I would definitely say the Gryphon Diablo, I know it well and will say that it would be a great middle for your source and speakers. I have heard it with the Esoteric 3 box system and Gryphon Pantheon speakers awesome is the only word I can come up with. It can also handle any kind of music you care to throw at it.
@loreaor, if you take the time to read the Audiogon Forum below it should answer all your questions plus some.
I don't see how people can make recommendations based upon the info presented. You don't know what Focal loudspeaker he has and the list of integrated span 30w to 300w. Nor are any sonic preferences stated. We also don't know where he is so we don't know what kind of manufacturer/distributor support is available. Do any of the above posters really think they helped this person?
Interesting that you used the word "best". My best is probably different to your best. At his price point, I don't think there is a "best" integrated. Just what suits you. They all have slightly different sound and different capabilities in terms of connectives, Dac integration, AV bypass, balanced and unbalanced inputs, ability to drive low Independence.
Listen to as many as you can and let you ears be the judge. I am biased of course - as an owner of the Diablo 300 with added Dac option. However, I do one more to be added to you audition list:
Monoandstereo.com has both the Analog ISIS and Diablo 300 reviews and the author prefers the ISIS even though Diablo has won heaps of rewards. Just goes to show everyone is different.
The Belles Virtuoso Integrated. About to be released in March. Cost is at $6500.00. David Belles is a rare genius in high end audio. You will be hard pressed to find any integrated on planet earth at $20K or below that even comes close to Belles. The richest, most musical solid state designs currently in the U.S.A. Will get you closer to the magical quality of
tubes without the maintenance of tubes more than any other solid state amp. The quality of parts are rare to find anywhere in his designs and his phono boards are absurdly state of the art and sound so good you will never even think about an outboard phono preamp. I recently sold my latest audio system and will be purchasing the Virtuoso this March and will match it up with speakers such as certain SE models from Tekton or the D9 from Spendor, but I am leaning heavily towards Spendor given their reputation and sound quality during the past 40+ years. The D9 is very neutral and sound is towards the lean side and matches up very well with gear on the warm side which Belles is known for.
Output (rms): 150 W/1 Ω | 120 W/2 Ω | 60 W/4 Ω | 30 W/8 Ω
Total Harmonic Distortion
(both channels simultaneously, FR 20-20 000 Hz): 0.03%
IM distortion: 0.01%
Frequency range (line input and Power In):
20-20 000 Hz (+0/–0,5 dB), @ full power; 3-150 000 Hz (+0/–3 dB), @ 1 W
Damping factor: 800 (8 Ω)
BASS: 300 Hz/10 dB (50 Hz) | TREBLE: 3 kHz/10 dB (20 kHz)
Loudness: +6 dB (100 Hz)
S/N (A -weighted: RCA input: 102 dB | power in: 117 dB
Power consumption: 168 W (idle) | 290 W (max.)
Dimensions (WxHxD): 465x191x428 mm
Weight: 25.3 kg
Pathos Inpol Heritage:
Type: Reference stereo integrated
Analog In: 2 bal XRL, 4 unbal RCA
Dimensions (DWH): 555 x 450 x 230mm
@donjr I think the biggest problem with Accuphase in general is the price. The msrp of both Accuphase and Pathos currently is around $13-14k (but cannot be sure, also depends on the features selected). E650 is only 30W in 8ohm, but I live in a condo so that may not be an issue (except if we take into account the impact of the "reserve factor" on sound). Listening these amps where I live is next to impossible. Which route would you recommend in terms of pricing for E650? Thanks
@fiza do you have an Accuphase dealer within driving distance to your home? I certainly wouldn't buy an amp without hearing it first, especially in this price range. If you get a chance to hear one then the shop already has it. If that's the case they have to eventually sell it. I saved $6k off MSRP by purchasing a demo. If for some reason you are able to hear it but your shop doesn't have one, first off you tell them you're interested but not for msrp. Ask them if they're willing to contact the distributor to see if you can further work out a deal where you jump on a big order. You can save a lot of money if your equipment is shipped with a larger order. I did this with the DP-430 CDP which I ordered in November but will not be getting until next week. My dealer actually ordered 2 of them and a E-270 which further lowered my cost and his as well. In a nut shell, you have to get the dealer to work for you. If they don't they're not a good dealer and buy something else. You have to be a little patient because Accuphase doesn't have these amps piled up in a warehouse for 110 voltage. I would say with the list of contenders you have here, the world is your oyster. I love my E-600 but I was able to listen to it and was offered a great deal on it. If you end up listening to an Accuphase and have to have it but can't get your hands on one, let me know. You have an amazing list of amplifiers and I don't t think you could go wrong with any of them.