What are the best entry level integrated amps and speakers?

My daughter just got a new place and wants to upgrade her Best Buy based stereo system.  She is only interested in two channel stereo (good for her).  I told her if you're willing to get used equipment of high quality you'll get a better system like I did (Krell, Ayre, Revel).  We are looking for an integrated amp and speakers.  The amp should put out 75-100 watts.  She has enough room for floor standing speakers or something smaller.  So far I have researched NAD and Outlaw for amps and PSB for speakers.  What would you recommend?  I think the budget will be $1,000-1,500.

 Thanks for your input.

The new series Yamaha integrateds are full featured and well built. What sources does your daughter use?

I am a fan of 2-way stand mounts speakers. There is a Pair of Dynaco Exicte X14s offered here on AG for $700. B&W CM5s can also be had used around that price.  The Focal 706s are now discounted down to $550/pair new. B&W 685s can be had used for ~$400. Many other available for consideration, ones I have mentioned I am familiar with. If possible your daughter needs to arrange to listen to a few. 

A substantial upgrade can be achieved at her budget.
I wish her the best in her search.
A lot of people are raving about the new Elac Debut 2.0 series book shelf speakers for having great audio for the price.
per roberjman, yamaha makes a very nice integrated--accessories4less has great prices on yamaha 501, 701, etc. (as well as on comparable onkyo and marantz, which are quite serviceable). they also discount focal and canton speakers, which would pair nicely.
Is the $1500 for both or each? Years ago I had a NAD receiver and it was excellent at its price but moving up to a used Ayre AX-7, for example, is a *big* jump sonically.

I told her if you're willing to get used equipment of high quality you'll get a better system like I did (Krell, Ayre, Revel).
So true. For about $2500 total, she could get used Ayre/Revel (maybe M20) combo that would be a killer system for a young person on a budget.
For that price range I'd go for a 2.1 setup with two bookshelves or standmounts and a subwoofer, you're going to get much better overall performance compared to just towers and an integrated that you're going to get in that price range.  

Some possible setups:

  • Integrated:  Elac Element EA101EQ (40wpc into 8ohm, 80wpc into 4ohms) $615 @ Amazon

  • Speakers: Elac Uni-Fi UB5 (4 ohms, so they'll be getting 80 watts) $449 @ Amazon

  • Subwoofer: SVS SB-1000 $499 @ Amazon

  • Total Cost:  $1,599 with free prime shipping
  • This is basically the system I run for my computer audio (I have an SVS SB-12NSD, but the SB-1000 is an upgrade on that, now available for the same price, I've been incredibly happy with it

Another Option:

  • Hsu Hyrbrid 1 2.1 Package w/CCB-8 Speakers (includes Hsu VTF-1 Mk3 and two Hsu CCB-8 Speakers) $1,190 w/shipping

  • Onkyo TX-NR757 Receiver $399 @ Amazon
  • Total $1,598
  • This is essentially the system that Dr. Hsu was running in his room at AXPONA, and it sounded amazing, doubly so for the price.  

Both sets of speakers are coaxials, which are typically great for imaging, and both offer exceptional performance and value for the cost.

Either of these will easily outperform a typical 2.0 system in this price range for a variety of reasons:

  • Deeper extension - you'll never get the kind of bass from a set of $1,000 towers that you'll get from a real subwoofer
  • Proper Bass Management - Both the Elac Element and the Onkyo Receiver feature proper bass management with built-in crossovers and microphone-based crossover/level/phase adjustment.  This not only ensures a cohesive blend between the bass and the mains, but it offloads a lot of work from the amp since the bass frequencies are the most demanding of power, allowing the system to play cleaner and louder.
  • Better control of room modes - by separating the bass from the midrange/treble you can place the subwoofer where bass works best for the room and place the mains where they work best for imaging and soundstage.  
  • Room Correction - The room makes a big impact on the sound, and both the Elac Element and the Onkyo receiver will measure room effects and reflections and make the proper adjustments to the signal to account for room problems such as modes and errant reflections and deliver better sound.
I've gone the NAD / PSB route and while not bad and often great, the latest line of Yamaha or Marantz amplifiers sound better / smoother and ELAC or Paradigm speakers are preferred over PSB.  
Get a powered KEF LS50 and be done with. You maybe able to get one under $2k used.

I have 2 really great small systems that I expect to keep until the grave. One in the office and the other in the bedroom.

1) KEF LS50 passive + Peachtree Nova 150 integrated.
2) AUDIENCE - ClairAudient 1+1 v2 Bookshelf + Benchmark DAC3L + Benchmark AHB2 amp

The KEF LS50 is my favourite small speaker but the Audience speaker (2K) is incredible in the mid-range. They sound different.

#1) used is only a little over you price range. I bought both used for $2300. Though the price is likely lower these days since the KEF speaker is not the latest hot thing.

#2) is a lot more expensive, $7K. I just added it if anyone else was interested in a small office system.
Pipebro...It is always easy to recommend what each of us likes, but..............What is wanting her to upgrade ? What does she want more of / What does she seem to be missing ( imaging, coherence, neutral tone, dynamics, etc. ? What music does she favor ? What is her listening room like ? What are her sources ? Any shared walls / floors / ceiling. Sorry for my snartiness, but I need this information when helping people. Her e ya go.....Klipsch Heresy IIIs.
By all means don't purchase an amp and speakers without auditioning them in person, if that's possible. I'm sure you would advise your daughter about that. Some amps and some speakers match up well and others do not.
Here's a first hand example....
I used to use a HK receiver with a pair of Klipsch monitors. Those speakers weren't the lower of the Klipsch line but their top Reference series. The sound was OK but I decided to upgrade. I purchased a NAD integrated (C375BEE) and connected the Klipsch speakers. Sounded like a thick blanket had been thrown over the speakers and sounded much worse than with the HK receiver.
Then went to my local audio store and auditioned my NAD amp with a pair of PSB Imagine B speakers. The improvement of sound was astounding. So, proper amp/speaker match ups are essential.

+4 NAD/PSB setup. If you can get a used NAD375BEE with used PSB Imagine T speakers (that might cost a wee bit more than $1500 but not much more), your daughter will be in high cotton. Floor standers that match well with the 375. My sons use this setup in their room. I confess that I go up there and listen when they are spinning the vinyl because it sounds pretty darn good.
So much of it is personal preference.  My bedroom system is a pair of B&W CDM2 Signatures I got on eBay for $350 and an old Arcam integrated amp I have had for 10 years or so.  I threw on some bulk Transparent Audio Labs wire I got a long time ago.  I guess they sold it for rear channels?  For $500 total system value, it sounds awesome.
Emotiva BasX preamp and Amplifier.  150wpc both for $600.  No bass management, but leaves enough to get very good speakers that don't need a sub.
Elac is getting so much press for being top performing gear, you must pay that some credence. Perhaps 50% of your budget goes to the speakers.
Right now on audiogon there is a steal on a classe integrated amplifier with a small defect. Original price $2000+, selling for six and change.

There is also an amplifier available now on Audiogon from Peachtree. It is their nova integrated with built-in DAC. I had a peach tree deco for a while, and it was great. The nova is even better! It is selling for 600 something.

add a pair of entry level kimber Or audioquest speaker cables for $150 and you have a fantastic system for $1500!
There’s a Rega Brio R here for $500 and a nice pair of slim tower Silverline Preludes at US Audio Mart for $850 (although you might be able to get this down a bit). The Brio puts out a strong 50W, and the Preludes are a pretty easy load so they should pair well. This still leaves $150 for some decent cables/interconnects. Excellent all-around performance and attractive with a small footprint, which I’d think a girl especially would appreciate. She’ll love it.  Heck, I'd love it!  Best of luck.

Stay away from NAD unless you want to buy a new amp next year. Serious qc issues. It will sound great then let you down. 
RR2160 Stereo Receiver



There's also an almost new Creek Evolution 50a, which would be a very good buy.  Combine with speakers of choice, but I doubt you'd beat the aforementioned Silverlines.
The Outlaw RR 2160 is superb and a fantastic value. It sent my wife’s Hegel H160 off to a new owner.
You can hardly go wrong!  The low end of Hi-Fi IS still HIGH Fidelity.  In fact I think we are in a sort of golden age.  In terms of integrated amps there are so many fabulous options - just think Japanese as one way to go.  Onkyo, Marantz, Yamaha are all you need.  I'm currently thinking of getting an Onkyo 9010 or NAD 3020 just for my television!  That will will be overkill, but hey!  Good quality cheap speakers:  I can't really speak from experience here but I do have some Wharfedale Dentons that I bought for my office.  They more than do the trick and they have a wonderful retro look!  Lots of suggestions already mentioned.  
It is kind of fun doing the research and I am sure you will come out with a great result, that is to say; your daughter will love her music!!
Better watch out for reliability issues with NAD bro. Been seeing uptick in complains. 
I wonder how the Outlaw would sound with a pair of Zu Omen Dirty Weekend’s and a set of Anti-Cables speaker cables  ? 
+1 on Wharfedale Denton.... great look AND smooth easy sound. 
That leaves $1.1K for integrated...
why not Schiit Pre SAGA plus amp VIDAR?  compact 9inch wide, looks good too and powerful to bring the best out of the denton.

Stay away from NAD unless you want to buy a new amp next year. Serious qc issues. It will sound great then let you down.
Agree with that... NAD sounds great, but it is a gamble on reliability.
Many choices in the used market.
ADS Speakers and a Yamaha receiver is a match i always found great.
NAD amplifiers are also great.
Another idea would be a set of active speakers like the Airpulse Model 1’s by Phil Jones ($999) which would give you enough left over for a decent set of stands or the previously recommended Kef ls-50 wireless speakers but you would have to get very lucky to find a used pair within your budget.

I also like the Vincent recommendation, I have owned the SV 237 and it was a solid performer. 
I would recommend demoing as much equipment as possible.  This may require establishing a good relationship with one or more audio shops in the area or dealing with equipment ordered online with a trial period.  I will +1 the Rega recommendation, especially if she wants to get into vinyl down the road.  Rega is quite well represented here in the states.
Some lightly used KEF LS50s or Paradigm Monitors (like PSB, Canadian sound) coupled with a decent integrated amp/DAC combo like a used Peachtree or NAD would be a little over $1500, but all of those components (esp. KEFs and Peachtree) are very "cool" and artistic looking - and small enough to blend in, which is something that a woman might appreciate. Plus the sound would be very unlikely to offend any listener or do a disservice to any particular musical style. The Class D amp would run cool, and be capable of powering even the most difficult loads for when your daughter decides to go with electrostatic speakers ;-)

For example:




https://www.ebay.com/itm/REFURBISHED-NAD-C368-INTEGRATED-AMP-C-368-WARRANTY/273054089189?hash=item3f... (Class D Hypex internals with NAD "house" sound and excellent build quality and a very respectable phono input stage).

Also a cheaper approach would be active speakers with a built in DAC such as the Vanatoo Transparent One (I’m guessing the Zeros wouldn’t be big enough).

If you’re feeling really crazy, go with Devialet. I hear they’re worth every penny and they’re scalable (you can add a second one for a crazy good sounding stereo system): https://www.ebay.com/itm/Devialet-Silver-Phantom/192506840966?epid=529767853&hash=item2cd24d4786...
A used anthem 225i is a 2 channel 225 wpc int you can find for around $1000 and it's pretty neutral.
If you can find one, the Luxman R117 is an exceptional value.  Saw one here on AG the other day for around $500-600.  It lasted less than 24 hours!
Without doubt, it's Wharfedale Denton at $499 a pair, I've tried Elac B6, Monitor Audio Bronze BX2, Q Acoustics 3020,  sound really not bad, but not enough to fill the musical gap offered by the Denton, indeed I can say there are better speakers than Denton but absolutely not at price $499, speakers like KEF LS50, Harbeth P3, Dynaudio Focus series, ProAc D2 should offer more transparency and dynamic but cost much much more which I would not consider it's entry level price, the Denton can be said to offer near to high end sound with entry level price, I'm driving it with a Class D Audio SDS-470C power amp with DAC Fostex HP-A3, which is another budget friendly power amp
@pipebro  I'm afraid not, though my experience with all Wharfedale models so far is not great enough, except the greatest Denton which I love, rather disappoint with other models either new or old, Denton 2 85th Anniversary is another not so great model recently I've listened
I’d recommend KEF Q100/Q150 speakers paired with Marantz PM6005/PM6006. 

The older models (Q100 & PM6005) sounds fantastic and can be bought at 50% of their original price. But you could also go new and stay in budget. If you go older you can spend the balance on interconnects and a new power cord. 

I really love the Q100s and I’m actually selling my PM6005 after a year of great service - it’s on here looking for a good home. 
The Anthem I225 is a great integrated amp. Tons of power and on-board phono. 

I recently picked up the Outlaw RR 2160 and its awesome.  Plenty of power, very versatile and most importantly, it sounds great.  It has tone controls and bass management and the ability to connect a sub which I really like.  You do need to perform the software update in order to be able to add internet radio stations to your Favorites folder.  It's a staight forward process.

Very happy with this receiver and I highly recommend.
Belles Integrated, Elac Speakers.... model depends on if you can find new or previously enjoyed. 

The arcam solo uno allows for BT & Streaming, refurbished under $500.  A used pair of JM Reynaud’s would sound great with it.  
Allows her to play music from her phone or computer. 

Vista Spark powering Triangle Bro3’s.  Match made in heaven!  Less than $1000.

Sound quality for the buck buy used no doubt and don’t be in a hurry …. Unless it’s a hurry.