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After using these integrated amps; Roksan Kandy III, Audio Refinement Complete, Portal Panache, PS Audio Trio C-100, Classe CAP-151, NAD C-352 and and a few separates thrown in I got off the merry-go-round with the Bel Canto eVo2i. It's hard to fault this amp's sound, features or operation and it would cost me too much for substantial improvement.
I will say though, if the Portal Panache had a remote control I may never have auditioned the BC. Hard for me to believe I've owned all those.
you really want off? this is serious... style always trumps fashion in hifi....1. go vintage(anything over 10 years old is ok/close enough) 2. go cool(you'll know it when you see it...it'll probably sound as good as it looks, and won't break the bank) 3. get something hard to find in nice condtion(in nice condtion) 4.don't settle for something without a phono board, even if all you have are cd's(refer to number 2) 5. don't worry about missing the merry-go-round because the latest-greatest,9 times out of 10, won't be late or great in a very short time 6.buy other cool components to go with it(following 1 through 5) 6.remember, wire is never cool...anything decent in the way of wire is..well.. decent(for god's sake never lust over a piece of wire)7. focus on your music collection.....now jump while giving all of us the finger as you do. happy listening
For me it was was the MF TriVista 300. Cool with the blue glowing feet (pink until the tubes warm up). Drives my Meadowlark Blue Heron II's with authority and pace, and before that, my B&W 801's, which gobble up power.
Dependable, musical, good synergy with the system. You can spend a lot more money, but one of these limited babes will serve most people well.
Aronov LS-960I, at least in one room :>)
When the weight gets to the fifty pound range and the distance to the car seems longer than before, no more merry go round.
And, it doesn't hurt that the sound is musically enjoyable while lifelike, as well as possessing special quality of bass evident when driving a variety of speaker designs.
Not quite fully integrated, as an outboard phono preamp is needed when indulging a yen for those big black vinyl thingies.
Symphonic Line La Musica. Bought mine as a demo model, I never looked back. For the price I paid I trully cannot see any amp that will beat it.
Symponic Line really makes some great amps, not to common so you will have to spend some time looking for one if you want to buy 2nd hand. New buy should be no problem I think.
In order for me to get off, I need an integrated which preamp section can rival those of the good $1,000+ preamps AND MUST HAVE two (2) pre-out so I can run a subwoofer and bi-amp or simply use another power amp with the pre-section of the integrated. Any such animal out there? (if one of the pre-out is balanced, all the better). A MM phono another plus, balance nice to have...am I asking for too much?!!!
JRDG Capri and 102 amplifier stacked together are smaller than most integrateds. You get MM/MC phono pre as an option. You get 100 watts per channel. You get 3 inputs in addition to phono. You get very good remote. You get 2 pre-outs. You get balanced inputs and outputs. You get a bypass and a mute and a phase inversion switch.
You get the option of DC operation if you run both units through the PC-1, Rowlands power factor correction device. It converts 110-120 ac out of your wall to 384 vdc into the amp and preamp. Very nice.
If you want to take this further or get more power, the Continuum integrated amps beckon.
Viva Solista, provided you have a sensitive enough speaker, I am not sure how you can do better. Only 22 watts, but SET watts, it controls my 89 db Acoustic Zen Adagios with ease. I have not heard better and I have had a few amps, Pass labs Akleph 3, Karan K180, Lavardin IT. The Solista easily tops them all, but not with warm coloured tube sound. The sound is neutral, fast, even across the frequency spectrum, no base deficit
What Merry-Go-Round??? Let's see... conrad-johnson CAV50; Densen DM-10; Mark Levinson #383; Musical Fidelity kW500; yba Passion; Marantz PM11s1; Cary SLI80 Signature F1; Simaudio i-5; Simaudio i-7; Primare I-30; Gamut DI-150... The Gamut has been in my system for over a month. I'm selling it for my neighbor. This could be it. The sleepers are the Densen, Marantz, and the Primare. The Levinson was in my system for over 2 years. The Musical Fidelity had issues and the yba should have stayed but anal me hated the speaked binding posts and the volume control via remote. I may give the new Marantz Pm11s2 a listen. What Merry-Go-Round..
Blue Circle FtTH hybrid integrated amp. I needed a change from Krell. I considered the BAT VK300X, the Pathos Logos and the conrad-johnson CA200 (yes, I know it's not an integrated, its something else), but was ultimately sold on the quality of the Blue Circle sound and Gilbert Yeung's approach to all things audio.
Pass Labs INT-150
Brief/incomplete history of gear owned:Proton Receiver, Carver Receiver, Teac Receiver, Parasound Halo Stack, Plinius 9200, Aesthetix Janus/Bat VK-250SE
Gear auditioned: Sim i-5, Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista, Musical Fidelity A308, Musical Fidelity KW500, Jeff Rowland Design Group Concerto, BAT VK-300SE, Krell 400i, Pathos Logos, Audionet SAM, Blue Circle CS integrated, Burmeister Rondo, McIntosh 6900. (partial list)
Sure, you can get better sound if you spend a lot more. I'm sure you could spend less and get close, hell, maybe even a tad better. But in terms of the total package--sound, build quality, and looks--I personally think this is a home run. I listened to Aesthetix Janus with Pass 250.5 and it was only slightly better, which is something considering together they're $13,000. Yes, that includes a good phono pre, but even if you pay full retail for Pass (most dealers give a good break off list) you could add a great phono stage and still come in under $10,000. All things are obviously system dependent, but I can't think of many circumstances where I wouldn't recommend the Pass (in a HT environment, maybe, or if you absolutely need a crap-load of power and 150 doesn't do it). YMMV
The Cayin A-88T. And I auditioned everything possible - I heard all the current integrated offerings from Simaudio, Ayre, McIntosh, Marantz, Lavardin, Musical Fidelity, Primare, Cary, VTL, Naim and BAT. Unfortunately, none of them sounded quite right until I heard the Cayin, and was astounded - at the time I was willing to pay three times as much for the right selection. It is all subjective, but after switching out the preamp tubes, I just liked the Cayin's grandeur and warmth better than the others, coupled with a real sense of detail. It can also be used with a good preamp - the Ayre K-1xe would be a superb match. Overall, the Cayin sounded the closest to actual music, avoiding that surgical note analysis that seems to plague the high end. I also heard a rumor via a dealer that Klipsch selected the A-88T for a recent presentation of their Heritage line (La Scala II, etc.). The runner ups - the VTL IT-85 and Marantz PM11S1. The VTL has a terrific balanced sound, and it was a real toss-up between the two. The Marantz unit has been somewhat ignored by the media and seemed to be a real diamond in the rough. Not sure why it hasn't received more attention, but that would have been my second choice. Subtle, great detail and could hit the deeper notes like a tube amp when called upon. Haven't heard the PM11S2 yet, but if it is an actual improvement, heck, I may hop on that merry-go-round one more time.
For me it was the Jadis DA60.
Has more than enough power to really get the woofers flapping, yet sounds delicate, sweet, and emotional. Just plain makes music, as good as anything I've ever listened to. Once I settled on the right tubes for me in it, it's never had me wanting for anything else. Higher entry point that a lot of audio equipment, but I see a lot of value there, as no other audio product I've come across felt more like a lifetime purchase.
you won't get off if you buy naim or exposure, they sound like radio on steroids. if you go ss find an amp that doubles it's power into 4 ohms. and has some headroom. i was frankly shocked when i heard the naim and exposure. pathetic sorry white bleached forward
i just putting it out there to save someone from making a mistake. always listen fo yourself
I'll probably take a few shots for this but for me it really was the Krell 400XI. I've thought about a Blue Circle and going a different direction but I'm content. Some might not like it's lack of 'tone' or 'depth of image' but somehow it has managed to blend nicely with my current setup.
Its very revealing of source components and overall warmth and glare can be tamed through cabling. Perhaps it's just the system sounding better then the sum of it's parts. I feel a great sense of synergy right now with the Dynaudio's, Aerial Acoustic 5's also played nicely on my system.
Naim makes some excellent gear. They are not very powerful but then again most people don't need more then 10-20 watt. So a 100watt amp should be sufficient in most cases. For an average 30m2 living room. My amp also gives about 100watt the manufacturer doesn't specify how much he just says more then 100watt at 8Ohm. For me that is more then enough.
The Graaf GM50B was the best sounding integrated of all I've owned over the past ten years:
-Ensemble Fuoco hybrid
It may have had to do with system synergy. It was matched with REL Strata III sub, ProAc D25 speakers, and Meridian G08 CD player.
mbl 7008. It looks good and sounds good. It is designed to be able to drive the 82dB/w/m, 4 ohm mbl 121 (which I don't happen to own). So I'm guessing that in my small NYC apartment, even though it is "only" 120 Watts/channel (and is rated down to a 2 ohm load--380 Watts) it will potentially work with just about any speaker, even if I move to a bigger place. One requirement I had, since I also listen to a lot of tv and movies late at night, is that it have a headphone jack. I prefer a headphone jack to a separate headphone amp to save space, but more importantly, to be able to control the volume via remote control. And I assume the headphone section of the mbl is no slouch (I say assume because I have not auditioned headphone amps).
I very much enjoyed reading the comments on the other integrateds. I am especially intrigued by the Pass Labs, but as the theme of this thread goes, I'm not in the market!
The TAD modded Cayin ta-30 stopped me from serious looking about four years ago I guess. Before that I had used many SS amps with varying satisfaction. I feed some custom Dynaudio monitors with it.
I liked the ta-30 so much I then bought (found it on ebay) the same company's (different name) Spark 300B SET. Model 730D. I finally settled on a great tube set TJ 300b, Phillips jan 6sn7 and Valvo 188cc. This amp is gorgeously finished and quite a thing of beauty.
Fed with vinyl and sacd it really breathes life into the old Altec 604D speakers. The bass is augmented on two levels with a pair of subs. One sub is cutoff at 80hz and the other is cutoff at several hundred hz, the subs are balanced by a seperate preamp for more control than I've ever had over the bottom end of the system. Very dynamic and lifelike, tho' not the highest resolution from the old Altecs.
I'm very happy with it, and have not felt any inclination to change amps in a while, tho I often consider finding a pair of high efficiency speakers of new design to try in place of the Altec.