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Kimo

High powered integrated amp recommendations

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To get back on track, I was able to actually listen to a few of these super integrated amps that have been mentioned, and I find my short list shifting a bit.

 

1. Pass INT 250:  Back in play.  Simply prefer the Pass sound to some of the others that I have heard so far.

2. Luxman 509X: Apparently not quite up to the sonic level of their Class A 30 watt model, but more powerful.  The new Luxman seems pretty serious about their product again. 

3. Linnenberg: Not exactly an integrated, but by combining the DAC/preamp with the stereo or monoblock amps versatility is maintained, along with a smaller footprint.   

 

Anyone heard the Luxman, or able to compare Luxman with Pass?

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how about...

 

http://www.accuphase.com/model/e-470.html

 

they also have a Class A version


"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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Kimo -

 

A few thoughts in your integrated search. I am a McIntosh owner and very happy with my gear which consists of a D1100 DAC/pre, MCT450 SACD/CD transport, and a MC152 power amp. For the integrated consider the following. Both are rated at 200W and will easily exceed this rating in some situations. The both have built in upgradeable DAC modules.

 

MA8900

https://www.mcintoshlabs.com/products/integrated-amplifiers/MA8900

 

MA7200

https://www.mcintoshlabs.com/products/integrated-amplifiers/MA7200

 

There are also a few interesting options of some fairly recent Mac integrateds on Audiogon and Chris's own Superphonica to consider as well. 

 

Having bought too many pieces of gear over the years it might be worth considering a "buy it once approach". IF you could spend some time with one of these or another Mac integrated you will know if it will work for you. Buy from your local dealer if possible due to weight and some flexibility with pricing. (BTW, I am not a dealer and work at a university).  

 

I understand that some do not care for the McIntosh brand for various reasons - we all have likes and dislikes. That being said it worth a listen to see if it could work for you.

 

 


My System: McIntosh C47, McIntosh MC152, McIntosh MCT450, Prima Luna Dialogue Premium Tube Integrated, Dynaudio Special 25's, Transparent Super Interconnects and Speaker Cables

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  • Devialet 200 which I have and really enjoy. The newer model is the 220 Pro. They have lower and higher powered options.
  • Teac Esoteric F-05 which is being shipped to me as I write. It will replace the Dev 200. 240 watts into 4 ohms and 120 watts into 8 ohms. This is a current beast that has a lovely sound. The F-07 is a lower powered alternative.

Aurender N10, Esoteric F-05 Integrated Amplifier, Synergistic Active USB, Oppo 203, Synergistic Atmosphere Level 3 UEF Speaker cables, Legacy Audio Focus SE. ClearAudio Emotion TT.

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I settled upon an option.  Working on getting it to the house.  Not an integrated, per se, but a DAC/Preamp & Power Amp combo from the same maker.  150 into 8 ohms, 250 into 4 ohms, and fine with a 2 ohm load.  First 20 watts class A, with an enormous SNR.  Not a Benchmark combo.

 

Will review and update upon audition.  

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On 6/10/2018 at 1:45 PM, Kimo said:

I am considering auditioning some higher powered electronics with my Alta Audio Celesta FRM-2 monitors.  They are of a nominal 4 ohm load.  I am only interested in integrated amps.  So far I have come up with 2 candidates.

 

1. Pass Labs INT 250

2. Jeff Rowland Continuum S2

 

I have ruled out a few brands already for various reasons:  Accuphase, Ayre, Boulder, Chord, Devialet, and Musical Fidelity.

 

Looking for suggestions and at least 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms.  Market seems smaller than I had thought.  I am done with heavy separates and monoblocks, though obviously the Pass isn't very easy on the back.

Gryphon

VAC

Blue Circle

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23 hours ago, Kimo said:

I settled upon an option.  Working on getting it to the house.  Not an integrated, per se, but a DAC/Preamp & Power Amp combo from the same maker.  150 into 8 ohms, 250 into 4 ohms, and fine with a 2 ohm load.  First 20 watts class A, with an enormous SNR.  Not a Benchmark combo.

 

Will review and update upon audition.  

update?

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Still en route.  It is a Linnenberg set up.  I am pretty excited to hear what 21 bit SNR sounds like to the speakers.  Maybe, I won't notice, but either way I will report.

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Hi Kimo ,

I am in the same hunt as you. I have Martin Logan Montis now driven by a Jadis I50 integrated tube amp. I have been in tubes for many years and I am trying to get out of it to benefit the convenience of transistor amp. 

I am listening to many classical music , sacred music and voices. Therefore timber and detail is key for me. 

I was trying to buy the end game amp and I had in my radar the following products.

Mac Intosh 8900

Nu vista 800

Mark Levinson 585

pass int250

Gryphon 300

vitus integrated 

 

I had on loan in my system the Mac Intosh 8900. On some music , it is just pure magic with presence to die for.

The soundstage is extremely wide but not very deep. 

Unfortunately on some music ( voices , some instrument like harpsichord ) where the emotion is coming from the transparency in the treeble range , the Mcintosh was not transparent and detailed enough. It was quite obvious when compared to my Jadis. 

Eventhough i like a lot this Mcintosh, i did not choose it. 

 

I was also able to have the ML 585 in my system for a few days. It is also a very good product. 

More detailed in the treble range and a little bit more transparent than the Mcintosh. 

Unfortunately it does not have the magic of the Mcintosh in the midrange. 

I did not choose it either. 

 

The surprise came came from a piece of equipment not on my list.... a few days ago I was at a friend home to listen to some Brinkmann mono amps that were quite good. My friend had also a Nagra Classic amp that he was not interested in anymore. 

I listened to this piece of equipment and for me it was just amazing , I did like a lot what this amp was doing. 

I then was later able to listen to this Nagra amp in my system for an afternoon. 

The preamp was a Hattor passive preamp driving the Nagra classic amp. I have never heard the ML Montis sing like that ...this amp are revealing skills in my speaker that I did not think they had. The bass is way way better I have never heard before. The dynamic is the best I have ever heard with the Montis. 

It is very detailed , transparent and highly musical. 

The Nagra is not so powerful , only 100w in 8 ohm , but it is a true champion in true dynamic which is going fast from very tiny sound to a loud sound. Too often there is confusion between playing loud and true dynamic. 

You have understood that this amp is for me a winner in my system. Since my friend has agreed to sell it , I will test it again in my system for a few days and will make the decision to purchase it which at this time I am pretty sure it will be yes. 

I will report in a few days. 

 

 

 

 

 


Dual PC setup ,Daphile, full SOTM , PCie USB,txUSB ultra ,dx USB hd ,powered by LPS 1.2 powered by SPS 500 ,  DAC Audiomat Maestro 3, Nagra Classic Amp , Hattor passive preamplifier , Martin Logan montis

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On 12/8/2018 at 9:36 PM, Kimo said:

Still en route.  It is a Linnenberg set up.  I am pretty excited to hear what 21 bit SNR sounds like to the speakers.  Maybe, I won't notice, but either way I will report.

Wondering if you thought of an integrated that has a tube pre. Many of the advantages of an SS integrated, and you might like the tubes involved. Or an SS power amp with a tube input section. There are a few on the market. 


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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8 hours ago, firedog said:

Wondering if you thought of an integrated that has a tube pre. Many of the advantages of an SS integrated, and you might like the tubes involved. Or an SS power amp with a tube input section. There are a few on the market. 

 

That is actually a very good idea, but I am going in a completely different direction with a DAC/Preamp playing straight into an amp.  The DAC has an input to run my VPI  and the volume control is analog.  I simply couldn't find an integrated to match the specs: 20 watts class A, 150 into 8 ohms with no issues into 2, and 126 db SNR.  I should have the set up in house in a couple of weeks and will report then.  Likely my last audiophile amp.  Might be it for the system, as well. 

 

Not sure how much more is left.  I am unwilling to go with 100+ lb mono blocks any longer.

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I have the Linnenberg Wydor in the house and am running it with LInnenberg Telemann DAC/Preamp.  This accounts for my "integrated" solution.  

 

Not sure how much break in is needed, but I would characterize the sound this way.  Much like a clearer, more extended version of Pass Labs Class A offerings, the combo offers amazing depth compared with most other amps that I have had in the listening room.  The high SNR results in more subtle ques being more obvious, but not thrown out of proportion. 

 

Bass is a strong suit as well.  I never noticed this much texture on "Dreams."  Cymbals are extended, but so far never really harsh.  This of course may be due to the sound of the RAAL tweeter, at least in part.

 

The Linnenberg sound can be summed up as detailed, clean, deep, and colorful, with strong bass and extended highs.  

 

Well worth the wait.

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On 6/11/2018 at 2:07 AM, MetalNuts said:

Gryphon's Diablo 300 which gives you 300W at 8 ohm.  This is my previous Integrated amp to drive Magico S1 MK2.  Powerful, yet detail and musical and there is not much choice with such juice at such price range.

I am Big +1, a beautiful amp.

 

 

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2 hours ago, shtf said:

As for the OP, if Class D is on their list of contenders and they should, then Class D mono-blocks plus superior passive and bi-directional filtering line conditioners is the only work around.  And if the Class D mono-blocks amps are high-powered, then a passive volume attenuator at the source is all that's necessary to produce a potentially very musical and still quite dynamic playback presentation.

Thank you for the insights of digital amplification.  I actually made my choice, which was quite traditional.  Would be hard pressed to get this performance out of most integrateds.  

 

http://www.linnenberg-audio.de/html/widor.html

 

I really didn't want an amp with a built in DAC.  My box count is the same, using a DAC with a built in volume control.  The no preamp guys got to me.  This is my last amp, I suspect.

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On 3/30/2019 at 7:19 AM, Kimo said:

Thank you for the insights of digital amplification.  I actually made my choice, which was quite traditional.  Would be hard pressed to get this performance out of most integrateds.  

 

http://www.linnenberg-audio.de/html/widor.html

 

I really didn't want an amp with a built in DAC.  My box count is the same, using a DAC with a built in volume control.  The no preamp guys got to me.  This is my last amp, I suspect.

 

 

did you compare with Devialet Expert Pro line?

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On 3/30/2019 at 7:19 AM, Kimo said:

Thank you for the insights of digital amplification.  I actually made my choice, which was quite traditional.  Would be hard pressed to get this performance out of most integrateds.  

 

http://www.linnenberg-audio.de/html/widor.html

 

I really didn't want an amp with a built in DAC.  My box count is the same, using a DAC with a built in volume control.  The no preamp guys got to me.  This is my last amp, I suspect.

 

6moons preferred linnenberg liszt to widor stating that Widor may only be mandated when having 2ohm difficult speakers.

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29 minutes ago, navrsale said:

 

6moons preferred linnenberg liszt to widor stating that Widor may only be mandated when having 2ohm difficult speakers.

 

I have heard both in my system. I am not sure that I would say that I heard a whole lot of difference, even though my speakers might suggest otherwise.  Nevertheless, I never have to worry about loading with the Wydor.

 

Nothing thick sounding about the Wydor.  

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2 hours ago, navrsale said:

 

 

did you compare with Devialet Expert Pro line?

Nope.  I tried to get an audition back when I was using Pass gear, and no dealer wanted to send me anything to compare.  I gave up on Devialet after that.

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On 6/11/2018 at 9:16 AM, a.dent said:

My thoughts are

Vitus RI-101

Gryphon Diablo

Accuphase E-470

 

All will drive most speakers to serious (ear damaging) volumes. I have Magico S5s.

 

DAC and phono stage can be installed in Accuphase. DAC only in the Danish integrateds.

 

I recently sold my Vitus to upgrade to Accuphase separates but the E-470 integrated is close to (or better than) the Vitus. 

 

Can you elaborate more on Vitus vs Accuphase class AB? E.g. Vitus RI-101 vs E-480?

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41 minutes ago, navrsale said:

 

I've heard it is dark hard sound?

That is the first time I have heard the 585 as sounding dark.  I guess you haven’t heard it or you wouldn’t say that.  I own a 585 and it is far from dark sounding.  Nobody would pay over $10,000.00 for a dark sounding integrated.  Very neutral sounding integrated.  

 

It sounds so good I’m selling my beloved Pass Labs INT-30A.


Main System
Mark Levinson 585 Integrated Amplifier, PS Audio Directstream DAC, PS Audio Directstream Memory Player, Auralic Altair Music Streamer, PS Audio P3 Power Plant, Focal Sopra 1 Speakers, Definitive Technology PF15TL Subwoofer, Audioquest CV-8 Speaker Cables, Morrow Audio XLR Interconnects, PS Audio Statement Power Cords
 
Office System
Edge i3 Integrated Amplifier, Job 225 Amplifier, Sony HAPZ1ES Digital Audio Player, Auralic Aires Mini Music Streamer w/ 1TB SSD, Auralic Vega DAC, McIntosh MR7803 Tuner, KEF LS50 Speakers, Audioquest, CV-8 Speaker Cables

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14 hours ago, sfseay said:

That is the first time I have heard the 585 as sounding dark.  I guess you haven’t heard it or you wouldn’t say that.  I own a 585 and it is far from dark sounding.  Nobody would pay over $10,000.00 for a dark sounding integrated.  Very neutral sounding integrated.  

 

It sounds so good I’m selling my beloved Pass Labs INT-30A.

 

Mark Levinson 585 is awesome. At least Mark Levinson older amps was like ARC a bit dark sounding compared to Krell et al, nothing wrong with that.   

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