For those who might be intimidated by the idea of tubes, VTL has made the ST-150’s manual bias-adjustment fairly straightforward. In addition to a 50Wpc Class D amplifier, the Sprout comes equipped with a 192/24 DAC and an analog input-selector for all inputs (including Bluetooth, asynchronous USB, analog, and coaxial). For $1300? Anyone looking to assemble a reasonably priced system would do well to start here. Wilson Audio Specialties Chronosonic XVX Loudspeaker, Subsonic Subwoofer, and ActivXO Crossover, Schiit Audio Modius DAC and Magnius Preamplifier/Headphone Amplifier, Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 : Loudspeaker, Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 : Digital Electronics, An Interview with John Bring of Cable Support Plate, The Absolute Sound’s High-End Audio Hall of Fame | 2020 Inductees, Lauren Daigle’s Grammy Award Winning Album “Look Up Child” to be released December 11 in 45RPM LP Format, The Absolute Sound’s Buyer’s Guide to Electronics 2017, The Absolute Sound’s Top Picks in High-End Audio and Music 2017, The Absolute Sound’s Buyer's Guide to Affordable High-End Audio 2017, Hank Williams: Pictures from Life’s Other Side. I'd like an integrated amp … Simply put, JM adored this petite integrated amp/DAC from PS Audio straight out of the box. If that’s not enough, this is the first Class D amplifier … It conveys vocals with weight and authority. A quietly elegant, self-effacing component, it offers performance far exceeding its price. Amplifiers Best power amplifiers under $3,000 Loudspeakers Best Bookshelf/Monitor Loudspeakers under $400 Best Loudspeakers under $500 Best Loudspeakers under $1,000 Best Floorstanding Loudspeakers under $3,000 Best … This fully balanced, Class AB amplifier packs 600 watts (8 ohms) into a normal-sized, 42-pound single chassis per channel. I am open to second-hand components too. It is the first-ever Audio Research amplifier with automatic bias setting, which lets the user choose 6550, KT88, KT90, or KT120 output tubes in addition to the stock KT150s. It’s powerful enough to drive a big speaker like the Wilson XLF. The Sphinx integrated amplifier may be the most roguish of the lot. Perhaps the H30’s outstanding sonics and high value can be traced to Hegel’s SoundEngine technology, in which dynamic crossover distortion is greatly reduced through a patented circuit, coupled with a rigorous transistor-matching protocol. It delivers 50 watts per channel for 8-ohm speakers, and 80 watts per channel for 4-ohm speakers. Its power is rated, with extreme conservatism, at 220 watts into 8 ohms, 450 watts into 4 ohms, and 650 watts into 2 ohms, meaning it can drive any real-world speaker load, including nominal 1-ohm loads. Best Audiophile Power Amplifiers Under $3,000. There is no sonic mystery that these are tube amplifiers; tonal colors are rich and full-bodied with a lifelike warmth that never devolves into softness or syrup. So I want to get opinions from people who have similar setups or are better aware of what works. On the contrary, it is exceedingly fast on transients, extremely hard-hitting on big dynamic swings, extraordinarily finely detailed (right up there with Soulution, Siltech, and Constellation in this regard), with taut bass that is virtually indistinguishable in grip, definition, and impact from that of much top-tier solid-state, and imaging and staging that are truly wall-to-wall. exposurehifi.com, PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium $3399 The Premium version of the DiaLogue incorporates select parts such as an ALPS volume control, Takman resistors, and SCR tin-foil coupling capacitors in critical signal-path locations. This mono amp offers a lot: tonal neutrality, dynamic control, expansive soundstaging, fine resolution, plenty of power reserves, and great musical expressiveness. It can … Tubes? Enter Ayon, self-appointed ambassador of tube amplification, which runs a five-point test on every tube it ships, including plate current, transconductance, heater-to-cathode leakage, gas ion current effects, and microphony. Technics SE-R1 $16,999 Forming the heart of Technics’ superb R1 system is the 150Wpc (300Wpc into 4 ohms) SE-R1 digital stereo amp. One obvious difference is the switch from TV sweep tubes to audio power tubes. It shone brightly every time with a golden sense of bloom, inviting detail, and unwavering musicality. None of this would amount to much, though, if the Classic Stereo sounded crude or clunky. Oh, and the Orion II sounds lovely, readily serving all kinds of music. The 8000A integrated sounds as crisp and detailed today as it did in 1983, and its internal phono pre-amplifier was considered to be one of the best in an affordable amplifier. McIntosh Labs MC275 VI $5500 The sixth version of this most classic of all McIntosh amplifiers is by far the best, boasting greater tonal neutrality yet without losing the beautifully solid, rounded, dimensional, … With an overall character that conveys warmer, darker shadings, reminiscent of a burnished walnut grain, it doesn’t hype treble frequencies, etch transients, or evince any pernicious tonal peaks or bumps. RD knows tube amplifiers can sound great but fears their downsides. Top-tier performance at a price that won't break the bank. It comes with a 20-year warranty, so music lovers can buy with confidence that their 7B³ amplifiers will provide years of enjoyment. At $2600, the IDA-16 provides a ton of value for the price. Conservatively rated at 150W into 4 and 8 ohms, the Zesto 300 features pure Class A circuitry and uses six KT88s per monoblock. Integrated amps come in all shapes and sizes, run the gamut from $500-5,000, and work best … Lastly, there’s a true dedicated headphone amp, with front-panel jack, capable of handling top-quality cans. Zesto Audio Bia 120 $10,000 Zesto’s new Bia 60Wpc Class A all‑tube power amplifier, with styling to match the company’s Zeto linestage and Andros phonostage, brings the designers the trifecta. Coming from a group of lifelong audiophiles, that’s high praise indeed. There is much to admire here, including strong dynamics and convincing rhythmic drive, supported by a well-defined bass range. The amplification, in particular, has an extraordinarily silent background, a sense of being “non-electronic,” and an ability to provide direct access to the source material. Its low end is elegantly controlled but not over-torqued. The company's new NewClassic 200 Integrated is, as you might well guess, an integrated amplifier, with a high-quality onboard digital-to-analog converter section. Integrated amp or Pre amp/Amp combo. Sonically, this is a beauty of an amplifier, with highly natural tonal and textural delivery, an impressive layering of dynamics, as well as nice drive and transient pop, and a strong degree of transparency back to the original session. primaluna-usa.com, Parasound Halo $2495 The Parasound Halo integrated amplifier looks very much like other components in the Halo line with its distinctive faceplate sporting a horizontal half-circle cutout running parallel with the base. Reproduction of the treble range, and in particular violin overtones, is grain-free and effortless and does much to enhance long-term listenability. Intro. First, though scarcely inexpensive, it is considerably less money than Zanden’s typical gourmet-audio offerings. The Absolute Sound is the world’s preeminent source of expert reviews, features, and commentary on high-performance audio and music. Its front panel offers a convenient menu-system for input selection and crossover point, the latter feature allowing the amp to easily mate with a subwoofer. Zesto Audio Eros 300 $19,900/pr. Yes its lighter overall balance is due to some bottom-octave attenuation, but the D 3020 retains an essential presence, a midrange integrity, that sculpts the body of a performance and makes it live in the listening space. This new unit benefits from three years of additional R&D and more features, including a modular design in which most of the digital inputs are on replaceable cards to accommodate changing technology. Power: 300W/8Ω (RMS) DAC: Yes. Any recommedations for integrated amp under $5000 with phono stage? Bryston 7B³ $11,990/pr. Quality sound, superior build, and affordability are cornerstones of Arcam’s design philosophy, and the A19 exemplifies all of them. Page 1 of 2 1 2 Next > Cliff O Active Member. In a world of à la carte audio, the Evo 100A is an entrée with all the fixings. The Atlas creates a cloud of air around each instrument, and a deep convincing sense of space. Throw in an automated program that removes the worst bass peaks and dips and you have an extremely capable and compelling product. Messages: 270 Location: North Central Texas. nuprimeaudio.com, Arcam A19 $1000 Need an affordable integrated amp that offers enough inputs for the whole family? There’s an inner light to images, plus a huge soundstage and cavernous dimensionality. There is a kind of gleeful dynamic command with the Classic Stereo. With the CXA80’s built-in Wolfson 24-bit/192kHz WM8740 DAC, computer audio is as close at hand as the USB input—or use the front-panel jack for portable players. But a battery of inputs on its back and the ability to stream via an Ethernet port mean that it truly constitutes a jack-of-all-trades in integrateds. Essentially, it’s a sleek-looking, small-footprint hybrid Class A/Class D integrated amplifier/DAC—that combines Class A warmth and resolution with Class D speed, power, and efficiency. The previous generation “squared” series improved output-stage performance whereas the newer “cubed” series improves the input stage. The Atlas is slightly less incisive dynamically than AT’s reference amp, but so is pretty much everything else. Surprisingly, the Inspiration’s bass may even be deeper and more powerful than that of the original Hercules. The SP-331 is one of the best-sounding affordable power amplifiers we’ve yet heard. The midrange lacks just a smidgen of the detail present in other, more expensive amplifiers. All rights reserved. Rather, the immense power reserves mean that it is never stressed, no matter how complex or demanding the music. One effect of the feature is to flesh out the three-dimensionality of instrumental images. Since NuPrime’s founding, Jason Lim has continually sought to improve sonics through innovative technologies—in addition to offering high performance and value with respect to pricing. The 7B³’s bass extension and stability during demanding musical passages, coupled with relatively low noise, impart an admirable sense of ease to the presentation. In neutrality and transparency the AVM SA8.2 comes close to delivering the sonic equivalent of the Golden Mean. This 108-pound beast doubles down to a whopping 1200 watts into 2 ohms, which means that it should have oodles of power to spare for just about any loudspeaker. Although there’s a little bit of a shaded ceiling over the top end, the D 3020 need make no apologies. Voices are unstrained and pure-sounding, bespeaking low distortion. A great bargain in high-powered amplifiers. Tonally, this amp is on the sweet side in a way that is consonant with real music. The Sprout also serves as an analog preamp with a built-in, passively eq’d moving-magnet phonostage, and as a low-output-impedance headphone amplifier. The RoomPerfect system does a remarkable job of smoothing out and neutralizing what the room is doing to degrade the sound of your speakers, and once you have heard how RoomPerfect fixes this up, you won’t want to go back to the uncorrected sound. The amp ships with EL34 pentodes, but KT88 and even KT120 beam power tubes may be substituted, which nudges power output to 42Wpc. By [email protected] - June 3, 2013. Triode Corporation TRX-M300 $15,750/pr. A timeless classic. hegel.com, Creek Audio Evolution 100A $2195 This quintessential stealth amp packs more configuration options than should be possible in such a minimalist chassis. U.S. design and manufacture? This is nominally a 40Wpc power amp based on Berning’s patented impedance-matching technology that does away with a conventional output transformer. The soundstage is quite wide, with instruments realistically distributed between the speakers. The SE-R1’s sound also exhibits bold dynamics, staggering detail, and a huge volume of musical information. MBL Corona C21 $9200 Sounding more like a fine analog amp than the hybrid-switching amp it is, the 180Wpc C21 offers much of the lush sweetness and sonic gravity of MBL’s own Reference Line 9011 monoblock. ... an integrated amplifier… Here is what I have 1- Budget - strictly under $5000 2- Listening Area - Living Room - 13ftX20ft 3- Turntable - Rega P2 4- Phono pre amp … The sense, as it should be, is not of listening to gear but that the gear is a conduit for the music. Sonically, the TDAI 2170 is impeccable. nuprime.com, Exposure 3010S2D $2795 (DAC option, $595) Don’t let the simple façade of the Exposure 3010S2D integrated amp fool you. A powerful amplifier capable … JM was astonished by the detail and fullness of the sound, even when playing music back via her iPhone using Bluetooth. Under $5000 - Shopping for Integrated Amplifiers? Look no further than the Arcam A19, which is built like a tank, outputs a healthy 50Wpc, and employs parts from Arcam’s much more expensive integrated amps. Operating the TDAI 2170, including the room-correction setup, which needs to be done once only, couldn’t be simpler. By combining a power amplifier with a preamplifier, buying an integrated amp is not only simpler than hunting for separate components, but it also gives you a good mix of performance and features for less money than you’d spend otherwise. One hundred watts-per-channel (200W into 4 ohms)? No, it didn’t equal his far more expensive reference gear, but during a listening session several of his audio buddies said they derived genuine musical enjoyment from the system anchored by the Yamaha A-S801 amplifier, and could happily live with it. The midrange, in particular, is highly vivid and present without sounding the least bit pushy or forward, infusing the presentation with a palpability and directness of expression previously unheard in any amplifier near the H30’s price. Although Ayre's new EX-8 integrated amplifier is available as an analog-only base unit for $5990, the company makes increasingly flexible, increasingly costly versions, all the way up to the fully loaded EX-8 Integrated … Ayre's EX-8 integrated amplifier is available as an analog-only base unit for $5990; the $7850 fully loaded Integrated Hub version that JA wrote about in the February 2019 Stereophile adds … As with the preamps, Bia’s personality consists in a completely seductive musicality free from all the usual sorts of electronic colorations and artifacts, for a presentation that never, ever sounds electro‑mechanical, instead always wholly natural. This 60Wpc stereo amp also proved to be more versatile than expected, driving a remarkable array of loudspeakers to great effect. NAD D 3020 $499 Truly a design for our times, the D 3020 is improbably small and portable and loaded. Conversely, many integrated amps near its price with a low listener-fatigue factor too often also sound overly polite or reserved, where the H80 is musically involving, well balanced, and surprisingly powerful for its rating. VTL ST-150 $6000 VTL’s ST-150 is a relatively compact yet powerful 6550-based stereo power amp capable of driving a wide range of speaker loads. The M300 offers a fitting testament to the potency of the first watt and showcases the beauty and dynamic potential of the much venerated 300B triode. One hundred watts-per-channel (200W into 4 ohms)? Luscious, velvety, silken, gorgeous, it’s the kind of sound around which audio cults develop, and it’s easy to imagine its owners years, even decades hence treasuring the Bia the way others do classic McIntoshes and Marantzes. The H80 delivers a nice measure of musical verve, accompanied by a lack of listener fatigue that one rarely encounters in $3000 integrateds—let alone in one priced at $2000. The amp sounds good right out of the box, even better after some break-in, and the automatic bias adjustment assures the VT80SE will produce its best sound throughout the life of the tubes with no adjustment by the listener. A volume remote is an option. No matter what style of music she played, no matter what speakers she paired it with, the Air Tight ATM-1S delivered the sonic goods with naturalness, beauty, and ease, while also throwing a remarkably deep and wide soundstage. Through the Inspiration offers a less expensive implementation of the Hercules’ topology, Constellation has still managed to bring the big amp’s DNA to a more affordable price. True, there is a glimmer of romance in its palette, but tonally it’s a thoroughly contemporary tube amp that walks a mostly neutral line, yet still reproduces the lowest-level details of music with an almost tender delicacy and resolution that combine the best of the valve and solid-state worlds. usa.yamaha.com, NuPrime IDA-8 $995 Sonically and functionally, JM found plenty to love about the IDA-8. Whether you’re into digital or analog, you’ll discover big-buck sonics and incredible versatility in a neat little package. PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium HP Mono $7798/pr. While many amplifiers use Bang & Olufsen’s ICE output device, the SX-1000 combines it with its own direct-coupled, balanced, dual-FET input stage designed by Bascom King. Delivering 500W into 8 ohms and 900W into 4, and fully stable driving capacitive loads, it is the perfect choice for electrostatics. Muzishare X7. For $1,000 less, the brand new decco65 integrated amplifier/DAC from Peachtree Audio offers a real challenge to the Bel Canto and frees up funds (just like the Rega) for a great analog source. Thanks to improvements in the transformers, distortion and noise are far lower than ever, bandwidth higher, dynamic range wider, transparency greater, and transient response better than ever. Marantz PM6007. It is a bruiser of an amplifier that will produce a gobsmackingly capacious soundstage, not to mention considerable prowess in the nether regions. The Muzishare X7 is one of the most versatile tube amplifiers available today. audioplusservices.com, Yamaha A-S801 $899 Is there any other audio component with as many features as the A-S801 amplifier? A hybrid tube/solid-state amplifier, it combines the harmonic richness and subtlety of fine tube designs—especially … This amp exemplifies that approach. In particular, they completely obviate the need for a traditional DAC. Sonically, the 35Wpc ProLogue Premium does not have the rosy, euphonic colorations of traditional triode or SET tube varietals. Bass is also extended, with tons of impact. parasound.com, NAD C 390DD $2599 NAD’s C 390DD might perform the same functions as an integrated amplifier with an integral DAC, but looks can be deceiving. Dynamic range is prodigious, the Bia even driving PS’s inefficient Quad ESL 2805s to clear, clean, unstrained levels (a magnificent combination, by the way). D’Agostino Classic Stereo $14,500 The D’Agostino Classic Stereo represents a return to the venerable days when Dan D’Agostino was producing the stereo equivalent of muscle cars. DO opines that the KT120 produces the best sonics in either ultra-linear or triode modes. 1. This 300W (into 8 ohms) hybrid (tube input stage/MOSFET output stage) monoblock is the distillation of all that celebrated electronics designer Bascom H. King has learned about amplifier circuits. And the more I read the more confusing it gets. There is nothing fancy about the casework to distract from the fact that this amp just wants to get down to business. I'm looking to upgrade from my vintage Sansui 9090db. All rights reserved. It runs relatively cool to the touch, is tonally neutral, produces a deep soundstage, and should be very reliable. Class G topology significantly bumps up the power over its 50A sibling, but it’s the addition of the superb 24/96 Ruby DAC module with multiple digital inputs and FM tuner that makes the 100A pop for today’s listeners. The amplifiers belie their rated power, and drive low-efficiency loudspeakers with ease. The Emotiva BasX A-100 stereo integrated amp is built like no other $229 amp I've ever seen. Copyright © 2021 The Absolute Sound. Learn More: Here. Its top end, where Class D has previously struggled, is smooth and extended, not glassy. Whether used alone or with the C22 preamplifier—once you’ve seen and used them together, it’ll break your heart to separate them—the MC275 makes utterly fabulous music and its traditional looks make it, like the C22, a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. 41034. Most importantly, its sound is pure and direct. Rather it has a bit of dark velvet bloom, imparting the full measure of harmonic and ambient decay and timbral resonance with acoustic music. Like other Halo products, the circuits inside are John Curl’s design. Vocals, female and male, have realistic body in a distinct sense of place—with both feet on the ground so to speak. In fact, almost all of the colorations you’ll hear through this amp will come from the other components. For someone looking to indulge in the tube experience, with most of the drawbacks superbly minimized, GW cannot recommend the 70Wpc (40Wpc in triode) PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium HP highly enough. Share on Facebook. The colossal gain of the original has been reduced to a reasonable sensitivity of 0.8V. Best Vinyl Setup Under $5,000 (OK, $6,000) Turntable, speakers, integrated amp, tube-driven phono preamp. Operation of the KT120 in triode mode is a potent option that can work miracles with some speaker loads, though output power is halved. soundorg.com, Rogue Audio Sphinx V2 $1295 ($1395 with remote control) Rogue products have, like their moniker, usually gone their own way in design, price, and value. This is the first Class D amplifier (actually a hybrid with a pair of 12AU7 tubes in the preamp section) that RD feels offers true world … Nevertheless, it lacks the last degree of purity in the treble region that much pricier amps, including D’Agostino’s flagship M400, provide. nadelectronics.com, NuPrime IDA-16 $2600 A do-everything DAC coupled with a 200Wpc Class D integrated amplifier in a sleek package that would look good in any system, the IDA-16 plays music files ranging up to 384kHz PCM and DSD256—which includes all currently available albums. No, it doesn’t compete in the category of the kilowatt (and kilobuck) amplifiers put out by the likes of Boulder Audio. Press Esc to cancel. Copyright © 2021 The Absolute Sound. Its DAC supports USB 384kHz/32-bit and DSD256, and is also capable of decoding DoP (DSD over PCM) via coaxial and optical inputs. Although it mysteriously lacks a display, which makes volume changes and input switching more a matter of faith than precision, you’ll get over it, given the CXA80’s smooth, relaxed sonic performance, and abundant headroom for more demanding loudspeakers. Soundstage depth is in keeping with other solid-state amps at its price level, but width and height are exceptional. The SE-R1 is a technical and sonic tour de force. Why a surprise? A brand new budget amplifier and one of the very best. The Absolute Sound is the world’s preeminent source of expert reviews, features, and commentary on high-performance audio and music. The 200 Integrated was in fact derived by the simple expedient of sliding a class-D stereo power amp sourced from Danish class-D amp … The other argument is, hello, $499—making it by most standards a small miracle of packaging and portability, and with a few exceptions a delight to use and listen to. The Absolute Sound team is proud to highlight Martin Logan and Paradigm, known for loudspeaker innovation. The heart and soul of any serious audiophile’s music or multichannel music/movie setup lies in the amplification. Dynamics are very agile, realistically tracking changes in the music. The fully regulated power supply is unusual. Best $5000. Tweet on Twitter. Indeed, its resolution, timing, and imaging are beyond reproach. Capable of driving most speakers and resolving musical details well, the D200i gives music lovers a healthy portion of what Gamut’s even more powerful and highly resolving M250i mono amp sounds like, but does so at a much lower price. Combine the Halo integrated with a comparable set of speakers such as the wonderful Audience 1+1 and a good subwoofer like the Velodyne DD10+, and you have the building blocks of a glorious-sounding small-room or nearfield system for around $7k. Hegel Music Systems H390 Integrated Amplifier: $6,000 Hegel’s H390 is guaranteed to capture the attention of inveterate audiophiles with its robust build quality, flexible and future-proof feature set — … Sonically, the amp has great resolution and reflexes, making it a snap to follow interleaved melodic and rhythmic lines. Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 Next > Thouston Forum Resident Thread Starter. Broadly neutral but not completely accurate, the sound here is more beautiful than real. You can hardly do any better when it comes to user-friendliness and operational flexibility. The result is a component so rich, natural, and highly resolving that reviewer Anthony H. Cordesman bought the review samples. Featuring a superb combination of poise, densely textured midband timbre, and dynamically authoritative energy, the 3010S2D offers a compelling musical foundation; plus, its low noise floor reveals the ambient riches that live between musical passages. The Aleph Null, or 0, represents Nelson Pass's maiden product under the Pass Laboratories banner. Air Tight ATM-1S $10,450 Julie Mullins has been delighted to have this stereo tube amp in her reference system. For $2500 it includes a powerful basic amplifier coupled to an excellent preamplifier with a built-in analog crossover as well as a DAC that supports all modern formats. Pair it up with a warm sounding pair of two-way bookshelf loudspeakers for best results. This is the real deal…and a sweet deal, too. primaluna-usa.com, Hegel H160 $3500 The Hegel H160 is an integrated amplifier that sneaks up on you rather than grabbing you by the lapels. Our Virginia-based experts love helping folks find the right gear. Output tubes are individually fused to protect the circuit against catastrophic tube failure. Second, though completely tube-powered and tube-rectified, it has none of the image blur, dynamic laxness, ambient grain, and timbral heaviness of typical Class AB KT120-based push-pull tube amplifiers. A creation from the celebrated Japanese master Miura-san of Air Tight, this rare gem of an amp is meticulously hand-crafted in Osaka, Japan, and manually point-to-point wired. Hi, I have not owned an integrated speaker system before. The amp currently ships with two pairs of Russian KT77s, though the EL34 power pentode may also be used. It gets a well-defined bass range by Thouston, Jan 9, 2019 can hardly do better... Capacitive loads, it never over-reaches in the high end, where Class D has previously struggled is! Be done once only, couldn ’ t taken hold in the sense, as dispenses. Input stage amplifier Hi, I have not owned an integrated speaker system before its price also automatically break-in! Developed Hashimoto transformers side in a brawny but tasteful way - June 3 2013. 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