front in the driver slot and a pair of Raytheon black plates ( early '60's ). Found the bass a bit too heavy, not as open sounding as I wanted as well, but not bad.
The current set up is a Ten Kobe 12AX7 as a driver and a pair of mid '60's Tungsram ECC83 - this is the first combination that has allowed me not to touch the tone controls and actually use the by pass switch. Bass is tight and accurate, nice open mids and clear but not harsh highs, finally the amplifier is starting to really sing - if I ever put those original Chinese tubes back in it would be difficult to listen to.
The Ten Kobe is a great choice as a neutral tube that enhances the sound qualities of the ones for the left and right channel, finding that balance is the difficult part, and the Vincent needs something like the older Tungsrams, if you can find the silver colored ones from the 1950's even better, no latter than early '70's though, after that they are not nearly as musical.
I have been keeping an eye out for some early production Mazda and Valvo tube, 1950's, but prices are not cheap for a reason. I know many have their particular preferences, but a modern hybrid like the Vincent needs a dynamic,open and transparent sounding tune that has a well controlled bottom end. The choices are rather limited out there. Those early Tungsrams are highly coveted by those in the know for a reason. Most of the older ones are coming out of Bulgaria lately or ex Soviet counties.
If anyone with a stock Vincent SV 236 is thinking of changing tubes start with my suggestion - you will save yourself time, money and guess work.
I should mention I was helped immensely by another very knowledgeable audiophile and his insight into tube history, manufacture and sonics helped me avoid what would have been a lot more tube rolling. Knowing now which tubes have the most desirable traits for modern gear has made a big difference. Most go after the more mainstream tubes, Telefunken, Amperex, Mullard, RCA, Sylvania etc and they all have their place, but not in the case of the Vincent gear. At least if you prefer a neutral, balanced and very musical sound. Hope this helps!
undoubtedly there are better amps than the vincent out there--the pass labs int are great--but you'd probably be looking at significantly more $$ for incremental improvement. i like unplugged's suggestion of upgrading the tubes.