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High powered integrated amp recommendations

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Since coming back to the States five years ago I've switched from separates and tube amps to SS integrateds.  The first one I bought was a Hegel H200.  I do like their sound although for your purposes it might not produce enough power.  Newer models are said to sound better although I do not find the addition of built in DACs to be a plus.  I replaced the Hegel about three months ago with a Balanced Audio Technology VK3000SE.  I bought a store demo for about 60% of list price. 

 

Previously I was considering the Pass Labs Int250 having owned Threshold and Pass Labs equipment in the past as well as the Coda and Classe.  I listen to records and ripped media, vinyl ripped into flac and cd's ripped to aif/flac.  I also recently received a load of hi res download files. 

 

Speakers are Sonus Faber Cremona original floor standers which are a bit more efficient than your speakers.  Room is large at 12'x25' and average ceiling of 12'.  Power is more than sufficient and quality of sound is excellent.  It has sufficient inputs and the ergonomics are quite good.  Worth an audition.

20180326_162233.jpg


FLAC and AIF files mainly 192/24 and lower on Synology DS412 4x4Tb WD Red  in SHR2>direct ethernet to NUC>Intel NUC5PPYH w/JR Media 20 Akasa Newton P fanless case and DIY o11 LPS>Straightwire USB cable>W4S Recovery w/LPS>W4S DAC2DSD V2 w/Femto clock>Kimber Silver Streak balanced>Balanced Audio Technology VK3000SE>Kimber Monocle XL>Sonus Faber Cremona floorstanders

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On 6/18/2018 at 8:51 PM, Indydan said:

I am surprised nobody has mentioned the Hegel H360.  250W into 8 ohms, 420W into 4 ohms. 

 

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

The Hegel is a very good amp. I auditioned it extensively and almost bought one. It's also a good value. You'd have to spend a lot to beat it.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Hegel = unique technology, good value audiophile-grade.

 

BAT = fully balanced, use of 6H30 super tubes and thier nice oil capacitors.

 

Other brands worth being on your radar are AudioNet and Vitus. The  former was a head-turner that stood out to me in AXPONA, and the later at THE Show.

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47 minutes ago, GUTB said:

Hegel = unique technology, good value audiophile-grade.

 

BAT = fully balanced, use of 6H30 super tubes and thier nice oil capacitors.

 

Other brands worth being on your radar are AudioNet and Vitus. The  former was a head-turner that stood out to me in AXPONA, and the later at THE Show.

GUTB, we finally agree about something!


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Boneman, how does the Pass sound compare with the Coda sound?  I have a pretty good idea about Pass and am interested in Coda.

 

"Previously I was considering the Pass Labs Int250 having owned Threshold and Pass Labs equipment in the past as well as the Coda and Classe." 

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12 hours ago, Kimo said:

Boneman, how does the Pass sound compare with the Coda sound?  I have a pretty good idea about Pass and am interested in Coda.

 

"Previously I was considering the Pass Labs Int250 having owned Threshold and Pass Labs equipment in the past as well as the Coda and Classe." 

Coda was in the mix due to specs and price but unable to audition one in my area.

 


FLAC and AIF files mainly 192/24 and lower on Synology DS412 4x4Tb WD Red  in SHR2>direct ethernet to NUC>Intel NUC5PPYH w/JR Media 20 Akasa Newton P fanless case and DIY o11 LPS>Straightwire USB cable>W4S Recovery w/LPS>W4S DAC2DSD V2 w/Femto clock>Kimber Silver Streak balanced>Balanced Audio Technology VK3000SE>Kimber Monocle XL>Sonus Faber Cremona floorstanders

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1 hour ago, In-Tone said:

Nagra Classic INT 

 

If ya have $20,000 US to spend

 

I'm going to also agree with GUTB, I really like the BAT gear and the VK3000SE is awesome. Its on my short list of int amps.


The Truth Is Out There

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I got to hear a couple of powerful amps last night (not integrated) and noticed a little tighter, perhaps deeper bass and maybe a little more snap.  There were some not so good things I noticed as well, however.

 

I have not extensively listened to a AB amp in my system for a long time.  I have been running Class A. or heavily biased to Class A amps, both tube and solid state, non-stop for over 10 years. I thought none of the AB amps sounded as smooth.  Of course, there was no Gryphon in the bunch.  

 

I wonder if part of the Class A sound involves a little more laid back performance?  They certainly should have plenty of current on hand.  I don't have what it takes to bring a couple high powered class A monoblock amps in for audition, and I am unsure if I want to live with them again.  

 

I am going to track down an AB amp with no more 100 watts to see if I hear the same thing.  Maybe, I don't need lots of power on these speakers to get that snappier sound. 

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I have been able to get a few auditions in, and have learned a few things.

 

I believe high current, if for only brief periods, is even more important in my case, than high power.  With that said, I have broken the list down to Coda and Krell for domestics, and the Gryphon 120 and the T + A 2500 for imports.  I am going to try to get a home audition on a couple of these, but it won't be easy.  I need to compare them back to back with my high powered tube amp.

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12 minutes ago, Kimo said:

I have been able to get a few auditions in, and have learned a few things.

 

I believe high current, if for only brief periods, is even more important in my case, than high power.  With that said, I have broken the list down to Coda and Krell for domestics, and the Gryphon 120 and the T + A 2500 for imports.  I am going to try to get a home audition on a couple of these, but it won't be easy.  I need to compare them back to back with my high powered tube amp.

 

Mcintosh are high powered, high current amps, that live up to their name and have the best resell value if you find yourself a minority amongst mcintosh owners.

 

If your pride won't allow you to buy a big box amp that easily surpasses others in it's price range, i would go with the pass labs as in my a/b testing of dozens of amps, came the closest to depth, separation, and sound stage that mcintosh has.

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40 minutes ago, beerandmusic said:

 

Mcintosh are high powered, high current amps, that live up to their name and have the best resell value if you find yourself a minority amongst mcintosh owners.

 

If your pride won't allow you to buy a big box amp that easily surpasses others in it's price range, i would go with the pass labs as in my a/b testing of dozens of amps, came the closest to depth, separation, and sound stage that mcintosh has.

I have not completely ruled out McIntosh, but detail is something that the Alta's love, and it is my understanding that the Macs aren't known for detail, as much as tone.

 

I don't think it likely that I will purchase either the Gryphon or the T+A.  It is probably less likely that I will even get to hear them in my system.  Also, I don't want to be in a position where I have to ship a 100 box back to Denmark or Germany, if I run into an issue, so that is also a concern.  Nevertheless, I will give it a shot.

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i have never ever heard macs don't have detail, and i always here a great deal of detail...even googling "mcintosh amp detail", you will find tons more that say they have lots of detail than those that suggest otherwise.  They are known to be warm, detailed, and not harsh, but what i find makes them unique compared to other amps i have a/b'd with is the spaciousness and depth.  Pass labs came close, but none surpassed the mcintosh in that area, and what i consider the most important aspect.  the depth, soundstage, spaciousness, detail and warmth is what makes the mcintosh stand apart from all others imho in their class...although i have never compared to the more expensive 10K up amps.

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1 hour ago, beerandmusic said:

i have never ever heard macs don't have detail, and i always here a great deal of detail...even googling "mcintosh amp detail", you will find tons more that say they have lots of detail than those that suggest otherwise.  They are known to be warm, detailed, and not harsh, but what i find makes them unique compared to other amps i have a/b'd with is the spaciousness and depth.  Pass labs came close, but none surpassed the mcintosh in that area, and what i consider the most important aspect.  the depth, soundstage, spaciousness, detail and warmth is what makes the mcintosh stand apart from all others imho in their class...although i have never compared to the more expensive 10K up amps.

I did the line up a look through.  Read up on autoformers.  Seems like every model now includes a digital section, and I am not looking for that option with integrated.  

 

Also noticed the T+A is being sold at a bit of a premium here, and that causes me to lose interest.  

 

It may come down to the Gryphon and Pass INT 250.  I told myself no more 100 lb components, but at least with the 250 I only have to deal with one vs. two with Pass monoblocks.

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6 minutes ago, Kimo said:

I did the line up a look through.  Read up on autoformers.  Seems like every model now includes a digital section, and I am not looking for that option with integrated.  

 

Also noticed the T+A is being sold at a bit of a premium here, and that causes me to lose interest.  

 

It may come down to the Gryphon and Pass INT 250.  I told myself no more 100 lb components, but at least with the 250 I only have to deal with one vs. two with Pass monoblocks.

not the 252...besides many have digital modules that can be removed if you don't want the digital inputs, but i won't try to convince you of something you don't want (grin).

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2 minutes ago, beerandmusic said:

not the 252...besides many have digital modules that can be removed if you don't want the digital inputs, but i won't try to convince you of something you don't want (grin).

252 has digital inputs, as well.  All of them do, according to the website.  They vary as to whether or not they have a DA1 link.  

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12 hours ago, Kimo said:

I have not completely ruled out McIntosh, but detail is something that the Alta's love, and it is my understanding that the Macs aren't known for detail, as much as tone.

 

Baloney. McIntosh has done a complete revamp of their units and the sound is gorgeous and modern as you could hope for. Go listen. You'll probably walk out with a Mc amp.


No electron left behind...

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I think that understanding is several decades old.

 

The blue light may however lead to macular degeneration...  or MQAisation


"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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2 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

I think that understanding is several decades old.

 

The blue light may however lead to macular degeneration...  or MQAisation

 

No MQA decoding anywhere to be seen in the McIntosh line.


No electron left behind...

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but it has the Blue Light of Destiny


"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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1 hour ago, Ralf11 said:

but it has the Blue Light of Destiny

 

Destined to be awake all night Because a) the music is too good and b) the blue light makes it hard to sleep.


No electron left behind...

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7 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

 

Baloney. McIntosh has done a complete revamp of their units and the sound is gorgeous and modern as you could hope for. Go listen. You'll probably walk out with a Mc amp.

I have read a few reviews of recent units, and they still discuss the component in terms of not being detailed as other options.   

 

But, it really doesn't matter with them or Levinson, at least for me.  I don't plan on paying for digital facilities that I won't be using.  Looking into an audition of the Gryphon, at this point.  I have a pretty good idea of Pass sound.  The new Krell isn't out yet.  

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Hegel 360 is good and not super expansive.

 

Moon 600i and Moon 700i cost more, but you can buy them second hand.

 

Mark Levinson No.585 is really good as well.

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