Peachtree Nova 150. Been using it for a few years and it is good. For the price maybe great. You can get one for under a $1000.
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I've owned many integrated amps over the years, both tube and solid state, from the following companies: Plinius, Bryston, Arcam, Anthem, Rega, Peachtree, Cayin, Antique Sound Labs and I'm sure there are others I've forgotten. Out of all the integrated amps I've owned, my favorite is my current integrated - the Rega Elicit-R. It has plenty of power to drive most speakers (is driving my 4 ohm speakers with ease), is a musical, full sounding amp with great bottom end, and it has a really decent MM phono pre-amp built in. There is one on AudiogoN right now, listed at $1500. If you can get away with a little less power, there is the very similar Rega Elex-R listed here for only $980. That is a great bargain IMHO.
Unless you plan to buy a relatively expensive separate phono pre-amp, having a decent one built-in is a good way to go. Saves you money on interconnect cables, power cord and the price of the phono pre-amp.
Good Luck. I hope you find one that makes you happy.
I had nearly exact question several months ago: https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/seriously-considering-tube-preamp-opinions?page=2&sort_order=desc
Perhaps some answers in that thread will help. I was very tempted by the Vincent 237mkII but no phono, which you said you wanted. Many, many people also suggested Parasound.
The Rogue is a great call, I suspect. For the money, and depending on power needs, the QS Integrated is an unbelievable value -- it's $2k, new, so perhaps a non-starter, but if you like vinyl and would go tube... http://quicksilveraudio.com/products/integrated-amplifier/ I heard this integrated drive some Dynaudio Evoke 10 speakers (84 db) and it did very well -- lovely, organic, dimensioned soundstage and tonal balance.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Rogue line but have no personal experience with them. I got a PrimaLuna Prologue Classic last year and have been deliriously happy with it. It cost me just a tad under the top end of your budget....one needs to bring a phono preamp (Actually, a built-in was a special order option which had pretty good user ratings. This unit has been replaced by the “Evo” line so not sure as to availability as new.). As has been stated, a lot depends on the speakers you have. I’m running JBL L65s, from the mid-late 1970s and they’re in the 89-91 dB sensitivity range....
I like the Rogue though I think rolling in different tubes is essential. The stock JJs aren't bed but if you can roll in some NOS Mullards or Cifte's it takes it to the next level.
Another wonderful option is the Musical Fidelity M3si. MF makes wonderful gear for the money as it is made in Taiwan. Great on-board phono stage, nice amplifier and has an on-board USB DAC that is pretty good. You can plug a MM turntable right in and connect USB streamer.
I am and MF dealer and have access to Rogue. PM me if you are interested in either.
Many of which has been suggested have already made the shortlist in my head:
Rogue Audio Sphinx v3 - I've yet to find a negative review, most reviews say that it well outperforms its price tag. I also fundamentally like that it's all analog.
Peachtree Nova 150/300 - I've read mostly good reviews with a handful who weren't in love with the products. While my preference is analog (focus on my record collection), I will need at some point add a streaming component for my wife/guests - so this would remove that extra cost. Is the 300 that much better than the 150?
Musical Fidelity 2si/3si - I just think they look great and have been following the reviews for years.
@reubent - I wasn't expecting the Rega to be your favorite in the list, I'm now definitely going to audition it.
Amps that nobody mentioned, and I was wondering why?
creek evolution 50a/100a
Lastly about the speakers - the amp is for a new setup. I was hoping to keep the speaker cost under $2000, so I'm flexible. I want bookshelf speaker on stands that must suit my wife's design criteria.
This is why I posted this in analog. I'm focused on a new analog setup (haven't yet selected the phono player too) and was looking for some advice on (for starters) on the integrated amp.
I have the creek evo100a you noted as having not been mentioned above. I paired it with Kef LS50s and love it. I have a friend with a peachtree nova300 and we both preferred the creek when swapping them out... however both amps are good enough that it’s a subjective preference rather than anything overwhelming and you might find the opposite to be true for you. I got it because I wanted a small form-factor, one-box, simple system for the master bedroom but it has since moved to my home office. One minor quibble when it was in the bedroom TV/music combo system is that the remote can’t turn the power on/off. This was an annoyance when watching TV before bed but wasn’t the reason for the change (wife wanted to downgrade to a sound-bar for space saving/aesthetic reasons) and it doesn’t bother me at all in a music only system in my office. I’ve spoken to a handful of other creek owners and all speak highly of the sound quality compared to other amps they’ve owned. I have the Ruby DAC module you can add but not the phono module. The DAC module adds digital inputs, a FM tuner, and Bluetooth but not built-in streaming...so while the sound quality is really good for the price, it’s not up-to-the-moment connectivity for a DAC. Without the DAC module there are only analog inputs.
Compared to the peachtree, I’d describe the creek as more smooth & musical but slightly less analytical/precise. Definitely a fun and non-fatiguing sound that I can listen to all day. Some worry about electronic gremlins with British electronics, but I’ve never had any issues with mine in ~4yrs of ownership.
Sadly for you, the price of the evo100a is outside the range you gave, especially once you add the DAC & phono modules if you intended for that connectivity to be included at your price point. I can’t speak to the 50a because even though they look almost identical, they actually use totally different amp technology with the 50a using class a/b and the 100a using class G amps. If you can find the creek evo100a in your price range and it has the connectivity you need, it’s definitely a very good sounding integrated. I’d guess the 50a would be too, but I really don’t know.
If all analog connectivity is an option and you can find a used one in your price range, I’d also recommend the Belles Aria integrated...no frills, but it sounds fantastic.
@msafrick - The Rega Elicit-R really surprised me. I read a review or two and it sounded like it would be a good match for me. Musical, with a really solid bottom end. I don’t want to use a sub, so I wanted an amp that could help my speakers produce good bass. That, plus having a good built-in phono stage, in a relatively small form factor, sold me. I bought mine used at somewhere around $1500 (+/- $200, don’t really remember). Anyway, once I got it I was really impressed by the build quality. It feels like it’s milled from a solid block of aluminium. One caveat, it does sound better after it’s been powered up and gets warm. Because of this, I leave mine on 24X7.
Good luck. I hope you find something that makes you happy!
You can easily get an awesome tube integrated amp in that $1.5-2K price from PrimaLuna or their sister company Mystere. I’m extremely satisfied with my Mystere IA11 amp from Upscale Audio in a vinyl system which is listed in "virtual systems". If you don’t want a full tube amp a contender for a hybrid w/ tube preamp and SS class A/B power amp (not class D like the Sphinx) is the Vincent SV500 integrated amp, also from Upscale or Audio Advisor.
I cannot find info on the Croft — at least not a price and place to buy it.
Belles Aria and Parasound Integrated (Hint 6? NewClassic 200?) would have to be used to fit in $1000 (desired) or the $1500-2000 (allowed) OP price range. I've seen all used, though, and had both on my short list. The Parasound has a gazillion features, not least the crossover control; the Belles is simpler (which appeals to me as a mark of build quality/focus).
I have to second @schubert, Croft is in my opinion crazy good value and the MM phono stage is stellar as well.
You can find more information here: http://www.croftacoustics.co.uk/main.html
@msafrick I just got something new that will eventually negate the need for my Peachtree Nova 150. If you are interested reply on this thread and I will put up a FOR SALE ad on Audiogon. Otherwise, I will just keep is a while longer.
You can see photos on my A’gon virtual systems.
Some info on the new Peachtree WIreless module. This email is from Dec 2019
The novaSKY Wi-Fi option development is progressing nicely. We are past several design hurdles and are currently in the design validation phase which means the basic engineering is complete and we are validating the hardware and software design. We anticipate this phase to be complete by the middle of July, then the product testing phase begins. This is when we put the design through real-world testing in various systems and network environments using all of the supported streaming services over an extended period of time. Testing wireless devices is time intensive since there are so many variables to test; multiple streaming services, delivered through multiple internet access providers and broadcast through a home wirelessly from a myriad of networking gear! Nearly every Wi-Fi system out there is unique in some way! We anticipate the testing phase to take ~60-75 days. Once testing is complete, the product will go into production and be made available for pre-order. Assuming no major schedule delays, shipments will begin in October.