Which integrated amp?


I am looking for an integrated amp for my system and would appreciate any input/ listening impressions for a couple that I have interest in. I have a couple of musts for any choice. At least one set of balanced inputs, pre amp outputs, and 4 ohm drive capability, 150 wpc minimum, solid state preferred but hybrid ok. My room is 11 x 15.5 x 8. I have a couple of different speakers either on hand or that will be arriving soon. They are the Mosaic Acoustics Illumination, and Meadowlark Shearwater Hot Rod. A pair of Green Mountain Audio yet to be released monitors are to be on there way soon (hopefully). The Mosaic and GMA both need subwoofer support, thus the need for pre amp output. I want the integrated to be flexible in case I decide to go with a somewhat larger floor stander in the future. Listen to mostly rock, hard rock, metal, blues, jazz and contemporary jazz. Mostly I listen at modest levels, but want to be able to put the pedal down when I feel like it. I prefer sound slightly on the warm side of neutral and want to avoid etch/ glare. I would like to limit to $3500 in the used market. I have been doing some research and am interested in experiences with the following;

Modwright KWI-200
Hegel H-300/360
Plinius Hautonga
BAT VK 300x SE
Coda CSI 300b
Parasound Halo

I am open to other suggestions. Thanks for your input.

csmgolf
It’s a bit above your budget but what about a used Ayre AX5 (non Twenty). I have the AX5/20 and I’m very happy with the sound it produces. When I heard the regular AX5, I thought it sounded really good as well.  Fully balanced circuitry with a zero feedback design.  No phono pre-amp.
I think a Musical Fidelity M6si meets your criteria.
I want the integrated to be flexible in case I decide to go with a somewhat larger floor stander in the future.
I would like to limit to $3500 in the used market.
+1 Musical Fidelity, for your budget, go for KW550 or M6-500i
Post removed 
If you don't mind me asking what is it that you don't care for regarding your Plinius Hautonga?
@lak

 I do not own any of the integrated amps I listed. I am asking opinions of those that have heard them to try to get a feel for sonics and how they may fit my needs. The Hautonga interests me a lot. One question about Plinius, is how are service issues handled? They are out of New Zealand I believe. Hopefully there is state side service available. I know that many people really like the Plinius sound.

@nycjlee 
I do not see pre amp outputs on the Ayre. It is why I did not ask about Ayre products. 

To everyone else, thanks for your input. There are a couple of more options I did not think of.


@csmgolf, sorry I confused your thread with a different thread.
Personally, I'm a Plinius fan, however, I know there are many other good integrated amps available.
Service for Plinius products is available in the United States, should you ever need service it's not a problem.
In case you have not seen the following thread regarding integrated amps, it does provide interesting information although many of the integrated units mentioned are above the budget you mentioned but still very interesting.
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/upgrading-form-pass-integrated-amplifier-to-a-better-one
I own a Vincent Audio SV 237 it has everything on your list sans the balanced inputs. It's a hybrid with tube front end and SS state output, 150 watts/8 ohms, 250 watts/4 ohms. Have them currently hooked up to my MA Gold 200's, I alternate between the Vincent and a tube integrated. It easily drives the MA's and sounds great. Hard to distinguish between the amps when I go back and forth. It's got the solid bottom end that most SS amps are known for but it's also got some of the tube magic in the midrange and upper end.
I got the Peachtree Nova 150 2 days ago for an eventual bedroom system. I am now debating how much better will the integrated players on my list (for my office) sound.

Luxman 509x
Boulder 810
Hegel 360
Devialet Expert Pro
T+A R series integrated

I would think it is marginal improvements in sound given how good my 150 is sounding right now with KEF LS50's.

The Peachtree comes in 150, 300, 500 watts. I am definitely going to have a listen to the 300 or 500 if I get passive speakers for the office. Another class D amp I heard that I really liked was the Wyred4Sound mono blocks. These units are rather reasonable in price.


BTW - " I prefer sound slightly on the warm side of neutral and want to avoid etch/ glare." Peachtree 150 sounds somewhat like this. It certainly is not dry.
I don't think the Peachtree 500 is ready for a few more months.  If your 150 is new and you have only been running it for a couple of days, it will get even better. 
I don’t think the Peachtree in in the same league with most if not all of the gears on your list. I can say with certainty that Boulder 810 is a line stage preamplifier not an integrated and I have heard it extensively paired with one of the larger Pass Labs class A amps and it’s nice sounding preamp. Not particularly warm to my ears but that could depend on a lot of factors. 
My mistake the Boulder I was thinking of is the 865.

My Peachtree is used.
I was not thinking that the Peachtree was better than the items on my list. I was just thinking that it's short comings may not be that great relative to these other units. I do like keep cash in my wallet.
You're right in that sometimes when you keep all other things the same, changing one piece may not provide as much sonic improvement per dollar spent. I have not heard the Peachtree but I have heard the LS50 switched between a lower end NAD and a higher end Mark Levinson - I think No. 585, integrated at a dealers store and the difference was night and day. I also heard it with a Primaluna integrated at the same store and it was really excellent but only at lower listening levels. Worth considering for an office/bedroom system.
@gdhal 
@imhififan 

How do the Musical Fidelity integrated amps (either M6 si or M6 500i) do at low volume or with speakers that are not real demanding to drive? I have read several reviews and am intrigued by them for sure. I previously had an LSA Statement, which was an excellent amp, but it liked to have the volume turned up a bit (10 o'clock on the dial or so) to perform its best. 
How do the Musical Fidelity integrated amps (either M6 si or M6 500i) do at low volume or with speakers that are not real demanding to drive? I have read several reviews and am intrigued by them for sure. I previously had an LSA Statement, which was an excellent amp, but it liked to have the volume turned up a bit (10 o'clock on the dial or so) to perform its best.
@csmgolf 

Please allow me to answer your question by first pointing out that my speakers (GE T Ref) are 93.5 db efficient and have an internal sub-woofer amp of their own. Also, I am using balanced input to the M6si (which increases incoming gain approx 6 db).

Ordinarily (of course dependent on the source material) I can obtain 93.5 db at the speaker or 85 db or so at the PLP (7 feet away and measured with a meter) with the M6si volume control at the 9 o'clock position. I've found that (and very much to my liking) that when the volume control is at the 9 position, extremely subtle clockwise/counter-clockwise rotation can have a big impact. Not nearly as much when the volume control is say at 10 or above. So, in effect I have a very useful range between 8 and 10. For example, there is a distinct difference if the volume is at 8:50, 8:55, 9, 9:05, 9:10, etc. Further, the remote control can also be used at this volume control region in very subtle increments. Just a flick (tenth of a second?) of the volume key can move the volume control in seemingly minute by minute steps.

Suffice it to say I'm very happy with "low" volume precision of the amp. My speakers on the other hand I would say start to "complain" when played to low.
@csmgolf

I’d like to clarify my previous statement "I’ve found that (and very much to my liking) that when the volume control is at the 9 position, extremely subtle clockwise/counter-clockwise rotation can have a big impact. Not nearly as much when the volume control is say at 10 or above. "

What I mean is that each few minutes of change (up or down) when at the 9 o’clock position equates to about 1 db of change. When at the 10 o’clock position and increasing volume in this region things can get pretty loud. Its seemingly as though the amp kicks into another gear (power/volume wise) at some point on the dial. After 10, I don’t find myself "looking" for a precise "minute" of volume as I might in the 9 region.

I have no practical way to measure/confirm this, so I’m merely stating my ear/brain interpretation :)

EDIT:

I also believe that - to a certain point where you don't completely lose dynamic range  - any amp sounds best the *less* you "ask" of it (from a power delivery perspective). Less distortion. 
I had a Xindak 6950 that was replaced with BAT’s VK-300x and, even though the BAT was a little more refined and had much better bass control, I still missed the Xindak timbre. Voices were more palpable and it was warmer overall, the BAT was darker and leaner. I have since upgraded to BAT separates, and now I’m in Zanden heaven, but I’d certainly recommend the 6950 elder brother, the Xindak A600. You may find it used within your budget and it’s a mammoth. Built like a tank with great components; an absolute steal. I’ve heard it driving Thiels 3.7 and it was really, really good. It retained the 6950’s warmth and presence that I liked but added a lot more grip, refinement and control. Don’t let the "made in china" badge fool you: those are great components and a great bang for the buck, heavily built and really sweet sounding (not in a bad, exaggerated or slow way, simply very emotional). Hope this helps.

Luiz
Wells audio majestic 

also so take a look at the Yamaha as2500.  It’s only 90w, but 90000uf. Weights more than 50lbs
^cant edit. I Mean as2100 of course 
yyzsantabarbara, I have 2 great options to add to your list, one that I own currently and one that I auditioned and was impressed by. The one I own is the Audiozen Alchemy hybrid integrated, sold by Mark Sossa at Well Pleased A/V. It is a world class integrated for sure. 
The other option I like is the Atoll IN300. Either one would be a fantastic option.
check out Pathos Inpol2 - pure class a and in a different league than all on your list.  See the "other" site for availability!

I do have the modwright kwi 200...still...just has a nice warm/powerfull presentation...I still feel dan did a great job with this amp...the hegel was the only other amp i was considering..."Besides the pass/sim audio at a couple K more"...

I guess I feel you can spend too much and not get dividends/synergy...room and placement is everything...my atc's sound great w/this amp...

I am a lover of Music Fidelity integrated amps and am using the MF 3i, and am aware that the MF M6si is far better and more suitable for your power requirements.   I have been very impressed with the Hegel integrated amps I have heard, being among the most neutral amps I have ever heard.  Audition before you buy if you can.  
I own a Simaudio Neo 340i and find it quite wonderful with an Ayre QB9 DSD and Dynaudio Focus 260’s. Its got the power and balanced connectors you want, is very detailed along with just a touch of warmth. Read some reviews on it to see if it makes sense for you. 
PS - The Ayre AX5 Twenty is sublime, but well over the OP’s budget. Cheers
Like some others, I recommend the Musical Fidelity M6si. I have the M6i (no built-in phono) and its great at low volume and higher volume thru my Revel F32s. Dual mono design with balanced inputs and Home Theater by-pass. At your budget, you can buy brand new ($3k). Used is usually around $1900. 
I used Plinius 9200 a good couple of years ago . A very good amp, a bit on the bright side, just bright sound. (not harsh treble or something like that, many confuse these two things).
3 years ago I was looking for a good integrated amp and listened to a few. I could compare Modwright KWI-200 to Ayre AX5 in the same system. Ayre much better, more sophisticated and so on. The best I found was Gamut 150, probably out of your budget. Karan 180 very good also (I bought it). Karan is dancing on a thin line separating solid state and tube camps. I know Hegel 300, my friend owned it. Good amp, organic sound, precise ... a bit on the cold side though which is not to my liking.
There are many good amps, they sound differently, you need to listen to them. Only your ears can tell you the truth, you will know if you like the sound.
Reviews are bought by distributors mainly, reviews are always good. Some stuff sounds terrible though despite positive reviews.

Only your ears... and nobody else . Regards.

Why not the new Hegel H190? Hegel's price-performance is incredible.
Dussun audio amps are superior amps. In fact they built some of the Mark Levinson amps. I replaced my Hegel H-100 with the Dussun V6i amp and could not be happier.
The build quality and sound can't be beat for the money.
eleach11
Simaudio 600i or 700i, I own the 600i and is very good. Upgraded from separates.
Friend of mine upgraded from Hegel to the SA 700i and it's a night and day difference! 


I have owned and listen to the Modwright kwi200 almost daily for the last 3 years. Here is my thumbnail review.

Positives
  • Powerful- it has plenty to really make my power hungry Dynaudio C1’s sound huge. This amp has 100,000 u/f capacitance, along with a massive power supply.
  • Really good at lower volumes as well. It has been described as a “velvet hammer”. I wouldn’t say tube-like necessarily, but it gives the sense of smoothness that is rare with a high- powered integrated.
  • Well built 60 lb beast
  • Versatile
Negatives
  • Mine has the phono stage, which is just OK (I upgraded to a Manley Steelhead). 
  • XLR inputs are NOT balanced inputs, they are there for convenience if you happen to own gear/ cables that use them.
  • Non-transferable warranty. I know, most aren’t, but my power supply developed a hum audible through the speakers and I had to return it for service. Pretty pricey due to the weight  and shipping both ways. 
@pumper24 

Thanks for the input. It is valuable to get both the positive and negative for the equipment in question. Very helpful information as it helps me determine if our preferences line up with each other.

csmgolf -

Sorry, I usually don't participate in the forums. Here is some additional info on the SA integrated, specifically the 600i.

Dual mono, 125W into 8ohms, doubles into a 4 ohm load. If you take a look at images you'll see that it's basically 2 mono amps in a single housing! https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=sv68ItUi&id=E3EC2937ED4B29AF32AD501403...

Has a balanced input, 4 SE inputs and pre-outs that can be configured as variable or fixed. Also has the M-eVOL2 volume control with 530 steps of loudness. 

I'm currently running a pair of Dyaudio Focus 380's, and doesn't run out of power even at house rocking levels.

I'm not a sales guy, but since I've upgraded to the SA I've been very pleased! I've compared this to the Hegel 360 and in the system the SA bested the Hegel. I've not heard the others in your list, but have seen a lot of good reviews on the Modwright integrated.

The below is a link to a review of both the 600 and 700i amps.http://www.tonepublications.com/comparo/simaudio-600i-vs-700i-and-the-i7-too/

Enjoy the journey!

Gato AMP -150.   If you are interested, I just posted mine for sale here on Agon.  I have to thin down the herd!
+1 for SA Moon 600i,

About 4 months ago I bought this integrated amp, listening through Focal L&R Utopia B loudspeakers with a JL Audio E-110 subwoofer for the bottom octave.

I have found this to be an excellent sounding system, I have no regrets and this should keep me happy for a long time. A good thing since I am retiring in two weeks and need to put a lid on my audio spending!

Good luck to you,
Gary

 

@gabby_835   

No problems. It is hard to sort out all of the recommendations here. I looked up the review you linked after you originally recommended the 600i in your first post. What is it specifically that you like better than the Hegel in respect to sonics? After scouring the web and the threads of multiple sites, I feel like I am getting some idea about the general sound of several of these pieces. I have not heard anything comparing the 600i to any of the others. A comparison to the Hegel may give me some idea if I may be interested in pursuing the SimAudio. Your input is very much appreciated. 
Post removed 
I have the KEF LS50’s also and driving them with Wyred for sound amp.  I think they balance out the brighter part of the KEF’s well.  Also has balanced outs as you specified above and the pre-out/subwoofer out. 250 wpc.  $2500.  You can try them for 30 days and send them back if they don’t crank your cheese wheel.   Good luck on the search.  Lots of great choices mentioned above.  
@csmgolf 

While the Hegel is a very good amp, I heard an expanded soundstage, and better overall resolution. The increase in esolution wasn't an increase in top end that leads to fatigue, but more of the music was fleshed out while maintaining musicality. 
This was also true when replacing an Audio Research pre and Rogue Audio power amp.
Hope this helps!
Sold my Hegel H360 because the Hegel H190 was better in my ears. H190 is a little Bit varmer and got more PRAT
The best price/performance I've heard is the Rogue Audio Sphinx.