Warmest solid-state integrated for under $2k


I'm looking for the warmest sounding solid state integrated amp on the market for under $2k new. Any ideas?

Aren't you listening almost exclusively to classical music? What happened to your search for a SET amp? This is now the other end of the spectrum.
Try to audition a Plinius if you can....I had a 2100i (which was the precursor
to the 8150) and I now own the 8200MK2. Soundwise I can't say there is much difference in the sound between the 8150 & 8200MK2...just more power...the sound is full/lush...wide and warm...
Used they are all within your budget andthe 8100/8150's are quite a bit below.
Plinius 8200 MKII

very nice
Hi Harrold,

Well, here's the deal. Yesterday, I heard the Joseph Audio monitors again, and I really loved them. I realized that I can buy them new for not much more than I was planning on spending on a used speaker, and I'd really like to start building a relationship with the local dealer, since they've been so unbelievably helpful. I'm going down to Concord within the next few days to hear the Silverline monitors, but if they're not significantly better to my ear than the Josephs, I'll go with the latter (I can't afford Silverline new).

The Joseph's are great, but they're not as sensitive as the Silverline, and SET won't be able to provide enough power. If I do go with Silverline, my search for a SET amp will continue, but right now I'm interested in how much "tube-like" performance I could get from an SS amp. Also, I've decided that getting into tubes right now may not be the smartest idea, because I move around a lot, and whatever I get will be shipped all over the place.

Thanks for your diligence, and happy 4th!

I had a problem with a fairly bright system, especially with the metal drivers of my Monitor Audio GR-60's. I too was looking for an integrated with a good deal of brunt and control but with warmth and detail. The Electrocompaniet ECI-3 was my dream find. It has the warmth and romance of tubes but with the critical detail and accuracy I was having a hard time finding. It would be worth giving it an audition if you have a chance.

If you want tubes, get tubes. If you want SS, get SS. They are as related as say, SF and LA. In other words, they both say California on the mailing address, but when you move from one to the other, you will recognize very little from the old neighborhood.
I've had many people turn on a SS amp with the suggestion that 'this sounds very close to a tube amp.' But guess what? It never does. And CD's don't sound like vinyl. And filet 'o fish, well...never mind.
Don't worry about moving tubes around. With an integrated amp, they get packed right there in the same box as the amp. I know you said in previous posts that you preferred the tube sound. And you seem to gravitating towards tube-friendly speakers.
Write me if you still want to audition my two systems. You would be amazed what you can get for under $4K total. And if it's solid state you want, I'll sign off here, as that's just not my neighborhood.
Good luck, Oliver.

Both Plinius and Musical Fidelity are on the warm side.

Check out Sam Tellig's review of the Portal Panache in Stereophile. Portal has a 60-day home audition program, so you can check it out without risk. Here's where to find the review:
more info and reviews at www.portalaudio.com

Disclaimer: I'm the president of Portal.
I would suggest a "Class A" rated amp. Not merely warm, they run downright hot. You could probably burn yourself if you're not careful.
Plinius 8200 II , Musical fidelity, Ayre
audition the mcintosh ma6500 or the classe cap series. these integrated amps have a tube-like sound with solid state power.
good luck.
magnum-dynalab 308 (slightly over 2 grand)...warm and defined...nice piece
Other sugestion, Pathos Classic One. Well in your budget.
Tube preamp section, ss amp.
On Wednesday July 6th, 4:15pm, at Music Lover's Audio in Berkeley, the shootout begins! I tentatively purchased a demo model Silverline SR-15 from Silent Lucidity in San Francisco (best dealer in the world, IMHO), and I'm bringing it to Music Lover's to hear against the Joseph Audio Rm7si Signature Mk II. I'll be hearing both through a Manley Stingray and Arcam 100wpc integrated (interchanged), a Wadia CD player, Synergistic and Shunyata cable. Anyone who wants to come hear is welcome, especially Howard!

Hey Oliver,

What a kind invitation. You are well on your way to musical nirvana. Let me see if I can swing it. I'd sure love to drive down and meet up for an audition. Maybe an early dinner afterward in Berkeley?
If I can be there, I'll make it for sure by that time.

Great, Howard. I actually have a rehearsal with the Walnut Creek Opera at 8, so I'm going to have to jet right after the audition, unless the choice is so easy that I get done early. We'll see. I have time reserved until closing at 6:30. Anyway, I'm sure we'll meet up at some point if not tomorrow.

I know this isn't relevant to the topic anymore, but... I did the audition today and Silverline won over Joseph. The sound was warmer, the soundstage was bigger. The detail was a bit better on the Josephs. I was razzed pretty hardcore by the salesman (we were in the Joseph Audio shop), but I survived. I'm now the proud owner of a pair of Silverline SR-15s!

I hear the Joseph's are fairly non-dependent on wattage - lower sensitivity but more or less independently fixed at 8 ohms.
I vote for German-Chinese coproduction Vincent. I guess Vincent should be available in States. There is a hybrid integrated model SV-236, 100Wpc, tubed preamp SS power section. Very nice, smooth passages, outstanding built - veights cca 20kg net - beautiful "red eye" on front panel - (visible iluminated tube inside, rounded window-like glass to watch through).

Bass floorshaking, mids hard to beat for money...

Price? Very, very reasonable. I paid about 1000USD.
The Vincent line is available in the states, but not extensively. I know that Audio Unlimited in Denver, CO carries the line and they are high on them considering the price. I have done business with this dealer when I lived in Denver so I can vouch for them. I was not aware they were partly Chinese produced. Explains the excellent looks in line with other Chinese productions.
Jungon 88D. By far the warmest, smoothest integrated
SS amp I have heard.
The Blue Circle CS in on the warm side and sounds amazing.
Check out some of the reviews. I love the sound of mine.


I recently picked up a Xindak XA6950 integrated. 100 watts of class a power, dual mono design, alps motorized potentiometer for volume control, 16 mosfets for the output, and a nice remote thats cnc`d from billet aluminium. This amp powers my rm40s in a large room with no trouble, and sounds great doing it. It might replace a pair of 200 watt monos and a SF Line1 pre. You can get a good look at it on the chapter audio site, look for the precis......
Regarding the XA6950. The Chapter Precis was ripped off by Xindak for their XA6950 casework design. To that end, Chapter have had to re-design their casework to differ from that of the chinese design. Its right up there with the Chinse copies of Sony under the brand name "Fony". Also, the XA6950 I believe is a Class A design whereas Chapter products are all based around Ultra High-End Class-D amplification. I suggest that you get your facts straight.
From Plinius to Xindak they all sound like possibilities for me to mate with my Klipsch. The chinese made seem to be in the sub high dollar range for sure....Thank's Guys!
Try Audio Analogue Setanta Puccini at 70 watts/ch brand new under 2K. I have heard the Puccini SE Remote and thought that was one of the best integrated I had heard under $1500.
I would look at the Blue Circle CS or NSCS integrated amps.

Simply put, that are works of art and sound beautiful.


Happy Listening,
No one's said Arcam FMJ A23 yet, which surprises me.
FWIW, I had my Musical Fidelity A 300 integrated (150X2) modded by Tube Research Labs. The cost of the mod is $550.
The MF A300 can be had used for $8-900 here on AGON.

Very neutral warmish sound with a major reduction in harshness or glare, and lower noise floor after the mod.
Very extended on both ends, great soundstage depth and size.
Made a good amp an excellent amp.
Hey there Lkdog :-)

Do you run your TRL front end throught your MF A300? Must be smooooooth. :-)

Yes it is a very nice sounding combo with the upgraded TRL Marantz SA14 modification.
Only on poorly mastered CD's that are too bright do I get glare or listener fatigue now.
Very smooth and detailed.