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Respectable Integrateds

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Please no responses from those that don't believe there are any respectable integrateds.

 

This thread is for those that believe a respectable integrated exists or can exist....if you believe it is not possible, please go troll somewhere else.

 

If you are like me and tired of reading all the craziness regarding interconnects, cables, daisy chaining usb toys, etc, and would like an integrated that you can just buy and call it a day, this thread may be for you. 

 

I love my aging mcintosh integrated amp, and look forward to replacing it with something more modern and that has a good digital interface (enet and/or usb), please share....

 

I know mcintosh makes one, and they just recently came out with a lower end unit with a digital module so the module can be upgraded in future (MA5300 & MA7200)...so this may be of interest, but their current dac module doesn't have enet and the dac chips are older (either 9016 or 9018, i forget) and don't have any isolation circuitry on it's usb input.  I have been informed that they are working on a newer DAC module, so if/when that is released, i may go that route.  In the mean time I am curious if there are any other notable integrateds with a good DSD capable digital input (enet and/or usb)?

 

I have heard good things about the "Parasound Halo integrated", but haven't researched as of yet, but since i cancelled my las vegas ces trip, I have decided i am going to start researching if there are any notable integrateds either now or in the works?

 

Again, Please no responses from those that don't believe that a respectable integrated can exist...your input is not desired...I am sure the likes of GUTB will respond anyway, hopefully no others, that don't have the input I am looking for.

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I was about to respond suggesting Lavardin or Pass, but then realised you are not using "integrated" in the established amplifier sense.

 

I hear good things about the JOB INT, then there a various new units from Naim.

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15 minutes ago, Norton said:

I was about to respond suggesting Lavardin or Pass, but then realised you are not using "integrated" in the established amplifier sense.

 

I hear good things about the JOB INT, then there a various new units from Naim.

 

Not sure what you mean by "integrated in the established amplifer sense" means.....I do mean preamp/amp in one unit...did you mean the establised sense doesn't include a digital input?  If so, we are seeing more and more that many integrateds are including a digital interface that supports dsd (e.g. enet and/or usb), and i believe that will be the defacto standard moving forward with most higher end integrateds. 

 

Anyway, yes, you reminded me about the NAIM...i remember eyeing one at the last couple shows i went to....my head wasn't in that direction back then, so didn't pay close attention, but it did catch my eye, so thanks for that recommendation....will also check ok the JOB (never heard of that one).

 

Even Marantz latest submissions (SRxx12 series) has enet and supports native dsd...but i found a bug in their firmware and sent the unit back.  They finally replied back that they hope to have the bug fixed in feb firmware release.

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I still have an Audiolab 8000A from 1994, can be used as either a integrated, a pre or a power amp (a simple mod on this version, Audiolab provided the details). Still used, add a Logitech SB, some speakers and a perfect spare/bedroom system, also has the advantage of a headphone amp.

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An audio friend down the road has been using Naim integrateds for years, and they get a lot of things right in raw form. That said, the reliability hasn't been brilliant - he has had to dive inside and fix failing parts - but that has also allowed him to improve implementation issues, something that you probably don't want to know about!


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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4 minutes ago, fas42 said:

An audio friend down the road has been using Naim integrateds for years, and they get a lot of things right in raw form. That said, the reliability hasn't been brilliant - he has had to dive inside and fix failing parts - but that has also allowed him to improve implementation issues, something that you probably don't want to know about!

 

Yea, i don't have any desire to buy something with anticipation of having to dig in and fix (lol).  I doubt your friends experience is typical though (probably less than 2%), as I trust the NAIM brand and highly doubt that NAIM has  your suggested reliability issues, or it wouldn't have the success it has.

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I don’t know why you assume I’m automatically against integrated amps...it’s true that it’s widley understood that separates are better. I think you’re referring to all-in-one systems, and those appear to all suck. The McIntosh may be an exception. There’s a Technics GaN FET class D I want to listen to. Others like the Cary and Hegel systems get mixed reviews...they seem to focus on size rather than sonic performance. The other class D junk we can discard.

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53 minutes ago, beerandmusic said:

 

Not sure what you mean by "integrated in the established amplifer sense" means.....I do mean preamp/amp in one unit...did you mean the establised sense doesn't include a digital input?  If so, we are seeing more and more that many integrateds are including a digital interface that supports dsd (e.g. enet and/or usb), and i believe that will be the defacto standard moving forward with most higher end integrateds. 

 

Anyway, yes, you reminded me about the NAIM...i remember eyeing one at the last couple shows i went to....my head wasn't in that direction back then, so didn't pay close attention, but it did catch my eye, so thanks for that recommendation....will also check ok the JOB (never heard of that one).

 

Even Marantz latest submissions (SRxx12 series) has enet and supports native dsd...but i found a bug in their firmware and sent the unit back.  They finally replied back that they hope to have the bug fixed in feb firmware release.

 

By integrated I think you mean DAC+pre+power in one unit.  Most people probably wouldn't automatically include the DAC in that term.

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49 minutes ago, GUTB said:

I don’t know why you assume I’m automatically against integrated amps...it’s true that it’s widley understood that separates are better. I think you’re referring to all-in-one systems, and those appear to all suck. The McIntosh may be an exception. There’s a Technics GaN FET class D I want to listen to. Others like the Cary and Hegel systems get mixed reviews...they seem to focus on size rather than sonic performance. The other class D junk we can discard.

Usually because you suggest everything "sucks" where i believe that just about anything in my budget ($10K complete system) the law of diminishing returns usually suggests less than 5% difference (and doubt most DBT could discern any consistently and notable appreciation) in SQ...and that has been my experience.  I am a scrooge when it comes to all the hoopla...i believe that as long as you are in the sweet spot, playing native dsd, from good source files, typically nothing else matters much besides the speakers and the amp.  I do believe recent revelations inre clocking and noise isolation needs to be considered, but beyond that....it's all hoopla!

 

But i did want to thank you for your suggestion of the technics name...i remember seeing a technics highend integrated at a local highend hifi shop that sounded decent so will look deeper into that also.

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10 minutes ago, Norton said:

 

By integrated I think you mean DAC+pre+power in one unit.  Most people probably wouldn't automatically include the DAC in that term.

Actually almost all integrateds have a dac if you think about it (any with toslink and/or coax)....but just recently (within the last couple years), MANY newer integrateds are including a dsd capable digital input (usb and/or enet).

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I do wonder if separates were more about fashion, profits, upgrade paths and interconnect sales  rather than SQ.

 

Is there any sound engineering justification for separates?   Maybe combining DAC/pre/power in one box and putting the power supplies in another would make more sense?

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8 minutes ago, Norton said:

I do wonder if separates were more about fashion, profits, upgrade paths and interconnect sales  rather than SQ.

 

Is there any sound engineering justification for separates?   Maybe combining DAC/pre/power in one box and putting the power supplies in another would make more sense?

IMHO, The main advantage of separates is that you can get the best in class of each....but the disadvantage is interconnects, non unifiormity in clocks, power, cables, etc....but I personally believe that many strides have been made over the years and that the differences are relatively negligible if you ensure certain features (e.g. clocking, jitter reduction, usb isolation, dual mono architecture, clean power,  native dsd support)

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Linn Majik DSM and Linn Sneaky DSM is really good sounding all-in one. A bargain for what they ask for it (much better than many separate gear that cost much more).

https://www.linn.co.uk/hifi-separates/network-music-players/majik

 

Hegel H360 and Hegel H160 are good all-in one (you can add a stand-alone DAC later on if you want).

https://www.hegel.com/products/integrated/h360

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/hegel-h360-integrated-amplifier/

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+1 for the Hegel H360. A friend of mine runs it with a Macintosh SACD player and Magico S1 speakers. It is a very neutral amp that could be endgame for most audiophiles. He also has the built in Dac option. Comparing it to the SACD player (playing redbook) the player is the better performer, but the built in dac is good.

 

Another friend has the Accuphase E270 integrated amp with the add-on dac card. he used to run an Esoteric dac but says he prefers the dac card of the Accuphase. I haven't heard his set up so I cannot comment from personal experience. 

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I’ve owned a Job INT for over a year now. It’s the longest I’ve had any component in my system, and the best sound I’ve had in my system. At several points over the past 10 years I’ve had systems that cost 4x what it cost and came close, but never bettered it. The speakers are, I think, very simpatico, which also helps. I also have some fancy cabling, through which I can hear a positive difference, but you might not be able to ;-) Highly recommended.

 

PS: my system clocks in at about $8K Canadian, excluding the computer, but including the cables. I do wonder how much sound I could retain with different, I.e. cheaper speakers.


Mac Mini w/ Roon / Tidal -> Schiit Eitr -> Job INTegrated -> JM Reynaud Bliss Silver

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One more all-in one to consider- Simaudio Moon 340i Nēo. I have not heard it, but the 340 HAD (headphone amp and DAC) is good. No LAN input thou.

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I did run the Hegel 160 for a while. I found it too polite, even with an external DAC. Also, it didn’t sound as powerful as its specs suggested to me. YMMV.


Mac Mini w/ Roon / Tidal -> Schiit Eitr -> Job INTegrated -> JM Reynaud Bliss Silver

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2 hours ago, trappy said:

I’ve owned a Job INT for over a year now. It’s the longest I’ve had any component in my system, and the best sound I’ve had in my system. At several points over the past 10 years I’ve had systems that cost 4x what it cost and came close, but never bettered it. The speakers are, I think, very simpatico, which also helps. I also have some fancy cabling, through which I can hear a positive difference, but you might not be able to ;-) Highly recommended.

 

PS: my system clocks in at about $8K Canadian, excluding the computer, but including the cables. I do wonder how much sound I could retain with different, I.e. cheaper speakers.

 

+1 for Job INT. I heard one at an friends home and was amazed. I do not know how you could come anywhere near it for the price.



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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I’ll second the Naim and Linn recommendations and have experience with both. IF you don’t need lots of power the Linn DSM is just fantastic with their Malik Isobarik speakers. Makes a hell of a system that needs no tweaking, only sit back and listen. 

 

2139D33A-3682-4F01-86EA-0982990F6211.jpeg

BDFC9609-C49D-45FE-B754-1776276B3864.jpeg


David

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6 hours ago, Miska said:

 

I like their products - also you can plug in DAC & Tuner modules.

 

Absolute Clown website has a range of integrateds on their Top Picks


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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12 hours ago, beerandmusic said:

 

Please no responses from those that don't believe there are any respectable integrateds.

 

This thread is for those that believe a respectable integrated exists or can exist....if you believe it is not possible, please go troll somewhere else.

 

If you are like me and tired of reading all the craziness regarding interconnects, cables, daisy chaining usb toys, etc, and would like an integrated that you can just buy and call it a day, this thread may be for you. 

 

I love my aging mcintosh integrated amp, and look forward to replacing it with something more modern and that has a good digital interface (enet and/or usb), please share....

 

I know mcintosh makes one, and they just recently came out with a lower end unit with a digital module so the module can be upgraded in future (MA5300 & MA7200)...so this may be of interest, but their current dac module doesn't have enet and the dac chips are older (either 9016 or 9018, i forget) and don't have any isolation circuitry on it's usb input.  I have been informed that they are working on a newer DAC module, so if/when that is released, i may go that route.  In the mean time I am curious if there are any other notable integrateds with a good DSD capable digital input (enet and/or usb)?

 

I have heard good things about the "Parasound Halo integrated", but haven't researched as of yet, but since i cancelled my las vegas ces trip, I have decided i am going to start researching if there are any notable integrateds either now or in the works?

 

Again, Please no responses from those that don't believe that a respectable integrated can exist...your input is not desired...I am sure the likes of GUTB will respond anyway, hopefully no others, that don't have the input I am looking for.

 

I've a friend with the Parasound Integrated. I haven't heard it yet, but he's crazy about it and I trust his ears. I replaced an Audio Research SP-11 pre-amp and a pair of VTL 140 mono-block power amps with a Harman Kardon HK990 a couple of years ago, and haven't looked back. The Harman Kardon is better in every way, especially in sound quality. I was really amazed at how much better my Martin-Logan Vistas sounded with the solid-state integrated than they had with the tubed gear. 


George

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